This is the third part in my Oscar articles.  Here are Parts One and Two.

Another year, another Academy Awards.  Like most people out there, I felt that the Academy got some things right and some things very wrong.  We’ll talk about that in a bit, but first, lets see how I did.

Excluding the short films, documentaries, and makeup awards that I declined to guess on I made predictions on 18 categories.  Of these I got 12 correct for a solid D performance.  Good effort, Scott.

Here’s what I got wrong:

Sound Editing

My pick: Interstellar

Winner: American Sniper

In my original prediction I said it would probably be between these two movies.  The Academy loves war movies and sci-fi movies for this category.  I just missed which they would go for this year.  This turned out to be the only award that Sniper would pick up this year, which makes you either relieved or furious.  There’s apparently no middle ground when it comes to American Sniper.

Film Editing

My pick: Boyhood

Winner: Whiplash

If there’s one thing I learned last night it’s that I need to see Whiplash as soon as possible.  The film picked up a fair share of awards (three).  I’m happy for Whiplash and can’t wait to see it, but as it turns out, Boyhood not picking up the win here was the start of a trend that would leave the film completely out of all major awards.  More on that later.

Animated Feature Film

My pick: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Winner: Big Hero 6

I was pleasantly surprised here.  Of all the non-Lego Movie films nominated here, I liked Big Hero 6 the most.  It’s ironic that even in years when Pixar isn’t releasing a movie, poor Dreamworks still can’t steal an Oscar from Disney.  Oh also, The Lego Movie was the best.

Original Screenplay

My pick: Wes Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (story), The Grand Budapest Hotel

Winner: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., & Armando Bo, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

It took all the way til this category for the Academy to piss me off!  I picked Grand Budapest here, but I honestly would have been happy with a few other winners, especially Boyhood.  Almost all of them actually…except for Birdman.  See the thing about Iñárritu’s film is the reason it’s good has very little to do with the script.  Birdman leans heavily on terrific performances and a non-traditional filming style, not the power of its prose.  Characters in Birdman flat-out tell you what they’re thinking.  They behave a certain way and then have an entire conversation on why they’re behaving like that.  There is no subtext in this writing, just text.

At this point I started seriously wondering if the Academy was about to screw over Linklater (spoiler:  Yes).

Lead Actor

My pick: Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Winner: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything 

Ugh.  I went back and forth on this one so much.  In the end I let my love of Keaton push me his way, which it turns out, was a mistake.  There’s not much to be upset about here.  Both performances were really great.  Congrats to Eddie Redmayne.

Directing

My pick: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Winner: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The Birdman cometh.  As I mentioned in part 2 of my predictions, I was convinced that the Academy would split Directing and Best Picture this year.  After Iñárritu won here, I was still so convinced of this that I was ready to celebrate a Boyhood Best Picture win.  But I realized the writing was on the wall by this point.  Birdman was to win the major categories and Boyhood was to be left out.  I’m both surprised and not here.  As I discussed earlier Birdman is the exact kind of film the Academy loves: a movie about making art that speaks on the current trend of the industry.  And look, I’m saying they necessarily got it wrong – it  was a good film that I enjoyed very much.  The problem I have is that in doing this the Academy failed to recognize the brilliant work that Linklater and co. did with Boyhood.  I still think that in a few years, very few people will remember Birdman, while Boyhood will be a film that will be talked about for years to come.

At the end of the day, the Oscars are silly.  It’s fun to see great people get recognized for great works, but if you’re using them as some kind of barometer for what movies are good and what movies aren’t, you’re doing it wrong.  Just because your movie didn’t win, doesn’t mean it’s not good.  Just because it didn’t get nominated, doesn’t mean it’s bad (unless it’s Interstellar).  Hell, most of my top 10 movies last year weren’t nominated for a single thing.  Enjoy what you enjoy and don’t let this silly awards show (or me) change that.  Appreciate the Academy Awards for what they are:  a bunch of old white dudes getting together to decide who they think is the best.

Some other final thoughts:

  • Neil Patrick Harris killed it hosting.  Not all of his jokes landed (especially that 3 hour-long sealed Oscar predictions box one) but, overall he did a great job.  Pretty fantastic opening number, too  Really disappointed by the lack of Starship Troopers references though.
  • The theme of the night seemed to be saying “fuck you” to the play off music.
  • Best speeches in order:
    • Graham Moore – The Imitation Game Adapted Screenplay
    • Common – Selma “Glory” Best Song,
    • Patricia Arquette – Boyhood Supporting Actress,
    • JK Simmons – Whiplash Supporting  Actor
  • Grand Budapest ties (w/ Birdman) for most awards of the night at 4!  You go Wes!  Also, no movie swept the awards this year, it was all fairly spread out
  • I need to see Whiplash immediately (It hits retail tomorrow, 2/24)
  • The musical performances this year were all pretty great, but holy shit Lady Gaga.  I didn’t see that coming
  • What the actual fuck, John Travolta
  • Best Director has been Hispanic for 2 years in a row.  Can we get Guillermo del Toro in next year for the hat-trick?
  • I completely forgot to tweet until like halfway through the show.  I’m really bad at Twitter.
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  • jim didonna

    Scott nice job of explanations and guessing. However don’t buy any lottery tickets soon.