My 2015 Academy Awards

Written by Tracy

I’m really not a moviegoer as I prefer most of my movies I see at home. I’m not a guy who loves to go on the first day. The last movie I saw in theaters was Before Midnight. I am not a movie connoisseur by any stretch, but I want to see films that I’m feeling right now.

I’m in more favor of the “independent film” because most of the films are relatable, have a point of view, and/or a story that you want to discuss after the movie ends. I don’t have an issue with blockbuster films because there are moments I want to see a fun movie, but I do believe studios want reliability because it brings profits, while independent films use film festivals, networking, and the internet to get their film out.

That being said, I really like awards season because there are movies, I have not heard, that are getting noticed and I want to see it down the line. Although I have not seen every movie that was nominated this year, it seems I have watched the top 3 films, in most people’s minds. Here are my predictions of who will win (My prediction in italics):

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Mark Ruffalo – “Foxcatcher”
  • Edward Norton – “Birdman”
  • J.K. Simmons – “Whiplash”
  • Robert Duvall – “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke – “Boyhood”

I have not seen Whiplash, but when I heard of rumblings of J.K. Simmons’s performance since January 2014 at Sundance, he was the front-runner and he never lost the lead. Frankly, Simmons deserves his moment in the sun and won’t argue with that. I have not seen Foxcatcher or The Judge, but what I have seen from trailers, Ruffalo looks like he deserves it and Duvall gets a nomination because the voter demographics are in his alley. If you ask me who had a better performance that I saw, Norton or Hawke, it’s very tough. They both play essentially themselves (in Hawke’s case, more of the father version of Jesse in the Before series.) and if I were to pick, it would be Norton for bringing chaos to the movie and his character made the lead goes bonkers. Norton brought an element of surprise in that role that I enjoy.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Emma Stone – “Birdman”
  • Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
  • Meryl Streep – “Into The Woods”
  • Laura Dern – “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”

I have not seen Into The Woods, Wild, or The Imitation Game, but Streep, Dern, and Knightley are veteran actresses and I’m not going to argue. I really like Emma Stone as the daughter/assistant dealing with his father’s trouble leaving the Birdman persona and brings a dose of reality. However, Patricia Arquette deserves to win this. If you seen the pictures of Arquette during Boyhood and saw the movie, you understand how hard she had to work raising two children, being in two abusive relationships, multiple jobs, moving to several homes and her final scene, you have a lot of sympathy she dealt with and although the kids moved out, we’re (mainly I) worried what she’s going to do next. A powerful performance.

Best Actor:

  • Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
  • Eddie Redmayne – “The Theory of Everything”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game”
  • Bradley Cooper – “American Sniper”
  • Steve Carell – “Foxcatcher”

I have only seen one movie (Birdman) from this list. I thought Keaton was great as the lead and let us get inside what’s in his mind and his fight for relevancy. He deserves the award, but it looks like it’s going to be Eddie Redmayne because he’s playing a real character and he had to transition from an able human being to a genius in a wheelchair and computer. The mannerisms, from what I have seen in the trailer, is uncanny and don’t have a problem of him winning. The issue of him winning: he’ll be the youngest Best Actor winner and his salary will be very high. He could be another Adrien Brody.

Correction: Redmayne won’t be the youngest winner. He is 33. Brody won at age 29.

Best Actress:

  • Felicity Jones – “The Theory of Everything”
  • Marion Cotillard – “Two Days, One Night”
  • Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”
  • Julianne Moore – ” Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”

I have not seen any, so I don’t have an opinion. I picked Julianne Moore because that’s what the experts pick to win. This list also tells me studios, small and big, need to create more female lead roles of relevance.

Best Director:

  • Morten Tyldum – “The Imitation Game”
  • Bennett Miller  – “Foxcatcher”
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – “Birdman”
  • Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
  • Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Picture:

  • Whiplash
  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Boyhood

I put these two categories together because they’re linked to who will win. Personally, I think Boyhood should win because of many things: a “gimmick,” great acting, directing, original, nostalgia and at the end, you would want to revisit the characters down the line. This is why Richard Linklater will win Best Director because he has never won the award and this will be a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his nearly 25 years in the film business and he deserves the recognition from his films that have revolutionized the business. However, the Academy views this as a close year and will spread out the awards. So, if Linklater wins Best Director, Birdman will likely win Best Picture. I would not be shocked if we see a sweep of both categories because Boyhood and Birdman are in a class by themselves this year. Another factor is Birdman, although an independent movie, is backed by Fox Searchlight (20th Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch) and Boyhood is backed by IFC Films (AMC). It will be a big step forward that if Boyhood wins, AMC/IFC Films becomes a player and that will be the biggest statement of the night. I don’t think the Academy is ready for it.

As for the other movies, I have not seen The Imitation Game, Whiplash, and The Theory of Everything. I have not seen Selma and American Sniper, but will say both movies are polarized and it depends on what you’re looking for. I do think Selma did get Lyndon Johnson-Martin Luther King argument right that it wasn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong, but the timing to do it. American Sniper might be more controversial because it depends on your point of view. If you believe in facts, then American Sniper is not it, but if you believe in the emotional account of the movie, then American Sniper had meaning because it came from one person’s point of view.

I did see The Grand Budapest Hotel and it is my favorite Wes Anderson film, so far. Yes, it had the same stylings of his previous movies, but what made the movie great was Ralph Finnes. While I do like most Wes Anderson films, the only flaw is each of his movies seemed monotone. The scenery, background, the stories are all colorful. The only thing that is not are most of his characters. Putting Ralph Finnes as lead was perfect because he wasn’t stuffy and he was vibrant in each scene he was in and you want to join the ride.

Hope you enjoy the Oscars tonight because this might be last Oscars prediction/preview post because I have no idea what’s coming in 2015 except there are sequels.

 

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