My favorite day of the year is not Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, or even Flex Day. It will come this forthcoming Sunday, and my favorite week is happening right now, as I pen this article. Yes, it is that glorious time again. The 87th Annual Academy Awards are here, and I could not be more excited. The year’s best films will be honored on Sunday, February 22, a date that has been marked on my calendar since the summer. While I am still a little sore about the lack of nominations for Into The Woods and Amy Adams’ snub, this year’s nominations are fairly spot-on. The telecast will proffer many opportunities for sour looks and feigned surprised-faces, and hopefully Kanye will be able to stay in his seat. Here are my predictions for the top six awards:
Best Picture: Pick: Boyhood; Honorable Mention: Birdman
There always seem to be two or three clear frontrunners in this category every year. However, the 2015 nominees have not allowed for this. Not only are all of this year’s films nominated for Best Picture worthy of this prestigious nomination, they are all great for particular reasons, and they all lack something that really distinguishes one from another. However, Boyhood has achieved something truly special. Director Richard Linklater has forged a new path in filmmaking by shooting one week per year for twelve years in order to create this film that documents a fictitious family and one boy’s journey into manhood. Of all the nominees, Boyhood has the best chance based solely on its innovativeness.
Actor in a Leading Role: Pick: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; Honorable Mention: Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne not only undergoes a serious emotional journey in his portrayal of famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking; his physical change for the role is enough to enthrall movie patrons and critics alike. Not only does Mr. Redmayne deserve this award, he has also been known to give beyond charming acceptance speeches, and the world deserves to hear one more from him before the season is over.
Julianne Moore pretty much has this one locked in. Her heartbreaking portrayal of an Alzheimer’s patient learning to cope with her illness has already garnered her copious awards, and the Oscar is the final one she can, and most likely will, snag.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Pick: J. K. Simmons, Whiplash; Honorable Mention: Edward Norton, Birdman
While Whiplash did not experience as much mainstream success as some of the other films nominated this season, J.K. Simmons delivered a fantastic performance that has not gone unnoticed. His role as an abusive music instructor caught the attention of the SAG Award voters and the HFPA, and it will surely captivate The Academy as well.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Pick: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Honorable Mention: Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette has swept this category in every award show thus far in the season. Her stunning performance in Richard Linklater’s risk-taking film Boyhood will almost certainly earn this actress her first Academy Award.
Directing: Pick: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Honorable Mention: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel embodies everything Wes Anderson; the set, the actors, the madcap scenes, and the overall absurdity and hilarity of the script are just a few of the quintessential Anderson ingredients for an Oscar winning film. Anderson’s stamp is uniquely his own, and his brilliant, original work on this film deserves a nod from the Academy.
Be sure to tune in to the 87th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 22 at 7pm to see if these predictions were correct!