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Oscar Predictions for 2015- Part 2
Another year has finally passed, and now it's time for my annual Oscar predictions. Please bear in mind that this entire hub is purely opinionated based on what I've been able to research about each nominee's chances, and it's NOT a reflection of who I'd like to see win an Oscar. However, if you disagree with any of these predictions, then feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Also, I do plan to review every film mentioned in this two part hub series, so please be on the lookout for that in the coming weeks. As I mentioned before, I only go over my predictions on all the major categories for the Oscars, so please don't expect me to write anything like who's going to win "Best Art Direction" or whatever.
Anyway, without wasting anymore time, let's get on with the show.
- Oscar Predictions for 2015- Part 1
Oscar Predictions for 2015- Part 2 Winner: Big Hero 6- If one thing is clear about the Oscars, it's that when it comes to the "Best Animated Feature" category they usually tend to favor big name family blockbusters. Sure, you have..
Best Animated Feature Prediction
Big Hero 6- If one thing is clear about the Oscars, they usually tend to favor big name family blockbusters, when it comes to the "Best Animated Feature" category. Sure, you have the extremely rare instance with "Spirited Away", but most of the time that usually seems to be the case. How else can you explain why "Brother Bear", a film that's often referred to as the bastard child of Disney's animated lineup, getting a nomination for "Best Animated Feature" over a critically acclaimed movie like "Tokyo Godfathers?"
And like "Frozen", "Big Hero 6" has the clear advantage of being the last known animated blockbuster of last year, and it's being praised by critics too. Therefore, it's practically a lock at this point. It's almost a shame "The Lego Movie" wasn't nominated because "Big Hero 6" could easily walk away with the Oscar.
Possible Upset Contender:
How to Train Your Dragon 2- Sadly, it's a well known fact that Dreamworks has been struggling lately with some of their recent animated features. However, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" wasn't one of them. Not only was the film one of the biggest blockbusters of last year, but it was critically acclaimed as well. As I mentioned earlier, Oscar voters love favoring big name blockbusters in this category. Plus, it did beat out "Big Hero 6" at the Golden Globes earlier this year, for the exact same category. Therefore, if any film can pull off the upset for "Best Animated Feature", then you can bet it'll probably be this one.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya- If the Academy Award for "Best Animated Feature" came down to purely being based on the quality of each of the perspective films nominated, then you can bet your a** that "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" would definitely be a serious threat in this category. Not only was the animation aesthetically unique, but the story was arguably one of the best that I've ever seen on the big screen.
Sadly, it has no shot to win. Why? Because this is the same damn award show that would rather nominate blockbuster family films like "Brother Bear" and "Brave" over much more deserving movies like "Tokyo Godfathers" and "Ghost in the Shell: Innocence." Of course, it doesn't help that like all Studio Ghibli films, this one only got a limited theatrical release; hence it'll be hard to imagine this movie pulling off any kind of upset.
Song of the Sea- Although I haven't seen this movie yet, I will say that it too suffers from getting a limited theatrical release. As history has taught us, most animated films that get limited releases in the US don't often win Academy Awards for this category.
The Boxtrolls- As I pointed out in my review of this movie, this has arguably some of the best stop motion animation that I've ever seen in animated feature before. It was aesthetically one of the best out there, but I also said some of the characters were written kind of weak; particularly the main protagonist. Plus, it covers the exact same themes and concepts that have been explored in much better animated movies like "Shrek" and "Disney's Beauty and Beast." Therefore, I doubt we'll see this film win an Oscar.
Best Animated Feature Poll
Which movie should win "Best Animated Feature?"
Best Director Prediction
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)- I could be taking a huge gamble with this prediction, but Alejandro did win at this year's "Director's Guild Awards" for his iconic film, "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." Plus, it's been widely speculated that this year's "Best Picture" race is sort of a two man race between "Boyhood" and "Birdman", so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine Alejandro G. Iñárritu possibly winning this award.
After all, he did a fantastic job with the actors in "Birdman", and he was able to create the illusion that everything was done in one continuous take on screen. Everything from the continuous cinematography to the way he handled the ensemble all star cast was simply brilliant on Alejandro's part that it's amazing that he hasn't won an Oscar yet.
