Last musings on film 2014 + 2015 Oscar predictions

academy awards 2015, fun and games, nominated films, opinion and commentary, oscar 2015 predictions, oscar 2015 snubs, the year in film 2014

Standing by what I wrote in my 2014 top films post: I liked a lot of films in this year – a year of smaller, diverse films in the spotlight. I can spread the love around. We’ll soon see if the Academy does the same.

The year in film 2014 as I saw it:

  • The men outnumbered the women in standout roles (women rule television).
  • The British invasion continues to score leading Oscar® nods (Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike). Something in their training, perhaps?
  • Indie movers/shakers like Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), and Brit Mike Leigh (Mr Turner) were in top form, creating wonderful films.
  • For the top films, I’d go back to five, and sync the directors to the film. How do you nominate the film and not the director? I guess money rules, art out the window.

Should have, but didn’t make the list of nominations:

  • The top five actor nominations are all worthy. There were so many great performances this year by male actors that I wish they could have extended the list: Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Tom Hardy (Locke or The Drop), David Oyelowo (Selma) and Timothy Spall (Mr Turner).
  • For the top actresses, I would have added Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin) or Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive). Ditched Reese Witherspoon (Wild), meh.

academy awards 2015, fun and games, nominated films, opinion and commentary, oscar 2015 predictions, oscar 2015 snubs, the year in film 2014

My predictions

Best Picture: At this writing, I still can’t decide which will win: Birdman or Boyhood. So, I’m going with my gut, and with PGA and SAG wins – calling it Birdman, but kind of hoping for Boyhood.

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu will win best director, since the DGA already gave him their award. No split this year, but I’d be happy to be wrong – Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater are certainly overdue for this award.

Best Actor: In the very strong lead actor race, Eddie Redmayne’s terrific performance in The Theory of Everything may be running out of steam to take the prize, although I’m calling it for him. But sentimentality, a strong comeback and the late, fast track for Birdman may help Oscar swing Michael Keaton’s way. I could go with any of the nominees, but I was rooting for Ralph Fiennes to make this list.

Best Actress: In this weaker lead category, Julianne Moore is pretty much a lock. Rosamund Pike gave a fine performance in Gone Girl, but Oscar’s not going in her direction.

Supporting Actor/Actress: J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are a shoe-in, winning nearly every award to date – deservedly so. The only real competition is Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher, nice work by the entire cast.

Best Foreign Language Film: (Why Best Picture vs Best Foreign Language Film? Just curious) I’ve only seen three of the nominated films. Leviathan has been in the lead to bag Oscar, but my sentimentality is giving it to Ida.

Best Documentary Feature: Citizenfour appears to be a gimme. Not having seen it yet, I can’t say if it’s worthy. Finding Vivian Maier and Virunga were fantastic, so it seems like a strong category.

As I say, I be thrilled to be wrong on many counts – surprise winners are about the only thing that make the telecast any fun. And of course the fashion choices.

If you want to play along on 22 february 2015, cast your ballot online with The New York Times, or the LA Times, or download a paper copy here.

Last laugh

When Chris Miller and Phil Lord, creators of The Lego Movie, missed out on a nomination for Best Animated Feature, Phil Lord built an Oscar for himself, out of… Legos, of course.

Images: OSCAR typography and montage, © 2015 Janet Giampietro. // Character stills + film posters, © each respective film.

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