Predictions: 2015 Oscars

Oscars 2015

 

Here we are, Oscars again. I’ve been busy watching movies in order to get my predictions/thoughts in before the ceremony this afternoon–sneaking them in just under the wire.

 

Best Picture

  • Whiplash – When I saw Whiplash at Sundance last year, I enjoyed it as a good, old-fashioned character study that was more surprising and challenging than most movies of its type. But little did I think this indie film from first-time director Damien Chazelle would make it onto this list. I’m glad it’s represented here, even though I don’t think it quite beats out the competition. A different year, though, and it’s possible I would have wanted it to win.
  • American Sniper – I know some people are falling all over themselves over this movie, but I just don’t get it. It’s a very ordinary Hollywood film. Why did this one make the list and not countless others? Is it because it’s a Clint Eastwood film?
  • BirdmanBirdman is my pick for Best Picture–both for will win and should win. It’s certainly the most original movie on this list.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – I love Wes Anderson, and I liked this picture, but I didn’t think it was Anderson’s best.
  • The Imitation Game – Another fairly typical Hollywood-type film, though more interesting and less irritating than American Sniper.
  • Selma – While Selma certainly deserves to be on this list, it does feel a little bit like other movies of its type.
  • The Theory of Everything – Again, nothing to write home about. Maybe elevated by Eddie Redmayne’s performance.
  • Boyhood – My pick for runner-up, after Birdman.

 

Best Actor

  • Michael Keaton, Birdman – If there’d been no Theory of Everything this year, I’d say Keaton was a shoo-in. But you can’t beat someone who looks like an exact replica of young Stephen Hawking, portraying the great scientist’s descent into Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything – Clear winner.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game – I can see why Cumberbatch was picked, but the competition this year is just too stiff.
  • Bradley Cooper, American Sniper – I don’t know why Cooper keeps getting nominated.
  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher – Didn’t get to finish watching this film, but from what I’ve seen Carell, though pretty terrific, does not out-act Redmayne.

 

Best Actress

  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything – Jones is a competent actress, but this is not the role that will win her an Oscar.
  • Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night – Didn’t see.
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild – My runner-up choice after Julianne Moore, but maybe that doesn’t mean much considering I only saw 3 out of the 5 performances.
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice – Along the same lines as Eddie Redmayne, a pretty unbeatable performance.
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl – Didn’t see.

 

Best Director

  • Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game – It’s difficult for me to separate this category from Best Picture. If a film isn’t particularly standout, I doubt it’s director is either.
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher – As I mentioned, I haven’t finished this film, but I have my doubts that Foxcatcher (or Miller’s work on the film) will turn out to be better than Birdman or Boyhood.
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman – It may be time for González Iñárritu, who has received Oscar nominations for Amores Perros, Babel, and Biutiful, to finally win Best Director. I want him to win. He deserves to win. But then, so does Linklater, and there can only be one winner. I think it’s going to be Linklater.
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood – I just got done saying I wanted González Iñárritu to win, but I also want Linklater to win. I’m just as torn as the Academy. Still, Linklater’s my will-win choice. You can call it a gimmick, but shooting a film over 12 years is just too fantastic for Hollywood to ignore.
  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel – This is Anderson’s first nomination for Best Director. I hope it won’t be his last because he does deserve to be recognized–just not this year.

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher – Ruffalo was virtually unrecognizable in his first few moments in this film. My guess is that when I finally finish this movie I’ll be pretty impressed by his performance, but there were just too many other good roles nominated this year.
  • Edward Norton, Birdman – My runner-up pick after Simmons. I love Norton in Birdman; I think he’s probably better than Keaton.
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – My friend called this nomination as early as January 2014. Now that the competition has been announced, we both agree Simmons will win. (My friend is rarely wrong about these things.) Anyway, Simmons deserves it. His Professor Fletcher is the most chilling of all his chilling, villainous roles.
  • Robert Duvall, The Judge – Didn’t see.
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood – Hawke’s character in Boyhood seems to be a regurgitated version of his character in the Before trilogy.

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Emma Stone, Birdman – Emma Stone is good, but not as good as the others in this film. She’s my runner-up pick.
  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – At least one of the actors from Boyhood has to win, and I think it’s going to be Arquette. She’s more present in the film and, frankly, does a better job than Hawke. She also does a better job than her competition in this category (with the caveat that I didn’t see Streep’s performance).
  • Meryl Streep, Into the Woods – Didn’t see.
  • Laura Dern, Wild – I see echoes of Dern’s Enlightened character in her role in Wild. I enjoyed the film as well as Dern’s acting, but it’s not going to win her an Oscar.
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game – I like Keira Knightley, but I’m not sure why she gets as much love as she does. A perfectly ordinary role.

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • Foxcatcher – Haven’t finished yet.
  • Birdman – I have little doubt that the decision will come down to Birdman versus Boyhood. Tough choice, but I think Birdman should and will win.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – If this were up at last year’s Oscars, Anderson would have won. Too many good original screenplays this year, though.
  • Nightcrawler – Didn’t see.
  • Boyhood – I’d rather see Linklater win Best Director. The idea for the screenplay is unique, but the script itself is less so.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Whiplash – I feel Whiplash is in the category merely on a technicality. It’s adapted, but from a short by the same director/screenwriter. Whiplash‘s screenplay is better than its competition in this category, excluding Inherent Vice, which I haven’t seen but which I heard is a bit incoherent. It’s probably too obscure to win, though.
  • American Sniper – Blah. American Sniper, The Imitation Game, or The Theory of Everything will probably win. Of the three, my guess is that American Sniper has the highest likelihood, but it’s pretty much a toss-up. No one cares about this category anyway.
  • The Imitation Game – Meh.
  • The Theory of Everything – Meh again.
  • Inherent Vice – I love Pynchon but haven’t gotten a chance to see this film yet. It’s probably too out-there to win, though.

 

Best Cinematography

  • Ida – Didn’t see.
  • Mr. Turner – Frankly, I’d be happy to see any of these films win this award. But, of the ones I watched, I was perhaps most impressed with Mr. Turner‘s cinematography. Maybe because it was so unobtrusive and fitting and quietly grand.
  • The Grand Budapest HotelGrand Budapest‘s cinematography is just too scrumptious and delightful and Wes Anderson just too well-loved for this film not to win.
  • Birdman – Except that Birdman might win it out of sheer momentum from winning all the other awards. Not to mention how impressed critics have been by the film’s “single shot” technique.
  • Unbroken – Didn’t see.
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