Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reel Opinions: Oscar Picks, Part 1

In this first part of Reel Speak’s Oscar Picks, this Blogger will make selections in the Acting categories. 

This year’s categories are all alike in that they are all a one-or-two person race, while also giving hints towards which film will take home the Big Tamale. Here are Reel Speak’s picks: 

Best Supporting Actress

Simply put, Patricia Arquette is the clear frontrunner. Filming her role for BOYHOOD in a period of 12 years, her performance as a loving mother required the deepest commitment. The Academy loves real stories from real characters with real problems, and Arquette’s role as a single mom facing real-world problems is the type of material voters tend to eat up. Arquette has already cleaned house in critics’ awards, Golden Globes, and the all-important Screen Actors’ Guild. It’s hers by a mile.

Winner: Patricia Arquette

Best Supporting Actor

Actor J.K. Simmons has been around so long in so many different things that it’s easy to take him for granted. That all changes this week as Simmons is the one to beat for Best Supporting Actor. His role in WHIPLASH as a music-instructor with the edge of a drill sergeant has earned him wins in critics’ awards, Globes, and SAG…and his fiery performance stands tall over his ho-hum fellow competitors. His closest competition is probably Robert Duvall from THE JUDGE, as everyone seems to love a grumpy old man on film…but the Academy should know better. 

Winner: J.K. Simmons 

Best Actress

This category is a two-person race between Julianne Moore for STILL ALICE and Rosamund Pike for GONE GIRL. Both roles have the material that voters tend to gravitate towards; characters going up against incredible odds...which is really the best kind of story to be told. While both actresses had characters very grounded in reality, Moore’s role as a professor battling Alzheimer’s hits very close to home and can remind anyone of a situation they may have faced in their lifetimes. Moore has cleaned house this awards season, and this Blogger found Pike’s performance in GONE GIRL to be very underwhelming. 

Winner: Julianne Moore 

Best Actor

Another two-horse race in which Michael Keaton for BIRDMAN goes head-to-head with Eddie Redmayne for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. Keaton is getting a lot of attention, but he seems to be more of a sentimental favorite because (a) he’s been out of the spotlight for so long, and (b) he’s Batman. Redmayne is the realistic favorite because (a) his role as a debilitated Stephen Hawking required a lot more work, and (b) portraying a real-life character well-known to the world leaves very little room for error; error that Redmayne did not commit. Redmayne has the advantage of playing the character going up against incredible odds (again, the stuff that voters love), and he has that all-important SAG win. After all, the SAG, which accounts for the largest chunk of Academy voters, has correctly predicted every Best Actor winner in the past 10 years. Make it 11. 

Winner: Eddie Redmayne


In Part 2, Reel Speak will make picks in the key categories leading to Best Picture. 

The Oscars will be awarded February 22nd

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