When I was a kid, on Academy Awards night I’d always have to go to bed before the winner was announced. This was a very long time ago; movies had sound, but not always colour. Even if I had to go to bed, I’d sit at the top of the stairs to listen to who won, which is weird because I didn’t see any of the nominated films.
Today, as a grown adult, I can stay up as late as I like (up to 11 pm sometimes, even on school nights!) and now I can watch the entire Academy Awards ceremony, in all its 4 hour glory. But just like when I was a kid, I often haven’t seen all of the films. Or some years, any of the films. But that hasn’t stopped me from making my fearless (because I have nothing to fear, literally) predictions. And so, for those of you who care (this means you, Elinor Florence, formerly of Red Deer, Ab.) here are my sterling Oscar predictions.
Supporting actress: The first of three locks is Patricia Arquette in Boyhood, mostly because she did a courageous thing for an actress — she aged. Actually aged, 12 years to be exact. She’s won every other award this year, and the Oscar is a dead cert. Meryl Streep is also nominated, which is the least surprising nomination of the year, or any year. Streep is basically the free space on the card; when in doubt, put in Streep. One of these years, she won’t make a movie, and she’ll still be nominated by force of habit.
Supporting actor: An even bigger, stronger lock. J.K. Simmons, the very definition of veteran character who you’ve seen a million times but don’t know his name, will win for his performance as a tyrannical drum teacher in Whiplash. Haven’t seen the film, but it’s on my list. Hard to find time when The Bachelor has been so good.
Best actress: Lock no. 3. Julianne Moore in Still Alice. Moore plays a professor in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and if that isn’t Oscar catnip, I don’t know what is. I trust her performance is an atonement for her annoying character on 30 Rock, what with that terrible ‘Baws-ton’ accent.
Best actor: That’s three locks, and up until recently, it looked like four. Michael Keaton seemed destined to win for Birdman, but coming up fast on the outside is Eddie Redmayne. The British actor is remarkable as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He’s great, and should win the Oscar. He won the Screen Actors Guild award, which ALWAYS indicates an Oscar win, and playing a handicapped guy is always a good Oscar bet. But Keaton is a longtime Hollywood favorite, and Hollywood loves a comeback. This one is close, but I’m going with Keaton. Redmayne, and another Brit fave, Benedict Cumberbatch, will have to wait for another year.
Best director: A toughie. There are two contenders (OK, FIVE contenders, but only two who can win). It all comes down to Richard Linklater for his dozen-years-in-the-making Boyhood, or Alejandro Inarritu for Birdman (let us pray they let John Travolta announce the winner; he’ll make a classic hash of that name). Linklater has won most of the other awards, but the Directors Guild award when to Inarritu, and that award is almost always a predictor of the Oscar. And so it will again. Inarritu it is.
Best picture: Somehow, I’ve seen most of these films. I really enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel, thought American Sniper was compelling, The Imitation Game very good, as was The Theory of Everything. I have mixed feelings about Boyhood — it’s good, but not great; I actually liked all of the other pictures more. But the critics love it, and it is an amazing accomplishment. I haven’t seen Birdman, the other odds-on favourite. Apparently, it’s between the two, and I’m going to pick … a movie that starts with B.