Number 2 - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Partway down in this writeup, I'm going to suggest that if you haven't seen the movie that you stop reading there. It's not plot spoilers but movie style spoilers. It's a movie best discovered one scene, one frame at a time. You have been warned.
This was the best movie of the year. It deserves to win the Oscar for all the right reasons. Yeah, I have one I liked a bit more, but Birdman was the best.
It's a movie about acting and its incredibly well acted. All of the acting Oscar noms were well earned. I've heard the Ed Norton, who plays an asshole, is just playing himself. If that's the case, he does incredibly well. Emma Stone has always seemed to be talented, and her role here just proves it. And Michael Keaton would be a shoo in for the win most years. I think it's a great group of actors this year for so many different reasons, so it could go to any of the five.
But Keaton has the whole package here. He has monologues that feel real. He works with the other actors is ways that make all of them look good. He has monologues that are scenes with himself... He does it all both on screen and on stage.
Beyond that, there are many fantastic things to love about Birdman. This is the point in which if you haven't seen it yet, stop here. Go watch it. If you haven't watched it, I hope that's because you just haven't been to the theater in the past few months and not because you chose to watch Ouiji or The Boy Next Door or other such dreck. Stop supporting turds and.
I'm now assuming you've seen the movie. The scene transitions are absolutely brilliant. I always love a long take when its done well. Think Henry Hill going into the Copacabana in Goodfellas or the hallway fight scene from Oldboy. A recent excellent example that comes to mind is from True Detective.
After watching Birdman, it's such a "duh" realization that each act in a play is one long take. So the most obvious way to portray a play in a movie is to use long takes. Duh.
There's a moment a few minutes in to the first scene in which I started to ask myself if there had been any edits yet or if it was a long take. Michael Keaton was also acting this a boss in the scene, as he did through the whole movie. And then the location changed. It because obvious that they weren't just doing a single scene as a long take. That's when I really started to love the movie. It was in that moment of discovery that it all clicked into place. If you didn't see the movie but decided to read on, I just ruined that for you. Next time pay attention, asshole.
That brings me to two points before I finish. First, the soundtrack is fantastic. Yep, it's a drummer. Drumming. That's pretty much it. I absolutely loved how he was worked into the long takes. I absolutely remember him showing up at least once, but I'm vaguely thinking he showed up a couple more times. I might be making that up, and I think it would be even more special if it had been just once. For the feel of the movie, the percussion soundtrack was perfect.
Second, how isn't this movie nominated for Best Film Editing? I can't think of a another movie EVER that I've walked out of and thought, "That movie deserves the Oscar for editing." This is the only one ever. And it probably will be. Ridiculous.
I shouldn't have to tell you to go see it because you already saw it if you're reading this. You're probably still an asshole.