A Little Night Oscar Prognosticating

I said on Twitter that I wasn’t planning on doing a thoroughOscar prediction post, but I figured I ought to at least prognosticate on themajor categories so I can either look like a genius or the moron I appeared to
be post-Golden Globe.

If you don’t know me, know this: I am not a member of the
entertainment industry, though I used to be. I am, however, obsessed with Oscar
history, marketing of Oscar nominees, and movies in general, particularly the “prestige”
pictures that come with Oscar season. So, take these picks with a grain of
salt, but I will offer my rationale on each of them in an attempt to win you
over to my selection.

Here goes…

Best Picture

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Winner: Birdman. Most concede this is a two-horse race of
the movies that start with a B. I genuinely thought Boyhood was gonna sew this
up early in the awards season, but things are going Birdman’s way because it
seems there are other people like myself who find Boyhood to be good and
groundbreaking, but lacking in areas like screenplay. The feat of Boyhood is in
performance and direction, which is where it will be rewarded.

I will note that Vegas and many other prognosticators are
claiming Imitation Game is the flick to pull off the upset. I’m going
contrarian and giving that honor to American Sniper. I know the Academy. The
Academy is full of old, White people who love Clint Eastwood. Plus, while everyone has told
me Imitation Game is good (full disclosure: haven’t seen it or Selma yet), no
one has raved about it the way I have heard and read people rave about Sniper.

Best Directing

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Inarritu  – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Winner: Richard Linklater. Picture and Director used to be
categories that went hand in hand, but lately, the Academy seems to split its
vote, perhaps in an attempt to honor two very good films. We have that instance
here and, as I mentioned before, the real achievements of Boyhood are in the direction
and the dedication Linklater gave to the project, so this will be his
consolation prize when he loses Best Pic.

Best Actor


Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Winner: Michael Keaton. Odds are favoring Redmayne, who made
a late surge after Keaton came on strong at Globes and Critics Choice. This is
understandable, as Redmayne won the SA, which is a reliable Oscar predictor. I’m
still going Keaton though, because I think the rationale of, “who knows when we’ll
get a chance to honor him again?” comes into play, while Redmayne is an up and
coming youngster whose best work may still be ahead of him (off topic, but I
found his performance a bit overrated, like a My Left Foot redux, and I think
many Academy voters are a bit tired of these “Oscar-bait” roles too).

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Winner: Julianne Moore has this thing in the bag. She’s been
nominated four times and never done, so this is what we call a “paid my dues”
Oscar. She’s won pretty much everything. If anyone were to beat her, I’d guess
it is Witherspoon, but honestly, it isn’t gonna happen.

I’m not even gonna go into Supporting Actor and Actress. We
all know JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette are even more stone cold locks than Julianne
Moore is. Sorry, fellow nominees, just picked a bad year to give a good
performance in a movie.

Best Original Screenplay

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Academy likes to
spread the wealth and this gem of a film from Wes Anderson’s best shot at a
trophy is here, a category where he has been nominated before. Can I also note
that it seems a little bizarre that Foxcatcher is based on a real person’s life
but isn’t considered an adaptation, while Whiplash is an original story that
just started out as a short film for fundraising purposes, but ended up in the
adapted category.

Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

Winner: The Imitation Game. 
For the same reasoning as original, I am thinking adapted goes to The
Imitation Game, who needs to win something and isn’t going to in the other
major categories. American Sniper might get its nod here too, but given the controversy
surrounding Chris Kyle’s real life, I am going with the period drama. Others
are saying Whiplash, which I would love because that movie is just incredible,
but given its weird categorization snafu, I think it is gonna end up on the
outside looking in.

Alright kids, those are my two cents, here’s hoping I don’t
look too stupid tomorrow. If you want a smattering of other suggestions, I
think Ida takes Best Foreign Film, Selma has Best Original Song taken care of
and, even though it is a sequel, How to Drain Your Dragon 2 edges out Big Hero
6 for Best Animated Feature. There’s my trifecta of randoms. Happy Oscaring!


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