Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Rating the Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Rating the Best Picture Oscar Nominees

In the past three years, Bill and I watch the Best Picture Oscar Nominees through an Oscar Movie Marathon in two days. There are only eight pictures nominated this year so theater chains devised a 24-hour marathon scheduled for February 14, of all days! There are also two-day marathons, 4 pictures each scheduled for February 21 and 22. We had already seen two of the nominated movies, so there was no value to the marathon discount for us.

We watched each of them individually at the theaters except for Boyhood which had already a Redbox release. We used a different kind of rating system, too. Bill and I rated each one separately and combined our scores on a 50-50 basis. We finished the last movie on Sunday, February 8, two weeks before the Oscar Awards Night we have our fearless forecast. If you are still deciding which ones to spend your movie bucks on, outlines below is the rating that we came up with.

We used the following criteria, weighted according to what we thought was more or less important: Screenplay (30%), Direction (20%), Acting (20%), Cinematography (10%), Editing (10%), and Production (10%). The obvious bias we have is for an excellent story delivered through a well-thought out script. But we know that expert direction, superb acting, scintillating scenes, thorough editing, and a detailed production are part of the right formula. Hopefully, these more detailed ratings will help you decide which ones to see, depending on your biases, especially if you do not have the time to see all of them:

Screenplay Direction Acting Cinematography Editing Production TOTAL RANK
Grand Budapest Hotel 7.5 10 10 10 7.5 6.5 51.5 6
Theory of Everything 20.5 18.5 17 7.5 7 6.5 77 2
Imitation Game 23 17.5 18 8 8 7.5 82 1
American Sniper 20 16 15 8 7 7 73 4
Birdman 17 14.5 17 8.5 7.5 7 71.5 5
Boyhood 11 12 12.5 5 4 5 49.5 7
Whiplash 21 16 16 7.5 7 6.5 74 3
Selma 10 7.5 10 6 4.5 4.5 42.5 8

Even if our predictions do not come anywhere close to the Academy picks, the exercise this year helped us learn more about how to evaluate the merits or demerits of a movie. We thought five of the Oscar nominees deserve the kudos but wondered why the other three were included. We hope we have helped one or two of you decide which movie(s) to spend your money or time on. More than that, we hope it helped introduce the value of viewing movies more critically. For us it gives another dimension of fun to the hobby and to watching the Oscars, apart from the gowns. 

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