With less than a week to the 87th Academy Awards, it’s time for some semi-qualified Oscars predictions. It is time to make some high stakes decisions in order to predict, among a few other awards, Feb. 22’s biggest honor — best picture.
Let’s get the lesser, but still important categories out of the way first. Cinematography is an interesting category to examine. In case you were wondering, Google tells me that the cinematographer oversees the camera and lighting departments while working very closely with the director. So it’s a real neat job! I think that this year, it’s a two-horse race between Emmanuel Lubezki’s work on “Birdman” and Robert Yeoman’s work on “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” I’m picking Lubezki as best cinematographer after viewing his work on “Gravity” last year. I usually like the underdog, but Lubezki and Alejandro Inarritu’s seamless Steadicam filming technique was a true marvel to watch. For short film (live action), I have got to go with “Boogaloo and Graham.” I mean, the word “Boogaloo” is in the title — its victory is all but assured!
Moving quickly onto the writing categories, I’ll go with “Whiplash” for best adapted screenplay and “Boyhood” for best original screenplay. The former selection is based solely on my unabashed affection for the film. The latter is also based on my unabashed affection for the film. I’m not afraid to pick with my heart when nothing is on the line, folks.
Enough messing around, it’s time to tackle the category you all have been waiting for — best picture. It’s a category that is a bit tough to get a read on because there are eight nominees. I did my best to try and watch all of the best picture contestants but I still couldn’t see “Selma,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything,” so they are all eliminated from my consideration. Bam.
Now the field is narrowed to “American Sniper,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Whiplash” and “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” “American Sniper” has stirred up too much controversy to still be a contender. While Bradley Cooper gave an incredible performance, the man that the character is based on — Chris Kyle — has been under scrutiny regarding the veracity of his exploits. Next to be voted out of this category is “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” While Wes Anderson’s work is near and dear to me, this film just didn’t do it for me. All the best to Wes for creating a tight, interesting narrative that has finally reached a broad audience. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is his year for the Big One. Maybe he’ll get a token best original screenplay Oscar as a parting gift.
OK, down to the last three! “Whiplash,” while an incredible film from both a viewing and technical standpoint, is simply outmatched this year by the two remaining movies. Now to the final showdown, “Birdman” versus “Boyhood.” Both are truly innovative films. “Birdman” weaves an engaging and surreal story with a unique visual style, making the entire movie feel like a single take gives the film a great sense of pace and movement.
On the other hand, “Boyhood” is a cinematic event that has never been seen before. Filmed over the course of 12 years, all with the same actors, “Boyhood” is truly a sight to behold. Director Richard Linklater (known for his insightful “Before” series) filmed a bit of the film every year, writing the script for each year’s shooting as he went. It’s unbelievable how well this movie came together and I think that Linklater should earn the best director Oscar for all his work. You would think that the disjointed filming would lead to a patchwork film but it really is smooth and close to perfect. I cannot commend “Boyhood” enough. It is a tremendous film and the best movie that I have seen this year. “Boyhood” deserves to win best picture Feb. 22.