Actor in a Leading Role - Benedict Cumberbatch
Actress in a Supporting Role - Keira Knightley (in 2 films with nominations!)
Directing - Morton Tyldum
Film Editing - William Goldenberg
Original Score - Alexandre Desplat
Production Design - Maria Djurkovic (Production Design), Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
Adapted Screenplay - Graham Moore
We have arrived at my favorite movie of the year, to date. (I still have a fair few to watch before the end of the list, but let's call this a top contender.) The Imitation Game is a biopic about Alan Turing, indisputably one of the early creators of the modern computer. He is portrayed as a socially stunted but brilliant character who is enlisted by Britain to help crack the very complicated nazi code by which the enemy communicates during World War 2. Turing's social challenges are further complicated by his gay identity, which is still a crime at that time in history. He hires a handful of colleagues including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), who help Turing both crack the code and develop more social instincts. Despite having been central to the allies winning the war, Turing submitted to chemical castration so that he could continue his work, which is a shameful mark in Britain's history.
The entire cast was brilliant in this film, and Cumberbatch did an amazing job of capturing the essence of his character. Knightley is good, as she always is, and I think almost any good actress in this role would be nominated for the Oscar, because of how well the part was written. The film is riveting (even though we know the outcome!) and every element does its part to bring together an outstanding piece of filmmaking. It is an unforgettable film, and will be one that can be seen over and over again.
In particular, I have to note the outstanding musical score. From the moment the film opens, it is captivating and yet complimentary enough not to make the movie about the music. Certainly, the production design is authentic and sets the stage in which the story can unfold. These complimentary pieces are done so phenomenally that they are absolute standouts in their categories. As always, when a film is this outstanding, credit is due to the captain of the ship, the Director, who leads all of the elements to perfection.
This film, if you'll pardon the pun, is the real thing.