Oscars 2015

Well, here we are again. Another year, another Academy Awards ceremony. As brevity is always preferred here are “The Skinny”, here are my picks for the nominations. I will do an update to see how close my predictions were after the show.

My picks are Bold, eventual winners will be Green if I picked right, Red if not.

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

I actually felt Grand Budapest hotel was the best, or at least my favorite of the bunch. To my tastes, it was everything I want from a film, something Wes Anderson excels at doing. His stable of Cast and Crew rarely disappoint.

Boyhood was an “okay” film. The stunt of making a movie over 15 or so years was cool, especially as it was coherent by the end, but it just felt like a series of random moments rather than a full film. It succeeded, but not Oscar caliber.

Imitation Game was amazing well done. Topical subject which, correctly, shows the great debt our modern world owes to Alan Turing.

Selma is probably the best MLK movie made, as of yet. Too bad it gets lost in the shuffle this year.

The Theory of Everything covers one of my favorite people on Earth- Dr Hawking. Redmayne was very good in the role, but it’s blatant oscar baiting turned me off.

Whiplash: SO FUCKING GOOD. A part of me hopes this comes out of nowhere to win, but a JK Simmons Oscar would be deserved. It brings back memories of my own time as a trumpeter in many bands over the years, particularly jazz band back in the day. While my teachers were good, kind, men, I understand the intensity and it brings me back to my teens.

Birdman was a loaded movie. It’s single-shot style of editing was inspired to show our lead characters descent into madness. Michael Keaton gave the performance of his career. The ending, I thought, was awesome. While somewhat open to interpretation, if you look close enough at the details, the entire end of the film is likely his manic fantasy of how things are going to play out, when in reality it all ended on the stage- the point where the “single take” cinematography ends.

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

While Redmayne has a shot for his “oscar bait” role as Hawking, Michael Keaton knocked it out of the park in Birdman. It’s a shame Ralph Fiennes was not considered.

Update: bull….shit.

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”

Moore is getting a lot of late buzz for Still Alice. I think she’s got a legitimate shot, otherwise Rosamund Pike gets it for her great performance in Gone Girl.

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

Simmons all the way. Norton was great, but this has to go to J.K.

Supporting Actress
— Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
— Laura Dern, “Wild”
— Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
— Emma Stone, “Birdman”
— Meryl Streep, “Into the Wild”

As safe as it normally is to go with Streep, this one goes to Arquette. She was the glue that held Boyhood together. Her final scene was a bit much, but was in character.

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

Lego Movie was robbed. That’s all I have to say here. Move Along.

UPDATE: Comic movie for the win. Takes away the sting.

— Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
— Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”
— Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”
— Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”

Without a doubt Lubezki. Birdman was fantastically shot. I give a dark horse entry to Yeoman as welll.

Costume Design
— Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Mark Bridges, “Inherent Vice”
— Colleen Atwood, “Into the Woods”
— Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, “Maleficent”
— Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”

Canonero. The clothes MADE that movie. So well done.

— Alejandro Inarritu, “Birdman”
— Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
— Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
— Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Did Linklater make the best film of these men? No. Inarritu or Anderson have a better claim. Linklater will win because few Directors would have the audacity to shoot a single movie over 15 or so years, let alone have it come out as good as Boyhood is.

UPDATE: Once again, very happy to be wrong!!!

Documentary Feature
— “CitizenFour,” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
— “Finding Vivian Maier,” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
— “Last Days in Vietnam,” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
— “The Salt of the Earth,” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
— “Virunga,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Have not seen any of these. I will pick CitizenFour as it sounds most interesting to me.

Documentary Short Subject
— “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
— “Joanna,” Aneta Kopacz
— “Our Curse,” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
— “The Reaper (La Parka),” Gabriel Serra Arguello
— “White Earth,” J. Christian Jensen

Once again, no frame of reference. The Reaper.

