The 2015 Oscars Go To…
By: Connor Lenahan
I’ve been slacking. Since moving to Boston in 2013 I have tried to see all of the movies in contention for the Academy Awards. This year I did well, but not nearly complete. I’m missing films like Selma, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, and Still Alice. It’s not a stretch to blame this on the historic winter that Boston is still in the midst of dealing with. Still, I should have done better. I failed you, person who counts on me to help them win their Oscar Pool (AKA my parents, who I have either beaten or tied with for first place for something like the last six Oscars in our family pool).
However, I have good news. Even though I can’t quite match my expertise on last years candidates I can still tell you who is going to win each big category. Plus, just for fun, I’ll give you two extras for the big awards. For every major category below you will find my picks for Will Win, Who I’m Rooting For, and Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite. Sound good? Let’s go for it.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler
Will Win: Since there is going to be many other times during the night for the Academy to honor Birdman I am going to feel comfortable betting on Wes Anderson getting called for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Who I’m Rooting For: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Strictly speaking from a script standpoint I liked it the best of all of these nominees. To be a clever, funny, interesting, and heartwarming as it was is nothing short of terrific.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: A few things here. First, Whiplash should be in this category, not Adapted Screenplay, but a weird Academy decision has it otherwise. I would be rooting for that script had it been here (Hold that thought). Two movies I liked that didn’t crack this group were Interstellar and A Most Violent Year. If we counted Whiplash as the sixth among the nominees above I’d have a hard time knocking any of them out (save for Foxcatcher) for either of my picks. This is a really strong category, not really many complaints for me here.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Whiplash, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, American Sniper, The Imitation Game
Will Win: Despite the (admittedly embarrassing) fact that I have only seen two of these five nominees I’d still pick Whiplash to take the award for Damien Chazelle
Who I’m Rooting For: Whiplash because it was that good.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: It is nothing short of a travesty that American Sniper got nominated here over Gone Girl. Again purely speaking from a script standpoint American Sniper has no business in this category – It’s not particularly well written, and I’m far from the only one saying this. Gone Girl, meanwhile, was beautifully adapted to the screen and ended up as one of the best films of the year.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Emma Stone (Birdman), Kiera Knightly (The Imitation Game), Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Laura Dern (Wild)
Will Win: This is going to Patricia Arquette without a question. Don’t even second guess yourself.
Who I’m Rooting For: I am totally fine with Arquette winning, she does a really great job in Boyhood and it’s visible – she grows into a great actress while her kids grow into adults. But I’m hoping that, out of nowhere, Meryl Streep pulls the upset because she is just the absolute best.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: I thought that Carrie Coon was amazing as Ben Affleck’s sister “Go” in Gone Girl. She was always an outside shot here, but I would have loved to see her get recognized. Also, Rene Russo was able to match a never-better Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler and probably should have gotten a nomination herself.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: JK Simmons (Whiplash), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Will Win: JK Simmons will, very deservedly, take this award without much competition.
Who I’m Rooting For: JK Simmons because he gave my favorite performance of this Oscar season. Worth mentioning: Edward Norton is mesmerizing in Birdman and would win in most other years. Mark Ruffalo, very quietly, gave the best performance in all of Foxcatcher and delivered the best scene of the film when he struggles to respond to a question during a documentary shoot.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: You very easily could have sold me on subbing in Tyler Perry in Gone Girl for Robert Duvall. I’m not sure that my brain fully grasps the idea of “Oscar Nominee Tyler Perry” but damn if he wasn’t electric in that movie. No one I have seen has mentioned it but, (HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR Interstellar) Matt Damon absolutely killed his part as Dr. Mann.
Nominees: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Will Win: This Sunday will finally be the moment when my fellow BU Terrier Julianne Moore gets her Oscar.
Who I’m Rooting For: Beyond my collegiate ties to Moore I would love to see Pike win for Gone Girl, a role that she was simply perfect in. I also love me some Marion Cotillard and wouldn’t mind an upset with her picking up her second Best Actress trophy.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: This may stretch categories a bit, but Jessica Chastain was great in A Most Violent Year. Jenny Slate wasn’t ever going to get a look for her starring role in Obvious Child last year but she was absolutely terrific, a much better performance than I ever would have expected given my only previous experience with her was Parks and Recreation and Marcel the Shell. Emily Blunt was great in the crazy-underrated Edge of Tomorrow.
Nominees: Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Will Win: Okay now this one is tough. No matter which source you go to you are left with a toss up. Oscar experts are relatively split between Keaton and Redmayne for who is going to be taking the trophy on Sunday. There’s even talk of Cooper coming out of nowhere to win. This is, far and away, the hardest race to call for anyone. But I’m just convinced that, because of the heavy Academy love for Birdman that Keaton is going to take it.
Who I’m Rooting For: Make no mistake, I really want Keaton to win it. I thought he was great in Birdman and I have liked the guy for as long as I could remember. But, and this is big, I would also have zero issue with Cooper winning. I did not like American Sniper for filmmaking reasons (the script, narrative issues, Eastwood’s style, etc) but Cooper made an okay movie into a Best Picture nominee because he is incredible in the film. Cooper has been absolutely killing it in big roles over the past few years but in a much more subdued turn as Chris Kyle he is otherworldly strong. To say he’s the best part of the movie is an understatement.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: There are more than a few here since it was another very competitive field. Ralph Fiennes was absolutely perfect in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Jake Gyllenhaal gave the best performance of his career thus far in Nightcrawler. In my dream scenario I’d have both of them in this race. I’m a huge homer for Matthew McConaughey so I was quietly hoping he’d make the internet explode and get an Interstellar nod. Miles Teller didn’t get nominated for Whiplash but I would bet anything he’s going to have a few nominations in the near future. This is admittedly insane, but I love Michael Fassbender and loved his performance as Young Magneto enough that I was the only person in the world rooting for him to make this race.
Nominees: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Birdman), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
Will Win: Boyhood is the most ambitious filmmaking project that has really ever been attempted and Linklater pulled it off beautifully. I think he’s going to be rewarded for over a decade’s work.
Who I’m Rooting For: I’d love to see Wes Anderson win this one for making a movie that I loved more than just about anything else this year.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: David Fincher will always have my heart, so I was hoping hard he would get in for Gone Girl. If I had a ballot I’d have not only voted Damien Chazelle into the category, but to win for Whiplash.
Nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Selma
Will Win: I’ve actually changed my mind on this pick since beginning writing this article. While I think that Boyhood is a stellar piece of filmmaking and an incredible concept to have and pull off, I think that the Academy as a whole will look at Birdman, a film that’s literally looking at the movie industry in 2014, as a better movie on the whole. I think it will take the top honors this weekend after a recent surge.
Who I’m Rooting For: My personal rankings of the five movies that I have seen in this category would be as follows – Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Birdman, American Sniper. I absolutely believe that Whiplash is one of the more breathtaking pieces of cinema that I’ve ever seen. This is a strong field, and I’d be overjoyed if either of my top two pulled a gigantic upset.
Not Nominated, But A Personal Favorite: The maximum nominations for this category is ten, and thankfully that’s all I’d need to make my changes. I’m leaving the current nominees alone except for American Sniper – Cooper really saves the thing, and even then I had others ahead of it. I’d take Sniper out and in it’s place round out the top ten with Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, and Interstellar.
The Oscars are this Sunday. Bet of luck with the other categories, I’ll be guessing as well.