More Oscar Picks in a Hurry

I’ll run through the rest of my Oscar picks in the larger categories.

Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

If I think that Boyhood is the best picture of the year, then I think I have to go with its pair of supporting nominees. Patricia Arquette was great. I’d be OK if Keira Knightley won; Emma Stone was not very good in Birdman and I can’t get past Meryl Streep’s hair in Into the Wild. Laura Dern in Wild?  No idea, but I assume Reese Witherspoon is the only contender for an award from that movie (and I already decided she wasn’t going to get it).

Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Didn’t see it, but I can read, and all signs are Simmons wins. I liked Ethan Hawk in Boyhood, and I thought Edward Norton was easily the best thing about Birdman. The movie crackled when he was in the frame, and really missed him when he wasn’t—which, unfortunately, included the last third of the film.

Animated Feature Film
How to Train a Dragon 2

No idea why, except some friends saw and liked it.

Documentary Feature
CitizenFour

I saw it this weekend and have to say, technically, it’s not very good (is it this hard to keep Edward Snowden in focus?)—but it’s a world-changing, important story, and director Laura Poitras was right there.

Cinematography
Birdman

People were really taken by the contrived nature of this shoot; I wasn’t, but I’m not going to argue it. I think it wins. Not sure why I’m not giving this to Interstellar, except I didn’t see it.

Costume Design
Grand Budapest Hotel

It’s gotta win for something and, after a second viewing, I have to say the costumes and look were absolutely perfect, and it was expertly paced. I think it was the best-executed Wes Anderson movie yet, though I liked the story behind Moonrise Kingdom more.

Film Editing
American Sniper

Nice and tightly put together, it deserves a win for something, and I’m not sure Bradley Cooper is going to get that win (though I’m pulling for him).

Oscar Picks, in a Hurry

I don’t want to spend too much time on this, as the Oscars are a complete Overthinkers trap. So here we go:

Best Picture
Boyhood

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.

Best Actor
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.

Best actress
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.

Best director
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.

Surprising Oscar Nominees

I am not a big film watcher, but I like them when I see them, so the nominations this morning were interesting. You can see the full list here, and there are plenty more engaged fans than me (see @johngilpatrick, among others) , but here are my initial thoughts.

Best Film

With 12 nominations, I get that Lincoln is now the heavy favorite. And I might go that way when I have to fill out my ballot for my friend Carol’s Oscar night pool. But … but … I really want to go for Beasts of the Southern WildAnd I say this all having not seen Zero Dark Thirty. But it is hard to imagine it winning when Kathryn Bigelow didn’t get a best director nod (hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves). Happiest moment: When I realized The Impossible, which I really didn’t like, didn’t make the list. Saddest moment: When I realized Moonrise Kingdom, which I adored, hadn’t, as well.

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis. Next.

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain? Like I said, I haven’t seen ZD30, but I’m going that way regardless. I loved Hushpuppy, but you don’t get an Oscar when you’re 6 years old.

Best Director

Haven’t seen Life of Pi, but I usually think that seeing the movies only screws up my picks. So I’m going Ang Lee. He’s an Academy favorite, the movie is generally well-received (with 11 nominations) and this is the place to honor it. Sorry, Steven Spielberg. Kinda shocked Bigelow didn’t make this list, and Wes Anderson, too. Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, and Benh Zeitlin surprised me. I really liked Silver Linings Playbook, but it was not directorially amazing, I didn’t think.

I’ll offer up some thoughts on the rest of the list when we get closer to the big night, and we’ll see where I land on Best Picture, so that’s it for now. I guess I need to see ZD30 and Life of Pi, pronto.