Utterly Biased Oscar Predictions

For the first time since I started watching the Academy Awards – so just about ten years – I managed to watch all films nominated for best picture. Yay me! So maybe this time around my predictions will be more precise…

Then again, the Academy and I have never really agreed on much. Let’s see how it goes this year, shall we?

  • Best Picture: Whiplash
  • Runner Up: The Imitation Game / American Sniper

Why? Because Whiplash is perfect on every level – it has great story telling, appealing cinematography and I still have no words to describe how awesome the ending is.

I loved The Imitation Game and conceived American Sniper as an anti-war character study of a flawed soldier with severe PTSD, not as a picture glorifying war and killing. However, TIG played it too safe, was too polished and clever, and while American Sniper is a good film, it won’t stay with me for years like I’m certain Whiplash will.

  • Best Actor in a leading role: Eddie Redmayne
  • Runner Up: Benedict Cumberbatch

Why? I’m a card-carrying member of the Cumbercollective but I’m sorry, Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Hawking impressed me a tad more than Benedict’s did. He was a close second, though.

  • Best Actress in a leading role: Felicity Jones / Reese Witherspoon

Why? I only saw The Theory of Everything, so I can’t really judge this one. My therapist says Reese Witherspoon was amazing, though.

  • Best Actor in a supporting role: J.K. Simmons
  • Runner Up: Robert Duvall

Why? Yes, Edward Norton was great, I’m sure Mark Ruffalo as well (though I fell asleep halfway through Foxcatcher so that’s just personal bias) but J.K. Simmons impressed me the most in Whiplash. And Duvall was equally brilliant in The Judge.

  • Best Actress in a supporting role: Keira Knightley
  • Runner Up: Emma Stone
  • Unrivaled: Meryl Streep

Why? I am hughly biased against Keira, so I tried really hard not to see how brilliant she was in TIG, but yeah. She’d deserve that Oscar. Emma Stone was remarkable as well, though I don’t know how much chance they both have when nominated in the same category as Meryl Streep…^^

  • Best Cinematography: Birdman
  • Runner Up: Whiplash, even though they didn’t nominate it

Why? Birdman is a two-hour planned sequence. I mean, hello? Of course they need that award!

  • Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Nightcrawler
  • Runner Up: Birdman

Why? Actually, I’d like them both to have the award equally much. Anyone who has seen Nightcrawler will probably know what I’m talking about. That protagonist. That ending. That plot. Yeah. And Birdman was of equally high calibre! second thought, As long as no one gives any trophy to either Boyhoodor Foxcatcher. Gosh, how boring can storytelling be???

  • Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
  • Runner Up: Whiplash / The Theory of Everything / American Sniper

Why? The script of TIG is dramaturgically perfect in my opinion, so my vote goes to Graham Moore. As evident in the “runner up” line above, I also respect the other nominated scripts (though I have yet to see Inherent Vice) and would understand if one of them won.

  • Best Directing: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
  • Runner Up Who Will Probably Win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Why? Birdman required great attention to detail and a lot of planning, so Iñarritu deserves recognition. Then again, Linklater’s film was produced over the course of several years, yada yada yada and so forth.

  • Best Film Editing: Whiplash
  • Runner Up: American Sniper

Why? Whiplash was incredibly visceral and had a great impact on my physical experience while watching it, which is for the most part due to its editing. AndAmerican Sniper simply was great filmmaking, especially for a war movie.

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Guardians if the Galaxy
  • Runner Up: Foxcatcher

Why? Gamora’s makeup alone should be reason enough. Although everyone who dares to give Mark Ruffalo such an ugly beard should get something for the mere audacity to rob viewers of his handsome face.

  • Best Music – Original Score: The Theory of Everything
  • Runner Up: The Grand Budapest Hotel / The Imitation Game

Why? Of all the films, the only score that still rings a bell (ha^^) is that of The Theory of Everything. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen Budapest Hotel(Berlinale 2014), but I do recall that the music was remarkable.

  • Best Production Design: The Imitation Game
  • Runner Up aka The One That Will Probably Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Why? Everything looked so authentic in TIG and added a great feel for the time period(s). Of course, Budapest Hotel is something else entirely, but my fingers are crossed for the team of TIG.

  • Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash
  • Runner Up: American Sniper

Why? I’m not a sound person, so I won’t even try to guess Sound Editing, butWhiplash is nominated in this category and on a sound level it blew me away, seriously. Also I have great respect for the Sound Crew of American Sniper for mixing such thrilling combat scenes.

  • Best Visual Effects: X-Men Days Of Future Past
  • Runner Up: Guardians of the Galaxy / CA: The Winter Soldier

Why? They should ALL win! But X-Men is my favourite because of the amazingly animated mutations… #sighs

CONCLUSION

If I were the Academy, I would reward Whiplash a lot more than critics have so far. And give Graham Moore an award for his Imitation Game script! Also, and at the risk of incurring scathing criticism, no matter what you personally think ofAmerican Sniper, seen as a film it is incredibly well done in my opinion.

PS: If you are on Tumblr, pick your own selection and enter my Oscar Competition! You can win fanart, fanfic or an edit 🙂

What I loved about “The Imitation Game”

  • the a-chronological structure of the plot
  • Joan and Allan’s epic bromance
  • the large amounts of situational comedy largely due to Alan
  • the cinematography, for example the combination of black and white archive footage with diegetic footage
  • how Alan spied a small boy immersed in a puzzle on the train in the very first sequence – great way to highlight character traits
  • that they didn’t bury the audience in technobabble and kept it all pretty basic
  • how Alan’s backstory was woven into the narration, highlighting certain aspects
  • also, the Christopher story arc is heart-wrenching
  • really, I must have gone “awwww” about fifty times
  • how Christopher taking Alan under his wing is contrasted with Alan looked after Joan
  • Keira Knightly’s performance and how she actually managed to impress me and not annoy me despite my inclination to the contrary
  • Benedict’s performance as Alan, respectively Alan’s character in general – I found that the viewer undergoes the same change that Hugh and the others undergo, from laughing at Alan’s peculiar nature to actually caring about him and, if not understanding him, at least accepting him
  • how the film did not shape Alan Turing to be a particularly likable character – in fact they made no secret about how unlikable he could be
  • how after the audience witnessed all that Alan Turing did during the war, the filmmakers emphasized how little his country cared for him afterwards and how insanely daft homophobic laws are and how angry it left me
  • also, all the actors were amazing, from Benedict and Keira to Mark Strong and Matthew Goode and Charles Dance and …
  • He’s from MI6 – But there are only 5 divisions of Military Intelligence! – Exactly. *chuckles*

And, maybe most of all, how many themes permeated the film from start to finish:

  • How far should we go for the Greater Good aka ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ *hugs-Peter-Hilton*
  • Information is power – as John Cairncross has shown so expertly by blackmailing Alan into keeping quiet
  • Normal does not mean good or better: “It is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine.” – Joan Clarke
  • Being different means you have to adapt, act differently, because the world is unfair: “I’m a woman on a man’s job and I don’t have the luxury of being an arse.” – Joan Clarke

I’m sure there’s a lot more that I could name but I’m still emotionally compromised by this cinematic experience…