The telephone loudly pierced the purposeful silence that descended upon the house. It was less than 5 minutes prior to the Oscars telecast, so it was obvious the caller did not know me. Everyone who knows me knows not to call me on Oscar Sunday. I need the day to take care of life’s chores before settling in to watch the show and see how my predictions will fare. With the controversy over this year’s nominations I commend host Chris Rock tackling the subject head-on, with a mixture of humor and seriousness. I felt he found the perfect balance to carry off the monologue. As the show progressed I would have preferred it if Chris expanded beyond this one subject. Yes, there was the Girl Scout cookie moment but it seems ever since Ellen DeGeneres took that selfie shot in the audience, every telecast now has to have some kind of interaction with the audience. The cookie gag was funny for a moment but was not necessary in my opinion.
Though I just heard on the news that this telecast had the lowest television ratings of the past 8 years, I thought the news ticker running across the bottom of the screen listing the people the winners wanted to thank was a good idea; their speeches certainly seemed shorter to me. As far as I could remember this telecast was the closest to end on time compared to recent past shows. My favorite acceptance speeches were given by Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, though I wished the music was not playing during Alejandro’s speech like it did not for Leonardo. I also enjoyed the quick informational blurbs that appeared next to the presenters, despite them being a bit small to read at times. Since I am a big fan of music, I was looking forward to the singing of the nominated songs. Lady Gaga did not disappoint; I thought her performance was a highlight of the show and was surprised her song did not get an Oscar. The two presenters that stood out for me were Louis C.K. for Documentary Short Subject and Toy Story’s Woody and Buzz Lightyear for Best Animated Film. Oh and I cannot forget the robots from Star Wars and the Minions.
If you know me you probably realize there would have to be something startling inappropriate or poorly thought out for me to dislike an Oscar telecast. There have been hosts that were quickly forgettable, speeches that dragged on forever and presenters that used the opportunity for personal gain; but I do not care, the bottom line for me has always been the celebration of the movies I love. Ever since I was a little boy, sitting on the floor in front of the TV with my bowl of popcorn, the Oscars has been my favorite show to watch. So with that being said, it is time to close the chapter on this year’s Oscar telecast and begin seeking out what will get the nod for next year’s show.
For the past year I have spent my time in a variety of movie theaters. Some had floors so sticky that my shoes refused to go with me when I tried to leave my seat. There were numerous occasions I had to ask people around me to shut off their phones; some did so obediently while others had to first glare at me. I did not care for I had a movie to watch and review. And what a year it has been; we learned there was a theory for everything and we had new guardians of the galaxy. The Chicago Bears finally caught a Fox and a man bonded with the avian world. There was another lesson on how to train your dragon while a woman went wild and another was just gone. We saw a boy grow up to be a mature young man and discovered a new hotel in Budapest. Such an eclectic group of films the past year; just the way I like it. As we come to an end this weekend during the high holiday of the Oscar awards, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey that was filled with discovery, disappointment, joy, amazement, anger and love. Wow, doesn’t that sound just like an intimate relationship? Without further ado, here are my thoughts and predictions for who will take home the Oscar.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
I would be very surprised if the academy awards this to Meryl. Personally my other choice would have been Emma Stone.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
This was my easiest decision; I felt he deserved it from the moment I saw him in this movie.
BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman)
I believe the academy will choose Richard Linklater for Boyhood because the film was novel. However, I thought Alejandro with his seamless filming was extraordinary.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: CitizenFour
Though I did not see all the nominees in this category I thought this film played out like an exciting thriller. My other choice would be Finding Vivian Maier.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Once again I did not see all the entries in this category but I felt this picture was the most well-rounded out of the group.
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore
It is not only her time now but out of the group I thought she really stood out.
BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne
This was my toughest decision and I feel there is a good chance the Academy will choose Michael Keaton based on his body of work. I would be okay with that decision. He was excellent but I felt Eddie’s detailed transformation made for a brilliant performance. My other choice would be Benedict Cumberbatch.
BEST MOTION PICTURE: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Here again I feel the Academy might reward Boyhood though if I did not choose Birdman first I would choose The Grand Budapest Hotel.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Glory
If for nothing else this movie deserved more nominations so the Academy will vote to give this the best song Oscar and I agree on the choice; it was the most memorable to me.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I normally do not include this category in my predictions but because the movie was so different and fun, I wanted to list it as my 1st choice.
There you have it, this year’s predictions. No matter who wins, I had a great time watching all of these films.
As the final days up to the Oscar telecast turn like the last pages of an engaging, voluminous novel; I look back at the past year with a sense of joyful pride. There have been some amazing movies that lingered with me like a comfortable old sweater on a cool day. I have also seen a variety of dreadful films that weighed me down to the point where I felt my seat was swallowing me up alive. No matter which type of film it may have been, what has heightened my movie watching experience has been my ability to share these films with each of you. Thank you for your likes, opinions and sharing your personal stories. Now if I can only get asked to be a seat filler at the Oscar telecast, my life would be complete. So, before the biggest holiday of the year takes place this Sunday; here are my picks for what I feel deserve the Oscar.
Best Picture: Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Best Director: David O. Russell
Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph
Best Foreign Language Film: Amour
To everyone I wish you an Oscar night filled with fun and excitement, before we all get a good night’s sleep to begin a new year in search of that perfect 4 star movie. Happy Oscar Day!