87th Academy Awards (Oscars 2015)

Well, it is that time of the year. Not a bad crop of movies for 2014, but really nothing too memorable or spectacular. Most were rather low-key hits (the irony!). As usual there were snubs and with that comes the unexpected nominees, and this year's surprises were mostly not very pleasant. For every Jake Gyllenhaal, there is a Bradley Cooper and Steve Carrell; Jessica Chastain passed over for Meryl Streep; Selma (which I have not watched) is barely making a presence. But then again, it was also a good year for indies: Boyhood, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and for the Brits: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley for The Imitation Game.

Like every year, there are some locked-in winners already by this time of the year, and some races that are still too close to call. But as we all know, publicity and campaigning play as big a role as the actual effort/product, so as per usual, below are my predictions for the major awards for the 87th Academy Awards.

*Winners are highlighted in red

Who Should Win: Boyhood 
Who Will Win: Birdman

This is a tough category to call and it may depend a lot on who wins Best Director. In my opinion, Boyhood was the best movie of 2014. I loved the simplicity of the story but grandeur of vision. But how do you reward/differentiate between two excellent films where one had vision and heart, the other had skill, intelligence and insider-snark.

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Who Should Win: Richard Linklater
Who Will Win: Richard Linklater
Who Was A Surprise/Snub: Bennet Miller may have been recognised at Cannes, but Damien Chazelle should have been nominated instead for Whiplash, No comments on Selma or its director Ava DuVernay since I have not watched it yet.

Like above, I think this year the Best Director and Best Picture will most likely split between Linklater and Iñárritu. Although the PGA, SAG and DGA awarded their top prize to Birdman, I think Linklater should be rewarded and recognised for his audacious vision of doing a 12-years stop-gap motion picture. Iñárritu's pseudo-one shot vision was great, but it was just as gimmicky as Linklater's without the vision.

Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie RedmayneThe Theory of Everything

Who Should Win: Michael Keaton
Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Who Was A Surprise/Snub: Bradley Cooper first then Steve Carrell; Jake Gyllenhaal was robbed for his amazing work in Nightcrawler as was Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Heck, even Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year, Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Viceor any of the french (YvesSaint Laurents were more worthy than either Cooper or Carrell.

From the initial three-horse race with Cumberbatch, Keaton and Redmayne, it has now come down to just the latter two, with Redmayne pulling ahead and likely to win. Redmayne had the more showy performance and the dedication would draw the support, although Keaton and Cumberbatch had the more nuanced roles.

Marion Cotillard, Deux Jours, Une Nuit
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Withespoon, Wild

Who Should Win: Julianne Moore
Who Will Win: Julianne Moore
Who Was A Surprise/Snub: Jessica Chastain was sunbbed for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby; Rosamund Pike may have done her best work in Gone Girl but her portrayal was one note and rather boring.

This is Julianne Moore's to lose, with Marion Cotillard in second place. Interestingly, this category is where most of the nominees, except Felicity Jones, come from non-Best Picture/Director/Actor movies. What does that say?

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. SimmonsWhiplash

Who Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons

Again, another lock-in. J.K. Simmons to lose. No doubt about it. That man was simultaneously scary and touching, and always riveting!

Patricia ArquetteBoyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Kiera Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Was A Surprise/Snub: Meryl Streep was really just chewing scenary and Jessica Chastain should have been recognised for A Most Violent Year.

A great group of nominees but the Oscar is likely to be Patricia Arquette's to lose. Although Laura Dern would come in a close second despite her relatively brief screentime.

BirdmanAlejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
BoyhoodRichard Linklater
Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson and Hugh Guinness
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy

Who Should Win: Wes Anderson and Hugh Guinness
Who Will Win: Wes Anderson and Hugh Guinness
Who Was Snubbed: The Dardenne Brothers for Deux Jours, Une Nuit and JC Chandor for A Most Violent Year. Both were simple in scope but complex in depth. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman's Foxcatcher was just a mess - and should it not be in Adapted Screenplay?

Most likey Wes Anderson will win this, and very deservedly so, as a consolation prize. Birdman and Boyhood did not have great scripts. but Gilroy's Nightcrawler was fresh and exciting.

American Sniper, Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, David Chazelle

Who Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson
Who Will Win: Graham Moore

I think Thomas Pynchon's novel and words may be beyond the general Academy's liking, and so PT Anderson will lose out here too the next likely candidate - with all the prestige attached to the source and subject - will be Graham Moore's adaptation of Alan Turing's life. Curious to have Whiplash here too, although it has a slightly higher chance here than in the original screenplay.

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

Who Should Win: Big Hero 6
Who Will Win: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Who Was Snubbed: The Lego Movie.

I wished I had watched The Boxtrolls. However, even without The Lego Movie (which I did watch but strangely did not review) here, I thought that Big Hero 6 had more heart (though less laughter), Dragon 2 was really bad, in my opinion, with one of the voice works and plot.

Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Robert Yeoman
Ida, Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski 
Mr. Turner, Dick Pope
Unbroken, Roger Deakins

Who Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki
Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki

That pseudo-one shot film and framing is what will Lubezki this award, although Yeoman had very gorgeous shots. Sadly, did not catch the rest, although Deakins' work have always been excellent.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation GameAlexandre Desplat
Interstellar. Hans Zimmer
Mr Turner, Gary Yershon
The Theory of EverythingJóhann Jóhannsson

Who Should Win: Alexandre Desplat
Who Will Win: Alexandre Desplat

Desplat's scores for Wes Anderson's movies have always been one of the highlights of the movies, it will be sad if he does not finally win an Oscar for his gorgeous work in The Grand Budapest Hotel. The bump from the 57th Grammy Awards should help his chances.

"Glory", Selma (as a consolation) 

Boyhood (Birdman if it was nominated)

I'm calling it for The Grand Budapest Hotel or Into The Woods

Guardians of the Galaxy

Colleen Atwood for Into The Woods


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