Welcome to the first Movie Madness blog of 2015. David “Double D” Denis coming at ya’ll with my look at this year’s Oscar picks. We’ll talk about some of the major categories, some terrible snubs that make people complain on the internet (like me!) and those weird nominations for movies you’ve never heard of. I’ll also let you know my favourites for each category and who I think will probably win (despite who I think should win). If nothing else, it might help you win your Oscar pool.
I’m going to skip things like short films, documentaries and foreign films, because I honestly don’t know that much about any of those things, though if my local theatre was playing things like Force Majeure or Leviathan, I’d be first in line.
We’ll start with the technical stuff. Visual effects is really anyone’s game this year. Guardians of the Galaxy may be a favourite simply because everyone liked that movie, but my personal pick would have to be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It’s really the first time in a movie where I had to constantly remind myself that what I was watching was, in fact, produced in and by a computer. It’s maybe the most convincing CGI I’ve ever seen in any movie ever, even when the apes are two feet away from the screen, the film entirely avoided that weird fake cleanness that CGI is often plagued with. Guardians, if anything, was more a feet in make-up, which is why I put it down as the shoe-in for that category. Anything related to the art department (costume design, production design) is most likely going to The Grand Budapest Hotel, but Into the Woods could be a contender too. GBP has already won a few awards in this category however and it had such a lock on its own style, it’s hard to see anything else competing.
My personal favourite awards, sound editing and sound mixing, which most people would be hard pressed to tell you the difference between, have some interesting choices presented this year, with films like Whiplash, The Hobbit and Unbroken making it in there. There are two big contenders here, Interstellar and American Sniper, but I’m going to have to go with the latter as the more likely choice. I didn’t like American Sniper (a blog subject in itself) and I don’t think it deserves its best picture nod this year, but damn if that movie didn’t sound great!
The best song Oscar is so obviously going to Selma’s Glory that I’m not even bothering to listen to the other candidates, most of which are from movies I’ve never even heard of. The big except is The Lego Movie’s Everything is Awesome by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island, which I think just got nominated as a joke or to say they’re sorry for not nominating The Lego Movie in the best animated film category. This, I might add, is this year’s most glaring omission, considering The Lego movie actually won the Critic’s Choice award for best animated film and the fact that that movie was amazing. I’m starting to like the CCA’s more than the Oscars at this point. How to Train Your Dragon 2 will most likely take that category anyways, and I can’t complain too much, because I loved that movie, but no Lego Movie? Boo.
Music is another toughie this year, especially since the obvious choice, another glaring omission, Antonio Sanchez’s haunting orchestral score for Birdman (and to a lesser extent the scores for Gone Girl and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is completely missing from the list of nominees. Alexandre Desplat has the odds tipping in his favour with a double nomination for The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but Johan Johannson (whose name actually translates to John Johnson, which is kind of amazing) won the Globe for his The Theory of Everything score, which was sad, if not as memorable as some of the other contestants. It’s a tough one to call.
The rest of the technical awards are not tough to call at all, like AT ALL. Birdman is GOING TO WIN cinematography. If there was a movie called “Cinematography: The Movie” featuring Wally Pfister, Roger Deakins and Janusz Kaminski nominated in that same category, it would still lose (especially because it contains Roger Deakins). In the same vein, Boyhood 100% will win editing. They spliced footage shot over 12 years into a coherent narrative. No one else stands a chance.
The acting awards are all pretty easy to guess too as the same actors have been winning in each category at every lead-up show. Julianne Moore better be getting her speech ready for Still Alice, which I haven’t seen yet, but would like to. I can’t complain too much about Jennifer Aniston failing to secure a nomination for Cake, since I haven’t seen that either and no one has seen the movie Marion Cotillard is nominated for, but that’s par for the course. Supporting actor is practically already J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette better make some room in one of her cabinets for that supporting actress statue. I also hope she rubs it in Meryl Streep’s face, because that’s always fun. Meryl Streep is just getting nominations because her first name is Meryl and her last name is Streep. Seriously, if you saw Into the Woods, she wasn’t THAT good in it, but I digress. The only category with a bit of a struggle is the battle between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton for best actor, though one of my favourite performances of the year, Ralph Fiennes magnificent turn in The Grand Budapest Hotel, failed to snag a nomination for whatever reason. I want Keaton to win, because I loved Birdman so much and wasn’t too fond of the Oscar-bait that was The Theory of Everything, but being Oscar-bait, it stands a better chance of winning thanks to the fact that if you play a person with any sort of disability, you’re basically guaranteed an Academy Award for your efforts (unless you go full retard), just like how women have to win by “uglifying” themselves. Play by the Academy’s rules and you’ll take home some gold.
Screenwriting is interesting too, because of yet another glaring example of Gone Girl not getting nominated in one of the many categories where it more than deserved a nod. With one of the obvious choices missing for some unexplained reason, it’s a competition between the runner-ups, at least in the adapted category. It’ll likely be down to either The Imitation Game or Whiplash. I have to admit here, I haven’t seen Whiplash yet. Something always comes up every time I plan to watch it, for whatever reason, so I can’t comment too much on its chances. So for now, I’m going to guess Imitation Game, mostly because of how it bounces between the different eras of Alan Turing’s life relatively seamlessly, but that guess might change as I view more of the nominees (I haven’t seen Inherent Vice yet either). By the way, you just KNOW that Neil Patrick Harris is going to make a joke about Whiplash being the one best picture nominee that no one saw. They make that joke every year. In this year’s original screenplay category, the most likely winners are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman, but Birdman already has two similar awards under its belt and momentum means a lot in this category, so I’m gonna have to go with that one. I loved both of those movies, so I’m happy with either, but I think I’d be just a little bit happier to see GBH get it, since it’s nice to see the Academy finally giving Wes Anderson his due (which honestly feels like too little, too late at this point, but it’s better than nothing).
Directing and Best Picture often go hand and in hand and will most likely both go to Boyhood this year, as it’s the favourite to win. Honestly, if either Boyhood, Birdman or The Grand Budapest Hotel wins, I’ll be happy, but I’m thinking Richard Linklater is a lock for best director due to the sheer commitment of directing the same movie on and off for twelve years. He’s another guy I’m glad to see finally get some long-overdue acknowledgement. I don’t understand why the Academy doesn’t just make it mandatory to nominate ten films every year as opposed to making the nominations list up-to-but-no-more-than ten. Then they could squeeze Foxcatcher, Gone Girl or maybe Wild in there and make less people like me complain on the internet.
Either way, if American Sniper wins best picture, I’m gonna hurl myself into a volcano.