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I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

The 87th Academy Awards – My Picks – and how it all played out.


Oscars 1Another year of movies is in the books, and now it’s time to hand out the awards. With the Golden Globes already past, the Oscars are on the horizon. I’ve seen a fair number of the films nominated this year, so I’m excited to make my predictions. This year the nominations weren’t without controversy with movies like The Lego Movie and Unbroken being ignored and others receiving only a handful of nominations.

Here are my picks, along with a bit about my choices. These might change as I see the handful of films I’ve yet to get to. My choices will be bold.

I’ve gone through to take a post-Oscars look at the winners, losers, and my picks. This year we had the misfortune of Neil Patrick Harris and his lack of comedy skills leading the way. The awkward Sound of Music tribute was also a bit misplaced. While I liked Lady Gaga’s performance, I don’t know why it was a part of the show. On the highlight reel I’d include John Legend and Common’s performance. I’d also include a Polish director taking a stand against the orchestra. While this was better than the year we got Franco and Hathaway, I hope that next year we get a better host and definitely better joke writing.

My correct picks are analyzed in green, while the wrong picks are in red.

Actor in a Leading Role

This is a touch choice for me. My heart wants Cumberbatch to win, but my brain says Redmayne is taking this one home. I’ll stick with Redmayne on this one, at least until I’ve seen the other two films.

– Cooper does an extraordinary job with this movie. I think he’s got a great shot at taking this one home. I still need to see Birdman though.

– – This choice has been further complicated by the work that Keaton did on Birdman. After reading my notes and taking some time to think, I’ll take Keaton’s performance for the win.

I knew that Redmayne was a good possibility to win this one. I stuck with Keaton out of sentimental reasons, and because it wasn’t a clear choice for anyone here. Good win for Keaton. 0/1

Actor in a Supporting Role

I’d like to see Simmons take this one. I haven’t yet seen the film, but he’s a favorite of mine. For now I’ll take him for the win.

– Seeing Whiplash solidified my pick for this one. J.K. Simmons is a beast!

This might have been one of the only picks I would’ve put money on. Simmons deserved it! 1/1

Actress in a Leading Role

I need to see a few more of the films in this category. For now I’m going with Witherspoon for a role that seems to be getting a lot of attention.

– Julianne Moore’s understated performance deserves recognition.

After so many nominations, it’s good to see her win. She took home awards from a number of places on her way to this one. 2/1

Actress in a Supporting Role

I am going to take Arquette for her wonderful work on Boyhood. I haven’t seen all of the movies yet, but until then she stands out.

I knew this was coming after seeing the majority of the nominated performances. She’s wonderful and consistent despite the 12 years of filming the role asked for. 3/1

Oscars 4Animated Feature Film

  • Big Hero 6, Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
  • The Boxtrolls, Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
  • Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore and Paul Young
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

I’m still steamed over the lack of The Lego Movie on the list above. I’ll take Big Hero 6 because it’s what I want to do. I also don’t want How to Train Your Dragon 2 to win this one. The Golden Globe was enough love for that one.

I think I should’ve played the lottery since I got this one right. I took Big Hero 6 as a personal favorite, and it didn’t disappoint on Oscar Sunday. 4/1

Cinematography

Having seen a bit of each of these movies, I think that Ida has an outside chance. Still, Birdman seems to be the safe bet.

– On second thought, give me The Grand Budapest Hotel for the win.

– – This is a tough choice with so many factors to consider. I’m going to go with Ida since it’s perhaps a more classical approach to cinematography.

– – – Why is this so hard to pick? Birdman does some incredible things that I’ve never seen before. I’ll take it for the win.

It took me a long time to settle on this one, but Birdman stood out when I had to choose. The technique involved in bringing this specific look to the film began with great cinematography. 5/1

Costume Design

This is an interesting category since Into the Woods and Maleficent both have some great costumes. That being said, I think that The Grand Budapest Hotel could take this home.

This was another easy choice for me. With the lack of success of Inherent Vice, I saw this as the most creative of the films. While Maleficent and Into the Woods are both very fantastic stories, the costume work didn’t do much to alter the feeling of the film. Milena Canonero did alter The Grand Budapest Hotel with her wonderful style. 6/1

Oscars 5Directing

This is one of the tough choices for me this season. I think that Boyhood stands to win despite the great competition.

If I was disappointed last night it wasn’t just the bad jokes by Neil Patrick Harris. I really wanted this for Linklater. That doesn’t mean that he was the only deserving nominee though. This was one of the toughest categories to pick outside of Best Picture. 6/2

Film Editing

I’ve got to catch up on these movies to make a great guess. For now I’m going with American Sniper based on the reviews.

– Having seen all of these films, I think Whiplash stands a great chance at taking this one home.

I am so happy that this movie won this award. The ability to turn music into such an intense visual experience required great editing. Tom Cross did such a great job, and deserved to take the Oscar home. 7/2

Makeup and Hairstyling

I think this one should go to Foxcatcher for the amazing transformation done for the stars.

– I’ve considered and re-considered this category. I think that The Grand Budapest Hotel might take this one.

This was a tough category, especially with the transformation done for the actors in Foxcatcher. Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier just did such a good job working their magic into Wes Anderson’s unique film. Their skills made each of the characters visually interesting and created an appearance that worked with each role. 8/2

Oscars 3Music (Original Score)

This is an easy choice for me. The Theory of Everything was just so wonderfully accented by the music.

I was extremely surprised to see a comedy score take home this award. That’s something that rarely happens, and I didn’t think it was likely this year. Desplat did an awesome job with the film, and had two chances to win. I guess the odds were in his favor. 8/3

Music (Original Song)

  • “Everything is Awesome”The Lego MovieShawn Patterson
  • “Glory” – Selma, John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
  • “Grateful” – Beyond the Lights, Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me, Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” – Begin Again, Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

I think Selma might take this award home for “Glory”. (Secretly I’ll be rooting for The Lego Movie.)

