Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The time has come – my most intimidating moment of the year, the moment I go on record with my predictions.  I’ve had really good years (21 out of 24 in 2014), and really bad years (15 out of 24 in 2011), and this is the first time I’ve ventured out where my idol critics have gone before me.  (Steve Pond, if you’re reading this, I had no idea how stressful this is, so thank you!)  However, in addition to the films and artists I think will win, what’s more important to me is who I think should win, now that I have seen all 60 films with nominations.  Here we go! (and don’t forget that if you win your pool with my picks, I get 10%!)

Best Picture
This is a very close race this year between Birdman and Boyhood.  The numbers have changed since last week!  So I’m going for a pick, and we’ll see…
Will Win: Birdman – in the end, I think audiences will remember that though the “gimmick” of Boyhood was interesting and compelling, the story is not necessarily an original one.  I think Academy voters may see something of themselves in Birdman and will pick it as the winner.  But I have to admit I'm not confident, and my Oscar critic idol thinks Boyhood will eke it out in the end.
Should Win: The Imitation Game – I know this film is not even a contender for the big award, and Vegas’ odds would tell you to bet against it.  But it was an important story and a critical social commentary on prioritizing moral judgments versus actual accomplishments.  It was an outstanding film.

Will Win: This is another tough call and the tides have turned in only the last week.  The DGA award is always the best predictor of this winner, and so I’m going with Alejandro G. Innaritu.  Not to mention the VERY few number of times that the Director of the Best Picture has not also won.  So if you pick Boyhood, I recommend you pick Richard Linklater.
Should Win: Richard Linklater – for all my criticisms of the over-hype of a basically regular movie, the execution of the movie was based on Linklater’s singular vision and experimentation.  He deserves it.  In my heart, I hope that Linklater wins, even if it means that I'll have one less point in my pool.

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Should Win: Eddie Redmayne – of course there is a lot of buzz about Michael Keaton and I am among the many who was thrilled to see him in this amazing role.  But Eddie Redmayne became Stephen Hawking, and he deserves the accolades.

Will Win: Julianne Moore
Should Win: Julianne Moore with Marion Cotillard a close second.

Supporting Actor
Will Win: JK Simmons
Should Win: Channing Tatum – yes, I know he’s not nominated.  But I really thought the Academy would do for him what they did for Geena Davis in The Accidental Tourist and nominate him in the Supporting Actor category to give him a chance for having so completely transformed himself in Foxcatcher.  Without that option, yes, JK Simmons was superb and he is the clear winner among the nominated group.

Supporting Actress
Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Should Win: Patricia Arquette or Laura Dern, who was also marvelous.

Original Screenplay
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel – it’s always funny to me that so many times, the Best Picture winners and the screenplay winners are not the same.  The implication of this award being, this was a great film that could have been the best picture, so it will be the best screenplay.  (Look it up!)

Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Imitation Game
Should Win: The Imitation Game – see my comments about Best Picture!  If it can’t win for Best Picture, it should at least get this award.

Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: Birdman, no contest.

Costume Design:
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel – without an amazing period piece this year (Mr. Turner was a contender, but not enough to be the winner), the whimsy of this film’s costumes make it a clear standout.

Film Editing
Will Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Boyhood - the film just doesn't work without the outstanding editing.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel - but mostly because of momentum of the film, not necessarily because it was the best of the lot.  This category usually honors the truly best makeup and hair, but I have a feeling that they will go with Grand Budapest.
Should Win: The Guardians of the Galaxy – come on, the makeup turning Zoe Saldana green alone should make this the winner.  This team created aliens, not just old people out of young people.

Production Design
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel, not just for the exquisite settings they created, but also for the shabby run down versions, as well.  The attention to detail is beyond description.

Original Score
This is a very hard category – The Grand Budapest Hotel has momentum, The Theory of Everything has a beyond beautiful score.  So…
Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Should Win: The Theory of Everything, so let’s hope I’m right about the first one!  Again, a win for Grand Budapest would be a win for the popularity of the film, not for the best Original Score.

Original Song
Will Win: “Glory” from Selma
Should Win: “Glory” from Selma, with a very close runner up in “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie.  Try to get it out of your head.  You can’t.  And you’re welcome.

Sound Editing
Will Win: American Sniper – it’s very hard to beat war movies in this category.
Should Win: It’s a toss up for me between American Sniper and Birdman.  Though war movies are a strong contender in Sound Editing, there’s something about the cinematography combined with the incredible jazz drumming that deserves recognition.

Sound Mixing
Will Win: American Sniper
Should Win: American Sniper

Visual Effects
Will Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – it had the most supporting from the Visual Effects awards
Should Win: Interstellar – the visuals in the film are exquisite.  (And I may change my vote to this one by Sunday, so make your own call!)

Animated Feature
Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2 – a movie that I loved.
Should Win: The Lego Movie (not nominated) or The Boxtrolls (nominated but won’t win).  Don’t get me wrong, Dragon 2 was wonderful, but the Boxtrolls and the Lego Movie were so innovative and original.  The Lego Movie was a two hour commercial for Legos, and didn’t feel that way for one minute.  I’m still mad at its exclusion from this category.

Documentary Feature
Will Win: CitizenFour
Should Win: Virunga – while Edward Snowden and his story are interesting, Virunga is a tale of unequaled bravery and dedication in the face of life threatening danger.  Plus, gorillas.

Foreign Film
Will Win: Ida - no one can compete with a well done Holocaust movie, nor should anyone.  Especially one told through a different set of eyes.
Should Win: Wild Tales – don’t get me wrong, I loved Ida and I support its potential win.  But Wild Tales was a movie beyond all description.  It’s too funny to win an Oscar, but it was insanely good.

Animated Short
We have arrived at my rant for this year’s Oscars.  Be prepared… soap box, ascended so…
Will Win: The Dam Keeper
Should Win: Feast – Every year that I bet on a Disney short that is far superior to the rest of the candidate, I’m somehow shocked when it doesn’t win.  And once again, Feast was the best of the group – by far – but I’m not getting shafted again on this one.  The Animated Short category seems to have an aversion to honoring Disney, which is a shame because they make some really great animated shorts.

Soap box, descended.

Documentary Short
Will Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – a truly superb documentary that combines tension and emotion, and honors the work of people who have very hard jobs serving people who genuinely deserve it.
Should Win: Crisis Hotline, but my runner up is Our Curse, a heartbreaking and at once uplifting story of parents nurturing their child who has a life threatening illness.

Live Action Short
Will Win: The Phone Call, starring one of my favorite actresses, Sally Hawkins, as a determined suicide crisis line worker trying to help a man who has called for company as he dies.
Should Win: Boogaloo and Graham – this is one of the few Oscar categories that often honors comedies, and Boogaloo and Graham was absolutely terrific, with two little boys and their pet chickens.  It has a chance.  But most of the experts (a category in which I would NOT place myself) are calling it for The Phone Call (by a very wide margin), so I'm not feeling brave enough to go with B&G.

So, those are my picks.  Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Only Sunday will tell.  Happy Oscar viewing… you know I’ll be emotional the first time they say, “And the Oscar goes to…”

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