Mockingjay, the final book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, always felt unfilmable to me. It broke drastically from the formula of the previous books, with no true Hunger Games as a part of the plot, covering instead a vast, complex revolution through the eyes of a damaged, broken, hopeless teenager. It was epic in scale yet filled with intimate, intense, but often internal emotions. It required basically reintroducing the audience to the universe, now filled with entirely different situations and concerns than of which we were aware in the first two books. And to cap it all off, it was one of the most dark, tragic, violent, and depressing finales to a beloved sci-fi series in recent memory. So the fact that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 not only works as a cohesive narrative, but is about as good a film version of an unfilmable book as possible, is praiseworthy, even if it struggles at times under the weight of its own story as well as immense expectations.
With the Academy Award nominations due to be announced tomorrow morning, most movie blogs and websites are busy trying to predict what names will be called before dawn. I don’t have the expertise to join them, nor have I seen enough films to really get a sense of how things will shake out. However, despite my feeling that 2014 was a bit of a dud at the movies, I still have some nominations I’d like to see in the morning. I’ve broken them down below into three general categories based on their likelihood, with some seemingly locks for a nomination, others possible but less likely, and others that will never happen no matter how much I want them to.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 could definitely have benefitted from dropping the saga’s title and just sticking with that of Suzanne Collins’ novel. While it is the continuation of the story that began two years ago with The Hunger Games, it is the first film in the series not to feature the titular games, although their impact looms large over Katniss’s mental and emotional state. The “Part 1” has renewed the debate over splitting books into multiple films (a complete success with Harry Potter, a disaster with Twilight, and the jury is still out on The Hobbit), as well as what is actually required to distinguish a film as more than just an extended TV episode, but at this point it’s so common as a practice that it’s been grudgingly accepted by many. But the most important part of the title is right there in the middle: Mockingjay. Mockingjay focuses almost entirely on the idea of the Mockingjay, as a symbol and as a person, and to that end it’s an extremely successful and engaging film despite its occasional faults.