Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Oscar Thoughts, Predictions

Two days away from one of my favorite nights of the year, despite the annual negativity surrounding the Academy Awards. Now, I understand everything at the Oscars is politically charged, and there are films and performances every year that may be arguably better than those nominated. I don't care, though. Part of the Academy Awards process is the bitching, the shock at snubs, the triumph of your favorite film getting noticed. 

Stanley Kubrick never won an Oscar, neither did Cary Grant, or Alfred Hitchcock, the list goes on. But that doesn't take away from Oscar Night, not for me anyway. I take the Oscars as a celebration of the year of films, and I enjoy seeing who wins and what they say. It will always be important to me, no matter how little the snarky modern media dismisses the entire process.

This year, I feel especially excited, because personal favorites of mine are all over these lists. Let's take a look at who I think SHOULD win, and who WILL win Sunday night.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees: Emma Stone (Birdman), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

I am convinced the Academy is now trolling the public with their Meryl Streep nominations. Streep has been nominated 17 times in her career, and I feel like the last half dozen, aside from her win for The Iron Lady, haven't been necessary. I was glad to see Laura Dern recognized for her heartfelt supporting performance alongside Reese Witherspoon, and Emma Stone is much deserved. Knightley feels like filler to me, and the frontrunner is, deservedly, Arquette. She delivers a performance that is untouchable, mature, and rich in depth and emotion. And, if the awards season to this point is any indication, Arquette will run away with this statue.

SHOULD WIN: Arquette     WILL WIN: Arquette


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees: Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Edward Norton (Birdman), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

I don't see an undeserving nominee on this list, except maybe Duvall, although his performance does elevate the otherwise standard The Judge. If J.K. Simmons weren't nominated, I could see any of the other actors winning the Oscar. But Simmons is there, and his electric performance in Whiplash is deserving of frontrunner status. Much like Arquette, Simmons has this thing locked up.

SHOULD WIN: Simmons     WILL WIN: Simmons 


BEST ACTRESS

Nominees: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

There is a wealth of wonderful performances this year in the Best Actress category, but it is already apparent that Julianne Moore is taking this home. I never saw Cotillard's performance, and many haven't, but both Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike are spot on in their roles. Of those two, Pike absolutely deserves to win Best Actress for her multi-layered, brilliant performance in Gone Girl. The film is nothing without her. Alas, this is Moore's year, and she deserves the award perhaps for her fantastic career and four previous nominations, which the Academy is want to do. 

SHOULD WIN: Pike     WILL WIN: Moore


BEST ACTOR

Nominees: Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

I have been a cult fan of Michael Keaton for twenty years, and I'm not the only one in this fan club. Keaton absolutely deserves this award for an emotional and challenging performance in Birdman. It would make my night, because it would finally validate Keaton to the world as the great actor I always knew he was. But now, during awards season, there is a creepy, crawly outlier who seems to be stealing the spotlight from Keaton. His name is Eddie Redmayne, who took home the SAG Award over Keaton. Here's to hoping that is an anomaly. I believe it is, and I believe the likeability of Keaton the man will push him across the finish line. 

SHOULD WIN: Keaton     WILL WIN: Keaton


BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees: Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

I wonder what a director like Bennett Miller thinks, having gotten a nomination for his stolid direction of Foxcatcher, only to see the film he directed shut out of the Best Picture category. Weird. The race really comes down to two director, Iñárritu, whose camera works magic with Birdman, and Linklater, whose patience and will drove him to finish Boyhood after twelve years. I am torn on this, but I think Linklater and his film, despite the predictable negative publicity that always follows frontrunners this time of year, will take home the big prizes.

SHOULD WIN: Linklater     WILL WIN: Linklater


BEST PICTURE

Nominees: Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper, Birdman, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

I love that Whiplash got a nomination, it's a great film. But it doesn't stand a chance. This race comes down to the same directors with the best chance to win Best Director. I absolutely love Birdman, and it is a great film. However, Boyhood is a timeless instant classic, something which transcends filmmaking, and touches the core of every person on the planet. If they allow it. Boyhood should win, and it most certainly will.

OTHER NOMINEES AND PREDICTIONS (in bold):

Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Adapted Screenplay
“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle
Original Screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy
Cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins
Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran
Documentary Feature
“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
“Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
“Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
“The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
“White Earth” J. Christian Jensen
Film Editing
“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross
Foreign Language Film
“Ida” Poland
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina
Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson
Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn

“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
Animated Short Film
“The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
“The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
“Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
“Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
“A Single Life” Joris Oprins
Live Action Short Film
“Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
“Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
“Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
“The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Sound Editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Sound Mixing
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer