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

WATCHING BEST PICTURE NOMINEES

With the exception of an absolutely wonderful day of worship with my church family on Sunday, the Greenbeans spent most of the weekend trying to watch as many of the best picture nominees as possible.  Here are my impressions so far; in the order we have seen them.

The Help–Okay, we saw this film about two months ago before we knew it would be nominated for best picture.  I think Kim liked it more than I did; but I have to say it was a very good movie.  I have heard some chatter from some corners that it is not very historically accurate, be that as it may, it was a very good movie.  The acting was spectacular and, as a man who spent his childhood in a racist, bigoted culture, I can tell you it did capture the ugly essence of racism.
 
Midnight in Paris–This was the first of three movies on Friday.  Kim and I purchased it on demand while the kids were at school.  I loved this movie.  It has all of the strengths of the classic Woody Allen movies without the weaknesses (an unending narcissism, fatalism, and self importance).  As a writer and reader who loves T. S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway I find the premise absolutely engrossing.  I was hooked.  This movie has the added benefit of staring the greatest living actor of our time:  Owen Wilson.
 
The Tree of Life–Two hours, which regretfully, I will never get back.  I hated this movie.  I understand the metaphor and the images and the ‘put everything into perspective’ aspect but give me a break.  I need something linear.  Is clear exposition too much to ask for?  The only saving grace is that the acting is really good.  Too bad the actors are so rarely on screen or ever saying anything.  My 17 year old daughter saw this one with us (again, on demand in the basement) and kept saying, “make it stop!”
 
War Horse–We saw this film Friday evening (finishing the triple feature Friday) with our youngest daughter (12) at the historic Dragonfly Cinema in Port Orchard.  I liked this movie even though it featured an animal as the lead; and usually I do not like animal oriented movies.  I think what I liked most was the portrayal of the global impact of war on all the earth; man, land, and beast.  By like, I don’t mean that I enjoyed it, I mean it was moving.  It made me think of Isaiah’s prophecy of of the wolf lying down with the lamb as the context for universal peace.
 
Moneyball–Again, we purchased this on demand on Saturday evening.  I’m not a very big fan of Brad Pitt (I can’t forgive him for ruining Achilles in Troy) so two Pitt movies in two days was pushing it.  The film was good but the cast was what made it.  Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and all the character actors did a fantastic job.  On the negative side, the story is nice but it is not that compelling.  The movie has hard work to do–it is trying to make us feel sorry for million dollar athletes and professional sports clubs.  As a man who lives in a community that pulls for our miserable Mariners every year, it is hard to root for the A’s.  A few reviews say that it is to baseball what “The Social Network” was for Facebook.  I’m sorry, but no.  “The Social Network” was a far better film.

Okay, those are the ones we’ve seen.  I’ll update you later when I’ve finished the rest and will hopefully have a blog predicting the winner, as well as a pick or two in the other categories before the Academy Awards.

FINALLY FINISHING BEST PICTURE NOMINEES

BEST PICTURE OSCAR ROUNDUP 2012