OSCARS 2015: The Breakdown

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come. Oh yes, the time of which Hollywoods finest get rewarded for their blood, sweat, and, in Matthew McConaughey’s case last year, weight loss in front of the masses. Now, while last year the Academy may have honored the more majestic pictures of the year(Gravity, 12 Years a Slave), this year seems to be the year of the indies. Yep, you heard that one right! The little guys were the ones scoring the touchdowns this year. Films like Birdman, Whiplash and Boyhood all received nominations in multiple categories, making this a true year for the weirdos!

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While the Academy seems to be slowly changing their archaic ways, I still have some beef with them. Lets look at this from a *gasp* racial standpoint, shall we? No? You don’t wanna hear about racial divide in the film industry? Well, I believe you’ve gone to wrong website. Check out this website instead. Anywho, Selma, a film about the civil rights work of Martin Luther King Jr., received two nominations for this years Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film was critically acclaimed and was featured on many year-end lists. Not too shabby, right? Wrong.  Of the nine films nominated for Best Picture, Selma is the one with the least Oscar noms with two, while the next lowest films(The Theory of Everything, Whiplash) have FIVE. Thats three more than Selma. In fact, the lackluster Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken is nominated for more Oscars than Selma with three. Shit, Foxcatcher and Interstellar, two films that did not earn a Best Picture nod, are both nominated for more Oscars than Selma. Is that not enough? Okay, let me indulge you.

The only nomination that Selma has outside of Best Picture is a nomination for Best Original Song. Apparently, this film was good enough for a Best Picture nomination despite not being nominated for Best Director, Screenplay or Actor/Actress. The Academy just decided that giving Selma a Best Picture nomination was enough of a consolation for a lack of nominations in other categories. Shit, there isn’t a single non-white actor nominated for the four acting categories, Marion Cotillard is the darkest person nominated for an award. I’m not trying to state that the Academy is racist, just trying to point out that they have a diversity issue, like the Grammys seem to have as well. Award shows like the Grammys and the Oscars are stating as many negative things about the music industry as positive things when they do things like this. You wanna read more about black excellence vs white mediocrity, read this. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting to the predictions for an award show with a flawed system.

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THE BREAKDOWN

BEST MUSIC – ORIGINAL SONG

The Field

  • “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie – Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • “Glory” from Selma – Music and Lyric by John Legend and Common
  • “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights – Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” from Begin Again – Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Who Got Snubbed?

Music this year kind of sucked, but one could argue that “I Love You All” from the movie Frank, “Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde from the Hunger Games, or “Mercy Is” by Patti Smith & Lenny Kaye from Noah could have all been nominated considering that the latter two were nominated for Best Original song at the Golden Globes.

Who Should Win?

I’m not entirely sure which version of “Everything Is Awesome” they’re referring to because there’s like 3 of them on the Lego movie soundtrack, but I do find the one just by Shawn Patterson the most tolerable. The one with Tegan and Sara is fucking awful. While I feel this way, I believe that “Glory” is the best song mainly because John Legend and Common might be one of the best duos in Hip Hop. Seriously, they crush every song they do together.

Who Will Win?

“Glory” by John Legend and Common seems to be the most poignant, popular song of the bunch and that’s the direction they went last year with “Let It Go” by Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel. 

Excerpt from Midnight in Paris, winner of Best Original Screenplay in 2011, written by Woody Allen

Excerpt from Midnight in Paris, winner of Best Original Screenplay in 2011, written by Woody Allen

BEST WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Field

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
  • Boyhood – Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
  • Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

Who Got Snubbed?

Part of me thinks that Chris Rock’s movie Top Five should have gotten an academy award nomination for Best Original Screenplay considering the creative leap that Rock took on this one to turn himself into a black Woody Allen in Top Five. Selma also comes to mind.

Who Should Win?

This one is extremely tough. The Grand Budapest Hotel was fantastic and with as many characters that it had to establish, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness did a fantastic job keeping it together. On the flip side, I think Birdman was equally fantastic and fresh as The Grand Budapest. On the flippy flip side, I also think Boyhood was a challenge to write in itself because it took TWELVE years to write. This is tough, I think all three are equally deserving. 

