Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Oscar Predictions

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87th Academy Awards — Predictions

It’s that time of year again: awards season! That’s right, over the last month we’ve seen film recognized at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and all the guild awards ranging from the DGA to the WGA. Today, Sunday, February 22 is the culmination of the 2015 awards season with the 87th annual Academy Awards. Once again, as I did for 2013 and 2014, I will be making my predictions as to which nominee is “Most Likely” to win and which I think is the “Most Deserved”.

When I started predicting the Oscars in 2013, I got 17 out of 24 (71%) correct. Last year I did much better getting 22 out of 24 (92%) correct with the only two wrong predictions being those for both Best Short Film awards (Live Action and Animated). Hopefully I can match that success rate this year as my school, Emerson College (of which I’m participating in the Los Angeles program this semester — just over a mile away from the Dolby Theater where the awards are held), is holding a competition with prizes for the people with the most correct guesses.

Check after the jump for who I think will win it what looks to be an extremely close race this year. Birdman and Boyhood are running neck-and-neck for the top prize and The Grand Budapest Hotel seems poised to take home its fair share of technical, and more prestigious, awards.


BEST PICTURE

Film
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Most Deserving: Boyhood

Most Likely: Birdman

Why: By far my favorite film this year was Boyhood. I couldn’t stop talking about it and saw it in theaters three times because I enjoyed it so much. The film, as you have no doubt heard by now, was filmed over twelve years and tracks the growth of a family over that time. Of all the coming of age stories that have ever been told, Boyhood trumps them all. To see an entire life be condensed down into two and a half hours while still feeling like a complete story is nothing short of amazing. Of the other nominees, I awarded five stars to The Imitation Game, Selma, and Whiplash with the latter probably being my second favorite out of the bunch.

All Oscar prognosticators have deemed this year’s Best Picture race to be among the most competitive and closest in years. Boyhood and Birdman are in a dead heat with the former having won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA but Birdman has swept almost every other race including the PGA, DGA, and SAG awards. It used to be the case that Best Picture and Best Director were linked and one award would be a good predictor of the other. But most believe that this will be the third year in a row with a split decision between Picture and Director. While my heart is for Boyhood, I’m inclined to agree with the general consensus that Birdman will win Best Picture while Richard Linklater will take the trophy for Best Director.


BEST DIRECTOR

Director Film
Alejandro G. Iñárritu Birdman
Richard Linklater Boyhood
Bennett Miller Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum The Imitation Game

Most Deserving: Richard Linklater

Most Likely: Richard Linklater


BEST ACTOR

Actor Film
Steve Carell Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton Birdman
Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything

Most Deserving: Eddie Redmayne

Most Likely: Eddie Redmayne

Why: I’ve been calling for Eddie Redmayne to win this award ever since I saw The Theory of Everything in October and I haven’t wavered on that assertion since. His transformation into Stephen Hawking is nothing short of a monumental achievement and deserves to be recognized. Michael Keaton and Steve Carell both gave wonderful performances and Bradley Cooper was one of the only shining lights I found in American Sniper, though my general dislike for that film has me rooting against Cooper. Still, given the momentum Redmayne has in this category, it’s his to lose.


BEST ACTRESS

Actress Film
Marion Cotillard Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore Still Alice
Rosamund Pike Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon Wild

Most Deserving: Julianne Moore

Most Likely: Julianne Moore


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Actor Film
Robert Duvall The Judge
Ethan Hawke Boyhood
Edward Norton Birdman
Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons Whiplash

Most Deserving: J.K. Simmons

Most Likely: J.K. Simmons


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Actress Film
Patricia Arquette Boyhood
Laura Dern Wild
Keira Knightley The Imitation Game
Emma Stone Birdman
Meryl Streep Into the Woods

Most Deserving: Patricia Arquette

Most Likely: Patricia Arquette


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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

Most Deserving: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Most Likely: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Why: If the voting were up to me (and I’m sure many of the outraged fans who caused an uproar after the nominations were announced), The LEGO Movie would be taking home the Best Animated Feature award this year. Alas, the Academy failed to nominate the film and now the two front runners are Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2. While Big Hero 6 was a decent film, I wouldn’t consider it Oscar-worthy. And besides, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was an outstanding film that blew me away when I saw it way back in June. By all accounts, I thought the sequel was much better than the original How to Train Your Dragon which also won the Best Animated Feature Oscar back in 2006, so in a way it does seem fitting that How to Train Your Dragon 2 will likely be taking home some another gold statue this year.


