Oscars 2015 — Final Predictions

Oscars 2015

Don’t we all just love the Oscars? It’s an evening of maniacal celebration, of gratuitous back-patting, of cringe-worthy speech-making and of hosts trying to grasp the latest social trend – I’m looking at you, selfie Ellen. The folks over in Hollywood might “really like” Sally Field, but they’re not quite as fond of Selma or Nightcrawler, and goodness knows how fond they are of American Sniper (hopefully not as much as many fear).

All joking aside, Academy Awards night is a big one for the film industry. The movies nominated are, for the most part, pretty damn good too and should be heralded on a grand stage. Tonight’s ceremony is looking fairly clear-cut in most categories, but there are still a few ambiguities to be sorted.

Better get on with some predictions then. Click on the appropriate film titles for reviews.

Best Picture

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


– Will win: Boyhood

– Should win: Boyhood

– Should’ve been nominated: Interstellar

Oscars 2015 - Boyhood

Best Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

– Will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

– Should win: Richard Linklater

– Should’ve been nominated: Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin)

Oscars 2015 - Inarritu

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

– Will win: Michael Keaton

– Should win: Eddie Redmayne

– Should’ve been nominated: David Oyelowo (Selma), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Oscars 2015 - Keaton

Best Actress

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Rosumand Pike (Gone Girl)

– Will win: Julianne Moore

– Should win: Rosamund Pike

– Should’ve been nominated: Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow)

Oscars 2015 - Moore

Best Supporting Actor

Edward Norton (Birdman)

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

Robert Duvall (The Judge)

– Will win: J.K. Simmons

– Should win: J.K. Simmons

– Should’ve been nominated: Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher), Andy Serkis (DotPotA)

Oscars 2015 - Simmons

Best Supporting Actress

Emma Stone (Birdman)

Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Laura Dern (Wild)

Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

– Will win: Patricia Arquette

– Should win: Patricia Arquette

– Should’ve been nominated: Carrie Coon (Gone Girl)

Oscars 2015 - Arquette

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything


– Will win: The Imitation Game

– Should win: Whiplash

– Should’ve been nominated: Gone Girl

Oscars 2015 - TIG

Best Original Screenplay




The Grand Budapest Hotel


– Will win: Birdman

– Should win: Boyhood

– Should’ve been nominated: Guardians of the Galaxy

Oscars 2015 - Birdman

Final Thoughts

It looks as though the only real tussle – and it’s a big one – will be between Boyhood and Birdman for Best Picture. They’ll probably split the top award and Best Director between them, though Boyhood and Linklater deserve both.

Michael Keaton might yet nab Best Actor from Eddie Redmayne and despite the bookies favouring the Brit after his BAFTA triumph, I fancy the American to win in the US (cynical me).

As far as the other three acting categories go, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are all shoe-ins. The latter two fully deserve to win. Still Alice still hasn’t hit cinemas over here in the UK therefore I have yet to see Moore’s performance, but I just can’t look past Rosamund Pike’s stunning turn in Gone Girl. Pike should win. She won’t.

The biggest snubs of the year are probably Interstellar and Nightcrawler. David Oyelowo absolutely should be contention for Best Actor (he should probably win it, in truth) but at least Selma has top table nomination. With ten possible slots in the Best Picture category, the dismissal of Interstellar and Nightcrawler is unjustified.

Carrie Coon should feel aggrieved to be missing out on a Best Supporting Actress nomination, as should Channing Tatum in the Best Supporting Actor – or even Best Actor – category. It has been a strong year for the actors to be fair. And a word too for Blue Ruin, one of 2014’s less well-known masterstrokes.

If you’re watching, enjoy the show!

Oscars 2015 Best Picture

Images credit: ColliderHollywood Reporter, Indiewire

Boyhood (2014)


Boyhood PosterDirector: Richard Linklater

Release Date: July 11th, 2014 (UK); August 15th, 2014 (US)

Genre: Drama

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette

For many, Boyhood is the latest film to define a generation. They’re right, but it doesn’t hold fort at just one generation. The beauty in Richard Linklater’s 12-year undertaking is its accessibility, its exclusivity. This is a film that will surely speak to many different people from many different age groups. It could have easily been named Girlhood, or Fatherhood, or Motherhood because it is all of those things. As an early-90s kid myself, Linklater’s piece plays like the ultimate reflection of growing up, and clocking in at 165 minutes it feels like one of cinema’s finest works.

