OK. 87th Academy Awards. My track record for incorrect predictions. Here we go.
Picture: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
We’re in the era of tight races, and this year may be the tightest. The closeness of the two frontrunners, plus the rising popularity of American Sniper (and, to a lesser extent, The Imitation Game), suggest that for the first time in ages, it’s not just a two-movie race. (And isn’t that what the Academy wanted when it expanded the Best Picture category? An “anything goes” nailbiter?) However, no other nominee has come close in any of the lead-up awards to the success of Birdman and Boyhood. I can’t imagine a scenario in which they both lose.
Boyhood is the more traditional movie, topped with the sort of unconventional backstory voters will want to reward. The Academy knows just how difficult a task it was to put such a project together. Considering Best Picture is an award for the overall production, voters may overlook the film’s weaknesses in favor of celebrating its effort.
But I’m going with my gut (and the wave of recent guild award wins) and picking the movie about the movie star. Hollywood loves seeing themselves in their fiction. An aging actor seeking validation? How can they resist? Here, the what was made will triumph over the how. (Although if they want to reward the how, Birdman’s complex shooting style gives them plenty of how.)
Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)*
Actress in a Leading Role: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Actor in a Supporting Role: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Actress in a Supporting Role: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Many are picking Redmayne over Keaton, but I’m guessing the love of a comeback story (and, even better, for a guy everybody loves) is too irresistible.
Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood*
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Writing (Original Screenplay): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Amando Bo, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Academy’s going to want to give Linklater something for his twelve-year effort. But they’ll reward him for his directing, not his writing. (And for Iñárritu, vice versa.) My hunch: Original Screenplay is the category to watch. Whichever film wins will have the support it needs to carry it to Best Picture.
Foreign Language Film: Tangerines*
Animated Feature: Big Hero 6
Documentary Feature: Finding Vivian Maier*
No obvious frontrunners in any of these. I’m already regretting not picking How to Train Your Dragon 2, but hey, I’m sticking with Disney.
The rest of my wild guesses:
Cinematography: Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel*
Costume Design: Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Film Editing: Tom Cross, Whiplash
Makeup and Hairstyling: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy*
Music (Original Score): Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything*
Music (Original Song): “Glory,” music and lyrics by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, Selma
Production Design: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper
Sound Mixing: John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin, American Sniper*
Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, and Erik Winquist, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes*
Animated Short: The Dam Keeper*
Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Oscar night update: I went 14/24. Even for me, that’s pretty awful. I’ve marked my bad guesses with an asterisk. You can read the list of actual winners here.
copyright 2015 David Cornelius all rights reserved