Janine Saunders

About Janine Saunders

Janine is a content crafter, heavy reader, list maker and life shaker. She's a fan of good books and beer with equal enthusiasm, and is currently working as a freelance writer and communications jack-of-all-trades. Find her dabbling away at her website.

2015 Academy Awards: The review round-up

Film lover Janine Saunders has curated the best reviews of the “Best Picture” nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards…so now you can read those and successfully fake like you’ve actually seen the films…


The 2015 Academy Awards are upon us and every year I struggle to find time to watch all the nominations for “Best Picture”.  In my previous life as a film publicist, this was unacceptable but I managed to get away with authentic tweets, blog posts and a validated opinion on which would win, should win, could win and have absolutely no chance by reading reviews from some of the best in the industry.

Need to look like you know exactly what you’re talking about? Here are the most trusted reviews of the “Best Picture” nominations for the 2015 Oscars:

“Selma” directed by Ava DuVernay

Rotten Tomatoes: Fuelled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. — but doesn’t ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied. Tomatometer: 99%

Empire Magazine: It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it’s incredibly powerful and often moving, anchored by an awards-worthy performance from Oyelowo.

Metascore from Metacritic: 89

“Boyhood” directed by Richard Linklater

Rotten Tomatoes: Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition. Tomatometer: 98%

Empire Magazine: Linklater’s beautiful film is an extraordinary achievement — tender, funny, wise and wistful, full of warmth and humanity.

Metascore from Metacritic: 100

“Birdman” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Rotten Tomatoes: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. Tomatometer: 92%

Empire Magazine: Birdman is everything you want movies to be: vital, challenging, intellectually alive, visually stunning, emotionally affecting. And welcome back to the big time, Mr. Keaton; you have been sorely missed.

Metascore from Metacritic: 88

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” directed by Wes Anderson

Rotten Tomatoes: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas. Tomatometer: 92%

Empire Magazine: Another meticulously stylish and deadpan Wes Anderson movie that walks the fine line between masterpiece and folly.

Metascore from Metacritic: 88

“The Imitation Game” directed by Morten Tyldum

Rotten Tomatoes: With an outstanding starring performance from Benedict Cumberbatch illuminating its fact-based story, The Imitation Game serves as an eminently well-made entry in the “prestige biopic” genre. Tomatometer: 90%

Empire Magazine: A superb thriller and a worthy biopic of a real hero. It’s also simultaneously an encouraging follow-up for Headhunters’ Morten Tyldum, an impressive debut for screenwriter Graham Moore, and a big-screen career highlight for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Metascore from Metacritic: 72

“American Sniper” directed by Clint Eastwood

Rotten Tomatoes: Powered by Clint Eastwood’s sure-handed direction and a gripping central performance from Bradley Cooper, American Sniper delivers a tense, vivid tribute to its real-life subject. Tomatometer: 73%

Empire Magazine: Oscar heralds will no doubt dub it The Hurt Locker for snipers, but the fitting combo of Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper have created a thrilling Iraq war story that manages to both honour the necessities of heroism and ruminate on what heroism might cost a man.

Metascore from Metacritic: 72

“The Theory of Everything” directed by James Marsh

Rotten Tomatoes: Part biopic, part love story, The Theory of Everything rises on James Marsh’s polished direction and the strength of its two leads. Tomatometer: 80%

Empire Magazine: A compassionate and inspiring look at an extraordinary life, anchored by two of the best performances of the year.

Metascore from Metacritic: 72

“Whiplash” directed by Damien Chazelle

Rotten Tomatoes: Intense, inspiring, and well-acted, Whiplash is a brilliant sophomore effort from director Damien Chazelle and a riveting vehicle for stars J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Tomatometer: 95%

Empire Magazine: Sum up the plot and it sounds interminable. Watch the film and it will spit you out elated, exhausted and cheering for an encore.

Metascore from Metacritic: 88



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