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2015 Oscar Predictions

Well, it’s almost that time of year. Time for the King Daddy of all award shows, the Oscars. Here I will go over who I think SHOULD win (subjective) that pretty golden statue, and who I think WILL win (objective), on Sunday, February 22.

Best Picture

This is pretty much a two horse race, with two other films having a longshot of playing spoiler. The only film with practically no shot of winning is “Selma”, which only has one other nomination (Best Song, which it will win). Other films like “Whiplash”, “Imitation Game” and “Theory of Everything” were solid, but pretty much it will come down to “Boyhood” vs “Birdman”. “American Sniper” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” have picked up immense momentum since January, so they have the best shot of being a dark horse. Of the films nominated I personally found “Imitation Game” the best, but I think the final award of the night will go to “Boyhood” due to all that went in to making the film. Plus the theme song of the film, “Hero”, is fantastic.

SHOULD WIN: The Imitation Game

WILL WIN: Boyhood



Best Director

Probably the most interesting competition of this year. It will likely come down to Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Birdman”), but it goes deeper than that. Both men created projects that defied what we knew about film, with Linklater using the same cast to film “Boyhood” over 12 years, and Iñárritu shooting “Birdman” is continuous, sometimes 15 minute long takes. Whoever loses this award will likely take home Best Original Screenplay, so they shouldn’t hang their head for too long. I think Linklater wins because of his dedication and control of such a monumentally unique film. Other nominees include Wes Anderson (chance to win here or Original Screenplay for “Budapest”), Bennett Miller (who was nominated for his work on “Foxcatcher”, yet the film did not receive a Best Picture nod) and Morten Tyldum (“Imitation Game” was driven more by Cumberbatch and the script so this one somewhat baffled me).

SHOULD WIN: Richard Linklater

WILL WIN: Richard Linklater



Best Actor

Pretty much the same story as Best Picture, this award will likely go to one of two nominees. I love Steve Carell to death and his performance in “Foxcatcher” was amazing, but he and Benedict Cumberbatch both should just be happy to have earned their first Oscar nod. Like his “American Sniper” vehicle, Bradley Cooper has a small chance of pulling the upset, but it will come down to Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Eddie Redmayne (“Theory of Everything”), and Redmayne has won all the precursor awards needed to imply a victory. The Academy may give Keaton the edge because he is the older, more well-known actor; however Redmayne’s role was so demanding both physically and emotionally, I think he’ll win it.

SHOULD WIN: Steve Carell

WILL WIN: Eddie Redmayne



Best Supporting Actor

Well this paragraph could be as short as “it’s going to be J.K Simmons” because it’s going to be J.K Simmons. Most people know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the original Spider-Man trilogy, however he gave a fantastic performance in “Whiplash”, and it is good to see him finally winning awards. Edward Norton was equally amazing in “Birdman”, and he would get my vote, but Simmons has near swept everything else. Ethan Hawke got his 4th nomination, Mark Ruffalo got his second and Robert Duvall somehow got one for “The Judge” (my mouth hit the floor when it was announced). It’ll be Simmons, with 1% chance Norton comes in for the steal.

SHOULD WIN: Edward Norton

WILL WIN: J.K. Simmons



Best Actress

If you thought Best Supporting Actor was a lock, then this is a steel cage. Julianne Moore will win. Like, 100%. Not too many non-critics saw her work in “Still Alice”, but like Simmons she has swept the board. The women who will stand and clap when Moore’s name is called include former Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Reese Witherspoon, as well as first-timers Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike.

SHOULD WIN: Julianne Moore

WILL WIN: Julianne Moore



Best Supporting Actress

The Oscars aren’t very fun this year. The front runner is Patricia Arquette for her 12-year-long role in “Boyhood”, and deservingly so. Laura Dern earned a nomination, as did Emma Stone, so that’s kind of cool. I loved “The Imitation Game” but have no real idea why Keira Knightley was nominated, and I threw up when Meryl Streep got her obligatory nomination (all she has to do is appear in a movie and the Academy will nominate her). Arquette did the best and most dedicated work, and she deserves the trophy she will likely take home.

SHOULD WIN: Patricia Arquette

WILL WIN: Patricia Arquette



‘Boyhood’ Is Honest, Moving and Nostalgic

Boyhood_filmTrue story: when I was 10 and watching “Racing Stripes”, a thought came to me: what if a director filmed flashback scenes with children, and then finished the movie with the same kids when they got older? The idea never returned to my mind until I heard about the movie “Boyhood”, a movie filmed over 12 years using the same actors.

Directed and written by Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” follows one boy, Mason, from the ages of six to 18. Ellar Coletrane, who was seven when cast, portrays Mason, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents and Linklater’s real-life daughter, Lorelei, plays Mason’s sister.

Just the production story behind this film is enough to make someone interested to see it. The crew got together for 12 days a year for 12 years beginning in 2002, so we get to see the young actors grow and the adults age before our eyes. There is so much that could have gone wrong, yet somehow it all went right.

I personally have some additional ties to the film. Since I was 8 years old in 2002, many of the songs and pop culture references in the film played large parts in my own childhood. Nostalgic things such as the Oregon Trail computer game, or waiting in line for the midnight release of a Harry Potter book were enough to bring a lump to my throat. There’s a part where Mason says “the best movies of 2008” were Tropic Thunder, Dark Knight and Pineapple Express, which is absolutely true and instantly brought me back to that wonderful summer.

It is almost as if Linklater knew how to timestamp his film, using things that are relevant, but never doing it to be lazy or contrived, like some films do when trying too hard to convince you a scene takes place during a certain point in time.

The acting in the film is superb, save for maybe the first years of the children’s lives (you know, because kid actors). Ethan Hawke gives perhaps the best performance of his career as Mason’s dad. He is a man who is at first somewhat distant from his kids, and is trying to connect with them but just doesn’t know how. Over time he begins to form bonds with them, and we see how tough parenting, especially when single, really is.

Linklater just has such a delicate touch with the emotional scenes, and has written an honest script, looking at everything we all experience growing up, from awkward talks with our parents to peer pressure. We all know Linklater is a talented director (the guy has gotten two Golden Globe nominations out of Jack Black), and he cements his place among the Hollywood greats with this film.

There are a few scenes that could have been cut, however I understand why Linklater kept them in; cutting them would mean an entire year of filming, and an entire year of Mason’s life, would have been not seen and all for naught. The movie does have a running time of two hours, 45 minutes but it never gets boring and rarely lags.

You can believe the hype: “Boyhood” is as creatively impressive and emotionally moving as they say. But while the scope of the film is massive and ambitious, it truly is the little, intimate moments that make “Boyhood” so good. Everyone, parent, preteen or especially 20-something, should see this film and will have something to connect with. I enjoyed the movie, even when it was uncomfortably honest, and I almost feel like I should be thanking Richard Linklater for allowing me to relive my childhood over one last time.

Critics Rating: 8/10