Please, whoever the members of the Academy are, please just listen to what I’m going to say. Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive deserve to get nominations in every single category at the 2015 Academy Awards. Yes. I am making this bold statement not so these movies get prestigious acclaim in the industry (they both have actually received universal acclaim), but more so that people actually go buy tickets at the movie theaters and witness these astonishing cinematic achievements. I literally just got home from seeing Whiplash and my heart is still pounding. When one leaves a theater as affected as I am right now, there has to be reason. Cinema has the power to change how one is feeling both emotionally and physically. I felt the same way after I saw Only Lovers Left Alive over the summer and more recently Birdman (I’ll be writing an individual post for that incredible film soon).
Whiplash stars Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) and in an incredible performance, J.K. Simmons (Juno) makes a case why he’s the Oscar frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor. Simmons’ character is a cruel, manipulative, monstrous and passionate music instructor stopping at nothing to realize a student’s potential. Teller’s character is a very talented drummer at this music conservatory where he faces the harsh reality of what it truly takes to be the “best.” The performances, writing, and directing are all first rate but the editing in Whiplash blew me away. The cuts were meticulously made in the scenes where the students performed their instruments in a way that made my heart pound like no other. These same editing techniques were used to also build tension in scenes of dramatic dialogue between characters. Whiplash is probably the most artistic film about music that I’ve ever seen in the theaters. 10/10
I’m still in awe after all these months for Only Lovers Left Alive. A beautiful, melancholy portrait of two undead lovers and the journey they’ve taken to survive for so long while still loving each other unconditionally. Through music, estranged siblings and the need for blood, Jim Jarmusch crafted a piece of art that tells more about human relationships than most mainstream Hollywood films do. Tilda Swinton just picked up an Indie Spirit Award nomination for her work as well as an original screenplay nod for Jarmusch and thank god! I thought everyone would’ve forgotten this wonderfully, unique film. But maybe people are starting to appreciate weirder things now in Hollywood. Maybe the Academy will give Swinton and Jarmusch some love? I hope so! 10/10
Sony Pictures Classics is the distributer of these two films. I hope they make strong Oscar campaigns for these wonderful movies.
Whiplash– In Select Theaters
Only Lovers Left Alive– DVD/On Demand