There are a lot of different awards at The Oscars, and plenty of interesting topics for discussion. However, I don’t intend to cover them all, because frankly I don’t have much insight to offer into things like Sound Mixing or Costume Design. Therefore, I’m going to stick to the staples of the show, and hopefully get a few things right, whilst saying why I think that they’re probably wrong.
There are a lot of good films in this category, but for me there are only two that are in the running to win the award. Those two movies are “Birdman” and “Boyhood”. Now, the fact that I think that one of these two movies will win the award does not mean that I agree that either one should, and in fact, I wouldn’t choose either of them to win. If this were completely up to me, (alas, it isn’t), the two films in the running would be “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash”, and ultimately “Whiplash” would come out victorious.
However, taking my preferences out of the equation, I believe that “Boyhood” will win the award, simply because of the level of ambition involved in its creation, and the fact that the idea of shooting a movie across a twelve year time span didn’t completely fail. As far as movies go this one was a risk, and just to have finished it with a decent level of quality is probably enough for it to get the nod.
If it were up to me we’d all be a lot less sentimental and more cutthroat about these decisions, but that isn’t how I think this will go.
What I think will win – “Boyhood”.
What I want to win – “Whiplash”.
Again, I feel that there are only two real contenders for this award, and those people correspond to the films I previously mentioned. Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”), and Alejandro G. Inarritu (“Birdman”), are the only people in this category that I consider to have a chance at winning. I think that for this category that’s more than fair, because they both went above and beyond in order to create films that are as close to art as you can get, and they achieved a lot just by making passable movies. “Boyhood” was shot over 12 years and Linklater had to keep his actors motivated, as well as make sure that the movie felt as though it was progressing as time passed. Furthermore, he managed to basically teach a child actor the trade as time went on, which is an incredible undertaking, because if the boy couldn’t hold his own then the film would’ve been a disaster.
Inarritu, on the other hand, created a film with incredible care and precision, making it feel as though you were really watching a person’s life fall apart in front of your eyes. He let us peek behind the curtain and see into the mind of an actor, and he also explored what it is to be successful in this world, questioning our existence through Riggan Thomson’s (Michael Keaton) quest for recognition. The movie was filmed as though it was one continuous shot and this was executed perfectly, which was quite amazing.
So, those are the two options as far as I’m concerned, and actually I think that Linklater should win. If he does I’d like “Birdman” to win Best Picture, because I think for Inarritu and his team to not be recognised would be an absolute travesty.
Who I think will win – Richard Linklater.
Who I want to win – Richard Linklater.
Actor In A Leading Role
This category is as close to a sure thing as you can get at this kind of ceremony. If anyone other than Eddie Redmayne wins this award then frankly the whole thing will be a joke! His only competition is Michael Keaton, who admittedly was good in “Birdman”, but his performance in that film doesn’t hold a candle to Redmayne’s in “The Theory of Everything”.
Redmayne’s performance was careful and moving, he made the movie what it was, and without him it simply wouldn’t have worked. He was playing a real person, so he had to be considerate in his performance and make sure not to offend, and he also had to maintain a contorted body position in some very emotional scenes, which he did, whilst delivering his lines perfectly. He did everything right, and at the end of the day his job was a lot more difficult than Keaton’s in “Birdman”.
Keaton put his soul in front of the camera for “Birdman”, he gave it everything and he delivered in a big way, showing no shame. However, he could relate to the character and the world he was in, and he didn’t have to do anything special in the movie. By contrast, Redmayne was playing a character with a serious disease, that he doesn’t have, and he did so convincingly and powerfully. I personally don’t see how that isn’t more noteworthy and more impressive than anything that anyone in this category had to do.
The only other person that gave a performance that was even close to Redmayne’s in the past year, in my opinion, was Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler”, but he isn’t nominated so throw all your money on Eddie Redmayne for best leading man.
Who I think will win – Eddie Redmayne.
Who I want to win – Eddie Redmayne.
Actress In A Leading Role
This is a difficult category for me to comment on, because sadly I haven’t seen many of the films involved, and therefore I can’t appraise all of the performances. I loved Rosemund Pike in “Gone Girl”, I thought that she did the best job that she possibly could’ve done, and she made the movie a great experience for me. I chose “Gone Girl” as my favourite film of 2014, which shows just how good I think Pike’s performance was, because she was the key factor in making that film spectacular. As a result, I want Pike to win this award. I want the film to get some form of reward for being genuinely superb, because it deserves something more than mainstream popularity. It was an awesome film, and while we’re on the topic, I don’t see how “Gone Girl” isn’t better than “American Sniper”, or why Ben Affleck has been totally ignored in the discussion for Actor in a Leading Role.