Film Editing
— Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, “American Sniper”
— Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”
— Barney Pilling, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— William Goldenberg, “The Imitation Game”
— Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

Wow. I am kind of shocked that Birdman was not nominated. Boyhood for taking 15 years of random shots and making a movie out of it, despite my feeling that Budapest was better edited.

UPDATE: Whiplash definitely earned it. I just thought the stunt editing would win. Pleasantly surprised by the Academy this year.

Foreign Language Film
— “Ida,” Poland
— “Leviathan,” Russia
— “Tangerines,” Estonia
— “Timbuktu,” Mauritania
— “Wild Tales,” Argentina

Leviathan, as I have heard nothing but amazing tales of it.


Makeup and Hairstyling
— Bill Corso annd Dennis Liddiard, “Foxcatcher”
— Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

They made Steve Carell ugly. Foxcatcher wins. lol

UPDATE: Pleasantly surprised to be wrong!

Original Score
— Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
— Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
— Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner”
— Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”

Desplat cheated lol. Terrific music.

Original Song
— “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” music and lyric by Shawn Patterson
— “Glory” from “Selma,” music and lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
— “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights,” music and lyric by Diane Warren
— “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me,” music and lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
— “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again,” music and lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Glory is getting a lot of buzz, for it’s ferguson/MLK subject matter, but I cannot vote against Everything is Awesome. I accept this eventual loss. lol

Production Design
— Adam Stockhausen (production design); Anna Pinnock (set decoration), “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Maria Djurkovic (production design); Tatiana Macdonald (set decoration), “The Imitation Game”
— Nathan Crowley (production design); Gary Fettis (set decoration), “Interstellar”
— Dennis Gassner (production design); Anna Pinnock (set decoration); “Into the Woods”
— Suzie Davies (production design); Charlotte Watts (set decoration); “Mr. Turner”

This is a tough one. I go with Grand Budapest.

Animated Short Film
— “The Bigger Picture,” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hess
— “The Dam Keeper,” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
— “Feast,” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
— “Me and My Moulton,” Torill Kove
— “A Single Life,” Joris Oprins

Random pick.

Live Action Short Film
— “Aya,” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
— “Boogaloo and Graham,” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
— “Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak),” Hu Wei and Julien Feret
— “Parvaneh,” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
— “The Phone Call,” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

Random pick

Sound Editing
— Alan Robert Murray and Bob Asman, “American Sniper”
— Martin Hernandez and Aaron Glascock, “Birdman”
— Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
— Richard King, “Interstellar”
— Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, “Unbroken” Sound

Sniper used sound quite well to build tension.

— John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin, “American Sniper”
— Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano and Thomas Varga, “Birdman”
— Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, “Interstellar”
— Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano and David Lee, “Unbroken”
— Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, “Whiplash”

Whiplash. It captured the music so well.

Visual Effects
— Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
— Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
— Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul
Corbould, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
— Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, “Interstellar”
— Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Hmmm. Interstellar’s SFX actually made a scientific discovery about Black Holes, but Apes used MoCap to make those Apes feel real. Best yet.

UPDATE: Interstellar gets it for scientific advancement. Cool.

Adapted Screenplay
— Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
— Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
— Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
— Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
— Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

I don’t really have a horse in this race. I always go with oscar bait when in doubt.

UPDATE: I am happy with this. The Alan Turing story is an important one.

Original Screenplay
— Alejandro Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo, “Birdman”
— Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
— E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”
— Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
— Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

Boyhood did not have much of a screenplay to note. Despite my love of Budapest, I see Birdman taking it.

12/24 50%

Many of the losses were due to me trying to gauge Academy politics rather than follow my gut- something I won’t be doing in 2016.

taking out the short/documentary categories (where i just guessed) i was 11/16. Not too shabby.

Birdman was the big winner, taking many of the big categories with 4 total Oscars.

My fave- Grand Budapest tied with 4 Oscars, although in the less flashy awards such as costumes and design.

Whiplash earned 3 well deserved Oscars

The other Best picture Nominees picked up at least 1 Oscar each, meaning all 8 received honors. Not bad.

See you next year!!

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