Possible Upset Contender:
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)- As I mentioned in my review of this film, no other filmmaker has ever tried making a movie over a twelve year span like this. Not only was "Boyhood" such a unique film, but it was also groundbreaking in terms of how it was made.
Unlike most movies that tend to follow a straight narrative, "Boyhood" was a film about life itself. It didn't have a straight narrative like most films do, as it was more about how life was made up of random moments. How sometimes things happen through no fault of our own, and how we deal with them in our daily lives. It was also about how the choices we make can sometimes dictate the lives that we lead; whether it be for better or worse.
Plus, Richard Linklater did beat out Alejandro G. Iñárritu at this year's BAFTA awards for "Best Director", so he might have a legitimate shot to win this award. And with "Boyhood" being projected as a possible Oscar favorite to win "Best Picture", then don't be surprised if Linklater steals this one because usually the "Best Director" and "Best Picture" tend to go hand in hand.
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)- Yes, I'm aware that "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is currently tied with "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" for the most Oscar nominations this year. I'm also aware that it won a Golden Globe award for "Best Comedy or Musical." However, the film came out fairly early in March last year, which makes the fact that it even garnered nine nominations to begin with astounding. When most movies get released that early in the year, they normally don't do that well the following year around Oscar time because most voters will have forgotten about it by then. And out of all the movies that Wes Andeson has ever made, this is only nomination he's ever gotten as a director.
Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Wes Anderson get an Academy Award someday, and he might win his first one for his screenwriting abilities this year. However, I wouldn't bet on him winning for this category.
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)- As much as I loved "The Imitation Game", the reality is that it doesn't have that much of a chance at winning any major categories this year. Heck, Morten Tyldum wasn't even nominated for a BAFTA this year for directing, which is basically the British version of the Oscars.
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)- Like Morten Tyldum, Bennett Miller has no shot to win this year at the Oscars. Sure, it'll be a nice nomination to add to his resume, but "Foxcatcher" hasn't been getting the same amount of hype as "Birdman" or "Boyhood" this year, so it's doubtful he'll pull off any upset here.
Best Director Poll
Who do you think should win the Oscar for "Best Director?"
Best Picture Prediction
Boyhood- Although this prediction might not be a sure thing, as "Birdman" could easily take this award as well. However, "Boyhood" has been getting a lot of praise for it's ingenuous concept, as no other film was shot in a twelve year span like this one was.
The idea behind "Boyhood" is that Richard Linklater would film a boy when he's still in his toddler years all the way up to his adulthood, while using the same actor to do it. Not only was this an ingenuous concept, but it worked out to create arguably one of the best stories ever told on the big screen.
Say what you want about the film, but nobody can say the concept behind it wasn't a stroke of genius. And, it's because of the ingenuity behind the movie that it's been getting quite a bit of buzz around Oscar time this year.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)- If there's one movie that could pull off the upset here, then it's definitely this one. "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" not only acts as a witty satire about the entertainment industry, but it makes a lot of references to the superhero genre of movies as well. It was a cleverly written film about a man seeking to find redemption in his life and career, while dealing with his estranged daughter and a hostile media.
The film speaks volumes about life itself, and how we all tend to struggle to stay relevant at times. One can even argue that it's a story how we can sometimes become so disillusioned about our own success that we can tend to forget about what really matters to us. It's an emotionally deep symbolic movie that deserves all the praise it's been getting. Like "Boyhood", "Birdman" has been garnering a lot of attention coming into this Oscar race. And with it being tied for the most nominations this year, it wouldn't be that hard to fathom this film stealing the Oscar from "Boyhood."
American Sniper- I know what some of my readers are thinking. "But Steven! "American Sniper" didn't even get a directing nomination, so how could it win an Oscar for "Best Picture?" I mean isn't it statistically improbable that a film ever wins without a "Best Directing" nomination? Blah blah" Yes, I'm perfectly aware of this little fact, as anyone that knows the Academy Awards fairly well can attest that usually the "Best Director" and "Best Picture" awards go hand in hand. I'm not disagreeing with anyone that says "American Sniper" winning "Best Picture" is improbable, but it's not impossible either.
The reason I say this is because of a few reasons. One, "American Sniper" has grossed more money, at the box office, than all the other films nominated in this category combined; which arguably makes it the most popular movie coming into this year's Oscar race. Add in the fact that the Academy loves to be politically correct half the time, and "American Sniper" does play on everyone's patriotic sentiments, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine this film pulling off a possible upset.