Who Will Win?

Birdman will own the night in terms of the technical categories. Of the most original writing concepts, Birdman stands above the rest considering that Boyhood’s argument against it was that it was not a, say, traditional screenplay.  

 

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BEST WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Field

  • American Sniper – Jason Hall from American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
  • The Imitation Game – Graham Moore from Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
  • Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson from Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
  • The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten from Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking
  • Whiplash – Damien Chazelle from his short film of the same name

Who Got Snubbed?

GONE GIRL! Of the films that got snubbed the most, Gone Girl sticks out to me like a sore thumb. It sticks out even more when you realize that Gillian Flynn, who wrote the book, adapted the screenplay for film herself! 

Who Should Win?

Personally, having read half of Inherent Vice in the past few weeks after seeing the movie(I loved it), I thought that PTA really brought Pynchon’s vision to life perfectly. With that said, it isn’t the most conventional pick because of coherence, so I’ll go with Whiplash as my 1b here.

Who Will Win?

American Sniper has to win an Oscar during the night at some point and I believe that this is the category it will win in due to Inherent Vice‘s incoherence, Whiplash‘s adaptation from a short film(an unusally form of adapting a screeny) and the other two nominations being extremely vanilla.  

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Field

  • Patricia Arquette – Boyhood as Olivia Evans
  • Laura Dern – Wild as Barbara “Bobbi” Grey
  • Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game as Joan Clarke
  • Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Sam Thomson
  • Meryl Streep – Into the Woods as The Witch

Who Got Snubbed?

The wonderful Jessica Chastain(of whom I totally do don’t have a crush on) could have been nominated for Interstellar or A Most Violent Year. One could argue that Tilda Swinton deserves a Best Supporting Actress nod for the Grand Budapest Hotel, but thats just being greedy considering that the Grand Budapest Hotel has NINE nominations….

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NINE times

But wait, whats that you say? She also did Snowpiercer? and The Only Lovers Left Alive? And still no acting noms? 

 

Who Should Win?

None of these nominees are spectacular but if I had to chose one, I’d say Patricia Arquette as Olivia Evans in Boyhood. She and Ethan Hawke were the emotional backbone of the movie. On the flipside, Emma Stone was spectacular in Birdman. She’s one of the more under appreciated young actors in the film industry today. I think she’s on the brink of something really special. Either one of these ladies winning would be great.

Random thought: I’d like to point out that as much as the Academy considers giving out the gold statue every year some sort of time honored tradition, they also give us the impression that nominating Meryl Streep every year for an acting award is one as well.

 

Who Will Win?

Meryl is the GOAT and all but I think this one goes to Patricia Arquette because of how much she meant to Boyhood.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The Field

  • Robert Duvall – The Judge as Judge Joseph Palmer
  • Ethan Hawke – Boyhood as Mason Evans, Sr.
  • Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Mike Shiner
  • Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher as Dave Schultz
  • J. K. Simmons – Whiplash as Terence Fletcher

Who Got Snubbed?

This field is pretty stacked and as much as I’d like to say someone got snubbed in this category, I really can’t. Maybe Zach Galifianakis in Birdman.

Who Should Win?

Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton were fucking fantastic in Foxcatcher and Birdman respectively, but J.K. Simmons(who’s made his career off of underrated supporting roles) performance in Whiplash was career defining. He deserves this one. I saw Whiplash last night and it was DY-NO-MITE.

Who Will Win?

J.K. Simmons made the biggest splash out of all the actors nominated. He won at the Golden Globes and I think he’ll win Sunday night.

J.K. Simmons, laughing straight to the bank with his Academy Award

J.K. Simmons, laughing straight to the bank with his Academy Award

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

The Field

  • Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night as Sandra Bya
  • Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything as Jane Wilde Hawking
  • Julianne Moore – Still Alice as Dr. Alice Howland
  • Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl as Amy Elliott-Dunne
  • Reese Witherspoon – Wild as Cheryl Strayed

Who Got Snubbed?

