Sunday, February 22, 2015

Completely Unnecessary Oscar Predictions 2015 (with Some Interesting Picks of Deserving Non-Nominees)

It's not just that you can find Academy Award predictions from far more expect prognosticators on roughly four million other websites (that's just a guesstimate).

Nor that, as in many years, there are overwhelming favorites in many of the categories, which serves to make the Oscars more of a fashion show than an awards presentation holding very much suspense.

But furthering rendering this post unnecessary is that less than 2 months ago I posted my picks for the Best Movies of 2014, which I find more personally relevant than whatever criteria the members of the Academy may use for casting their ballots.

Of course, my list included films officially considered 2013 releases that didn't play in Chicago, and left out some worthy pictures that didn't open here until after the New Year (or which I just didn't see in 2014). 

These include now-seen Best Picture nominees Selma and American Sniper, as well as A Most Violent Year, Pride and Love is Strange

I have only seen one of the Documentary Features, and just one of the Foreign Language Films--and nothing in the Animated or Short categories--but otherwise have seen most of the movies included in most of the major Oscar categories.

Exceptions being just Inherent Vice, The Judge, Two Days, One Night, Still Alice, The Judge and Maleficent. (I intend to see Still Alice and Two Days, One Night either today or tomorrow.)

While I'm happy to have anyone read this, and doubt anyone was planning to place bets based on my picks, if you haven't caught on, my primarily reason for writing this is simply because I enjoy doing so.

So take a look at the ballot, and underneath, take a look at my thoughts. For what they're worth.

(It's possible that some of the movies I cite as deserving nominations are ineligible due to officially being 2013 releases; also, I don't have a source for delineating Original and Adapted Screenplays among not-nominated films, so had to do my best per Wikipedia.)

Best Picture
Will and should win: Boyhood
Deserved a nomination: A Most Violent Year, Nightcrawler, The Immigrant, Love is Strange, Ida (the latter is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film)
Didn't deserve to be nominated: Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel and possibly American Sniper, which was hard to judge as just a movie given all the fuss about it.

Graphic by/from; full-size here
Best Director
Will and should win: Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Deserved a nomination: Ava DuVernay - Selma, Pawel Pawlikowski - Ida

Best Actor
Will win: Michael Keaton - Birdman
Should win: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Deserved a nomination and to win: David Oyelowo - Selma
Deserved a nomination: Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler or Enemy, Philip Seymour Hoffman - A Most Wanted Man, Nicolas Cage - Joe, Timothy Spall - Mr. Turner, Chadwick Boseman - Get on Up 

(Note: I'm not advocating these five actors, or suggested nominees in any category except Best Picture, in lieu of any of the actual nominees, but rather just noting that their work merited recognition.)

Best Actress
Will win: Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Should win: Though I hope to today or tomorrow, I haven't seen either Moore's or Marion Cotillard's nominated roles, but have heard good things about both. The latter was also excellent in The Immigrant.
(Update at 6:00pm CST: I saw both movies today; both were excellent, largely due to the performances of Moore and Cotillard, both outstanding. I'd be fine with either winning, but think I'd vote for Moore.)
Deserved a nomination: Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year, Tilda Swinton - Only Lovers Left Alive, Essie Davis - The Babadook

Ben Mendelsohn (R) with Jack O'Connell in Starred Up
Best Supporting Actor
Will and should win: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash, even though I didn't love the movie.
Deserved a nomination: Albert Brooks - A Most Wanted Year, John Hurt - Only Lovers Left Alive, Ben Mendelsohn - Starred Up

Best Supporting Actress
Will and should win: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Deserved a nomination: Agata Kulesza - Ida (she played the aunt), Carrie Coon - Gone Girl

Best Original Screenplay
Will win: Birdman
Should win: Nightcrawler 
Deserved a nomination: A Most Violent Year, The Immigrant, Ida

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will and should win: The Imitation Game
Deserved a nomination: Gone Girl (if only because I liked the movie more than the book), Enemy

Best Documentary Feature
Should win: Finding Vivian Maier, with the caveat that I haven't seen the other nominees
Deserved a nomination and to win: Life Itself

Best Foreign Language Film
Will and should win: Ida. It is the only nominee I've seen but was my favorite film of 2014, overall. 
Deserved a nomination: Force Majeure, which I didn't see but was on my friend Dave's Top 10 of 2014. Probably also Two Days, One Night, though I haven't seen it yet, but have loved much else from its directors, the Dardenne Brothers.

Best Animated Feature
Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2, though I haven't seen it or any other nominees.
Deserved a nomination and to win: The Lego Movie  

Ida, cinematography by Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Best Cinematography
Will win: Birdman
Should win: Ida
Deserved a nomination: Interstellar

Best Costume Design
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should win: Mr. Turner 
Deserved a nomination: Belle

Best Film Editing
Will and should win: Boyhood
Deserved a nomination: Interstellar, Ida
Best Original Score
Will and should win: The Theory of Everything
Deserved a nomination: The Immigrant
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Production design by Adam Stackhausen,
Set Design by Anna Pinock, Hair & Makeup by Frances Hannon & Mark Coulier

Best Original Song
Will and should win: "Glory" from Selma
Deserved a nomination: "America for Me" from A Most Violent Year

Best Production Design
Will and should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Deserved a nomination: Guardians of the Galaxy, Only Lovers Left Alive

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Will and should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Deserved a nomination: Only Lovers Left Alive, Into the Woods

Interstellar - Visual Effects nominees: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley,
Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
Best Visual Effects
Will and should win: Interstellar
Deserved a nomination: Edge of Tomorrow

Best Sound Editing
Will and should win: American Sniper
Deserved a nomination: Boyhood
Best Sound Mixing
Will and should win: American Sniper

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