2015 Oscar Picks – The Big Six

OSCARS

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.

BEST PICTURE

“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

WHO SHOULD WIN – “Boyhood”

WHO WILL WIN – “Birdman”

MOST CRIMINAL OMISSION – “Interstellar”

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.

BEST DIRECTOR

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”.

BEST ACTOR

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.

BEST ACTRESS

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.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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.

THE END

Random Thoughts on the 2015 Oscar Nominations

OSCARS

I love this time of the year. It’s awards season which some people like to dismiss and I certainly understand why. Personally I love it because it gives us a chance to talk about movies, to support the movies we loved from the previous years, to debate the merits of certain movies, and to dissect what the Academy got right and what they totally flubbed. This year is no different from the rest. The Academy offered some pleasant surprises. They also had some odd choices and some egregious snubs. As is the norm here at K&M, I’m throwing out some random thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards nominations…

  • Let’s get this out of the way first – How in the world was “The Lego Movie” not at least nominated for Best Animated Feature? This is the one true travesty of this year’s nominations.
  • “The Imitation Game” left with a surprising 8 nominations. I actually passed over it because I thought the reception was positive but nothing tremendous. Was I wrong?
  • Ok Academy, seriously? The Meryl Streep nomination thing had become a fun little joke but honestly it is becoming annoying. Deserving actresses are being left out for these ridiculous token nominations.
  • Dick Poop
  • “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” lead the pack with 9 nominations each. Of the two I like “Grand Budapest” the best, but Wes Anderson has a history of getting a lot of nominations but not that many wins.
  • Am I the only one who was broadsided by the strong showing of “American Sniper”? I knew there was some buzz behind it, but I didn’t think it was a ‘6 Oscar Nominations’ kind of buzz.
  • Many are pointing to “Selma” as Oscar’s biggest snub. Perhaps, but I think the movie is intensely powerful but also needlessly frustrating. I don’t think the movie was snubbed, but I do think David Oyelowo was. He absolutely deserved a nomination.
  • I loved seeing “Ida” nominated for its cinematography. It has absolutely no chance of winning, but I’m glad the Academy recognized its immense beauty.
  • Where is Amy Adams? Fresh off her Golden Globe win for “Big Eyes” I expected to hear her name. This once again proves that the Globes aren’t always the Oscar indicator that some think they are.
  • Do you realize that Bradley Cooper has received Oscar nominations for three straight years?
  • I’m always happy when I see Marion Cotillard’s name mentioned. “Two Days, One Night” still has opened up here, but I’m sure she is brilliant. She could have easily been nominated for “The Immigrant” as well.
  • Dick Poop
  • Do you think it was a good year for Alexandre Desplat? He was nominated twice in the Best Original Score category – for “The Imitation Game” and for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.
  • It was quite frustrating to see “Force Majeure” left out of the Best Foreign Language Film category. It’s hard to gripe since I haven’t seen all of the nominees, but “Force Majeure” was an incredible movie deserving of recognition.
  • So in the Academy’s eyes Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t deserve a nomination for “Nightcrawler”? I would love to hear the thought process behind that. Gyllenhaal was superb and there is no excuse for leaving him out.
  • Three comic book movies were nominated in the special effects category and all three will lose. I’m rooting for “Captain America” but “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has it wrapped up.
  • J.K. Simmons will be the biggest sure-thing of the entire show.
  • Actually all for acting categories have really strong frontrunners. Arquette, Simmons, Moore, and Keaton will probably all go home carrying a statue.
  • “Interstellar” is still my favorite film of the year. I would have liked to see it at least grab a Best Picture nomination. At least it was recognized in five other categories.
  • Sorry Jennifer Aniston. Some are pointing at Cotillard as the reason you weren’t nominated for “Cake”. Sorry Aniston fans, Cotillard is fabulous. Maybe you can point in another direction.
  • Interesting to see “Gone Girl” only grab one nomination. It didn’t make my Top 10 of 2014 but I know a lot of people were behind it.
  • Dick Poop

Those are a few random thoughts. Now, in case you missed anything, here is a complete list of this year’s Oscar nominees:

Best Picture
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Best Actor
Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”)
Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”)
Michael Keaton (“Birdman”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”)

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

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”)
Laura Dern (“Wild”)
Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”)
Emma Stone (“Birdman”)
Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”)

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall (“The Judge”)
Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”)
Edward Norton (“Birdman”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”)
J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”)

Best Director
Alejandro González Inárritu (“Birdman”)
Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”)
Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher”)
Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”)
Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”)

Best Animated Feature Film
“Big Hero 6”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of Princess Kaguya”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“American Sniper”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Best Original Screenplay
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”

Best Cinematography
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Ida”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

Best Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Best Documentary Feature
“Citizenfour”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper”
“White Earth”

Best Film Editing
“American Sniper”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Whiplash”

Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” (“The Lego Movie”)
“Glory” (“Selma”)
“Grateful” (“Beyond the Lights”)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”)
“Lost Stars” (“Begin Again

Best Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

Best Live Action Short Film
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Best Animated Short Film
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and my Moulton”
“A Single Life”

Best Sound Editing
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”

Best Sound Mixing
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Tangerines”
“Timbuktu”
“Wild Tales”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“The Theory of Everything”

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.