5 days until Oscars: 5 essential thoughts on Oscar race

5 days left until the big night. I had different plans for today's post, but changed my mind, because of the toughest Oscar race I can remember. I've been predicting The Academy awards for more than 7 year (most of it just sitting home, writing down my choices in my textbook). There has not been an year more unpredictable, even when The Hurt Locker won over Avatar or No Country for Old Men over There Will Be Blood

Accordingly, I have enormous amount of thoughts on future winners, especially in Best Picture and Directing nominations. Here they are:

1. IS IT BOYHOOD OR  BIRDMAN?

Boyhood won directing/picture at Golden Globes and BAFTAs, while Birdman won DGA, PGA and SAG. So, who is right?

BAFTA matched with Oscars for last 6 year, while PGA for last 7 years. Not an easy choice. The last time American and British choices for top honor did not match was in  2008, when Atonement - a clearly British drama - won over Coens' masterpiece. If not that minor subjectivity, BAFTA could have been even more precise. On the other hand, PGA got even that correctly.

Before that, they both made the same mistakes - choosing Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen instead of Scorsese's The Departed and even earlier, nobody predicted Crash over The Brokeback Mountain. The same time, DGA was wrong only twice since 2000, once when they voted for Rob Marshall instead of Roman Polanski and recently when Ben Affleck did not get Oscar nomination. The rest years, DGA win meant The Academy Award win and which tells me it's not wise to forget about Iñárritu's victory.

For me, Boyhood looks like the proper consensus winner, because of preferential voting system. If the winner in Best Picture was determined by raw votes Birdman could easily triumph. I see it getting quite a number of first place votes as well as the last place, because it's controversial and not for everyone's taste. While Linklater's film can easily get plenty of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place votes.

So, my conclusion is, most likely, Boyhood wins BP.

2. DOES BOYHOOD'S WIN MEAN LINKLATER'S WIN?

Not necessarily. Last two winners in this category did not win best film nomination. However, there is a huge BUT here - Linklater's factor. If Boyhood is wins partially because of Richard's overdue. So, people voting for his movie, might also vote for him in directing nomination. The same time, Iñárritu won DGA, which is most precise predictor of that category. Another reason, why Birdman might not win directing nod is that compared to previous two winners, it's not as showy as Gravity or Life of Pi. Both were technical perfections with massive visual effects, beautiful cinematography and editing. While Birdman unexpectedly misses the latter, it does not really scream to be a directing perfection. To understand Iñárritu's work here, you need to really watch, feel and sense the film.

On the other hand, Birdman is one of likable movies this year. So if the Academy goes for Boyhood in BP, it might vote for Alejandro in directing, to properly honor him and not to completely shut out his work.

So, I predict Birdman here.

3. IF NO, DOES IT TAKE ONLY TWO AWARDS?

Following the same logic, seems Boyhood only wins two awards: Best Picture and S. Actress for Patricia Arquette. It lost WGA, Golden Globes and BAFTA, most likely it's not going to win Oscar for original screenplay, which has it's own front runner: The Grand Budapest Hotel.

As for Editing, after British Academy win, Whiplash is leading here. Boyhood has more chances to win this one, but Chazelle's film looks to be huge, because of it's music, scene and sequence edition, that made Whiplash a lot more enjoyable.

4. IF BIRDMAN WINS, CAN IT BEAT THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL IN ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY CATEGORY?

Even though Birdman won Globe for best writing, it lost the same nomination at BAFTAs and was ineligible at WGA.  I am sure voters would want to somehow honor Wes Anderson who is overdue in this category after he lost for Moonrise Kingdom. This is exactly the category where he most deserves to be recognized. I don't think The Academy misses this chance.

5. AND FINALLY, WHICH FILM CAN BE A DARK HORSE?

Even though The Grand Budapest can win up to 5 Oscars, including Original Screenplay, I think a real dark horse can be Whiplash, which also has chances against The Imitation Game in Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Sound Mixing and definitely winning S. Actor for J.K. Simmons. It's also a small film that everyone loves to love and honestly, I don't think there is any person who was not positively surprised after Whiplash screening. So, why not voting for it as best film?

Check out my Oscars predictions: who will/should win.

What's your opinion? Who's winning Best Picture/Director? Share in comments

7 comments:

  1. These are pretty much my exact thoughts when trying to make my final predictions. Birdman just seems too critical and odd to win. But I really don't know. I'd love for Whiplash to be the dark horse to come out on top!

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  2. Seems I'm not the only one. I actually feel better about Whiplash winning it then Boyhood. It can be the most original film to win Oscar lately. Leaving alone Birdman or The Grand Budapest

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  3. Andrew EllingtonFeb 18, 2015, 1:20:00 AM

    VERY interesting takedown here. It think that this particular race could go either way, and it'll be really interesting to see how it shakes down on Sunday night. Such a nail biter!

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  4. I haven't seen Boyhood yet, I dunno why but I'm just not as interested in it but I know I'd have to simply out of curiosity!

    I was just reading this article http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/decisions-decisions-the-toughest-choices-the-academy-ever-had-to-make the other day, seems that there have been some tough races in the past, but yeah this one will go down in history as one of the tightest I think.

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  5. Thanks Andrew. Indeed, it certainly can go any way. Let's hope for the best!

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  6. Great post. This is one of the closer Oscar races in recent history. I hope Boyhood loses everything, of course. But that won't happen. lol I'd love for Whiplash to be the dark horse and win a few extra things.

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  7. Thanks Brittani. Boyhood at least wins Supp. Actress. And most probably BP too. However, let's see, we might be surprised this Sunday. Who knows.

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