2015 OSCAR PREDICTIONS AKA “AND THE WINNER IS . . . “

Best Picture?
Best Picture?

As promised, here are my predictions for the winners in the major categories of the 2015 Academy Awards.  I should humbly remind you that I have correctly picked the best picture for the past three years–The Artist, Argo, and 12 Years A Slave.  I am right more often than wrong in the other categories as well.  In case you want to skip straight to best picture first, it is at the end of the post.

Actress in a Supporting Role

The nominees are Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, and Meryl Streep.

The only major movie I’ve not seen is Wild, so I didn’t see Dern’s performance.  That doesn’t keep me from making an educated prediction, though.  I didn’t think much of either Stone or Streep’s performance, so that leaves it to Knightley and Arquette.  Knightley did a great job in The Imitation Game, but I think it is Arquette who will win.  Oscar will pretend to identify with the single mother trying to raise two kids.

Actor in a Supporting Role

The nominees are Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, and J. K. Simmons.

All of these guys put out amazing performances, even Norton who was stuck in a terrible movie.  Robert Duvall could win.  His portrayal in The Judge was just about perfect.  Mark Ruffalo was the best actor in Foxcatcher, but he will not win.  J. K. Simmons will win.  His performance in Whiplash is iconic.  It’s the kind of role people will still be talking about in a decade.

Actress in a Leading Role

The nominees are Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, and Reese Witherspoon.

Okay, this is my weakest category in selecting.  As I said earlier I have not seen Wild (Witherspoon) nor have I seen Two Days, One Night or Still Alice because those just arrived this week in our area.  It is very frustrating for Oscar to nominate movies that can’t be seen!   However, this will not stop me from making a prediction.

I did not like Gone Girl, and did not understand why Rosamund Pike was nominated.  Felicity Jones was really good in The Theory of Everything, but she will not win for a role that reminds me a lot of Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind.  I think Julianne Moore will win.  I base this simply on the buzz of her movie and the powerful topic.

Actor in a Leading Role

The nominees are Steve Carrell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, and Eddie Redmayne.

All of these, with the exception of Michael Keaton, are worthy candidates.  I could see either Cumberbatch or Cooper winning in an upset.  However, Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking is the winner.  There just doesn’t seem to be any other way.  It is a shame that the competition has to be so fierce because I really loved Cooper and Cumberbatch.

Director

The nominees are Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Richard Linklater, Bennette Miller, Wes Anderson, and Morten Tyldum.

It is curious that Clint Eastwood was left off this list for American Sniper.  Certainly his direction of that film was far superior to either Anderson or the miserable slop Iñárritu gave us.  It wouldn’t matter though.  The clear winner here is Linklater.  Making that film over a twelve year period of time, plus the style in which it was filmed, put him head and shoulders above everyone else.

Best Picture

The nominees are American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash.

Birdman, Budapest,and Selma have no chance.  The only gemstone in Selma is David Oyelowo.  Aside form that it is only sentiment.  Whiplash has a punchers chance, but it is carried by the acting and I don’t think it will win.  Theory has plot holes and dialogue problems.

It really comes down to Sniper, Boyhood, and ImitationBoyhood is the favorite, having won so many previous awards.  However, I don’t think Boyhood will win.  It is a great groundbreaking film, but the story doesn’t compel the way the others do.  Sniper should win.  You heard me right, it should win.  Put the politics aside and you will see a great movie about a heroically flawed man attempting to do the best he knew how to do.

However, because of the politics, Sniper will not win.  I just don’t think Oscar will do that.

Therefore, my selection is The Imitation Game.  Oscar loves a good story about a social injustice.  By selecting The Imitation Game The Academy can feel good about itself, and that is exactly what they will do.

image from movy.com.au

2013 BEST PICTURE PART TWO: FROM PI TO ZERO

Okay, so yesterday I posted my brief review of the alphabetical first five 2013 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards.  Today I finish the list.  The back four are much stronger than the first five.  Tomorrow or maybe Thursday I will post my ‘summary’ of the themes and make some predictions.

lifeofpi
NOT ABOUT A BAKERY

Life of Pi–By far and away Pi was the hardest movie to make because of the dynamics of the story but also because of the whole tiger and human in a boat together thing.  I don’t know what kind of technological wizardry went on with the green screen to get those shots, but it is seamless magic.  I loved the story (I even got a  good sermon illustration out of it) and the cinematography was marvelous.  I do not think it it will win best picture (I wouldn’t be mad if it did) but I do think Ang Lee will win best director.

LincolnLincoln is the favorite to win best picture, hands down.  The reason for this is the difficult work that the movie does.  It makes us care about the sausage making of congress in the passing of legislation.  This movie could just as well be about the fiscal cliff negotiations.  I adore and applaud the depiction of Lincoln by Daniel Day-Lewis as a human being and not a semi-divine character.  Lincoln was a politician–a good one with good objectives but nevertheless he was a politician.  And a lawyer.  And he was married to a loon.  But he had a great beard.

images
HEMINGWAY REALLY UPSET HIM

Silver Linings Playbook–I fell in love with this movie when Bradley Cooper’s character throws A Farewell to Arms out of the window in disbelief of the ending.  I remember having a similar reaction to Hemingway.  Originally I did not want to see this film as it looked like yet another formulaic romantic comedy.  In fact, I wondered how it made the list?  But as I watched it unfold with the bizarre quirky dialogue, mentally challenged characters, and the portrayal of abnormally normal behavior, I saw the appeal.  This movie, more than any other (even Amour) depicts real life as I understand it–messed up families, messed up people, messed up relationships and somewhere in the middle of it people try to find a way to cope.  I think all the characters in Silver Linings Playbook attend our church and it should be required viewing for church leadership.

I WOULD BE AFRAID IF SHE WERE AFTER ME
I WOULD BE AFRAID IF SHE WERE AFTER ME

Zero Dark Thirty–This movie is the only one I think  can give Lincoln a run for its money in best picture.  The opening 2 minutes of audio–no video but audio–of the 911 calls on 9-11 were griping.  From that moment on, the film had me.  The torture scenes were tough, but necessary and the way the movie depicts the bureaucrats is intentionally frustrating.  It is hard to make a movie where everyone knows how it ends (c/f Titanic) and we all knew this movie ended with Bin Laden’s death and most people have heard the Navy Seal side of the story from the controversial book No Easy Day.  However, this movie not only keeps our attention, it causes us to remember all over again. Jessica Chastain should win best actress.

Okay, so there you go.  You know I will be watching Sunday night as soon as my small group is over.