Spoiling the Oscars

I’m just going to apologize right now because you’re about to find all of the winners to tonight’s Academy Awards. I mean… sure, the awards haven’t been handed out yet but after watching all of the movies nominated I’m pretty sure that I’m going to correctly predict what the Academy’s group of elderly white guys will select as their Oscar Winners. Like I did last year, HERE’S PROOF, I’m going to give you, loyal readers, the winners to the Top Six Oscar Categories before they’re even announced. Consider yourself part of the select few who get to witness history in the making. (LEGAL NOTICE: None of these predictions are binding and if one of these guesses happens to be wrong, Greg has the ability to change the picks afterwards) ON WITH THE SHOW!

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*Patricia Arquette-Boyhood*
Laura Dern-Wild
Keira Knightley-The Imitation Game
Emma Stone-Birdman
Meryl Streep-Into The Woods

Now let’s get the lucky-to-be-here’s out of the way. Wild was a well-received movie and Laura Dern was fine in it but her nomination has more to do with the weakness of the category than her performance. Same goes for Meryl Streep. The supporting actress has been a weaker field over the past few years and as long as Streep makes a movie, she’ll be thrown in there for her career achievements. Unfortunately, Emma Stone has no chance of winning this award which is unfortunate due to how crucial her character was to keep the plot of Birdman moving, however this isn’t the year for one of the best young actresses today. The award comes down to Keira Knightley and Patricia Arquette. Personally, I thought Knightley was a bit better as her character seemed more layered and she had more to do in her respective film, however I see Arquette going home with the trophy. Her performance was extremely showy and her noticeable changes over time are something Oscar voters want to reward.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Robert Duvall-The Judge
Ethan Hawke-Boyhood
Edward Norton-Birdman
Mark Ruffalo-Foxcatcher
*J.K. Simmons-Whiplash*

This is the lock of the night. If Simmons doesn’t win this award, you can get all of your money back that you bought this article with. J.K. Simmons gave one of my favorite performances in film, creating a multi-dimensional music teacher that was a cross of R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket and Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson from Spiderman. His performance was the backbone to the entire movie and could have been a disaster in any other actor’s hands. With that said, Edward Norton deserves a runner-up trophy for his role in Birdman. Every time he was on the screen, Norton stole the scene. He was the best part of a superb movie and almost any other year this would be his trophy, unfortunately he came across the bulldozer that is J.K. Simmons.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Marion Cotillard-Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones-The Theory of Everything
*Julianne Moore-Still Alice*
Rosamund Pike-Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon-Wild

Although the movie itself wasn’t anything special, this is Julianne Moore’s trophy. Moore played a linguistics professor who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and if there’s anything the Oscar voters love, it’s actors and actresses playing a character with a disease or physical limitation. This isn’t a knock against her as she was fantastic in the film, but it seemed like this was just Oscar-bait at its finest. The only obstacle in her way is Rosamund Pike, who I hope will shock the predictions and win, in Gone Girl. Pike was an acting tour-de-force and played an insane character with enough charisma and magnetism that the audience can believe the plot.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Steve Carell-Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper-American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch-The Imitation Game
*Michael Keaton-Birdman*
Eddie Redmayne-The Theory of Everything

This is where the stakes are raised and the result seems more up in the air. The Best Actor award has a legitimate shot of going to three people: Bradley Cooper, Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton. Let’s start with Cooper. No one saw this coming. After jumping into the public’s conscience in Wedding Crashers and the Hangover trilogy, no one could have possibly predicted Cooper being nominated for an Oscar three straight years, yet here we are. The big boost to Cooper is his film’s success. American Sniper was the biggest surprise, at the box office, of the year and Cooper was magnetic and polarizing to audiences. With that said, his Best Actor push seemed to come to late in the game after the polls were closed so I see him at a distant third. Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton are neck-to-neck for the win even though their stories are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Newcomer to Hollywood, Redmayne played Stephen Hawking to a tee whilst established veteran Michael Keaton was a darker, more brooding version of himself as a washed-up actor dealing with the struggles of mediocrity. I’m pulling for Keaton in this race, mostly because I thought his performance was more interesting as he got to play off others more. Redmayne was much more one-note and the movie itself was quite dull and tedious. I believe that the Oscar voters will agree with me due to their love of awarding actors in their “comeback” stage.

BEST DIRECTOR
Alejandro G. Iñarritu-Birdman
*Richard Linklater-Boyhood*
Bennett Miller-Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game-Morten Tydlum

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
*Birdman*
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
Whiplash

The reason I’m lumping these two categories together is that it’s impossible to discuss one without the other. The norm for the Best Director and Best Picture is to pair the two. What that means is that whoever wins the directing award will be joined with the ultimate Best Picture winner. However, last year was an example of a time where the two were disconnected. Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for Gravity while 12 Years A Slave ultimately took home the grand prize. I believe that this year will be another example of a split between the two. I see Boyhood as a triumph in directing and storytelling more than a great movie. It lags and dips at parts, however the gimmick of telling the story of a boy over 12 years takes a tremendous director and foresight into the project from day one. That’s why I think Richard Linklater will win the Best Director award. For Best Picture, I see Birdman taking home the gold, as it is more of a complete movie, in that it is a cohesive piece and is a film that doesn’t have one “best” part. From the phenomenal acting to the cinematography to the directing, Birdman feels like a Best Picture winner, sort of like The Artist, as the sum is greater than all of the pieces.