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Boyhood (#110 of 26)

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 Picture

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture

Tempted though I might be to end an Oscar season I began so long ago quoting Into the Woods’s Witch by dropping another choice lyric from “Last Midnight” (namely the one that would allow me to blithely shrug off the Academy’s fickle tastes with the dismissal, “Oh, why bother? You’ll just do what you do!”), there’s a legitimate three-way race to call this year. Make it four if you naïvely believe the monstrous box-office success of American Sniper is enough to overcome the same partisan resistance that stymied Zero Dark Thirty two years ago. Which means that figuring out exactly what the Academy will do is an even trickier errand than collecting a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.

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.

Ranking Oscar’s 2015 Nominees

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Ranking Oscar’s 2015 Nominees
Ranking Oscar’s 2015 Nominees

We’re just shy of a week away from the 87th annual Academy Awards, hosted by charmer of millions Neil Patrick Harris. Right up until the day before the big event, NPH lookalike Eric Henderson and myself are dispassionately diagnosing one category a day (you can read our predictions here). This year, 60 films received nominations across 24 categories, and with the exception of Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, I’ve seen them all. And in what’s become an annual tradition, I’ve ranked the films, from the most euphoric to the most pungent.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Editing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Editing

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.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Supporting Actress

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

In the Oscars of our dreams, when The Imitation Game’s Keira Knightley walks the red carpet and Giuliana Rancic asks her who she’s wearing, the ghost of Joan Rivers effortlessly interjects, “Those coattails are by Harvey Weinstein!” In dreams, too, Laura Dern wouldn’t also be passing through, but as layered as her performance in Wild may be, it’s impossible to shake that the film’s editing has so abstracted her character, however purposefully, that the performance itself feels only half-remembered. Meryl Streep’s turn in Into the Woods isn’t so easily forgotten. Its fantastical grotesquerie is consistent with the actress’s recent career choices, but no matter how playfully she vamps, no matter how affectingly she sings her way through “Stay with Me,” the film doesn’t possess the necessary pedigree of, say, the horrendous The Iron Lady. Prestige is something that Birdman doesn’t starve for, and at least one benefit of the film’s over-determined direction is the grace with which it pauses to let its actors express their characters’ desire to live in a less deluded world. Yes, there’s soul behind Emma Stone’s Bette Davis eyes, and yet, can this prisoner of the theater be fully trusted? If Patricia Arquette has remained a frontrunner throughout the Oscar season, it’s because her performance, like Boyhood itself, is a wistful reminder that there’s often more poetry in the real than there is in fantasy.