This is it. It is both Super Bowl season and MY Super Bowl Season. It’s Oscar time! Here is everything you need to know about:
TITLE: The Grand Budapest Hotel
AWARD COUNT: Nine, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay
Of the eight films nominated for Best Picture in 2015, the least complicated of the nominees is The Grand Budapest Hotel— the latest film from director Wes Anderson. If you are familiar with Anderson’s work that’s saying something.
This isn’t to infer that The Grand Budapest Hotel is simple; it’s easily his best work since The Royal Tenenbaums. It just so happens that of the eight nominees, it is the only film that doesn’t deal with amazingly polarizing, complex, and emotionally challenging issues. The complexity and intricacy of The Grand Budapest Hotel is in the direction of the film itself and Wes Anderson’s mastering of his own devices– world building, attention to and execution of intricate detail, and beautiful scene painting.
Like other directors of his generation, Wes Anderson is telling a story of his creation in a world that he has built; since Rushmore, I don’t believe any movie he has written, adapted, or directed has existed outside of the world he himself has built. They couldn’t exist in any other time or space. Among those entries in his IMDB page there have been some truly great movies, but Budapest is very easily his best work as a director.
At 101 minutes and moving at a blistering pace, Budapest goes by in the blink of an eye without feeling like it is scrimping on plot development or storytelling. Anderson, who frequently uses a narrator to fill the audience in on what is happening both with the emotional state of the characters and to heighten the stakes of the scene, has found the perfect balance here as he tells a story within a story within a story. There are so many levels to this movie; it’s like a much more fun to watch version of Inception.
The cast is made up of Anderson regulars (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman), returning actors (Adrien Brody, Willem Defore, Edward Norton), and newcomers to his troupe (Saoirse Ronan, Tony Revolori, and Ralph Fiennes). They play on screen together like they’ve been in the same touring company for decades. This again shows how Anderson has evolved as a director, and balances out who gets the most screen time and who moves the story along. It is completely egoless acting, so he should get the Oscar right there.
The 2015 Best Picture Nominees are a collection of biopics (The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Selma, The Theory of Everything), psychological dramas (Birdman, Whiplash), experimental filmmaking (Boyhood) and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which more than likely, is the Babe of this year– a good movie that will age well and be remembered long after the year it was nominated. It’s not causing any outrage and it’s not forcing viewers to re-examine their lives, opinions, or understanding of difficult situations. It’s just a really good movie and the best example of how given enough time a director evolves into more than someone on screen yelling “ACTION!” and “CUT!”