Oscar Nomination Review (and Top 20 of 2015)

Posted by Michael Parsons on January 17, 2016 in , / No Comments


Here’s a quick Top 20 list to supplement my End-of-Year Review. But first, some brief thoughts on Thursday’s Oscar nominees (Full List Here):

Opinion: As for period dramas, “Carol” should have taken the “Brooklyn” slot; “The Revenant” and “The Big Short” absolutely, one hundred percent, belong on that list (both in my Top 5); an unbelievable 8 nominations for “Mad Max: Fury Road” shows the Academy might be evolving, though the omission of Idris Elba for Best Supporting in “Beasts of No Nation”, suggests otherwise; “Room” is overrated, though Brie Larson does deserve her Best Actress nomination. I would have rather seen “I Smile Back” in there, and think Sarah Silverman earned every bit of a Best Actress win.  “The Martian” and “Spotlight” are both great movies, and deserve their respective screenplay nods–maybe Damon for Best Actor and Ridley Scott for Best Director–but I don’t think they’re necessarily Best Picture material. “Bridge of Spies” is not Spielberg’s best, though a solid picture, and I won’t contest its Original Screenplay recognition. It would have been nice to see “Sicario”, in there—at least it got picked up for Score and Cinematography. I don’t understand all the attention for “Mustang” as Best Foreign Language Film; “Son of Saul”, however, I get, and I think it’s going to bring home the statue. (My favorite in that category is far too obscure to receive such honors). It’s no surprise that “Amy” was nominated for Best Documentary–I don’t think it’s nearly as deserving as its competition, “Cartel Land”, and I would really have loved to have seen the incredible“Meru” get some attention there. Finally, “Inside Out” is a shoe in for Best Animated, but I thought “The Good Dinosaur” should have been in there along side “Shaun the Sheep”, while the appeal of “Anomalisa”  still eludes me.

My Top 20 Films of 2015

  • #20 “The Martian”
  • #19 “Southpaw”
  • #18 “Spring”
  • #17 “The Gift”
  • #16 “Cartel Land”
  • #15 “A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence”
  • #14 “Creep”
  • #13 “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • #12 “I Smile Back”
  • #11 “While We’re Young”
  • #10 “Youth”
  • #9 “Predestination”
  • #8 “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
  • #7 “Beasts of No Nation”
  • #6 “99 Homes”
  • #5 “The Big Short”
  • #4 “Sicario”
  • #3 “Meru”
  • #2 “Carol”
  • #1 “The Revenant”


— M. Parsons

Michael Parsons

Father. Realtor®. Movie nut. After pestering my parents for their commentary on “Star Wars” when I was four years old, my mind went into a creative frenzy. I’d imagined something entirely different than the actual film, which I didn’t end up seeing until its 1979 re-release at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC. This was my formal introduction to the cinema.

During that long wait, which felt like an eternity to a child, my mind was being molded by more corrosive stuff like “Trilogy of Terror” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, most of which I’d conned various babysitters into letting me watch on television ( I convinced one poor lady that “Jaws” was actually “Moby Dick”).

The folks were pretty strict in that regard, so the less appropriate it was for a kid to watch, the more I was fascinated by it. Horror staples like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th”, as well as lesser-known low-budget fare like “Madman”, “Sleepaway Camp” and “Pieces” all ended up sneaking their way into the VHS on a regular basis.

Since then, I’ve developed an obsession with the entire film industry. Even though I watch and review a wide breadth of films these days, my appreciation for the campy, poorly lit micro-budgeters still lends itself to my evolving perspective on movies just as much as the summer blockbusters and Oscar contenders. As I recall my trips to the movie theater, I realize that this stuff is about much more than just a fleeting piece of entertainment.

A couple years ago, I was finally given the opportunity to lend my opinion on films to a publication, The Rogers Revue, with a subsequent run at Reel Film News. It's been both a privilege and a gateway to what we’re doing now. Most of my experience has come from interviewing independent filmmakers, who consistently promote innovation. The filmmaking process is grueling and relatively unforgiving.

Fellow film enthusiast Eddie Pasa and I have created DC Filmdom as a medium for film reviews, discussion, and (inevitably) some debate. And so, the creative frenzy continues.

(Michael is a member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association).

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