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Foxcatcher (#110 of 16)

Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Picture: Birdman
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
Foreign Language: Ida
Documentary Feature: Virunga
Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Documentary Short: Our Curse
Animated Short: The Dam Keeper
Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Film Editing: Whiplash
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography: Birdman
Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Score: The Theory of Everything
Song: “Glory,” Selma
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Sound Mixing: Whiplash
Visual Effects: Interstellar

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor

First, praise be to the brave Oscar pundits who have Bradley Cooper in their crosshairs. Indeed, given how close this race probably is between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton, it’s easy to see how Cooper could benefit from a vote split, not unlike, some have argued, Adrien Brody did back in 2003 when this award was anticipated to go to either Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis. But we don’t have the courage to rally behind Cooper, terrific as he is in American Sniper, as this and adapted screenplay seem like the two categories where the contentiousness surrounding the Clint Eastwood film’s ostensibly mythmaking depiction of Chris Kyle is most likely to hurt. Which is to say nothing of the fact that, unlike Brody, Cooper enters this race without SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Original Screenplay

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

In what’s become an annual tradition, last weekend’s Writers Guild Awards weren’t much of a trial heat for the Oscars. Membership requirements repeatedly keep out many of the higher-profile Academy Award contenders. And sometimes the two branches, even when they both love certain scripts, disagree on where to slot them. Behold the miraculously adapted-original screenplay for Whiplash, of which the shenanigans that led to its “exclusion” here at least excuse me from having to fantasize about how thrilling voters likely find Damien Chazelle’s 50 shades of gay panic. (Ed gets that honor of unpacking the whole gory mess, so stay tuned.) That glitch aside, this slate is still a four-for-five match with the guild’s.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Director

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Director
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Director

Even as Boyhood steamrolled the critics groups, even as it dominated the Golden Globes, we had our doubts about its frontrunner status here and in best picture. This little film that so deeply ponders matters of life and love struck such a universal nerve that it seemed as if it could actually buck the trend on Oscar night wherein the most self-congratulatory totem to Hollywood itself typically reigns supreme. After losing the PGA, then (more expectedly) the SAG ensemble, only to then persevere at the BAFTAs, Boyhood was following in all of The Social Network’s footsteps. And just as David Fincher lost the DGA award to Tom Hooper, solidifying The King’s Speech’s frontrunner status leading into Oscar night, the nail in Boyhood’s coffin seemed to come when Richard Linklater lost to Alejandro González Iñárritu. Boyhood, a bigger-hearted film than The Social Network, may still win best picture—that is, if the PGA, SAG, and DGA victories for Birdman can be understood to represent a passionless kind of respect for the means by which the film’s producers, actors, and director, working in perfect congress, realized the pyrotechnic wonder of their one-take stunt. But that’s Eric Henderson’s argument to make next week. In this category where formal bombast is so often rewarded, as conductor of Birdman brute-force razzle dazzle, González Iñárritu is your winner almost by default.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

It may be a moot point since he actually got nominated in the lead category, but many wondered why Foxcatcher’s Steve Carell didn’t attempt a campaign in supporting actor, which is where BAFTA slotted him. In other words, his thinly drawn portrayal of John du Pont as an unstable, homicidal cuckoo would be competing in a category more welcoming of that particular kind of role. Best supporting actor has recently gone all-in for sociopathic, antagonistic wild cards (Anton Chigurh, the Joker, Jared Leto’s sense of self-satisfaction), making it the most predictable Oscar category of them all. (The surprised reaction greeting Christoph Waltz’s repeat win two years ago was less a reflection of the quality of his performance and more a reaction to the nobility of his proto-civil rights gunslinger character.) It, in part, explains why Patricia Arquette is widely considered to be the frontrunner for her award, but her hirsute Boyhood counterpart Ethan Hawke is at best running a fairly distant second or third for turning in equally nuanced work as an only part-time functional father figure—and why Oscar voters gave Robert Duvall’s far more flamboyantly flawed, piss-n’-vinegar patriarch a free pass to just be happy for the nomination once again. You have to assume Carell’s handlers took note of how frequently J.K. Simmons’s profane performance as Satan in Whiplash (which, despite all the seasoned professionalism the actor brings to the set, still emerges as the barely human equivalent of the all-staccato soundtrack to Birdman) earned comparison to another prototypal best supporting actor: An Officer and a Gentleman’s Lou Gossett Jr. And then promptly ran for the hills.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Makeup and Hairstyling

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Makeup and Hairstyling
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Makeup and Hairstyling

With the sole exception of Rick Baker’s 2010 win for The Wolfman, which was really a veiled excuse to pay tribute to the first and most frequently awarded artist to win this category, the victors in makeup and hairstyling have recently tended to come in two distinct strains. First and foremost, the Academy uses it to reward movies that it has a clear affection for outside of the category in question—your Dallas Buyers Clubs, your Benjamin Buttons, your Amadeuses. In the absence of a “best movie that happens to have some discernible applique of powder or epoxy” candidate, Oscar will next defer to whichever blockbuster garnered the least embarrassing reviews—Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Beetlejuice. Unfortunately for us, this year boasts three nominees that fall safely within one of those categories, though one does appear to be bringing up the rear. (Yes, gay panic-prone Mark Schultz, that was a joke at your expense.)

2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions

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2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions
2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions

The critics have spoken. The guilds have spoken. The Golden Globes have spoken. And here we are feeling the ennui of another three months’ worth of Mondays weighing unusually heavy this year, though it really shouldn’t be. Not all Oscar seasons boast presumptive frontrunners as stubbornly unique and personal as Boyhood or The Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which seem at this point like they would’ve cracked the lineup even in the old (and correct) days of five-deep best picture slates we’ll be telling our grandchildren about. Not all Oscar seasons are gifted by the original, cantankerous spirit of the National Society of Film Critics, which is to say the spirit of the group as it was initially conceived, as a staunch, vanguard opponent to staid groupthink. (Try to ignore the remaining instances of “ditto” among their roster of winners and savor everyone flipping their shit over Godard’s surprise victory.) So why aren’t we in a better mood than usual? Probably because we’ve seen it all go south in so many horrifying ways time and time again, and thus this year’s left us feeling a bit like the Witch staring down the “Last Midnight.” Oscars aren’t good, they’re not bad, they’re just nice. We’re not nice, we’re the hitch, and we’re definitely right.

The 10 Worst Films of 2014

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The 10 Worst Films of 2014
The 10 Worst Films of 2014

With beauty comes ugliness, with pleasure comes pain. While the year’s best films are likely to linger on your palate much longer than the worst, there was no shortage of terrible cinematic experiences in 2014, and often from places one might not so readily expect. Sure, Transformers: Age of Extinction is loud and dumb, RoboCop is another unnecessary (and botched) remake, and 22 Jump Street continues Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s unfortunate reign of still-unchecked comedic terror. But beyond the usual sites of acrid popular cinema lingers a more pungent stench, coming from those films sprayed with either a sheen of pretense or sun-burnt from undue praise or exposure. A fart gag is one thing, but class-reliant sentiment that dutifully extracts any deeper conception of its bourgeois leanings in order to satiate a desired audience? Hopefully we can all agree as to which is the worse form of flatulence.