Hi, folks! It's the most exciting time of the year! No, not when we celebrate the birth of the Christian Savior by pretending a fat white man delivers presents to the entire planet. Not the warm glow of New Years Day when we all make perennially unkept vows of improvement and prosperity. Nope. It's Oscar time! A time where we let the Academy arbitrarily decide which art is better than other art largely based on the unscrupulous and politically corrupt campaign trail of filmdom! Oh shucks, let's just get Jesus, Rudolph and Harvey Weinstein together and sing "Auld Lang Syne" already!
Just kidding! Well, mostly.
The truth is that this is my favorite award show of the year. Most people know me as a long-haired, Beatles-loving guitar player from Nashville, TN. What most folks don't know is that I am a total cinema nerd and spend a lot of my time watching and thinking about films, both classic and contemporary (see my favorite films of last year and my epic 40 Favorite Horror Films).
So, here we are. The big day is tomorrow (I'll be drunkenly live-tweeting) and it's been one of the best years of film in recent memory. Being a new father and always on the road, I wasn't able to see every film up for an Oscar. But I came pretty damn close. Below are my predictions for the 2015 Oscars. I have submitted both what I believe should win and what I think will win, based on a number of different factors. In some cases I elaborate and in others I don't say a GD thing. Isn't that wonderful? Okay, here we go:
The nominees are: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.
What Should Win: Birdman
What Will Win: Boyhood
There's a small possibility that The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, or The Grand Budapest Hotel could upset these two predictions. But let's face it, everyone is going apeshit over Richard Linklater's admittedly brave and fascinating 12 year epic. But in my opinion, if you take away the gimmick all you have is a touching yet overlong and ultimately plotless existential film with some decent commentary on life and some pretty great acting. Birdman literally left me speechless. For months I could not get that film out of my head. It hits on every level. It's smart, funny, charming, tragic, beautiful, achey, etc. It gets my vote, hands down.
The nominees are: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game:), Michael Keaton (Birdman), and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything).
Who Should Win: Michael Keaton
Who Will Win: Michael Keaton
Okay, first of all I just have to say what complete bullshit it is that Jake Gyllenhaal was not nominated for Nightcrawler. It was easily one of the best performances of the year and should have been above Bradley Cooper (who was actually really incredible in American Sniper, an otherwise so-so film). But even if Gyllenhaal had been nominated there is no question that this award belongs to Michael Keaton for a career performance that actually made me glad to be a human being. Trust me, I want to throw up at that last sentence too, but it's fucking true. Steve Carell was incredible in Foxcatcher but honestly both his co-stars, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, out-performed him and without dramatic prosthetics.
The nominees are: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), and Reese Witherspoon (Wild).
Who Should Win: Julianne Moore
Who Will Win: Julianne Moore
It's nice to see Gone Girl getting at least some love from the Academy. There is no doubt that Rosamund Pike gave an Oscar worthy performance but in a year like this she was bound lose to more worthy peers. Reese Witherspoon could pull off an upset although I don't think this performance was better than Walk The Line, which she already won an Oscar for in 2006. This is Julianne Moore's 5th nomination without a single win. In my opinion she's the best actress working right now second only to Meryl Streep. It's time she was given proper credit and this is arguably her most moving performance in an already stellar career.
Best Supporting Actor
The nominees are: Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and J.K. Simmons (Whiplash).
Who Should Win: Ethan Hawke or Mark Ruffalo
Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Another round of incredible nominations. Frankly, I think Channing Tatum should have been nominated over Mark Ruffalo. I never, ever thought I would say anything like that but he was that goddamn good in Foxcatcher. Ethan Hawke's portrait of fatherhood in Boyhood is so touching and emotionally seamless, particularly when considering it was filmed over 12 years. He was easily my favorite character in Boyhood. But the award will unfortunately go to J.K. Simmons for playing a truly unbelievable lunatic drum teacher. Don't get me wrong, his performance is worthy of an Oscar nod. But his character has nothing on the ones built and and portrayed by the aforementioned actors.
Best Supporting Actress
The nominees are: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightly (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman) and Meryl Streep (Into the Woods).
Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Although Meryl Streep was easily the best thing about Into The Woods, Patricia Arquette is the clear winner here for her wonderful performance of a struggling, flawed mother trying her best to make good decisions and often failing. If Julianne Moore had been nominated for Maps to the Stars she would have given Patricia a run for her money. As incredible as Laura Dern is, I don't think her role was worthy of the Oscar.
The nominees are: Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman), Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski (Ida), Dick Pope (Mr. Turner) Roger Deakins (Unbroken).