Plus, we have to keep in mind that if "American Sniper" wins an Oscar for "Best Picture", it wouldn't be the first time a film has ever won the coveted prize without a directing nod. Such movies like "Driving Miss Daisy", "Wings", "Grand Hotel" and recently "Argo" are proof that it has happened before. Therefore, I wouldn't count out this film. Granted, "Boyhood" and "Birdman" are obviously the favorites, but I would have to consider "American Sniper" a possible dark horse here that could surprise everyone come Oscar night.
Selma- Although statistically speaking this film shouldn't have any chance to win considering it failed to land both a directing and screenwriting nomination this year, which would usually make it a long shot for "Best Picture." However, the Academy has been under a lot of scrutiny lately because of the snub of "Selma", in various other categories. When you look at the major nominated categories, then you'll notice that there's hardly any minorities up there.
Now, I'm sure many could argue that maybe there wasn't any minorities that deserved to be nominated for any major categories like acting, directing and etc. Fair enough, but here's the thing. When you watch "Selma", it's quite obvious that Ava DuVernay (who happens to be a black woman) did a fantastic job directing the film, and you could easily make a strong argument that she should have received a nomination for "Best Director" this year.
Same thing goes for the actor that played the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma." David Oyelowo not only gave such a heartfelt performance that embodied the iconic figure that was Martin Luther King, but he brought a sense of humanity to the character as well. Allowing audiences to see the man behind the iconic historical figure, as a passionate man that wasn't always above reproach, but merely did what he felt was right.
It was reminiscent of what Daniel Day Lewis did in "Lincoln", which makes it almost a crying shame David was passed over this year for "Best Actor." However, we need to look at the facts here.
For starters, the Academy Awards was not the only award show to snub David out of an acting nomination. The BAFTA and SAG awards didn't nominate him for any acting categories this year either, so it's hardly fair for us to solely hate on the Oscars this year for him being snubbed. Plus, he wasn't the only big snub this year for acting, as many film experts felt that Jake Gyllenhaal deserved a nomination for his role in "NIghtcrawler." And to be honest, I agree. As much as I think David Oyelowo deserved a nomination, I think Gyllenhaal was clearly the bigger snub between them. Yet, where's the outcry over that?
As for Ava DuVernay, I do agree that "Selma" should have gotten her a directing nomination, but you have to ask yourself the honest question...who would you have removed from the nomination for "Best Director" just to make room for her? Granted, you can't remove Alejandro or Linklater obviously because their films, "Birdman" and "Boyhood", are the front runners for "Best Picture." So who would you have removed? The reality is whenever you have an award show like this, you have to realize that not everyone is going to get nominated. It's the same thing if you were to comprise a top ten list of your favorite films. Chances are your probably going to leave quite a few good ones out of your list.
Take in mind, I'm a minority myself, so I'm not being a racist by saying any of this either. However, this hasn't stopped many fans from crying foul over the alleged racism the Academy seems to be displaying by not nominating "Selma" in more categories. And given how the Oscars love to be politically correct to appease people, then chances are they could give the Oscar for "Best Picture" to "Selma" just to silence their critics; similar to how they gave "Argo" the award to silence skeptics about not nominating Ben Affleck for "Best Director."
The Theory of Everything- Statistically speaking, films that typically don't land a directing nod don't often win "Best Picture." Granted, there have been exceptions in the past, but those are extremely rare. And unlike "American Sniper", "The Theory of Everything" isn't exactly a major box office draw either.
Whiplash- Like "The Theory of Everything", "Whiplash" was a great movie in it's own right, but the fact that Damien Chazelle wasn't able to get a directing nomination could hurt this film's chances considerably.
Imitation Game- As I said before, "Imitation Game" is arguably one of the best movies of last year. However, it's been striking out at a lot of the other big name movie awards lately, so it's doubtful that it's luck will change much here.
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Although this film is currently tied with "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) " for the most Oscar nominations this year, the reality is that it hasn't garnered that much success at any of the other major award shows; outside of the "Golden Globes." Plus, the fact that it came out so early last year could hurt it's chances.
Best Picture Poll
Which movie would you like to see win "Best Picture?"
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
© 2015 Steven Escareno