I don’t want to spend too much time on this, as the Oscars are a complete Overthinkers trap. So here we go:
I was delighted by Grand Budapest Hotel, but it tickled more than it moved me; the same can’t be said for Richard Linklater’s film—and I don’t think it’s only because I have a teen and a 20-year-old. Great performances from Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, in addition to the boy himself, Ellar Coltrane. American Sniper and Birdman may garner some support, but the first hued the same war-is-the-ultimate-drug vibe as The Hurt Locker and the latter simply wasn’t visually interesting and promising early, before falling flat in the third act.
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
The rest of this field is weak. Neither Cumberbatch and Redmayne killed it, and I assume they’ll split the “tormented British genius” vote; I thought Michael Keaton was handed the final third of Birdman to carry it home and he didn’t (with little to no help from Emma Stone), and Steve Carell … I think his nomination should have gone to Daniel Oyelowo, in Selma. That leaves me with Cooper, who has been on a great run in recent years without official sanction. I think he gets it on Oscar night.
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Didn’t see it, but judging from buzz, it sounds like a lock. Again, I don’t see a strong rival.
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
The Academy should reward him for the audacious, brilliantly executed film he created.
I’ll get to others closer to the event.