Last Minute Not-So-Fearless Oscars Forecast

<> on October 19, 2009 in Santa Clarita, California.

Hollywood loves movies about showbiz, and Alejandro Inarritu‘s funny, visually novel and quite original “Birdman” is justifiably lauded for its excellence in direction/tech and acting. So look to see that film win for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and possibly for Best Actor (for Michael Keaton’s brilliant performance AND his body of work).

Still, I’m thinking it’s more likely that Eddie Redmayne will win for his impressive feat as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” Because, you know, it’s a “serious” biopic and Hawking is played by a Brit. And Brits win many of the big acting Oscars.

The cumulative effect of Richard Linklater‘s beautiful, unusual “Boyhood” — seeing a boy played by the same actor grow from child to adult, and his family members age, too, in what feels like real time over the course of a few hours — indeed was emotionally engaging, and it was the first feature film to notch that accomplishment. So it COULD take Best Picture and Best Director, but my guess is that Patricia Arquette‘s naturalistic turn as the protagonist’s long-suffering mom will result in the movie’s only major win, for Best Supporting Actress.

Best Actress: Julianne Moore, as an Alzheimer’s patient in the moving but not entirely satisfying “Still Alice,” deserves the win, and will get it, in part for a career’s worth of great work.

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons will win for his towering performance in “Whiplash” as the scariest band director in history.

Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson’s quirky, wildly inventive screenplay for his “The Grand Budapest Hotel” deserves it and will win it, I think. The film will win for Production Design, too, and probably Costume Design.

Adapted Screenplay: “The Imitation Game” deserves/gets the win.

Editing: What feat could beat the artfully-stitching-together-12-years-of-footage accomplishment of “Boyhood”?

Visual Effects: “Interstellar” deserves it and, I think, will win.

Foreign film: Probably “Ida.”

Documentary: Probably “Citizenfour”

Score: Probably Johann Johannsson, for “The Theory of Everything”; AMPAS wrongly denied Antonio Sanchez a nom for “Birdman,” IMO.

Upset potential: If anything, the commercial juggernaut “American Sniper” could force a surprise or two.

Stay tuned.

Which Movies Deserve Oscar Noms? NY Times Critics Weigh In

If film critics ruled the Oscar world, how would the top nominations play out?

New York Times
critics A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis, and Stephen Holden put their choices on the line in a piece published today.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there wasn’t much consensus among the critics in the eight categories they considered, starting with their Best Picture picks (previewed, of course, in their already published Top 10 lists).

The Hurt Locker was the only film given the nod by all three critics, while two out of three critics picked Oscar favorite Up in the Air, A Serious Man, the unevenly received Where the Wild Things Are and dark horse Funny People.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), unanimous; 2 out of 3 for critical favorites Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man) and Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours), and surprise pick Steven Soderbergh (The Informant)

Best Actor: George Clooney (Up in the Air) and Colin Firth (A Single Man), unanimous; 2 out of 3 for Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart); and no more than 1 each for the rest of the field.

Best Actress: 2 out of 3 for Oscar favorites Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), and Yolande Moreau (Seraphine)

Best Supporting Actor: 2 out of 3 for Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), and odds-on favorite Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Best Supporting Actress: 2 out of 3 for likely winners Mo’Nique (Precious) or Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), as well as Juliette Binoche (Summer Hours) and Samantha Morton (The Messenger).

Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), unanimous; and 2 out of 3 for Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man)

Best Adapted Screenplay: 2 out of 3 for Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), and Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air).

For the entire slate of NY Times critics picks, click here.