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The 87th Academy Awards

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We’re less than 24 hours away from the 2015 Academy Awards!

The world’s most famous movie awards night remains as polarizing as ever.  The unpredictable and sometimes arbitrary nature of its selection process and its panel of mysterious voters all comprise part of the mystique of the Oscars that people both love and loathe.  It’s often hard to judge how well the Academy has done with its winners until you have the benefit of time to look back and reflect.  Some years they get it right – No Country For Old Men (2007), Casablanca (1943), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1974).  And sometimes there’s a year where Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction are released and the Academy gives Best Picture to Forrest Gump (1994).

This year I think the Academy has mostly done a good job in its nominees but for a couple of notable exceptions.  It was disappointing to see Ava DuVernay’s Selma and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin fail to gain much traction.  Stranger still, there was a stink kicked up about the animation category for the first time that I can recall when The Lego Movie failed to get even a nomination when I think it would be most people’s clear choice for winning.

My biggest personal gripe about the nominees is that the films selected are almost all released in a three month window.  The Academy Awards are supposed to be a recognition of the best films of the year but too often they feel like the best films of November to January.  Out of the eight films nominated for Best Picture, only Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood were released outside this time frame in Australia.  As a result, I didn’t get to watch nearly as many of the nominated films as I wanted.  This year I noticed that a lot of the films that featured a Best Actress performance had a criminally short run at the box office.  Wild, Two Days One Night and Still Alice all came and went before I had a chance to see them.

Anyway, here are my reviews of all the Best Picture nominated films and my predictions for each of the major award categories.

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Predictions

liloscar  BEST PICTURE

Nominees

American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

TFW Who Should Win

This was a tough choice.  I think the Academy has picked seven really good films (and American Sniper).  I think it’s a toss up for me between The Grand Budapest Hotel – which offered plenty of laughter and creativity – and Selma which I thought was probably my favourite of the three bio pics that appear this year.  If I had to choose between the two, I’d go……..The Grand Budapest Hotel

TFW Who Will Win

For a long time, I thought American Sniper would be a shoe-in but now I’m not so sure.  A lot of bookies are predicting Boyhood but I don’t think any of the actors are tipped to win major awards.  It’s almost unprecedented for a film to win Best Picture but none of the acting awards.  Hmm.  American Sniper.  Boyhood.  American Sniper.  Nah…it’ll be Boyhood.

liloscar  BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees

Alejandro Innaritu (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennette Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

TFW Who Should Win

Another tough category.  I found plenty to enjoy in all of these films.  Boyhood is probably the most ambitious and challenging of the films whilst Birdman and Grand Budapest are the most creative.  I think I have to go with my man Wes Anderson on this one.

TFW Who Will Win

If Boyhood picks up Best Picture then surely Richard Linklater gets Best Director.

liloscar  BEST ACTOR

Nominees

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

TFW Who Should Win

First of all, it’s a goddamn crime that David Oyelowo didn’t get a nomination for his performance as Martin Luther King in Selma.  I’d kick Bradley Cooper and his stupid plastic baby to the curb and replace him with Oyelowo if I could.  As for who should win, there’s one clear choice and that’s Eddie Redmayne.  His portrayal of Stephen Hawking was the complete package.  The role was demanding, challenging and impressive physically.

TFW Who Will Win

Hollywood loves a comeback story so Michael Keaton seems like a natural choice.

liloscar  BEST ACTRESS

Nominees

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

TFW Who Should Win

Of the two performances I’ve seen, Felicity Jones is my choice over Rosamund Pike.  The other films didn’t hang around at the box office for very long at all :(

TFW Who Will Win

I haven’t seen the film but everyone raves about Julianne Moore in Still Alice.  Seems like a safe bet.

liloscar  BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees

Robert Duvall (The Judge), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), J.K Simmons (Whiplash), Edward Norton (Birdman), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

TFW Who Should Win

This is another tough category for me.  J.K Simmons is the runaway favourite but I thought Mark Ruffalo was brilliant in Foxcatcher as older brother and mentor to a troubled Channing Tatum.

TFW Who Will Win

Put the mortgage, the wife, the kids, the family dog and all your life savings on JK Simmons.  It’s a sure thing.

liloscar  BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Emma Stone (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance), Laura Dern (Wild), Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

TFW Who Should Win

The caveat here is that I haven’t seen Wild or Into the Woods but I gotta go with Patricia Arquette for this one.  Thinking back to Boyhood and those closing scenes of the film where she suffers from empty nest syndrome.  It was pretty moving stuff.

TFW Who Will Win

Doesn’t Meryl Streep always win when she gets nominated for something?  I feel pretty safe in sticking with Patricia Arquette.

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About Edo

Edo currently lives in Australia where he spends his time playing video games and enjoying his wife's cooking.

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