Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reel Opinions: Oscar Picks, Part 2

The 87th Academy Awards are fast approaching, and in this final part of Oscar picks, this Blogger will make selections in the elemental categories of filmmaking; the categories that pave the road towards the ultimate prize…the Best Picture of 2014. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Movie-making begins with the written word, which makes the Best Screenplay categories vital. This Blogger’s personal favorite of 2014, THE IMITATION GAME, is also the logical pick to win this category. It is a very human story set in an important backdrop, and it is a dialogue-heavy film which is the type that always does well. THE IMITATION GAME is nominated for eight Oscars and is unlikely to win many…and it’s too good of a movie to walk away empty-handed which makes this a win for the WWII thriller.


Best Original Screenplay

The battle for Best Picture begins here, with the two top contenders, BIRDMAN and BOYHOOD…battling it out. However there is a third party lurking about ready to make the steal; Wes Anderson and his magnificent THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. His script is complex yet focused, with witty dialogue and constant forward motion. The film has tremendous momentum by winning big in the BAFTA’s and Golden Globes, and the Academy has shown him love in the past with nominations in this category. Time for a win. 


Best Film Editing

If a film begins with the written word, then it ends with the cutting. This often-overlooked category is key as six of the last 11 Best Picture winners have won this category.  Starting from the bottom-up, AMERICAN SNIPER had minimal editing choices to make, as did WHIPLASH. THE IMITATION GAME belongs in the conversation for having some excellent relevant flashbacks, and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL was snappy and made many great choices. The favorite and likely winner is BOYHOOD, which had the monumental task of editing 12 years worth of footage into a single movie.


Best Director

This is the most difficult category of the year, with Richard Linklater’s massive achievement in BOYHOOD going up against Alejandro G. Inarritu’s technically proficient BIRDMAN. Both men are deserving, and it’s possible that voters will split Best Director and Best Picture; this has happened 24 times out of the Academy’s 87-year history…including last year. Linklater showed tremendous perserverence in tackling a huge project in BOYHOOD and has won the Golden Globe along with critics’ awards, but Inarritu won the Director’s Guild prize…which is usually the strongest indicator. This Blogger was honestly a little underwhelmed by BOYHOOD, and BIRDMAN deserves to win something big. 

Winner: Alejandro G. Inarritu, BIRDMAN

Best Picture

It’s BOYHOOD vs. BIRDMAN for the Big Tamale in a very close call. Filmed over a period of 12 years, BOYHOOD is certainly a grand achievement, but this Blogger just wasn’t overly impressed; once you got past the amazement of the time-jumps and aging of the kids…it was difficult to find the movie. Still, BOYHOOD has swept critics’ awards and won the Golden Globe…but BIRDMAN swooped in and won at the SAG Awards, and in the Producers and Directors’ Guilds. BIRDMAN was a movie about Hollywood, and the Hollywood-voters tend to vote for themselves (see ARGO or THE ARTIST), but the thing is, BIRDMAN didn’t quite put those Hollywood-types in a very favorable light, so it could be very off-putting for those folk. On top of all this, if BOYHOOD and BIRDMAN split the vote, there could be enough room for THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL to steal it. But it still feels like HOTEL will be the odd-one out, so here’s the deal-breaker: Every Best Picture winner since 1981 has been nominated for Best Editing. BIRDMAN did not receive a nomination in that category, which is a clear pre-requisite for a Best Picture. The absence of that key nomination gives BOYHOOD the edge. 



The Oscars will be awarded February 22nd

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