BEST FOREIGN FILM

Film Country
Ida Poland
Leviathan Russia
Tangerines Estonia
Timbuktu Mauritania
Wild Tales Argentina

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: Ida


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Film Writers(s)
Birdman Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson; story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler Dan Gilory

Most Deserving: Boyhood

Most Likely: The Grand Budapest Hotel


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Film Writers(s)
American Sniper Jason Hall
The Imitation Game Graham Moore
Inherent Vice Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything Anthony McCarten
Whiplash Damien Chazelle

Most Deserving: The Imitation Game

Most Likely: The Imitation Game


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Most Deserving: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Most Likely: The Grand Budapest Hotel


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Song Film
“Everything is Awesome” The LEGO Movie
“Glory” Selma
“Grateful” Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” Begin Again

Most Deserving: “Everything is Awesome”

Most Likely: “Glory”


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Most Deserving: Interstellar

Most Likely: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Why: While my passion for Boyhood to win Best Picture cannot be matched, my love for the Interstellar soundtrack comes in a close second. I am a huge fan of what Hans Zimmer did with the score and it plays such a huge and important role in the entire Interstellar soundscape and overall momentum of the film. Part of the reason Zimmer’s work will probably be overlooked is most people’s frustration with the overall sound of Interstellar complaining it was too loud and you couldn’t understand the dialogue at times. I fell on the opposite side of that camp, arguing in favor of Christopher Nolan’s decision to treat dialogue as just another sound effect that was able to be overshadowed by more “important” elements in particular scenes.

But I digress. For Best Original Score, the race again seems like a mixed bag. The Theory of Everything won the Golden Globe while The Grand Budapest Hotel won the BAFTA. A possible upset by The Imitation Game doesn’t seem too out of the question either. As much as I want Interstellar to pull off a miracle, I’m choosing The Grand Budapest Hotel as the most likely.


BEST DOCUMENTARY

Film
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: CitizenFour


BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

Film
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper (La Parka)“
“White Earth”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Film
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Most Deserving: Foxcatcher

Most Likely: Foxcatcher


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Most Deserving: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Most Likely: The Grand Budapest Hotel


BEST FILM EDITING

Film
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Most Deserving: Boyhood

Most Likely: Boyhood

Why: I wasn’t a big fan of American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel and while The Imitation Game was a great film, the editing didn’t standout as particularly impressive. Boyhood and Whiplash however, were both made in part due to impressive editing of different kinds. Boyhood, my personal favorite, had to condense twelve years of filming and storytelling into under three hours while telling a cohesive story. Sandra Adair really excelled with not only turning all that footage into a cohesive story, but doing so in a way that transitioned from year-to-year much better than any other “conventional” film deals with scene or time transitions. Adair helped make Boyhood one continuous film that you could watch and see a family grow over a period of time rather than a chapter book that’s segmented and choppy, taking you out of the film’s trademark conceit every ten minutes.

Whiplash was impressive for different reasons altogether. Tom Cross gave this film an energy and tension that I never thought would be possible with music. How often do you see a film about musicians playing instruments for a jazz band and think, “Ooh, this will be a lot of fun.” Unless your a jazz aficionado, chances are quite slim. But Cross turned it into an exhilarating thrill ride that made you nervous for Andrew Neiman and the other students under the evil tyrant Terence Fletcher. And it wasn’t just the quick cuts and fast pace that made Whiplash a success, it was the smaller character moments and seeing both Andrew and Terence’s progression over the course of the film as they slowly developed into who we see at the end. A great piece of work, but I’ve got to award this to Sandra Adair for Boyhood.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Film
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Most Deserving: Birdman

Most Likely: Birdman


BEST SOUND EDITING

Film
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Most Deserving: Interstellar

Most Likely: American Sniper


BEST SOUND MIXING

Film
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Most Deserving: Interstellar

Most Likely: American Sniper


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Film
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Most Deserving: Interstellar

Most Likely: Interstellar


BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Film
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “The Dam Keeper”


BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

Film
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)“
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “Parvaneh”