Here at Kent District Library we are passionate about movies… like, really passionate. We love absolutely everything about movies, from their plot twists to great acting and unforgettable romances. Librarians are also (if you didn’t know) very competitive and want our favorite movies to be recognized and win awards. Even though we might not be able to convince the Academy (who decides on the Oscar winners) who should win the Best Picture award, we want to convince you. So over the next few days employees from KDL will give their take on why their favorite Best Picture nomination deserves to win the Oscar. If you have anything to add or maybe just disagree, please let us know in the comments section!
Today Julia reflects on the authenticity of Boyhood, and Jennifer marvels at the acting and sheer madness of Birdman.
Unprecedented in scale, Boyhood was an ambitious project that began filming in 2002 and wrapped in 2014 — 12 years later. The film depicts a boy growing up in Texas, his single mother, his sister and his sporadically involved father. Watching Boyhood, we watch real people grow and change on the screen, without CGI or prosthetics. Shooting across a span of over a decade was a risk upon which the success of the film relied: Boyhood needed the authenticity of a cast that grew both physically and cognitively to create a story that truly reflected what it is to grow up. That risk paid off. Boyhood is an epic that reflects back a piece of our own humanity in the passage of time.
— Julia from the KDL Service Center
Birdman is the kind of movie that you need to talk about after you leave the theater. You’re confused and inspired and overwhelmed by what you’ve just seen, and you just need to sit down and dissect it all with a friend. That’s why Birdman deserves to win best picture, because it rattles you to your core, and if you’re paying attention you’ll have enough fodder for hours of conversation and reflection afterward.
Michael Keaton stars in this story of a washed-up action movie actor named Riggan (not unlike Michael Keaton’s real career), who’s trying to redeem his career by writing, directing and starring in his own Broadway play based on an adaptation of a story by Raymond Carver. Riggan is broke and overworked, and his alter ego, Birdman, haunts him with what might have been had he sold out and made another Hollywood action movie. Is he an artist or is he a celebrity? What will his legacy be?
Not only does this film deliver the most top-notch acting performances I’ve seen all year from not just Michael Keaton but Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts, but it’s filmed in a way you’ve never seen. The camera follows the actors over their shoulders through the old winding corridors of the theater and you feel like you’re actually there. The film’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, takes his time with long, single camera shots and perfectly choreographed entrances and exits from the extras and the main characters, certainly no easy way to film. This style of camera work, with the scenes melding into one another and the sights and sounds all around you, makes the viewer really internalize the stressful atmosphere in a Broadway theater a few nights before the play opens, and the intense strain our main character, Riggan, is under. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll just say it involves a loaded gun onstage on opening night and a profound ending that will make you wonder, “What the heck just happened?”
— Jennifer from KDL’s Caledonia Twp. Branch