Saturday, February 21, 2015

Oscars 2014: Who will win and who SHOULD win??

Tomorrow night is one of my favorite nights of the year—the Oscars.

If you know me reasonably well, or have been following my blog, you're aware of my obsession with all things Oscar. Of course, with any awards program, the winners are always subjective, and there's rarely universal agreement about who deserves to win. And with about a million different awards being handed out prior to the Oscars, there are rarely many surprises when the winners are finally announced on Oscar night.

But I won't let that stop me from sharing my predictions for who will win the major awards on Sunday night, and who I think should win. We've seen all of the films nominated for Best Picture, and all of the performances nominated for acting awards except one, so I feel pretty knowledgeable when sharing my opinions. (Not that I've let it stop me before.)

How accurate will I be? Tune in tomorrow night and find out!

Best Picture
The nominees are: American Sniper; Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything; and Whiplash.

Who Will Win: As much as I'm hoping it won't, I believe Birdman may very well win Best Picture, although it's locked in a very tight race with Boyhood.

Who Should Win: My favorite movie of the year, and the film I believe most deserving of the Oscar, is Boyhood. Not only is it an achievement in filmmaking the likes of which no one has ever seen, but it's a beautifully told, artfully written, splendidly acted movie. Here's hoping it ekes out a victory!

Best Actor
The nominees are: Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; Bradley Cooper, American Sniper; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Michael Keaton, Birdman; and Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything.

Who Will Win: This, like Best Picture, is a two-man race, between Eddie Redmayne, for his physical transformation into Stephen Hawking, and Michael Keaton, for his comeback role in a part seemingly written for him. Oscar loves biographies and physical transformations, but they also love comebacks, and while Redmayne won the Screen Actors Guild Award (he and Keaton both won Golden Globes), I think Keaton's film has the momentum, so I expect to see Keaton accepting the Oscar, although a Redmayne win wouldn't surprise me.

Who Should Win: Well, the actor who actually SHOULD win the Oscar, is David Oyelowo for Selma, but since he shockingly wasn't nominated, my second-favorite performance of the year was Redmayne's.

Best Actress
The nominees are: Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; and Reese Witherspoon, Wild.

Who Will Win: Julianne Moore is widely expected to finally win an Oscar, on her fifth nomination. (She should have won before this, but that's another post for another day.) She has won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and many feel she's due.

Who Should Win: If there's any justice in the world, Moore will finally win her Oscar. But unlike many "it's about time" wins, her performance in Still Alice is absolutely exquisite. On the whole, this is a pretty strong group of nominees.

Best Supporting Actor
The nominees are: Robert Duvall, The Judge; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; and J.K. Simmons, Whiplash.

Who Will Win: While I suppose there's a chance Robert Duvall could pull off a surprise win given the longevity of his career, I believe Simmons will take home the Oscar for his intense performance, as well as being in so many roles, including Farmers' Insurance commercials.

Who Should Win: Simmons was absolutely mesmerizing in this fantastic film. His is one of the performances that hasn't left my mind since I saw the film. But what's amazing about this category, other than Duvall, is that there are a few nominees who have done great work and are due for their own awards—Norton (who should have won in 1998 for American History X), as well as Ruffalo and Hawke, both of whom have turned in some really terrific performances through the years.

Best Supporting Actress
The nominees are: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Laura Dern, Wild; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; and Meryl Streep, Into the Woods.

Who Will Win: I believe Patricia Arquette, who has won nearly every precursor award given out prior to the Oscars, will take home her first Oscar tomorrow night. There's a tiny part of me that wonders if Laura Dern couldn't pull off a Marcia Gay Harden-like surprise win (neither were nominated for Golden Globe or SAG Awards), but I don't think Dern's role reached the intensity of Harden's in Pollock back in 2000.

Who Should Win: Dern, Knightley, Stone, and Streep all turn in memorable performances, but Arquette gave Boyhood such heart and soul. I'm so glad she's finally found a film role so perfect for her, and her performance really ran the gamut of emotions.

Best Director
The nominees are: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher; and Morton Tyldum, The Imitation Game.

Who Will Win: Much like Best Picture, I think this is a two-person race between Gonzalez Iñarritu and Linklater. Some think that Birdman and Boyhood will split the top prizes, much like last year when 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture and Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for Gravity. I still think Gonzalez Iñarritu will eke out the win.

Who Should Win: Hands down, Richard Linklater should win this award for his work on Boyhood. To come up with an idea like, let's film the same cast once a year for 12 years, and then do it so extraordinarily, is deserving of recognition, but his body of work is equally laudable. I hope he wins this.

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