Every now and then a small-scale film comes along and finds its way into the hearts of the movie-going world. In 2012, we had 'Beasts of the Southern Wild.' 2013 had 'Dallas Buyers Club.' This year, 'Whiplash' has followed suit and earned itself an astounding 5 Oscar nominations, which include 'Best Picture' and 'Best Supporting Actor' for J.K. Simmons.
Whiplash follows a young drummer (Miles Teller) who is enrolled at the best music conservatory in America. He is mentored by a great musician, whose teaching methods are cutthroat and cruel.
Let's skip straight down to the nitty-gritty. The tense and almost sweaty atmosphere this film creates is an absolute thrill to witness. You can attribute this to the flawless editing and cinematography that perfectly moulds this film.
The screenplay just crackles with electricity between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, who both shared great chemistry on screen. Teller's performance was executed to perfection. There wasn't enough emphasis on his outer expressions (visible feelings) for the Academy to even consider nominating him. It was a great performance that just wasn't "loud" enough for Academy voters.
What makes this film truly great is J.K. Simmons. There are all kinds of films out there that are technically well-made and have great screenplays. However, not all of them can shine due to a lack of memorability, or "UMPH!" Simmons brings that "UMPH!" and makes Whiplash a thoroughly entertaining film from start to finish. His role as the cruel, almost manic conductor/mentor to me is iconic, and certainly worthy of the 'Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.'
While it hasn't received anywhere near as much buzz as the other Best Picture nominees, Whiplash has certainly earned its place as a Best Picture contender.