Who Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
Who Will Win: Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Okay, um why wasn't Interstellar nominated in this category? What the hell, Academy? Easily the most visually beautiful film of the year. Good grief. Birdman is the clear winner for me because of the beautiful, seamless "one take" effect and the juxtaposition of the gritty, surreal/whimsical look of the entire film. The Grand Budapest Hotel will win because of how unique and singular it looks (and it is beautiful) but I would argue that this is what all of Wes Anderson's films look like and, in a sense, is purely a gimmick of his.
The nominees are: Alejandro Inarittu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennet Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).
Who Should Win: Alejandro Inarittu (Birdman)
Who Will Win: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Tough one! As much as I loved Foxcatcher and Bennet Miller's work in general (Moneyball, Capote) it really does come down to these two. I think the Academy will give the award to Linklater because this movie truly was visionary filmmaking and the dude likely really does deserve it. BUT - Alejandro Inarittu has made a film that people will watch forever. It is an instant classic AND he directed several of these actors and actresses to Oscar nominations while telling a beautiful original story with masterful craftsmanship as a filmmaker. Any other year and both of these directors would have been standouts. But man, this one is close.
Best Original Screenplay
In my opinion this is the most important award but, then again, I'm a writer. The nominees are: Alejandra Inarittu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alex Dinelaris, Armando Bo (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
What Should Win: Birdman or Nightcrawler
What Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Birdman
Is Nightcrawler really the best original screenplay of the year? No. I'm only pulling for it because it is somehow, impossibly, the only nomination it received. Birdman is so unique and beautiful, it clearly wins over Boyhood (essentially a story about nothing - no, seriously, it's a story about how nothing really happens in people's lives other than minuscule emotional changes...honest and maybe even profound...but boring). Wes Anderson is likely to win though for once again taking us on an incredible journey through another one of his truly imaginative worlds.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The nominees are: Jason Hall (American Sniper), Graham Moore (The Imitation Game), Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice), Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
Who Should Win: Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
Who Will Win: Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)
This will likely be the category where we reward our British friends for their incredible film contributions this year.
Best Costume Design
The nominees are: Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Mark Bridges (Inherent Vice), Colleen Atwood (Into The Woods), Anna B. Sheppard (Maleficent), and Jaqueline Durran (Mr. Turner).
Who Should Win: Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Who Will Win: Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
There's a slight chance that Into The Woods will upset these predictions.
Best Visual Effects
The nominees are: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
What Should Win: Interstellar
What Will Win: Interstellar
Three of these films are comic book films for crying out loud. They undoubtedly look great and have great effects. But Interstellar is a visual masterpiece that cannot go overlooked. Unless the Academy is full of super dummies.
Okay, the rest of the categories I'm going to list briefly because I either don't know enough about them technically (Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing) or didn't get around to seeing them (Best Animated Short, Best Live Action Short, etc.) Pretty reasonable, right?
Best Animated Feature
What Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
What Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Foreign Language Feature
What Should Win: Leviathan
What Will Win: Ida
What Should Win: Birdman
What Will Win: Whiplash
Best Documentary Feature
What Should Win: Citizen Four
What Will Win: The Salt of the Earth
Best Production Design
What Should Win: Interstellar
What Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing
What Should Win: Birdman (come one, that drum shit is INCREDIBLE).
What Will Win: Birdman or Interstellar
Best Sound Mixing
What Should Win: Birdman
What Will Win: Whiplash
Best Original Score
What Should Win: Hanz Zimmer (Interstellar)
What Will Win: Johan Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
Best Original Song
What Should Win: Selma's "Glory" by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
What Will Win: Selma's "Glory" by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
What Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
What Will Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Animated Short
What Should Win: A Single Life
What Will Win: The Bigger Picture
Best Live Action Short
What Should Win: Aya
What Will Win: Parvaneh
Were there snubs this year? You betcha! What were they? I'm glad you asked!
1. St. Vincent
Bill Murray ABSOLUTELY should have gotten an Oscar nomination for his performance. I think he was better than Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch. Also, best original screenplay.
At the very least Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated for best actor. I would also argue that Renee Russo should have been considered for best supporting actress. But after passing over End of Watch, Prisoners and now Nightcrawler, it is clear that the Academy tried to drunkenly kiss Jake Gyllenhaal at a party and are punishing him for declining the invitation and driving them home even though they puked in his car.
Should have been nominated for best picture, best director (Christopher Nolan), cinematography, best actor (Matthew McConaughey) and best supporting actress (Anne Hathoway). What the hell happened there?
4. Gone Girl
Should have been nominated for best original score at least.
Should have been nominated for best original screenplay.
Okay, folks. There are my 2015 Oscar predictions. Let me know if you agree, disagree, hate me, hate your parents. Whatever! Peace!
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