It’s 2002 and six-year-old Mason Jnr (Ellar Coltrane) is living with his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and their mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette). While the siblings annoy each other with Britney Spears renditions and blame games, mum is actively striving to open up new avenues and offer them a better life. We watch the family move (a frequent occurrence) across Texas to accommodate Olivia’s studies, at which point dad Mason Snr (Ethan Hawke) reappears.

This manoeuvring of people and place is what drives Boyhood. Every character is jockeying for something and even though the piece spans 12 years and a variety of locations, that something often remains constant. From the moment we meet little Mason staring ponderously at the sky, it is apparent that we’re in the presence of a youngster not entirely resolved on which path he wants to take in life. He’s just a child at this point but Mason’s lack of enlightenment soon evolves into indecision as relates to the future; photography does take prominence, but it is tough to tell if his heart is truly in picture-taking. As the years roll on, Coltrane carries Mason’s ambiguity with increasing fervour. It’s just enough to generate intrigue and mirror reality — a darkroom chat in school highlights that angsty unmoved-yet-not-entirely-disengaged trait common in teenagers — but not so much as to push us or those around him away.

His sister Samantha is different. Despite the camera’s fondness for Mason Jnr, Samantha gets ample screen time to evolve and as a result her desire for independence gains more clarity. She is the older of the two and therefore tends to champion a greater degree of worldly awareness over her brother; one of the most cringeworthy scenes is also one of the most endearing, where Mason Snr communicates strategies to avoid teenage pregnancy. Lorelei Linklater sells the awkwardness brilliantly, though in truth her chat with Ethan Hawke was probably just as embarrassing in real life.

Hawke is stellar as dad Mason Snr, embodying the character whose behaviour differs most between the opening and closing frames. That’s not to say he becomes the antithesis of his younger self, but rather a more seasoned version with the same emotional clout. One of Linklater’s greatest triumphs in making Boyhood is affording his characters a robust sense of identity across the 12 years. Above anything else, Mason Snr simply wishes to be a good father and it is such a joy watching him thrive in the role. He is never a bad father per se but the underlying guilt harpooned to him as a result of his separation from Olivia is palpable, so much so that he makes humorous yet immature jokes in front of his children to dodge the subject (“Your mother is a piece of work, I think you know that by now”).

Olivia, on the other hand, is wound up fairly tightly, she fulfilling most of the parenting duties whilst her ex-husband works away in Alaska, frozen from reality. Unlike with the others, we need to wait until Olivia’s final words to really grasp hold of what she has been pursuing over the years. Patricia Arquette delivers those last few lines with the utmost sincerity and pain, and at that point we realise her character’s embedded desire has always been for something more. Having lived a life for her children, it becomes clear to Olivia that she wants to live for herself, at least just a little. It is the most heartbreaking point in a film roused by heartfelt moments, one that poignantly captures parenthood for the uninitiated such as myself.

Each of the aforementioned characteristics and motivations are universal, the kind that we can all relate to either personally or in passing. Appropriately, in a film about relationships it is the interactions between individuals that really inject spark and vitality. Linklater always means to coax emotion from the scenes he creates, be it in the form of infectious laughter, genuine solemnity or, as is often the case, foolproof charm. We get as much out of Olivia’s longing for normality as she watches her children drive away for the weekend as we do from a car-set conversation where the siblings reverse their father’s parental diatribe back onto him. The chemistry between all four main actors is indelible.

One thing that Boyhood ain’t is heavy. The filmmakers’ efforts — greatly aided by Sandra Adair’s fluent editing — encourage a true sense of lightness. When we’re not chuckling at the absurdity of now outdated pop culture trends (I’ll take Harry Potter over Soulja Boy any day of the week), wit comes in the form of almost caper-ish humour; the sneaky removal of a pro-McCain signpost wouldn’t look out of place in a Coen brothers comedy, nor would the appearance of a staunch Republican neighbour just seconds before: “Do I look like a Barack Hussein Obama supporter?”

I watched Boyhood at home on Blu-ray. After the credits finished rolling, the disc reverted back to its main menu where the option to view a special feature was supplemented by a montage of Mason growing up, Family of the Year’s song “Hero” playing in tandem. It was like watching the film all over again, tear-jerking and life-affirming. Boyhood is bigger than any perceived gimmick. It’s a film for all the family about all the family. It’s proper cinema.

Boyhood - Ethan Hawke Ellar Coltrane & Lorelei Linklater

Images credit: IMP Awards, Collider

Images copyright (©): ICF Films