2015 Oscar Picks – The Big Six


It’s hard to believe it but tomorrow night is Oscar night. I realize that some dismiss the event, but I always enjoy it. Granted, I rarely agree with them, but I always love the opportunity to celebrate movies and talk about them among my movie loving pals. To be honest this year’s Oscars seem to be lacking the excitement mainly due to what could be termed a less than exciting field of nominees. Nevertheless there are some intriguing scenarios so I’m going to talk about them, namely the Big Six Oscar categories. Here are the nominees, who I think should win, who I think will win, the category’s most criminal omission, and a brief breakdown.


“American Sniper”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

WHO SHOULD WIN – “Boyhood”

WHO WILL WIN – “Birdman”


BREAKDOWN – If you would have asked me a month ago I would have told you with certainty that “Boyhood” would win Best Picture. But over time there has been this weird swell of backlash and regardless of how unfair it paints the film, “Boyhood” seems to have taken a fairly big blow. And it just may be enough to knock it out of a Best Picture Oscar. But the more I thought about it the more it makes sense. Richard Linklater doesn’t make Oscar-type movies. He makes small intimate pictures so it makes sense that “Boyhood” would lose to the much showier “Birdman”. It’s not that “Birdman” is a bad film. It simply isn’t nearly as profound as it thinks it is while “Boyhood” will stick with me for years.


Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – “Birdman”
Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller – “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum – “The Imitation Game”

WHO SHOULD WIN – Wes Anderson

WHO WILL WIN – Alejandro Iñárritu

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar”)

BREAKDOWN – This is perhaps the most intriguing category of the night. Part of me would love to see Richard Linklater win for his remarkable and intensely personal achievement. But suddenly I find myself rooting for Wes Anderson. Much like Linklater, he doesn’t make films that normally attract Oscar votes outside of the screenplay categories. That’s a shame because “Budapest” is a movie that continues to grow on me. So this category belongs to Iñárritu. For some reason the visual side of directing seems to be what is often awarded these days, and the visual presentation was certainly the strong point of “Birdman”.


Steve Carrell – “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper – “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne – “The Theory of Everything”

WHO SHOULD WIN – Michael Keaton

WHO WILL WIN – Michael Keaton

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”)

BREAKDOWN – This is another category that seems to have tightened up in the last few weeks. I have always loved Michael Keaton and it’s been great seeing him back on the big screen getting some significant roles. I’m definitely rooting for him and at one point he seemed like a slam dunk. But Eddie Redmayne seems to be gaining momentum and some people have him picked as their winner. I just can’t see him overcoming Keaton’s early established lead, and if Redmayne were to win it be a huge surprise.


Marion Cotillard – “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones – “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore – “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”

WHO SHOULD WIN – Marion Cotillard

WHO WILL WIN – Julianne Moore

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – Marion Cotillard (“The Immigrant”)

BREAKDOWN – This is one category that I can’t be completely objective about. I still haven’t seen “Still Alice”. But Marion Cotillard never ceases to amaze me. She is one of the most naturally gifted actresses I have ever seen and her work in “Two Days, One Night” is a shining example of her immense talent. I have no doubt that Moore does a great job, but I have a hard time believing anyone could beat what Cotillard gave us in two different 2014 performances.


Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
Laura Dern – “Wild”
Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone – “Birdman”
Meryl Streep – “Into the Woods”

WHO SHOULD WIN – Patricia Arquette

WHO WILL WIN – Patricia Arquette

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – Agata Kulesza (“Ida”)

BREAKDOWN – Aside from Meryl Streep’s ridiculous nomination, this is a pretty intriguing list. It’s also another category that I think the Academy is going to get right. Arquette is such a pivotal ingredient to what made “Boyhood” so special. In many ways she is the film’s centerpiece. I always enjoy a little intrigue and suspense when it comes to awarding Oscars. This is one case where I’m glad there is no question and the winner is a sure thing.


Robert Duvall – “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke – “Boyhood”
Edward Norton – “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo – “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons – “Whiplash

WHO SHOULD WIN – Ethan Hawke

WHO WILL WIN – J.K. Simmons

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – Robert Pattinson (“The Rover”)

BREAKDOWN – The winner of this category is as certain as death and taxes. J.K. Simmons should have a place cleared off on his mantle because there is no way anyone else in this category has a shot at winning. Simmons is a guy everyone likes so it’s hard not to be happy for him. Personally I would love to see Hawke get the nod here. He is the perfect fit for his flaky but well-intentioned character in Boyhood and many of the film’s best scenes were the ones he was in.

So there you have my picks for who should win and who will win along with a few glaring omissions that I’m sure will shame the Academy to no end. So what do you think of my take on tomorrow night’s Oscars? Where did I get it wrong? Who do you have as the winners? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and we will see how we did on Monday.


Your Voices: On the Oscars

Your Voices

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic and I’ll take time to make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day!

