Nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards were announced yesterday morning, and frankly, my dear, they left a lot to be desired. Oscar nominations always evince a mixture of pomp and circumstance and outrage. This year, though, the list of complaints feels longer than usual. David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) didn’t make the cut for “Best Actor.” “Selma” director Ava DuVernay lost out on well deserved “Best Director” recognition. And no “Best Animated Feature” nomination for “The Lego Movie”! Some argue that the Oscars are now all but irrelevant, plagued by unfair procedures and paralyzed by an out-of-touch voting bloc. Despite the glamour and raw sex appeal of categories like “Sound Editing” and “Sound Mixing,” the Oscars no longer captivate American audiences they way they once did. Below, a list of new, more specific Oscar categories designed to better capture the ethos of this year in cinema:
Best Awkward Phase: “Boyhood”
- “Boyhood”, writer-director Richard Linklater’s 12-year project about one boy’s boyish boyhood, provides a gorgeous, real-time glimpse of the formative experiences of one boy’s life. A narrative tour de force, the film explores the full gamut of human emotion and mid-2000s haircuts. Plus, it has a timeless and inspiring message: All awkward phases must end. Eventually.
The Meryl Streep Award for Excellence in Being Meryl Streep: Meryl Streep as Whoever She Played This Year
- If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, will Meryl Streep still be nominated for her captivating performance as the tree? The answer, history tells us, is a resounding yes. Her recent turn as the evil, blue-haired witch in Sondheim-adapted “Into the Woods” just earned her an insane 19th career nomination, this time for “Best Supporting Actress.” Will she win? Does it matter?
Most Depressing Remake: “Annie”
- A classic musical, remade with Auto-Tune, starring Cameron Diaz. Some film executive heard that pitch and said yes, or else said maybe and then sort of forgot about it long enough that a new and hideous version of “Annie” ended up in theaters. For those of us still in possession of a VHS copy of the 1999 “Annie,” this film will quickly disappear into the ether of Movies You Watched Because You Were Babysitting Your Little Cousins. But for a generation of children scarred by Cameron Diaz’s rendition of “Easy Street0”? Not even a surprise Christmas visit from FDR could undo that damage.
Least Necessary Sequel: “Dolphin Tale 2”
- I haven’t seen “Dolphin Tale 2,” nor did I see the original “Dolphin Tale.” I refuse, on principle, to watch any movie that is based on a true story about dolphins who teach people about the human condition/friendship/dolphin science. “Dolphin Tale 2” has a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is impossible because the movie sounds terrible. I would feel bad about criticizing the work of history’s first dolphin actors, but I’m pretty sure dolphins can’t read. Pretty sure.
Most Necessary Sequel: A Fifth “Bring It On” Movie
- Did you know that it’s been almost six years since the fourth “Bring It On” movie was released? Where has Kirsten Dunst been? And why don’t people make movies about krumping anymore? All of these questions would be answered by another “Bring It On” movie. This year really could have used a movie about rival cheerleading squads who compete but are forced to put aside their differences and work together. The lead role would be perfect for a Hollywood up-and-comer, someone like Cara Delevigne or Hilary Duff’s baby. Maybe in 2015…
Most British Performance: Benedict Cumberbatch as “Benedict Cumberbatch”
- The Academy, like the rest of America, has a thing for guys with British accents. And this year’s best-known Brit is the Britishest of them all. Benedict Cumberbatch has officially received his first-ever Oscar nomination for his role as codebreaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.” Brits did well in the “Best Actor” category this year, colonizing two of the five spots (Eddie Redmayne is the other gent, nominated for playing Steven Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”). Whether or not Cumberbatch is crowned on Oscar night, his name alone sounds like it could imperialize a foreign nation, lose that nation in an eventual war of independence and then obtain a recurring guest spot on “Downton Abbey.”
Best Cinematic Partnership: You and Netflix
- Watching all of Season 3 of “Gilmore Girls” in one sitting totally counts as a movie.