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Paul’s 2015 Academy Award Predictions

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For the first time, I have watched every single film nominated for Best Picture. For that reason, I feel confident in the majority of my predictions for the 2015 Academy Awards.

With these predictions coming out as close as possible to Oscar Sunday, I have given each of these categories much thought. Like last year, there aren’t many stand out winners, other than a few technical awards. Many of the bigger ones are still up for grabs, so it is still anyone’s game.

Like last year, I will be giving out who I want to win, who should win and who will win for every award. I will be skipping the Documentaries, Short Subjects and Foreign Film categories though, since my guesses would be about as good as randomly throwing a paper airplane at a board and hoping that it sticks.

And now, here are my picks for the 2015 Academy Awards.

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Best Visual Effects:

Who I want to win: “Guardians Of The Galaxy”

Who should win: “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”

Who will win: “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”

Bringing over 200 apes to life, each with their own individual movements and personalities, is not small feat. As great as “Guardians Of The Galaxy” looked, the effects in “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” puts it to shame.

Best Sound Editing:

Who I want to win: “American Sniper”

Who should win: “Interstellar”

Who will win: “American Sniper”

The reason I have “American Sniper” winning this one is because most of the other four films don’t have much sound to edit. “Interstellar” and “Birdman” were quiet movies when they needed to be, so I don’t know why they would win this award. I did not see “Unbroken,” so I cannot say anything on that. And “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Fire Armies” was not that impressive when it came to sound. That leaves “American Sniper” to win this award.

Best Sound Mixing:

Who I want to win: “Whiplash”

Who should win: “Whiplash”

Who will win: “Whiplash”

The sound of “Whiplash” helped give the film its identity, so it should be winning all the sound categories.

Best Production Design:

Who I want to win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who should win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who will win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

One of the coolest looking films of 2014, as well as one of the more visually elaborate movies of the year. In categories like these, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was them sealed up.

Best Original Song:

Who I want to win: “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”

Who should win: “I’m Not Going To Miss You” from “Glenn Campbell…I’ll Be Me”

Who will win: “Glory” From “Selma”

Unfortunately, we don’t have two songs that have taken over the world, like “Let It Go” and “Happy” did last year. “Everything Is Awesome” almost did at the beginning of 2014, but that fad has waned since then.

So, I’ll go with the song that many people are praising and won the same award at the Golden Globes, “Glory.” I wasn’t all that impressed by it, much like I was with “Selma” in general, but seeing as this one of the two awards that “Selma” is nominated for, and I don’t see it winning Best Picture, the Academy will give it to them here.

Best Original Score:

Who I want to win: “Intersellar”

Who should win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who will win: “The Theory Of Everything”

I’m all over the board on this one. Two scores done by the same man, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Imitation Game” both being done by Alexandre Despalt, but there were key scenes in “The Theory Of Everything” that relied heavily on the score to carry the mood and tone. A hard task for a score to pull off, yet Johann Johannson did it masterfully. He should bring home the award for that reason.

Best Makeup And Hairstyling:

Who I want to win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who should win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who will win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Makeup and Hair so elaborate, that it would be a crime if “The Grand Budapest Hotel” didn’t win this award.

Best Film Editing:

Who I want to win: “Whiplash”

Who should win: “American Sniper”

Who will win: “American Sniper”

The editing in “Whiplash” turned it from a decent film with a standout performance into a masterfully woven tail where music is more than just the backdrop.

However, the editing was just as impressive in many key scenes of “American Sniper.” And since that is a story that more of the Academy can relate to, I see the war film winning this award.

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Best Costume Design:

Who I want to win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who should win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Who will win: “Mr. Turner”

I’m going to go with an outside pick here. Even though I have not seen “Mr. Turner,” based off the trailer, it looks as though it could win a couple awards, especially since it nominated for four awards this year. I see it winning at least one, and it could end up being this. As elaborate and well-thought out as the costumes were in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” I see “Mr. Turner” walking away in the best dressed attire.

Best Cinematography:

Who I want to win: “Birdman”

Who should win: “Birdman”

Who will win: “Birdman”

This is the no-brainer pick of this year. “Birdman” was the most visually impressive film of 2014.

Best Animated Film:

Who I want to win: “The Lego Movie”

Who should win: “How To Train Your Dragon 2”

Who will win: “How To Train Your Dragon 2”

Oh wait, “The Lego Movie” isn’t nominated? Stupid Academy. Wouldn’t know a good animated movie if it digitally bit them on the butt.

“The Tale Of Princess Kaguya” and “Song Of The Sea” are just happy to be there. Of “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls” and “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” the Dreamworks film stood out above the others with its vast landscape and ever-expanding roster of developed characters. The award will go to “How To Train Your Dragon 2.”

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Who I want to win: “Whiplash”

Who should win: “American Sniper”

Who will win: “American Sniper”

I think this one is wide open for almost anyone to win. Some are saying “The Imitation Game,” and others are saying “The Theory Of Everything” will win this award. My money is on “American Sniper,” since the Academy might take pity on “American Sniper” for not winning some of the other bigger awards. Just a hunch that I have.

