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Oscars 2015 Best Picture Nominees: Read the Original Reviews

Jan 15, 2015

This year's Oscars nominations were announced Thursday morning and, despite a few snubs and surprises, the Best Picture nominees were mostly the usual batch of well-received prestige pics—though they also received reviews that weren't always 100% positive. TIME's critic Richard Corliss reviewed each of the nominees as they were released, and here's what he had to say:

American Sniper, reviewed Dec. 31, 2014: "It’s a gritty, confident portrait of a man whose life may have been somewhat messier than this Hollywood version."

Read the full review here

Birdman, reviewed Oct. 27, 2014: "This isn't truly a one-take movie, like Alexander Sokurov's enthralling Russian Ark--here, scenes lasting 10 minutes or more are edited together with invisible transitions--but Birdman is still a unique technical accomplishment. Shot in 30 days, with the actors' and the camera's movements calibrated to the inch and the millisecond so that the action flows smoothly, the picture has the jagged energy of a sustained guerrilla raid choreographed by Bob Fosse. It's a precision ballet whose most impressive effect is that it plays out like real theatrical life."

Read the full review here

Boyhood, reviewed July 10, 2014: "A home movie of a fictional home life, an epic assembled from vignettes, Boyhood shimmers with unforced reality. It shows how an ordinary life can be reflected in an extraordinary movie."

Read the full review here

The Grand Budapest Hotel, reviewed Mar. 10, 2014: "A dizzyingly complex machine whose workings are a delight to behold, the movie has a wry smile for frailties, a watchful eye for tyranny and a heart that — under the circumstances of this dark, fanciful tale — must be called heroic."

Read the full review here

The Imitation Game, reviewed Dec. 1, 2014: "Alan Turing in The Imitation Game may be [Benedict Cumberbatch's] oddest, fullest, most Cumberbatchian character yet. The Cambridge genius who fathered the modern computer, known as the Turing machine--and who presciently asked, "What if only a machine could defeat another machine?"--seems part machine himself."

Read the full review here

Selma, reviewed in Jan. 19, 2015, issue of TIME: "This is a film set not on great lawns but mostly in back rooms, where a forceful whisper can have more effect than a pulpit homily. Oyelowo gives a warm, acute performance and lends King a presence that makes everyone from his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo) to LBJ feel the power of his argument, the singe of his soul."

Read the full review here

The Theory of Everything, reviewed Nov. 17, 2014: "For a movie about the author of A Brief History of Time, this is a doggedly chronological retelling of Stephen and Jane's 30-year marriage. Theory finds its saving nuances in the story of a vigorous young man transformed by disease into his wife's invalid child."

Read the full review here

Whiplash, reviewed Oct. 9, 2014: "A hit at Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival, where it was nicknamed Full Metal Drum Kit, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash adds welcome flavor to the fall movie season, like Raisinettes sprinkled on a tub of popcorn. Directing with a cool, steady hand that renounces shaky-cam the way Fletcher would denounce rock ‘n roll, and getting strong performances from his two leads, Chazelle provides a potent metaphor for artistic ambition as both a religion and an addiction."

Read the full review here

See the full list of 2015 Oscars nominees

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