The Watchers

The Watchers

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Awards Season 2015: Tez's Official Oscar Predictions 2015

Tonight, the great and good of Hollywood will convene to celebrate the best of film-making in 2014 at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, which will be hosted for the first time by Neil Patrick Harris. It has become a tradition for me to predict the nominations and the winners in the main six categories (the four acting categories, Best Director and Best Picture).  I've done this since 2003 with varying degrees of success. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for who will win.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Arquette's performance as Olivia Evans, beleagured mum to Mason and Samantha, is a real tour de force. A woman constantly in wrong relationships with unsuitable men, her love and devotion to her kids is paramount. Her warmth and humanity shines through and there's more than a couple of 'Oscar' moments throughout the film, none more so than her tearful conversation with her son as he prepares to leave for college. She's won every other major award she's been nominated for, so it's a pretty clear indicator that she might be going home with an Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

It feels a bit odd to say but it feels like, this awards season, that several actors are finally getting their due. J.K. Simmons is one of those actors. A truly fine character actor who has been the highlight in some of the films he's been in (Juno and Burn After Reading come to mind), he's finally getting the recognition he deserves for his role in Whiplash. His performance as Terence Fletcher is electrifying as he pushes his students with learning techniques that are less Dead Poets Society and more Full Metal Jacket. Again, he's won everything so far as an Oscar seems a foregone conclusion and damn well deserved.

Best Actress: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

I haven't been able to see Still Alice yet (it doesn't open in the UK until the beginning of March) but I really think it would be a shock if Moore didn't win. Like Arquette and Simmons, she's been the runaway winner in her category throughout all the major awards- Golden Globe, SAG, Critics' Choice, BAFTA- so I think she'll finally get her Oscar (on the fifth nomination). 

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)

With no disrespect to any of the other nominees, the Best Actor plaudits have been shared between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton throughout the awards season. However, Redmayne's SAG win probably puts him in the lead. If I'm being cynical, it ticks all the usual Oscar-bait boxes: it's based on a real person, struggling with insurmountable odds, with a pronounced change in physicality. Whilst I had a few issues with the film as a whole, Redmayne's performance as Stephen Hawking is affecting and poignant. But if it's not him, it'll be Keaton. Any other name called out would be a big surprise.

Best Director: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Best Picture: Boyhood

Linklater has taken all bar one of the major directing awards (Independent Spirit, Golden Globe, Critics Choice, BAFTA) but the DGA's choice of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (his only win of the major awards) could mean Inarritu gets the Best Director gong. Frankly, the direction of Birdman is excellent and the mesmeric camerawork making it look like one continuous shot is extraordinary, so if Inarritu does win it won't be a bad decision. However, Linklater's passion and dedication to Boyhood cannot be understated. To have the faith to spend twelve years of your life on a project is astounding and the end result is something special. 

Boyhood is a thoughtful, exacting piece. To see Ellar Coltrane literally grow up before your eyes is amazing. The dedication that every actor and member of crew gave to this film cannot be understated. It doesn't feel like a gimmick, it doesn't feel like a cheap trick. It's an authentic, occasionally funny, occasionally moving chronicle of a young man's life and it deserves the big prize.

Last year, I got a clean sweep of 6 out of 6. I think Best Actor and Best Director may be open for debate, as might Best Picture. Birdman and Boyhood have been sharing the Best Picture and Best Director plaudits throughout the awards season, so it'll be interesting to see what happens tonight. This is one year where I won't exactly mind being wrong if my predictions aren't correct.

There'll be a write-up of the ceremony and a full list of the winners tomorrow.


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