Oscar Predictions 2015

Oscars 2015: Predictions

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

This is one of the toughest years in Oscar history where many of the major categories are too close to call. Still, I will put my reputation at stake.

Here is my list of bets for 2015 Oscars.

Best Motion Picture  of the Year

Who will win: ‘Boyhood’ because it is a feel good movie even when it feels like a long television series. ‘Birdman’ is touted as the closest competition but it is too unconventional for mainstream audiences. If I had a vote, it would have been cast for ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Darkhorse: ‘Birdman’.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne

Who deserves to win: Eddie Redmayne.

Darkhorse: Michael Keaton. Though the challenge by the thespian is said to be more than formidable, his only hope of victory is by gaining some sentimental votes.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who will win: Julianne Moore all the way.

Who deserves to win: Julianne Moore even though a special mention must be made of Marion Cotillard.

Darkhorse: Absolutely no competition.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who will win: J K Simmons. Sealed and delivered.

Who deserves to win: J K Simmons

Darkhorse: An honorable mention for Mark Ruffalo.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Patricia Arquette for her heartwarming performance. An Oscar is long overdue.

Who deserves to win: Patricia Arquette.

Darkhorse: Other nominees including Meryl Streep are just filling in the nomination slots.

Best Achievement in Directing

Who will win: The toughest category to predict this year. Should Richard Linklater be awarded for his commitment and passion for ‘Boyhood’ or is it Alexandro Innaritu who deserves acclaim for the unconventional ‘Birdman’? My vote is for Richard Linklater but I won’t be surprised if Innaritu pulls off a surprise.

Who deserves to win: Richard Linklater

Darkhorse: Wes Anderson.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who will win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Darkhorse: ‘Boyhood’.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who will win: ‘The Imitation Game’. A close contender is ‘Whiplash’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Imitation Game’

Darkhorse: ‘American Sniper’.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who will win: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

Who deserves to win:’ The Lego Movie’ but it is not even nominated.

Darkhorse: ‘Princess Kaguya’

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who will win: I want ‘Leviathan’ to win and my vote is for it but it seems ‘Ida’ may walk away with the prize. Going by the nature of voting in the Academy ‘Ida’ will be the winner.

Who deserves to win:’Leviathan’

Darkhorse: ‘Wild Tales’

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who will win: Emmanual Lubezki for ‘Birdman’

Who deserves to win: Dick Pope for Mr. Turner

Darkhorse: Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski for ‘Ida’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who will win: ‘Boyhood’

Who deserves to win: ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Whiplash’ are equally good.

Darkhorse: ‘Whiplash’

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who will win: ‘‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Who deserves to win:’The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Dark horse: ‘Interstellar’

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who will win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Darkhorse: ‘Into the Woods’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who will win: ‘Alexandre Desplat’

Who deserves to win: ‘Alexandre Desplat’

Dark horse: ‘Johann Johannsson’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Who will win:‘Glory’ (Selma)

Who deserves to win: ‘Glory’ (Selma)

Dark horse: ‘Everything is Awesome’ (The Lego Movie)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Who will win:Whiplash

Who deserves to win: Whiplash

Dark horse: American Sniper

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Who will win: ‘American Sniper’

Who deserves to win: ‘American Sniper’

Dark horse: ‘Birdman’

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who will win:‘Interstellar’

Who deserves to win: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Dark horse: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Best Documentary, Feature

Who will win: ‘Citizenfour’

Who deserves to win: Citizenfour

Dark horse: Finding Vivian Maier

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Edition 60

The Non-English Movie of The Week

Leviathan (Russia, 2014) [IMDb:8.0, Rotten tomatoes: 99%, My Rating: 9/10]

Leviathan-Poster

Trailer:

Of the few hundred movies that I have seen in 2014, ‘Leviathan’ is the best. It is also the most depressing. It is unsparingly bleak, brutally honest and hauntingly beautiful.

A man decides to stand up against the might of the Russian State, in a coastal town where generations of his family have lived. His mortal enemy is the mayor of the town and when he summons his lawyer friend from Moscow to fight his case, he sets in motion a chain of events that spiral out of control. The vast expanse of the remote Russian terrain and the suitably frugal government offices conspire to cover up the opulence and decadence at the heart of the society. It would be a surprise if ‘Leviathan’ does not take the Oscar for the foreign language movie.

Movies I Saw This Week

Whiplash (2014) [ IMDB: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes:96%, My rating:7.5]

whiplash-poster

Trailer:

‘Whiplash’ has too many twists and turns. It could have been an ideal candidate for a script tying itself in knots but ‘Whiplash’ redeems itself by untying all the knots (or shall we say notes?) without making it feel like a Houdini escape. For the most part you won’t notice that such a short story is basically held together by some praiseworthy performances. In the case of J.K Simmons, it is also an Oscar worthy performance. In fact, if there is one category on which I am willing to put my money now, it is the Best Supporting Actor, for J.K. Simmons.

