Last year we accurately predicted 23 out of 24 Oscar categories. And because the chances of our literally one-upping that record now that this year’s AMPAS dog and pony show has emerged, and so late in the game, as one of the wiliest to pin down in some time, we’re inclined to give less of a fuck than usual. Which is why we’re going out on a drumstick and calling this for Whiplash. Most are understandably rallying behind Boyhood, which won the Eddie for best edited dramatic feature and doesn’t have to compete in this category with our new presumptive best picture winner, Birdman. The effect of that film’s one-shot magic trick is just as dependent on its editing as it is on its cinematography, but such nuance clearly went above AMPAS’s collective toupee. To be honest, we wouldn’t have been surprised if the Richard Linklater film, given its conventional editing style, had failed to come up short here, as it did when the BAFTAs announced their own shortlist at the beginning of the year. And given the vast overlap between BAFTA and Oscar’s voting bodies, the win across the pond last Sunday for Whiplash is likely a prescient one. In the words of our own Eric Henderson: “Whiplash is basically a demonic musical—neo-Fosse attenuated to the misanthropic rhythms of homophobia. (Which is definitely NOT to say it has Fosse’s razor-sharp sense of timing. Not by a longshot. But it thinks it does, which, to quote J.K. Simmons’s character, is even worse. But certainly not a mark against its chances.)” More to the point: When in doubt, go with the film that most belligerently tests, for better and for worse, the audience’s patience.
Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel