2015 Oscar Predictions
In my former life, I was a film major. I would spend my days studying film history and Trauffaut's use of "mise en scene" in The 400 Blows while I night I worked the projection booth at a discount theater. I even edited and directed a few videos in college. When March (because awards season was two months long in the 90's) came around I would watch the Oscars with my parents and my mom, like a parent in an inspirational film about the person who overcomes incredible odds to reach their goal, would say "I'm going to see you there someday."
After visiting Los Angeles on my honeymoon, I think I can honestly say my mom would be pleased with my choice to stick to the written word, but film is still something that I love. I don't discriminate (though I probably should). I love horror, art and foreign film, and even comic book movies.
I make an attempt to watch all the Best Picture nominees before the show. I came awfully close this year (sorry Selma, nothing personal), but I think I can make some predictions in my typical pop-culture referential style.
Best Animated Film
I know certain segments of the population are upset about The Lego Movie not being nominated. I was there too. Then I saw Big Hero 6. It's an animated comic book movie, but I wish I had seen that visually stunning finale in 3D. It's a colorful sequence on par with the ending of 2001 . It also deals with strong themes in a non-Disney manner. No Pixar film this year made the choice difficult, but their corporate friends across the parking lot have really been on a roll as of late. Just ask my nieces. They love Frozen.
Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons slapped his way to the podium hands down. I'm still pulling for Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher. His speech, walk, and mannerisms were the work of a true acting genius. I went in expecting to be impressed by Steve Carrell playing a sociopath, but the man who would be Hulk is who I talked about when the credits rolled.
Best Supporting Actress
I think this one is anybody's game, but Keira Knightly in The Imitation Game was the perfect foil for Benedict Cumberbatch and portrayed Joan Clarke with a perfect amount of strength and tenderness. However, for Patricia Arquette to nail down her role as the single working mother in Boyhood over a 12 year period makes me wonder if we undervalued her all these years.
I desperately want Michael Keaton to win. He took a huge chance and played a character so close to his chest and then proceeded to humiliate him over and over again. I'm no actor, but those who are true to their role and craft often bulk up, weigh down, or put on a number of devices in order to achieve truth in playing a solider, a physicist with ALS, or a murderer. Keaton grew a goatee and put on some tighty whities and walked out on Times Square in front of people WHO WEREN'T EXTRAS! Give Beetlejuice his due!
Rosamund Pike plays a woman who goes from zero to bitch in 2.5 hours. Give her that Oscar already. Playing a hiker without the aid of make-up doth not an award-winning performance make.
I have a feeling the momentum has shifted toward American Sniper, which is a great $80 million eulogy for a great solider, but I hated the fact that Clint Eastwood glossed over Chris Kyle's PTSD in a 10 minute coda. The film has also become some polarizing political lightning rod, which I still can't wrap my head around. It's about a solider, not a war. Let's call Kyle a hero and let's move on.
Everything else seemed the stuff of standard biopic fare (again, sorry Selma!). The three movies that I spend days talking about were Whiplash (but I have such mixed feelings on that ending, as rewarding as it was for the audience), The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Boyhood.
Boyhood challenges so much of the audiences' idea of time, memories, and adolescence that I feel it has to win. It gets cliched toward the end, but it's a personal film by a man whose output for the last 21 years have been diverse and extraordinary.
Or just give Richard Linklater Best Director and The Grand Budapest Hotel Best Picture. That's fair. Budapest is Anderson's most mature work to date, and he's been ignored enough.