Amy Adams, who has been a mainstay in the Best Actress category the past few years, is absent despite her turn in the Tim Burton film Big Eyes. I refuse to acknowledge Jennifer Aniston in Cake mainly because the movie sucked. I don’t care how ugly and old she got or how much she cried, the movie sucked. *See Unbroken*

Who Should Win?

Julianne Moore is the clear cut best performance, but if I had a 1B, I would say Rosamund Pike’s turn in Gone Girl. 

Who Will Win?

Julianne Moore will walk away with her first Oscar on Sunday for her killer performance in Still Alice.

Five Time Best Actor in a Leading Role nominee Al Pacino

Five-time Best Actor in a Leading Role nominee, Al Pacino

 

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

The Field

  • Steve Carell – Foxcatcher as John Eleuthère du Pont
  • Bradley Cooper – American Sniper as Chris Kyle
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game as Alan Turing
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Riggan Thomson / Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything as Stephen Hawking

Who Got Snubbed?

This is a pretty stacked category that STILL had some snubs. While Bradley Cooper was good in American Sniper, was he as good as Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel? Lets not leave out David Oyelowo in Selma or Robert Downey Jr. in The Judge. Another performance that I found to be underrated was Jessie Eisenberg in the oft forgotten indie flick The Double, where he played two characters! The film only had a limited American release, which made any chances of it being noticed during award season slim.

Who Should Win?

Michael Keaton seems to be my favorite off of this list. I always thought Keaton was a great actor that got stuck in some bad films in the last half of his career. Birdman reminded us how much range Keaton had when he was in his prime. A true comeback.

Who Will Win?

My head tells me that Eddie Redmayne will win for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, but my heart says Michael Keaton in Birdman. So, I’m gonna say that………………Keaton walks away with the trophy.

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Michael Keaton, comeback kid

 

BEST DIRECTOR

The Field

  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Richard Linklater – Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
  • Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Who Got Snubbed?

I never liked this category mainly because of the fact that there are nine nominees for Best Picture, but just five for Best Director. So, of the four Best Picture directors that weren’t nominated, Ava Duvernay(Selma) and Damien Chazelle(Whiplash) both got snubbed big time.

Who Should Win?

Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater equally deserve this one. Linklater has quietly been one of the best filmmakers of our generation with sleeper hits such as Dazed and Confused, the Before series, School of Rock and Waking Life. He is truly one of the most diverse directors of the past 25 years. Boyhood is his career zenith. On the other hand, Birdman was a filmmaking dynamo and the guy at the center of that was Mr. Alejandro González Iñárritu. This one is a toss up.

Who Will Win?

I say that Rich Linklater will walk away with the statue for Best Director on Oscar night. Working on a film for 12 years is one thing, but Linklater put together arguably the greatest experimental film ever.

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Shakespeare in Love, won Best Picture in 1998 over Saving Private Ryan because reasons.

 

BEST PICTURE

The Field

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • Foxcatcher
  • Whiplash
  • The Theory of Everything

Who Got Snubbed?

Let’s see. Gone Girl, Inherent Vice and Interstellar all seem like they should have earned nominations. 

Who Should Win?

Boyhood. As much as I think Birdman is close, Boyhood is the greater artistic statement. It’s so much of what a film should be. When I saw it in theaters, I never wanted it to end. I just wanted it to keep going. It was one of those movies that found emotions inside of me that I didn’t even know that I had. A true classic.

Who Will Win?

While, I believe that Birdman will walk away with a lot of awards Sunday (Best Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography), I think it will be Boyhood that steals Best Director and Best Picture.

 

That’s it for the predictions, be sure to watch the 87th Academy Awards on ABC at 8 PM eastern time/5 PM pacific, and I’m not sure for everyone else. I’ll be live tweeting and complaining throughout.

Watch the Oscars……wait…on second thought, WATCH MOVIES!

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