The only two movies I have not seen on the larger categories for the Oscars are Theory of Everything and American Sniper. These aren’t being hedged on as favorites really anything. The Oscars are a weird metric for movies because the voting by the academy is highly political and often very subjective. But these are my predictions for certain win categories and what I would like to win. I will avoid categories in which I haven’t seen the films, or which are things like “best assistant makeup artist”.
Best Picture: Boyhood
Boyhood is going to win Best Picture simply because of the technical and creative feat of filming a movie over the course of 14 years. Boyhood is about the depth and complex story of growing up, and it does so rather elegantly with its well picked cast. It’s simple and dark and light-hearted all at once, and is such a favorite because of its pure unique quality. Birdman is seen as Boyhood‘s biggest competition. This is also a technically fantastic film, and I would not be heartbroken to see it win.
My personal favorite on the list of nominees is Grand Budapest Hotel, for a host of reasons that put it above the other nominees. But alas, I am not the Academy.
My ranking of seen Best Picture flicks from most liked to least liked: Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, Whiplash, Imitation Game.
Best Actor: Michael Keaton in Birdman
Keaton’s performance in Birdman was a work of art. The film was such an interesting and complex story, that if it doesn’t win best picture, it should almost certainly win the best actor nod.
Best Director: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Linklater directed Boyhood, and I think the 14 year film time sets him apart from any of the competition. The competition here would be Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman, and then Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. The two latter are incredible films, and both directors are highly revered, my personal favorite being of course Grand Buadpest. If Inarritu wins, it will be for the cinematography and interweaving of the complex Birdman, if Anderson wins, it will be for the creativity and ingenuity of Grand Budapest.
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton In Birdman
Here I believe it is between Whiplash’s JK Simmons vs. Birdman’s Edward Norton. I would pick Norton for fantastic characterization, but something about the anger driven Simmons in Whiplash makes me think he has some favorable odds as a different kind of performance complexity from Norton. Boyhood’s Ethan Hawke was great, but not best supporting actor great compared to the first two I think.
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Patricia is the clear choice for this one, and I think the clear favorite for Oscar voters as well. Her humanizing performance is possibly the most memorable aspect of Boyhood, if it is not the main character.
Best Original Screenplay: Grand Budapest Hotel
Grand Budapest has the most epic quality of all the screenplays, with fantastic arc and resolution–a feeling that the grand hotel actually did exist in such a colorful and creative world. If there is any award the Grand Budapest Hotel should win, it is best screenplay, even with its fierce competition from Birdman, Boyhood, and the critically acclaimed Nightcrawler.
Best Cinematography: Immanuel Lubezki in Birdman
Birdman’s amazingly technical one take shooting through narrow hallways made the performances of Birdman pop and deliver that much more entertainment and tension. I would pick this as a heavy favorite.