Nevertheless, I don’t think my wish will come true. Julianne Moore has been getting all the plaudits in the run-up to these awards, and I expect that to continue. I haven’t seen “Still Alice” yet, because it doesn’t hit cinemas in England till the beginning of March, so I’m not able to say whether or not I agree with Moore’s nomination. However, what I will say is that I tend to dislike her performances, so I will be intrigued to see the film and decide whether or not the praise is deserved.
Who I think will win – Julianne Moore.
Who I want to win – Rosemund Pike.
Actor In A Supporting Role
This is another category which contains varying degrees of quality, and I certainly don’t think that it’s an even playing field for those involved in the discussion. There are two people that I believe have earned the right to be talked about… J. K. Simmons and Edward Norton.
For me, Edward Norton gave the best performance in “Birdman”. He stole the show from Michael Keaton in every scene they shared, and the only reason that I’m not flying the flag for him to win this award is that he just doesn’t have enough screen time. His character isn’t developed enough to beat out his main opposition, because once he’s said his piece, Mike Shiner sort of disappears in “Birdman”. After a certain amount of time he’s no longer required to move the plot along, so his lines become less interesting and his time on screen becomes less frequent.
On the other hand, J. K. Simmons is everything for “Whiplash”. Without his performance that film just wouldn’t be the same, and that’s the criteria by which I think this category should be judged. The movie was brilliant, and so was Miles Teller, but would it have been even half as good without Simmons as the sadistic conductor? I say no, and for that reason I think he deserves to win this award. In fact, I think he should be being considered in the Leading Role category, because he’s one of two leading men in that movie. If Steve Carell can be nominated as a leading actor in “Foxcatcher” then I think that Simmons definitely could have been for “Whiplash, however, that’s a debate for another day. For now I will simply say that J. K. Simmons should win, and I think he will.
Who I think will win – J. K. Simmons.
Who I want to win – J. K. Simmons.
Actress In A Supporting Role
This is another award which I feel a bit out of synch with, because I haven’t seen all the films involved. I won’t linger for too long on why I think Emma Stone should win, because I don’t feel that she deserves to in an overly passionate way. I simply feel that she was one part of a wonderful movie, and that she performed her role perfectly. She was the mouthpiece for a lot of the interesting ideas in “Birdman”, and she stood toe-to-toe with some very good actors, who gave great performances.
The reason that I don’t think I need to argue vehemently for my choice here is that the argument for Patricia Arquette can be made in much the same way. Furthermore, she’s a very capable actress and deserves her time in the limelight; I loved “Medium”, (till the very last episode!), and she was a huge reason why. Therefore, I’m not going to soil her good name, and if she wins I will be very pleased for her.
Who I think will win – Patricia Arquette.
Who I want to win – Emma Stone.
Animated Feature Film
This is another frustratingly short discussion, because there’s only one film that has any real chance of winning. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” will win this award, I would wager a lot of money on that fact. Everyone loves it, it’s the safe choice, and it’s a family friendly movie.
However, as far as I’m concerned it definitely shouldn’t win. “Big Hero 6” is amazing! It’s as good as it gets for an animated movie, it’s well written, visually stunning, the characters are rich and likeable, the villain is exciting and has a great hook, and all in all its just fantastic. I loved every minute of that film and I wish that more people would be talking about it. I badly want it to win, because accolades mean that people start to take notice, and this film deserves more of a following. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have a lot of fans already, but I think that everyone HAS to see this film. It’s incredible, and if there was any justice it would win (and it would face “The Lego Movie” as its main competitor)!
Finally, on a related note, I’d like to give a special mention to “Feast”, which is an animated short film that was played before I saw “Big Hero 6”. Obviously, the Animated Short Film category isn’t one which I know much about, so I don’t want to say which film I think will win, but I really loved this film. It was beautiful and moving in such a short space of time, and it deserves recognition. The animation style was great, and Winston (the canine main character) was adorable. It was a lovely way to ease me into seeing “Big Hero 6”, and I enjoyed it very much.
What I think will win – “How To Train Your Dragon 2”.
What I want to win – “Big Hero 6”.