Oscars 2015: Predictions

Here are my predictions for some of the Oscar 2015 categories! Boyhood-Bike Best Picture

Will Win: Boyhood

Should Win: Boyhood

Birdman and Boyhood are battling head to head here. Birdman perhaps is more deserving, a creative piece that shrewdly dissects Hollywood.  but I stand by the fact that Boyhood should win. Should we honor a film that may not be the most strongest narratively but purely for technical feats? Many feel that we shouldn’t. In this case, I think we should. You can’t deny that Boyhood managed to capture the magic and emotional resonance of time. We watch actors age before our eyes. It’s never been done before, could have easily failed, and I feel we should honor it for that. _MG_0817.CR2

Best Director 

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman

Should Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater could easily win, but often the Best Picture winner differs from Best Director winner. The vote splits in order to honor the two films that are usually head-to-head frontrunners. (See last year, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity) While Linklater helmed a technical bravura, Iñárritu’s creative odyessy. michael-keaton-in-birdman-movie-1

Best Actor

Will Win: Michael Keaton for Birdman

Should Win: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

This is hard. Again we have two frontrunners running head to head. I wish there could be a tie, because both are deserving. I am really starting to think Keaton will win. His long history in Hollywood gives him the edge, and this may be one of those cases where not only is the Oscar honoring the performance, but the actor’s longevity and career as well. While I think Keaton is deserving, Eddie Redmayne truly transformed into Hawking, which is no easy physical feat. I wish there was a way to honor them both, but I think Keaton will come out the winner. Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

Best Actress

Will Win: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Should Win: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

It’s her year. She deserves it. I loved Rosamund’s Amazing Amy, which is an iconic role that will be long remembered. I loved every actress in this category, and if any of them won it would be fitting. But she, and no other actress here, is no match for Moore at this point. Whiplash-7567.cr2

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Should Win: J,K, Simmons for Whiplash

Another lock. J.K. Simmons as the terrifying teacher was an explosive and memorable performance, the best in this category. boyhood_hires_3

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood 

Should Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood 

The only other actress in this category that I very much enjoyed was Emma Stone in Birdman, I thought she did a great job. However, Patricia Arquette’s tender performance as a single mom will take the prize. The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-882x462

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness for Grand Budapest Hotel 

Should Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo for Birdman

I didn’t love Grand Budapest Hotel, I feel that Birdman should take this category. But I think the Oscars will finally honor Wes Anderson’s long-standing career in originality and quirkiness. I also enjoyed Nightcrawler in this category, but it’s being overshadowed by these two films. Whiplash should’ve been in this category as well. THE IMITATION GAME

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: Graham Moore for The Imitation Game

Should Win: Graham Moore for The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice was incomprehensible, American Sniper is problematic, The Theory of Everything had great performances but fairly tepid story, and Whiplash shouldn’t be in this category. The Imitation Game was an exciting, taut, and emotional story and is deserving frontrunner. Birdman-bilde-6

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman

Should Win: Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski for Ida

Ida‘s stark black and white with tall landscapes were gorgeous, but Birdman’s  audacious style is likely to take this one. boyhood-ethan-hawke

Best Editing

Will Win: Sandra Adair for Boyhood

Should Win: Tom Cross for Whiplash

Strange that Birdman is not in this category! Sandra Adair will likely win for editing the 12 years worth of material. However, the heart-racing editing of Whiplash, especially in the thrilling drum sequences, are worthy of honoring.

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Best Original Score

Will Win: Johann Johannsson for The Theory of Everything

Should Win: Hans Zimmer for Interstellar

I’m partial to Interstellar‘s score, I loved the film and the soundtrack (especially the use of organs in the docking scene) made the entire experience overwhelmingly stunning. But Johann Johannsson’s score has been the frontrunner for this category.

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Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Interstellar

Should Win: Interstellar

Interstellar will likely be honored for their reliance on less CGI to create those breathtaking space sequences.

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Top 10: 2014 Movies

These are my personal choices for the best movies of 2014. It’s been a wonderful year for film!

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1. Interstellar

Interstellar was my absolute favorite of the year. While I was a bit disappointed with parts of the ending and some lack of character development, that does not overshadow my love for this film. It’s an incredible balance of thrills, visual spectacle, top-notch acting, and thought-provoking ideas. The visuals are a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, it’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen, especially one depicting space. Matthew McConaughey is nothing short of outstanding, especially his scene where he watches the videos of his child growing up before his eyes. It shoots through the heart and will leave you aching. As will many other moving moments. The scientific and time-travel elements will blow your mind. (Even if you don’t fully understand them) I consider it to be, and I believe it should be held up as a modern classic. See more of my review here.

