The award for Best Picture is a tough one. I believe it will be between Birdman and Boyhood. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was a superb film, but it just doesn’t leave the impact that these dramas do. As for the two choices, it’s too close to call. I think Birdman is better written in terms of imagination, but Boyhood is no slouch and has it’s impressive filming convention. It’s almost an “apples to oranges” argument.
Best Director is heavily tied to the above, and will be between Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater. Wes Anderson would be a stunning upset for many, though I’ll always cheer that man on.
Best Actress has so many great nominations. Julianne Moore is probably the frontrunner, and with her nominated performance in Still Alice and Golden Globe nominated role in Maps to the Stars, she is really hitting the mark lately. Rosamund Pike was certainly Gone Girl’s best asset, but her receiving the award would probably be seen as an upset by many. Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night was also incredible, definitely an under-viewed performance in comparison to the others. The film was essentially completely hers, and she managed to keep it intriguing.
Best Actor is an obvious toss up between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne, but I honestly think Redmayne deserves (and will) get the award. I love Michael Keaton, I really do. His performance in Birdman was almost self-referential, and arguably his dramatic comeback. However, I think a lot of fans look at it with nostalgia and personal feeling toward Keaton, which only clouds judgement. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking was a complete transformation…the physicality associated with mimicking ALS symptoms is staggering. My mind truly felt like it had a window into the past of Hawking, it wasn’t a role. Though, if Michael Keaton wins I won’t be upset at all.
Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette will win Best Supporting Actress.
Best Supporting Actor:
J.K. Simmons will win Best Supporting Actor; anything else would be a travesty. I also still maintain that Channing Tatum got shafted out of a nomination. I assume his role would actually fall under non-supporting, therefore taking him out of the Best Actor race due to the immense competition. I liked Tatum’s performance more than Mark Ruffalo’s in Foxcatcher. I really thought we got to experience an unseen side and talent from him. (Though Ruffalo was great too, I love him.) He’ll probably be up there in the future I’d wager.
Best Original Screenplay:
Best Original Screenplay? I’m not even going to take a stab at it. Literally every film in the category is worthy. I think Nightcrawler would be a good upset pick, a lot of critics consider it the venerable underdog.
Best Documentary will go to Citizenfour, no doubt in my mind. Having been one of the first people to ever see it, the air in the theater during the credits was the most palpable unease I’ve ever felt. The subject material is just something that will only happen once in a lifetime, and it was caught on film. There were no explosions, no catchphrases, but the perceivable tension was akin to a blockbuster action film.