This year’s Academy Awards seems to be all about “Boyhood” vs. “Birdman.” Both films are a celebration of creativity, but “Boyhood” is more of a creative gimmick — filming over a 12-year period — while “Birdman” is fantastical and innovative.
“Birdman” is up for 9 Oscars:
- Best Picture: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole
- Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
- Best Actor: Michael Keaton
- Best Supporting Actress: Emma Stone
- Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton
- Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
- Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
- Best Sound Mixing: Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
- Best Sound Editing: Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
“Boyhood” is nominated for 6 Oscars:
- Best Picture: Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland
- Best Director: Richard Linklater
- Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette
- Best Supporting Actor: Ethan Hawke
- Best Original Screenplay: Richard Linklater
- Best Film Editing: Sandra Adair
At the Golden Globes, “Boyhood” came out ahead for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, however, “Birdman” won Best Actor and Best Screenplay.
For the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, “Boyhood” won Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, while “Birdman” won only for Best Cinematography.
At SAG, “Birdman” won for Best Cast and “Boyhood” won for Best Supporting Actress.
For both the Producers Guild Award (PGA) and the Directors Guild Award (DGA), “Birdman” rocked out.
Now for the nitty gritty. I have rubbed my crystal ball, and here’s what I see:
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”
Who Should Win: “Birdman”
Who Will Win: “Birdman” (I hope, I hope) but “Boyhood” could walk away with this award. That would be just plain wrong. While shooting a movie over a 12-year period is a clever first, it doesn’t mean that the movie was the best. It was not. “Birdman” was. Period.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”
In years past, the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director go together. So that means if “Birdman” wins, as I expect it to, Alejandro G. Iñárritu wins. In the past two years, though, there have been Best Picture/Best Director splits, so it is conceivable that we’ll see that this year, too. That said, DGA is usually a good predictor, and Iñárritu won.
Who Should Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Who Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
In previous years, Moore was nominated four times (“Far From Heaven,” “The Hours,” “The End of the Affair,” “Boogie Nights”) but has no wins. Not only is this role her tour de force, her lifetime’s body of work needs to be recognized by the Academy. She will win. If she does not win, there is no order to the universe. She soared above the other exemplary women in this category.
Who Should Win: Julianne Moore
Who Will Win: Julianne Moore
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
This is the tightest race for performances among the award categories this year. Each man deserves a win. Carell completely transformed himself to play John du Pont, a dark and twisted man; Cooper played Chris Kyle, responsible for 160 confirmed kills and possibly as many as 255 kills; Cumberbatch played brilliant, troubled Alan Turing; and Keaton nailed it as a mentally disturbed has-been. But, if you twisted my arm, held it behind my back and made me choose, I would chant Redmayne, Redmayne, Redmayne. His Stephan Hawking was the most demanding role, and he aced it. I say give him what he has so rightfully earned.
Who Should Win: Eddie Redmayne
Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
This looks like a lock. I don’t think there is even a smidgeon of a question here. Arquette won the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA in this category, and she will win this. Mazel tov to a hard-working actress who has been winning television awards for years.
Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
J.K. Simmons has swept the awards seasons so far for his stellar performance as Terence Fletcher, a demanding and relentless music teacher with multiple fiery, yet pathologically controlled, outbursts. He has won Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG plus a long list of other awards. He will win this.
Who Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons
“Birdman” — Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
“Boyhood” — Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” — E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” — Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” — Dan Gilroy
This one is the toughest to call. WGA ruled “Birdman” and “The Theory of Everything” ineligible. Variety quoted WGA West Spokesman Gregg Mitchell: “‘Birdman’ and ‘The Theory of Everything’ were excluded because neither film was covered by a WGA or affiliate guild agreement.” WGA gave the award to “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” so that is a strong possibility for the win at the Oscars. It’s important to remember that, in past years, we’ve seen winners at the Oscars that were excluded by the WGA (“12 Years a Slave,” “Django Unchained” and “The King’s Speech”).
Who Should Win: “Birdman”
Who Will Win: “Birdman” but good chance of upset by “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
The top two contenders are “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything.” The first won a WGA, which carries more weight in this category than the BAFTA won by the latter. This is also a powerful film, and the Academy will want to reward it in at least one category.
Who Should Win: “The Imitation Game”
Who Will Win: “The Imitation Game”
We’ll be back post-Oscars to see how we did.
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.