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2. Whiplash

 Whiplash is majorly intense, thanks to the squaring off of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as clashing jazz music teacher and student. The film explores how far you are willing to go for your talent, how far you’re willing to go for your art. The drumming in this is insanely amazing, (and looks very painful…) and apparently Miles Teller actually did it. You cannot look away, it is be brutal and horrific yet compelling. J.K. Simmons, who is known as Juno’s loving dad or J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man, is chilling and terrifying. It never fails to shock the lengths that student Andrew will go to vie for a starring spot in his teacher’s eye. The finale packs a powerful punch and will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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3. Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler really makes an impression, and that’s all due to Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance. His Lou Bloom echoes Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Lou is success-hungry and sociopathic, he will stop at nothing do advance further in his career. He is completely committed to achieving success as a news cameraman, who films crashes, accidents that take place at night. Lou has no qualms about crossing moral lines. Although it is not just Lou who lacks morality, for Nightcrawler also gives a scathing look at the news and modern media. The newscasters who work in tandem with Lou will also stop at nothing to get that perfect shot and story, so who cares about the people it happened to? The more tragic the event, the better the news. Nightcrawler is an incredible thriller that really leaves a stamp in your mind thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal’s star performance.

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4. Gone Girl

Based on the bestselling book, Gone Girl was a highly-anticipated adaptation. Helmed by the brilliant David Fincher and a screenplay penned by the illustrious author herself, Gillian Flynn. Together, they create a fantastic adaptation that lives up to the book’s twisted tale. Gone Girl will go down in history as one of the smarter thrillers that depict a heated battle of the sexes.(i.e. the 90s hits Basic Instinct, Body Heat) With sleek visuals and a chilling performance by Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl is an intelligent and engrossing thriller that will be talked about for a very long time. To see my full review, go here.

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5. The Immigrant

The Immigrant is an elegant and haunting gem, telling the story of early 1920s America. The visuals are outstanding, shot with a gorgeous sepia tone or muted colors that perfectly capture the period. Marion Cotillard shines, as she so often does, as the Polish immigrant. Her performance is powerful, quietly yet deftly capturing Eva’s emotional turmoil. Joaquin Phoenix is on equal footing as the flawed hustler. Together, they craft engrossing characters that are intertwined for better or worse. The Immigrant is a somber piece but exiusite film. Marion Cotillard enraptures the audience, making you completely engrossed in Ewa’s long and hard journey. I wrote more about The Immigrant here.

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6. Boyhood

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood obviously achieves a technological feat with it’s innovative use of telling a story over 12 years, you watch the cast grow up before your very eyes. And it is a marvel. But what could have been a gimmick ends up being a resounding realistic portrait of life. What’s so beautiful about Boyhood is it’s simplicity. It’s not just a story that hits all the typical beats of adolescence, like “here’s the PROM scene” or “here’s the FIRST KISS scene.” Instead it is compromised of the little things. How life’s little moments, heartbreaking and joyful, can so quickly accumulate, and before we know it it’s years later. Boyhood comes as close to life as a documentary, it is an experimental film that more than paid off, one that redefined cinema.

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7. The Babadook

The Babadook is a game-changing horror film that is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, twisting familiar horror film elements to create something completely original. The Babadook is filled with artful visuals, long shadows and an elegant grayscale wash. It makes the house they live in look exactly like the charcoal Babadook book. There’s strange camera angles and an astounding and eerie silent film montage. The relationship and story of mother and son is genuinely moving, and Essie Davis gives a phenomenal performance. You never know quite where the story is going. Is it another story of a possessed mother? Is it truly a monster? Or is it just psychological, all in their heads? The Babadook is a blur between reality and metaphor, one that never quite gives you all the answers but takes you on a heart-wrenching and terrifying ride.

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8. Wild

Reese Witherspoon gives the best performance of her career in Wild. She is a flawed and complicated heroine, one who must go on a 1,000 mile walk to cleanse her soul from demons past. Several powerfully moving scenes have been stuck in my head long after seeing it. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who previously helmed Dallas Buyers Club, does stunning work here. The flashbacks brilliantly intertwine with her present-day scenes. Wild is both painful and uplifting. It enraptures the audience in the complicated her conquest every step of the way.

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9. The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins is a rare family drama that deftly navigates both the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It’s a rare film that can effectively mine both laughter and tears. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are the perfect pair, demonstrating their well-known comedic chops but also bringing fantastic dramatic performances as well. The Skeleton Twins is an emotionally engaging dramedy. It also gives us a hilarious “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” lip-synching scene.

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10. Pride

Pride is pure uplifting fun. Set in the 1980s England coal miner’s strike and the LGBT community that helps support them. It’s an earnest story of overcoming prejudice without being too schmaltzy. The combination of being emotionally resonant while remaining fairly light-hearted keeps it from being preachy. Pride is a joyous and heartfelt crow-pleaser with a great 80s soundtrack. Also, the ending scene (pictured above) has some really beautiful London visuals, with a great score too!