Oscar Roundup- Part IV

This is the last post on the Oscars, I swear.

Here are last time’s reviews.

The Theory of Everything- Best Actor

So this one’s about Stephen Hawking, and I was really looking forward to some cool science and inspiring geekiness. But nope, it’s about the relationship between him and his first wife, Jane, based on a memoir that she wrote after they separated.

As you probably know, Stephen Hawking is a physics genius who suffers from a particularly awful degenerative disease called ALS (remember the ice bucket challenge?). He is now confined to a wheelchair and speaks through a computer, since his vocal cords have lost functionality.

The movie begins with Stephen and Jane meeting at a party. They begin a relationship, and are very happy, until Stephen suffers from a mysterious fall. He is diagnosed with ALS and given a bleak prognosis (he has, in fact, survived much longer than most victims of ALS). Despite this, he marries Jane and has a peaceful family life. However, as his condition deteriorates, Jane finds it difficult to give him the help he needs while balancing her studies and children. She finds a ‘good friend’ in the choir master at the local church, Jonathan, who provides her with moral support as Stephen moves from a walking stick to a wheelchair.

Academic success and worldwide admiration change Stephen, and he leaves Jane for his new nurse. She eventually marries Jonathan, and Jane and Stephen remain on good terms today.

I didn’t like this movie much,¬†mostly because Hawking’s legendary scientific discoveries are barely mentioned. Eddie Redmayne plays the role of nerdy physicist convincingly, capturing Hawking’s slack-jawed facial expressions when needed.

Still Alice- Best Actress

Oddly enough, both the Best Actor and Best Actress awards were given to very similar roles. Julianne Moore plays a linguistics professor at Columbia University who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The intellectual nature of her job makes her cognitive decline painful to watch. Her diagnoses shocks her children, and they struggle to come to terms with her rapid decline. If you’ve ever had an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s/dementia, you can imagine how painful it is to watch her get lost in her own house, or forget the name of her son’s new girlfriend moments after they were introduced.

In a particularly sad scene, Alice gives herself instructions to commit suicide once her symptoms become too severe. Very very good acting from Moore, and also featuring Alec Baldwin as Alice’s stoic husband, and Kristen Stewart as her rebel-who-doesn’t-comb-her-hair daughter.

Give it a miss unless you’re a big fan of Julianne Moore.

The Grand Budapest Hotel- Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, Achievement in Costume Design

Wes Anderson! He’s known for his distinctive work, and this is said to be one of his best. I had previously watched Moonrise Kingdom, but didn’t really appreciate the eccentric storytelling. The Grand Budapest Hotel, on the other hand, is definitely impressive. Everything from the colours to the costumes to the dialogue delivery seemed well thought out (as evidenced by the long list of awards).

This is the story of Zero Moustafa, the owner of a formerly grand, but now dilapidated, hotel in Central Europe. It is long and confusing, but worth it. Watch this movie if you don’t mind something unconventional.

Yes, I haven’t seen the big one yet- Birdman, the Best Picture Winner. I don’t plan on it either, for fear of being disappointed. I’ve heard it’s slow paced.

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