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

There are a host of opinions about the Academy Awards. There are many who absolutely love the Oscars and view them as the pinnacle of the past movie year. Their excitement spikes once the nominees are announced and they can’t wait to see who takes home the year’s most prestigious movie prize. But there is another group with a far more dismissive take. They pay no attention to the Oscars and they give no credibility to the nominees, winners, or process. They see them as frivolous and without merit mainly because they disagree with the movies that Oscar awards or they find such awards pointless.

I tend to lean towards the first form of thinking, but not necessarily for the same reasons. First off I don’t view the Oscars as the measuring stick for the best movies of the year. For example, this year only two films out of the nine nominated for Best Picture made my Top 10 list. That’s normally the case every year. Today’s Academy Awards aren’t as reflective of the year’s best movies as they were in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Sure Oscar would occasionally flub it up back then, but most of the time at least every nominee was a great film. That leads to the biggest reason why I personally love the Oscars. There is such a great tradition and a rich history that comes with the Academy Awards. Seeing movies, directors, actors, and actresses join such an amazing lineage is cause for both excitement and debate among film fans. I love that.

YOUR VOICES: What are your thoughts on The Academy Awards?

Now it’s time for Your Voices. What do you think about the Academy Awards? How do you approach them? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. After all, this is all about Your Voices and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

“ARGO” and the Oscars


There’s a very interesting thing happening this awards season. The believed to be front-runner for Oscar’s biggest award, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, finds itself in the dust of the surprising “Argo”, Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller. I loved “Argo” as did many others and I have no problem with its award season success, but very few people saw this one coming. Sunday night it took home the biggest prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards to go along with the top prize it won at The Golden Globes. So now all eyes are on The Academy Awards. But for “Argo” to pull one final rabbit out of its hat it’s going to have to buck a pretty established trend.

In what I believe are two of the most inexplicable snubs in Oscar history, the Academy failed to give director nominations to either Affleck for “Argo” or Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty”. Bigelow has won several recent awards including the Best Director nod from the New York Film Critics. But it’s “Argo” that’s really running wild and it’s “Argo” that could be the fly in the Academy’s soup. You see the winner of the Best Director Oscar is almost always a sign of who will win Best Picture. It’s extremely, extremely rare for a Best Picture winner to not also take home the Best Director Oscar. So what is the Academy to do? This spotlights their blatant snubs even more and with them comes real questions of motivation.

Could it be the Academy is punishing Bigelow and Affleck for the perceived politics behind their films? Now I think anyone watching these two fantastic movies with an ounce of objectivity has to conclude that both are simply telling stories and not trying to make a huge political point. Perhaps that’s why I loved them so much. I get tired of being force-fed political perspective at the expense of good storytelling. Both of these movies are set in politically charged climates yet both Affleck and Bigelow allow the audience to process the politics. In fact, for me both pictures go beyond politics and into much deeper and more personal areas – something I can really appreciate.

So what else could the Academy’s beef be with Affleck and Bigelow? Both have created strong and challenging movies that certainly deserve to be nominated. Could it be that the Academy is unhappy with Affleck and Bigelow’s failure to use their opportunity to put a hard political slant on their films? Are they angry because they see the two films as leaning too much to the political right? Whatever the inexcusable reasoning is behind it the Academy has dropped the ball and now “Argo” is bringing it all into the light. I love it!

It’s Oscar Time….

We are only a couple of hours away from the 2012 Oscars. It’s the Super Bowl of movies minus the mystery and minus without the clear deserved winner when the show is over. But it’s still fun and exciting, filled with stars and linking a new group of Oscar-winning movies with a great history. So with just minutes to go, once again here is what I expect to happen tonight…

Tonight will be a big night for “The Artist”. I fully expect it to take home the Best Picture Oscar with its closest competition being Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants”. While personally I’ll be rooting for “The Tree of Life”, it has no chance. This is a two movie race. I also expect Michel Hazanavicius to win Best Director, an award than often times signals what film will be winning Best Picture.

The Oscar media is desperately trying to hype a George Clooney (The Descendants) vs Brad Pitt (Moneyball) Best Actor race but Pitt really has no shot. This is a race between Clooney and Jean Dujardin (The Artist). While Clooney is the golden boy of Hollywood is was strong in “The Descendants”, I expect Dujardin to win the Best Actor Oscar and rightly so.

Yes, Meryl Streep has been nominated 257,000 times and only won twice. Yes, many believe she will win tonight for her work in the underwhelming “The Iron Lady”. I’m not one of those believers. I think Streep will settle for another nomination as Viola Davis gets the win for her work in “The Help”. While it’s also a flawed movie, Davis’ performance outweighs Streep’s and it’s hard to argue with her winning.

The Supporting awards are pretty much a sure thing. Octavia Spencer will easily beat her “The Help” co-star Jessica Chastain (who should have been nominated for her much stronger performances in “Take Shelter” and “The Tree of Life”). Christopher Plummer seems to be the Academy’s choice for Best Supporting Actor already even though I would much rather see Nick Nolte get it for “Warrior”.

I’m hoping “Midnight in Paris” and “Hugo” get some love tonight as well but these are the big winners. What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Feel free to share below. One things for sure, it should be a fun night.