Best Original Screenplay:

Who I want to win: “Nightcrawler”

Who should win: “Birdman”

Who will win: “Birdman”

I would be eternally grateful to the Academy if they gave this award to “Nightcrawler.” But since the majority of “Birdman” hinges on the dialouge and the script, and the Academy appears to be digging “Birdman.” Another lock up for “Birdman.”

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Best Supporting Actress:

Who I want to win: Emma Stone from “Birdman”

Who should win: Patricia Arquette from “Boyhood”

Who will win: Patricia Arquette from “Boyhood”

As good as Emma Stone was in “Birdman,” Patricia Arquette gave the most level-headed and emotional performance of the year in “Boyhood.” Arquette pretty much has this one wrapped up.

Best Supporting Actor:

Who I want to win: Edward Norton from “Birdman”

Who should win: J.K. Simmons from “Whiplash”

Who will win: Edward Norton from “Birdman”

This was a hard one.

Edward Norton added charm and elegance to “Birdman,” and when Keaton was not on-screen, I wanted to see what Norton was up to. That being said, J.K. Simmons was the best part about “Whiplash” so I believe he is just as deserving of the award as Norton is. I think the Academy will give it to Norton, with Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood” being a dark horse candidate.

Best Director:

Who I want to win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

Who should win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

Who will win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

Last year, Best Director went to Alfonso Curoan for “Gravity” and Best Picture went to “12 Years A Slave,” the two most deserving films of those awards. I think the Academy wanted to give both films that award, but couldn’t, so they gave Director to one and Best Picture to the other. Gravity got Best Director due to it being done by the determination and passion of Curoan. I believe the same will happen this year between “Boyhood” and “Birdman.”

Much like “Gravity,” “Boyhood” is driven by the tenacity and love of cinema of Richard Linklater. If Linklater does not get this award, then “Birdman”‘s director will, and “Boyhood” will probably walk away with Best Picture.

Best Actress:

Who I want to win: Resse Witherspoon from “Wild”

Who should win:  Resse Witherspoon from “Wild”

Who will win: Julianne Moore from “Still Alice”

I want to say that Resse Witherspoon has this award locked up, but the Academy loves to give awards to actors and actresses playing people with mental or physical diseases. Julianne Moore is playing a woman with Alzheimer’s, and whether she actually gives a good performance beyond that is pretty much irrelevant.

In any case, it will be either Moore or Witherspoon that walks away with this award, and I would love it if Resse managed to pull it out. I just don’t see that happening though.

Best Actor:

Who I want to win: Michael Keaton from “Birdman”

Who should win: Eddie Redmayne from “The Theory Of Everything”

Who will win: Michael Keaton from “Birdman”

Again, the Academy loves the handicapped actors, which is why Eddie Redmayne is getting as much discussion as he is. That, and he is playing a well-known person in reality, to the point that even Stephen Hawking was convinced that it was him on the screen.

From a single performance perspective, Michael Keaton was the best actor in 2014. Grounded, heartfelt and emotional, he was the reason that “Birdman” was so good. Hopefully the Academy will see that and give him the award. Could go to either Redmayne or Keaton.

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Best Picture:

Who I want to win: “Birdman”

Who should win: “Boyhood”

Who will win: “Birdman”

And so we come to the last and biggest award of the evening. One that is still being debated about who deserves it. Like with “Gravity” and “12 Years A Slave” last year, this one comes down to two films – “Birdman” and “Boyhood.”

“The Theory Of Everything” and “The Imitation Game” are quite similar, in that they are both a biopic about two famous British people who changed the world with their inventions and intelligence, but both also faced difficult personal barriers to overcome. I don’t see either of them winning this award.

“Whiplash,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “American Sniper” are just happy to be here. Each will win other categories, but none of them are going to be winning this one. They’re either too controversial or too under the radar.

“Selma” not being nominated for more awards and the possibility of it not winning Best Picture have caused more controversy this year than anything in the past. To those, I say this – Was it really the best film of 2014? Or do you just respect it for its subject material? Because there is a big difference. The winner of the Best Picture award should go to the film that is clearly the most well put together, tells a story that resonates with the audience and will still be an excellent film years from now. I do not think this is “Selma.” There is a possibility “Selma” could win, but it is small compared to the last two films on the list.

I’d like to point out some of the films in the last few years that have won Best Picture – In particular, “Argo” in 2012 and “The Artist” in 2011. Both films have a similar theme – they talk about the film industry and how it is not a perfect or caring system. To me, this says that the Academy adores films that talk about the film industry and how bad it can be at times. How it takes a caring and passionate soul, and turns him into a greedy, self-absorbed man.

“Birdman” is that film.

I could just be overanalyzing it, but from a technical and personal perspective, “Birdman” is a superior film to “Boyhood.” I certainly respect “Boyhood” more than “Birdman,” for being able to take a twelve year journey through one boy’s life and have it resonate with so many people. However, “Birdman” excels ahead of “Boyhood” in acting, cinematography and writing. If the trend of movies about movies does not give “Birdman” the win, those categories will.

This was a hard year to judge the Academy Awards on, since this the first year where I had seen almost every single nominee, especially all the Best Picture candidates. We’ll find out in just a bit if my predictions are correct.

NPH

 

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