Nerd Alert issued for the Academy Awards and "Force Majeure"

By Rev. Adam McKinney on February 18, 2015

The Academy Awards

In a refreshing change of pace from Oscars past, the Academy Awards, this year, are full of nominations for off-kilter films, instead of the usual Oscar-bait pablum. There are no films that aim to create a post-racial society (looking at you, Crash) or dazzle gullible audiences with good special effects (seriously, go back and watch Avatar). Instead, the two movies that have inspired the most feverish Oscar talk are some of the most ambitious films of the past decade: Boyhood and Birdman.

While it's more or less a foregone conclusion that the awe-inspiring, 12-year-long experiment that is Boyhood will win Best Picture, Birdman is such an audacious achievement that I doubt anyone would begrudge it winning the top prize. Still, both films have their lovers and haters, which might make an upset possible. Selma is a more than deserving film to get Best Picture, but it's been overshadowed - both by flashy performances and political debates - by the three other biopics in the nominations: American Sniper, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything.

The most heartening story of the 87th Annual Academy Awards has to come down to Michael Keaton's performance in Birdman and J.K. Simmons' in Whiplash getting nods from the academy. Both of these veteran actors have spent years being unacknowledged resources in Hollywood, bringing amazing to performances to movies time and time again. If there's a god in this world, both will take home their respective prizes. This being the Oscars, though, we can never count on those old fogies to do the right thing.

As usual, The Grand Cinema will be hosting Tacoma's premiere Oscar party at the Theatre on the Square, Olympia Film Society's bash is at the Capitol Theater and the Gig Harbor Film Festival folks will be at The Hub in Gig Harbor. Get your Oscar pools ready.

Force Majeure

Speaking of things getting snubbed at the Oscars, one of the biggest surprises at the announcement of the nominees was the conspicuous absence of Force Majeure, which was considered a shoo-in for a nod for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish dark comedy explores the aftermath of a father abandoning his wife and children when an avalanche strikes. After everyone survives unscathed, Force Majeure shows the consequences of cowardice.

The filmmakers filmed themselves watching the television at the moment that they found out they weren't going to be nominated, in a video that has now gone viral. The director, Ruben Ostlund, positively loses his shit and takes off his clothes, weeping. It's not clear whether or not this is real (and, seeing as how it mimics a scene from the film, I'm guessing not), but it's a potent demonstration of how much this can mean to some of these artists.

Force Majeure plays Tuesday, Feb. 24 at The Grand Cinema.