With the Academy Awards right around the corner, I sat down with Troy Theis to discuss the upcoming show, share our Oscar picks, and review many of the movies of last year. (By the way, most of the movies we reviewed are available currently On Demand from TDS TV!)

Question: So, before we get into the movies, let’s first talk about this year’s host, Neil Patrick Harris.

    • Troy: I’m excited! I think he’s proven himself as host (of the Tonys). He brings a fresh energy to the show. Hopefully he doesn’t try to not be himself – one reason why other hosts have failed in the past.
    • Kris: I’m also excited. I think he’ll bring a classic feel back to the Oscars with the songs and dances he can do – it will be a much cleaner version of Seth McFarland (who I thought was excellent as host). He doesn’t have the movie cred, but he brings in a ton of experience hosting award shows.

guardians of the galaxy posterQuestion: What was your favorite (non-Oscar nominated) movie of 2015?

  • Kris: Without a doubt, Guardians of the Galaxy. I thought it was fun, fresh and very funny. It provided the type of escape in film that I enjoy. There were others that I liked this past year, but that movie was my favorite.
  • Troy: Guardians was good, so was Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. They were just entertaining and fun, how can you not enjoy that. Gone Girl was so messed up.

Question: What was your biggest disappointment of 2014?

  • Troy: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. There’s no reason to break that film up into two. I was also disappointed by How to Train Your Dragon 2—it lacked the heart of the first one.
  • Kris: I’m going to say Transformers: Age of Extinction and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. I’m disappointed they keep making the Transformer movies, really. They keep making a ton of money though, so I’m sure to be disappointed by the next one. Sin City, to me, was just a movie out 10 years too late. It lost the uniqueness that the original had, it no longer felt new or cutting edge, if that makes sense.

Question: What 2014 movie do you still want to see?

  • Kris: You know, I never did catch The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in the theatres. That was a disappointment for me.
  • Troy: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I heard bad reviews so I didn’t want to see it. Now I kind of want to.


On to the Oscar picks

Best Picture
Kris: Birdman
Troy: Boyhood

Dark horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

  • Kris: I think Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has a great shot at winning Best Picture. Not only is it doing well so far in award season, it would be a way for the Academy to recognize the impact superhero movies are having, without really being a superhero move. I don’t see something in the Avengers or Batman franchises ever winning Best Film, but Birdman winning would at least show the Academy is watching. The acting was superb, as well as the some amazing editing – it all feels like a single, very long superb take. This is the film that hopefully bring Michael Keaton back to other starring roles, plus it leaves the audience with just a bit of mystery as to what actually happened, makes it a very rewatchable movie and my pick for Best Film.
  • Troy: For Boyhood, it was such an accomplishment of taking 12 years to make a film. I understand people saying it’s a boring movie (which I disagree with), but life can be boring. I almost felt like the kid was my kind by the end of the film, and I felt something as he was going off to school. It was intelligent how the story arc of the mother (played by Patricia Arquette) went: when he was young, she seemed perfect. It was only when he was older did they faults start to show. Much like how we view our parents from childhood to adulthood (I can’t think of a better way to word that but I kind of want to make that point the it is similar to real life in that regard). That’s why her role was so successful.

Best Actor
Kris: Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Troy: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

    Dark horse: Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)

  • Troy: Only reason I picked Redmayne is because he’s winning all the awards right now. Not convinced it shouldn’t be someone else though.
  • Kris: Keaton’s performance was amazing in Birdman. It may have been easy, somewhat, for him to reflect his own life and experience, acting with the way the film was shot is so difficult to do, there are no cuts of close ups or wides that the editor/director can go to if there was a bad shot. That’s what’s so challenging with the long takes.

Best Actress
Kris: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Troy: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Dark horse: Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything)

  • Troy: She’s winning everything plus the critics are saying this is Julianne Moore’s best performance to date.
  • Kris: Agreed. Plus, she’s been nominated a number of times, this may be her year.

Whiplash - 2014 - tt2582802 - PosterBest Supporting Actor
Kris: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Troy: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Dark horse: Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) or Edward Norton (Birdman)

  • Kris: It’s really about time we recognize what a great actor J.K. Simmons is. He’s been amazing for years, even in his commercials!

Best Supporting Actress
Kris: Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Troy: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Dark horse: Laura Dern (Wild)

  • Kris: Why you would ever vote against Meryl Streep winning is beyond me, but I have the feeling Patricia Arquette will win.

Animated Film
Kris: Big Hero 6
Troy: Song of the Sea

Write-In: Lego Movie

  • Troy: How could they not have Lego Movie up for the Oscar is crazy.

boyhood movie poster_smBest Directing
Kris: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Troy: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Darkhorse: Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman)

  • Troy: Same reasons I gave above. That’s why he should win.
  • Kris: For only the reasons you gave above, that’s why I think he will win. Planning out a film that will take 12 years to shoot, 2 weeks every other year or so, watching an actual boy grow up, keeping everyone involved on a project of that magnitude? That’s why he should win for best directing, but not best film.

What were your favorite films of 2014? Post them below and let us know why!

Kris is joined by Troy Theis. Troy is a TDS graphic designer, a volunteer at a local farm sanctuary, and an Oscar fan.

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