Monday, January 26, 2015

Oscar Talk - Part 3

We're less than four weeks out from the Academy Awards and a clearer picture has finally formed in many of the major races. If you plan on enjoying the annual awards show Sunday night February 22nd, then I suggest signing up for my FREE OSCAR CONTEST with a chance to win $50 in gift cards to a movie theater chain of your choice (Regal/AMC).

Last evening's SAG awards, which is truly a prestigious honor throughout the acting community, reinforced many of the assumed winners in its five feature film categories. For a full list of winners from last night's SAG awards, click here. And now, here's a current look at how the major Oscar races appear to be playing out:

Best Picture

Despite all of the early precursor love for the coming-of-age flick, Boyhood, I'd say the Best Picture competition is far from decided. A few of the eight entrants are essentially just filling out the ballots, but some serious arguments can be made for Birdman or The Imitation Game pulling off the upset.

Predicted Winner: Boyhood

Who Else Could Win: Birdman and The Imitation Game

Other Nominees: American Sniper, The Grand Budapest hotel, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash

Best Director

Boyhood auteur Richard Linklater has been the beneficiary of Golden Globe and Critics' Choice wins in the director race, but he's certainly not a shoe-in for the Oscar statue. Birdman's visionary Alejandro G. Inarritu has a firm core of supporters who will work hard to make a shift in the momentum as the final voting unfolds. 

Predicted Winner: Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Who Else Could Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu - Birdman

Other Nominees: Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher and Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game

Best Actor

One of the only intriguing results from last night's SAG awards was Eddie Redmayne's conquest over Michael Keaton in the Best Actor race. Prior to the evening's events, I would have given a slight edge to Keaton as both men won Golden Globes for their performances. However, the upset, which even caught Redmayne himself by surprise, definitely shifts the momentum in the young Englishman's favor. This is one category that you'll want to keep an eye on over the next few weeks. 

Predicted Winner: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Who Else Could Win: Michael Keaton - Birdman

Other Nominees: Steve Carell - Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game and Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

Best Actress

The next trio of races, including this one, seem pretty much solidified. Although I've actually spoken out against rewarding Julianne Moore's assumed title for her turn in the middling drama Still Alice, it appears that only the end of the world itself could stop her from winning the award.

Predicted Winner: Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Who Else Could Win: Essentially no one feels realistic, but her staunchest competition comes from Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Other Nominees: Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night, Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything and Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl

Best Supporting Actor

Another theoretical "sure-thing" on Oscar night appears to be J.K. Simmons winning in the best Supporting Actor race. Make no mistake about it, Simmons is every bit as advertised in the musical drama Whiplash and he's completely deserving of the honor. You might as well look forward to his acceptance speech.

Predicted Winner: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Who Else Could Win: In another universe both Ethan Hawke - Boyhood or Edward Norton - Birdman might walk away with the statue

Other Nominees: Robert Duvall - The Judge and Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher

Best Supporting Actress

Boyhood has been riding a comfortable wave of success and its acting performance that's benefited the most is given by supporting star Patricia Arquette. But even if the iconic drama fails to run away with multiple wins on Oscar night, Arquette's performance shouldn't be effected. This is hers to lose and, frankly, it just won't happen.

Predicted Winner: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Who Else Could Win: Emma Stone - Birdman is a distant second

Other Nominees: Laura Dern - Wild, Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game and Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

Best Original Screenplay

In the Best Original Screenplay competition there are a trio of films who could end up victorious. For starters, Birdman has fared the best in the early stages of the game with Golden Globe and Critics' Choice wins and it gives the film a slight advantage at this point. However, much love had been given to Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and similar to last year's critical darling, Her, this is the film's best chance at a win. Finally, if Boyhood runs rampant on Oscar night, this could be a category the indie flick steals.

Predicted Winner: Birdman

Who Else Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Boyhood

Other Nominees: Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay

It would be devastating if one of the year's most beloved titles, The Imitation Game, went home empty handed on Oscar night. And since this could be the film's best chance at taking home a title, I"m putting my stock behind it for now. However, it won't be an easy task with the formidable indie sensation Whiplash right on its heels. The Theory of Everything boasts an outside chance at claiming the win, but I'm still saying, "there's a chance". 

Predicted Winner: The Imitation Game

Who Else Could Win: Whiplash and to a lesser extent The Theory of Everything

Other Nominees: American Sniper and Inherent Vice

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