I was reminded of some of the teachers whom I had the misfortune of meeting and who confused rigor with inhumanity. ‘Whiplash’ is about a drummer who overcomes the hurdles placed by such a teacher. All this is told in a very engaging way and this has now helped ‘Whiplash’ to become the dark horse in the ‘Best Screenplay ‘ category at the Oscars.

Selma (2014) [IMDB: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, My Rating: 7.5]

selma

Trailer:

Based on an important chapter in the US Civil Rights Movement led by Nobel laureate Martin Luther King, ‘Selma’ tells a topical tale. Unfortunately, it was snubbed in categories like direction, acting and screenplay at the Oscars. It also revealed some interesting statistics: 94% of Oscar voters are white and 77% are white men with an average age of 63. Even Martin Luther King would have struggled to get a nod from such a group. The director Ava DuVernay has a double handicap. She is a woman and she is African American.

Coming to the movie, the creators of the movie were not allowed to use the actual speeches used by Dr.King. Still, the scenes are quite rousing and performed with anguish and passion. It is on watching such movies that one gets to know of Dr.King being whacked by every Tom, Dick and Harry who disagreed with him. As a movie, ‘Selma’ may not be a classic but it is  great chronicle of one of the struggles that shaped history. Highly recommended.

Cake (2014) [IMDB: 6.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. My Rating: 5.5]

cake

Trailer:

There was a lot of heartburn when Jennifer Aniston was snubbed by the Academy in spite of concerted lobbying for a ‘Best Actress’ nomination. After watching ‘Cake’, I was wondering what all that hoopla was about. Clearly a movie made with the sole intention of fetching Aniston an Oscar, ‘Cake’ leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Aniston plays  a character suffering from chronic pain (presumably) after a personal tragedy. Aniston went the extra length of wearing as little make up as possible for this movie. All she ends up delivering is an insipid performance. Now that Aniston got her ‘Cake’, she also got to learn that she cannot have the cake and eat it too.

Pride (2014) [IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, My Rating: 7.0]

Pride_Movie_2014_Poster

Trailer:

Based on a true story, ‘Pride’ is about the LGBT community and the miners who became bedfellows during Thatcher era miner’s strike in Britain. Set in Wales, the movie has a pleasing pace and gathers momentum as it progresses. The dialogues are fresh the creators have tried their best to keep the historical accuracy of events. A lively background also lifts the film from being pedestrian. It is a movie which is not bad but it would also be an exaggeration to call it a very good film.

Big Eyes (2014) [IMDB: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes:71%, My Rating: 5.5]

Big-Eyes

Trailer:

There was a Tim Burton who made thoroughly enjoyable movies like ‘Edward Scissorhands’. There is a Tim Burton who makes soulless movies like ‘Big Eyes’. Just like his favorite Johnny Depp, he also making uninspired movies. This one has Amy Adams essaying the role of Margaret Keane whose paintings of children with big eyes were a rage a few decades ago.  The trouble was that her husband fraudulently took all the acclaim and the millions generated from the sales of her paintings. It is about how the painter reclaimed what was rightfully hers. The whole movie looks like a stale 80s documentary where everything seems so artificial and simplistic. It is a story without any memorable moments. At some point in the movie, you wish that the agony had been shorter. Wish the editor of the movie had scissorhands.

Wild (2014) [IMDb: 7.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, My rating: 4]

wild_ver2_xlg

Trailer:

This movie’s only purpose is to somehow land Reese Witherspoon another Oscar. If you have too much money and time, and your choice is between watching ‘Wild’ and paying somebody to kick you, do the latter. A woman goes on a wild trek to tide over a personal tragedy . That’s it. She backpacks and just walks. Reese Witherspoon wants an Oscar for acting in this movie. Many critics concur. I think they should be asked to go for a walk.

 

I (2015) [IMDB: 8.4, Rotten tomatoes: 55%, my Rating: 3.0]

i-movie-posters

Trailer:

From my childhood I have enjoyed most of the movies from Shankar even when they had the same story of a man’s struggle against corruption. Muthalvan, Gentleman, Indian and Anniyan were essentially the same tale told in different ways. In ‘I’, corruption gives way to romance. The hero wants to take revenge on those who sabotaged his love and life. The director throws logic out of the window, digs a grave and buries science, and relies on low brow humor to hold together a film disintegrating like the body of the protagonist. Even the normally reliable AR Rahman is not able to give a hummable tune. The dictum followed by the director is to disfigure characters and make them look as repelling as his makeup man possibly could.  While Shankar created spectacles with a much lower budget in his earlier films, his revenge instrument in this big budget movie is a syringe. If you ever have to explain to a foreigner what this movie is about, tell him/her that it is the Indian version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

Documentary of the Week

Citizenfour (2014) [IMDB: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, My rating: 9/10]

Citizenfour-online

Trailer:

Edward Snowden. The documentary of the year. Must watch.

Eagerly waiting for: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’

Did you know: Jason Schwartzman, Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Cage are cousins.