Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2015

oscars 2015

So the Oscars are upon us once more, and I must again pretend that I don’t care about this ridiculous ceremony whilst simultaneously recognizing it’s enduring importance within the movie industry. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this year’s batch, predictions in bold:

BEST PICTURE

“American Sniper” – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar,Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan
“Birdman” – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole
“Boyhood” – Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
“The Imitation Game” – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman
“Selma” – Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
“The Theory of Everything” – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

I have to admit the race has been a little different this year. For the last few years it’s always been played as a two-horse race for best picture, but really we’ve all known which film is going to win. I honestly wouldn’t be that surprised if Boyhood ended up taking the gold, but if following the Oscars for years has taught me anything, it’s that when in doubt, be the pessimist. I preferred Boyhood to Birdman and have been a huge fan of Richard Linklater for years, but I think this is going to go to Birdman, and history will see this as yet another example of The Academy picking the wrong film. In the back of my mind I also think there’s a tiny chance of American Sniper pulling a gigantic upset given all the discussion (and box office) it generated, but I doubt it. I do think there hasn’t been quite enough commentary on how great it is for The Grand Budapest Hotel to be in there though. If I was voting that would be my choice, it was my number 2 movie of last year, and I can’t remember the last time a film that was released so long ago (March of last year) managed to become a major contender given The Academy’s notoriously short memory. It’s typical that mediocre biopics like Theory of Everything and Imitation Game are nominated, they shouldn’t be anywhere near this category, but at least neither’s likely to win. 

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

As with last year, the best actor category is the one where there seem to be the most surprising omissions. You could probably make a second list of 5 just-as-if not more deserving nominees than these. This is also the only acting award that doesn’t seem locked down – it could go to Keaton or Redmayne. Of the two I’d prefer Keaton, but I don’t think I’d have chosen any of these as the best male lead performances of the year. If I had it my way Ralph Fiennes would be taking this. I actually think if I was a voter I’d be forced to choose Cooper from these 5. 

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

Julianne Moore’s been my favourite actress for longer than I can remember, and it’s surprising that she’s never actually won an Oscar before. She’s reached the point now where she’s considered ‘due’ and just needs the right kind of movie to take the award, which Still Alice apparently is. I say ‘apparently’ as I haven’t seen the film yet myself but I’m sure she’s great in it and will be very happy to see her win. It’s good to see Rosamund Pike’s work in Gone Girl recognized too. 

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

J.K. Simmons looks to have this locked down and I couldn’t be happier. I’m always pleased when he shows up in films and seeing him get rewarded for his tremendous work in the excellent Whiplash will hopefully lead to more substantial roles for him in the future. I’d really like the Coen brothers (who’ve worked with him twice before) to give him a comedy lead. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Laura Dern, “Wild”

Ugh, Meryl Streep can get nominated for anything, even turning up in an atrocious waste of time like Into the Woods. Well at least she’s not going to win, Patricia Arquette will, and she most definitely should. 

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

As with best picture, this could go to Inarritu or Linklater, but again I’m thinking they won’t split the vote like Gravity and 12 Years a Slave did last year. Birdman’s showy, single-take approach will likely give it the edge of Linklater more subtle direction. Miller and Tyldum shouldn’t be there at all.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

I’d really like Whiplash to win this, and it’s a possibility but I think the more traditional Oscar-y Imitation Game will win. 

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

The Grand Budapest Hotel isn’t going to win best picture or director, but this is the category where it just might triumph, and I certainly hope that it does. 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“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

Like many others, I thought this was hands-down going to The Lego Movie, which has been outrageously omitted in favour of inferior films like Big Hero 6 and The Boxtrolls. I can’t comment on how deserving it is as I haven’t seen Song of the Sea or The Tale of the Princess Kaguya but it looks like How to Train Your Dragon 2 will win. I liked the film, but it’s not as good as the first and that didn’t win. 

BEST 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

I’m afraid I haven’t had the chance to see any of these documentaries yet, but it sounds like Citizenfour is the favourite. 

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
“Ida” (Poland)
“Leviathan” (Russia)
“Wild Tales” (Argentina)
“Timbuktu” (Mauritania)
“Tangerine” (Estonia)

Ida‘s the only one I’ve seen here, and I wasn’t quite as taken with it as many have been, but it looks like it’ll win this.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”
Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”
Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”

Lubezki’s surely got this one down, his work in Birdman is undoubtedly extremely impressive on a technical level. 

“Everything is Awesome” – The Lego Movie
“Glory” – Selma
“Grateful” – Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” – Begin Again

I don’t like the song much myself, and think it’s somewhat inappropriate in a historical film like Selma, but Glory looks likely to win. Plus given the outrage over it’s other omissions, they’ll probably want to reward Selma with something. 

BEST FILM EDITING

Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, “American Sniper”
Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”
Barney Pilling, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
William Goldenberg, “Imitation Game”
Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

Surely Boyhood will take this, it takes incredible skill to weave footage shot years apart together as seamlessly as it does. 

BEST SOUND EDITING
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, “American Sniper”
Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock, “Birdman”
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
Richard King, “Interstellar”
Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, “Unbroken”

This is probably the only place American Sniper is going to get some recognition. 

BEST SOUND MIXING
John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin, “American Sniper”
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga, “Birdman”
Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, “Interstellar”
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee, “Unbroken”
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, “Whiplash”

I wouldn’t be surprised if this one went to American Sniper too but maybe Whiplash will best it here. 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

Another thoroughly undeserving appearance from Into the Woods, but at least Grand Budapest Hotel should absolutely take this. Nice to see a nod for Mr Turner in there too. 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

No real idea where this will go but I’d bet on Grand Budapest Hotel as it’s got the most love elsewhere. 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Milena Canonero, “Grand Budapest Hotel”
Mark Bridges, “Inherent Vice”
Colleen Atwood, “Into the Woods”
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, “Maleficent”
Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”

Again I’m not really sure on this but will stick with Budapest

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Alexandre Desplat, “Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alexandre Desplat, “Imitation Game”
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner”
Jóhann Jóhannsson, “Theory of Everything”

I like the score to The Theory of Everything, but Hans Zimmer’s work on Interstellar was something else and one of his absolute best. I got the soundtrack as soon as it was available and have definitely listened to it more than any other score this year. I really hope he wins but I reckon Jóhannsson’s safer work will take the prize. 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Apes would be a deserving winner too but this will surely go to Interstellar, and I’d have no complaints there. 

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