This is the only award I thought Selma deserved to win. Despite the “controversy” surrounding the lack of nominations for this one, I think it got what was deserved based on the competition. This was still a really good movie, and the song is a powerful statement that goes with it. 9/3

Best Picture

  • American Sniper, Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan
  • BirdmanAlejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole
  • BoyhoodRichard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland
  • The Grand Budapest HotelWes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
  • The Imitation GameNora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman
  • SelmaChristian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
  • The Theory of EverythingTim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
  • WhiplashJason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

I’ve got some time left to see the remaining films. For now I’m making the tough choice and going with Boyhood.

– With only Birdman left on my list, it’s hard to be sure. For now I’ll take Birdman since it’s got a ton of momentum.

The momentum of the Best Picture campaign shifted greatly between the Golden Globes and the Oscars. I think this is a good example of Hollywood recognizing the film that portrayed a small slice of their world. This was a tough choice, and my guess was a lucky one. 10/3

Sound Editing

This might be the best chance that The Hobbit has to win an Oscar. It’s a hard choice, but I’ll stick with that one for now.

American Sniper has some great sound work. Time to change my pick.

I knew that American Sniper stood an excellent chance in this category. The ability to create a world of warfare with great audio helped this to stand out nicely. Asman and Murray did great work. 11/3

Sound Mixing

  • American SniperJohn Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
  • BirdmanJon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
  • InterstellarGary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
  • UnbrokenJon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
  • WhiplashCraig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

I think this one could go to American Sniper or Whiplash. I’ll go with Whiplash for now.

American Sniper it is. What a great job with the sound work.

– – Thought about it, and I think I’ll go with my gut. Whiplash it is!

As you can see from my inner-conflict above, this wasn’t an easy choice. Whiplash just succeeds in bringing the music to life in a way that most movies about music cannot. Such a great job by the mixing team. 12/3

Visual Effects

I think that Interstellar gets this one. Such a beautiful movie.

I knew that Interstellar was a bit of a long shot in this category, especially with the mediocre reception it got from the critics. Still, this was the one nomination that made sense for this film. The comic book films seem to be easily overlooked since we get three a year, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes fit into that category closely enough to hurt it. I think that’s the big reason why this one took home the win. 13/3

Production Design

  • The Grand Budapest HotelAdam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • The Imitation Game, Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
  • Into the Woods, Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • Mr. TurnerSuzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

I think that Into the Woods could take this one home. My pick, however, is The Grand Budapest Hotel for an awesome look.

This wasn’t ever really in question. The other films nominated didn’t have the difficulty of creating a new world for their stories. I love the look of this film, and the voters did, too. 14/3

Oscars 2Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

I loved several of these movies, but I loved The Imitation Game the most, especially when it comes to the writing.

If you’re going to tell a true story, make it one that we don’t know. Graham Moore took on a difficult and personal project when he decided to tell the story of Alan Turing. He did an excellent job and deserved this win. (There’s also the issue of Whiplash being placed in this category over a stupid rule….) 15/3

Writing (Original Screenplay)

I am shocked to see Nightcrawler make it into this category. Enough about that though. I’m taking Boyhood for the win.

– I think that this is a tougher category than I initially thought it would be. I’m changing my pick to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

– – This choice got more difficult after I saw Birdman. I’ll take that one for the win.

(I know, Whiplash should’ve been here… ) Birdman is as unique as stories get. It’s awesome that a team of writers were able to come together and tell a story that’s so cohesive and incredible. Good win for a great film. 16/3

Best Documentary Feature

  • CitizenFourLaura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
  • Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
  • Last Days in Vietnam, Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
  • The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
  • Virunga, Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

I haven’t had a chance to see all of these documentaries, so I’m relying on the opinions of other and my own reading. I think that there are several strong contenders here, but I’m taking Virunga.

I didn’t get a chance to see all of these films, and I expected it to go to either Virunga or CitizenFour. I guess I chose… poorly. 16/4

Knight

Get it?

Best Documentary Short Film

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
  • Joanna, Aneta Kopacz
  • Our Curse, Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki
  • The Reaper, Gabriel Serra Arguello
  • White Earth, J. Christian Jensen

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 seems like the right pick. Haven’t seen them all, but I’ll stick with it.

A great documentary short about a hot subject in the media and society… This was bound to win here. 17/4

Best Foreign Language Film

  • IdaPoland; Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
  • Leviathan, Russia; Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Tangerines, Estonia; Directed by Zaza Urushadze
  • Timbuktu, Mauritania; Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Wild Tales, Argentina; Directed by Damián Szifron

Ida seems like a good choice here.

Didn’t see them all, but apparently I didn’t need to. Ida stood out from all of my reading and research as the favorite. I still need to see the others since there is a lot of great work in the category. 18/4

Best Short Film – Animated

  • The Bigger PictureDaisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
  • The Dam Keeper, Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
  • Feast, Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
  • Me and My Moulton, Torill Kove
  • A Single Life, Joris Oprins

I loved Feast and even though I haven’t seen all of these, I’ll take it for the win.

I loved loved loved this short! Disney did a great job taking home the animation prizes this year. This was a heartwarming story that just made me smile. 19/4

Best Short Film – Live Action

  • AyaOded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
  • Boogaloo and Graham, Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
  • The Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak), Hu Wei and Julien Féret
  • Parvaneh, Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
  • The Phone Call, Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

I haven’t seen all of these, but I’ll take The Phone Call.

This is another choice I made based on research, since I wasn’t able to see all the films. Great win for the little guy. 20/4

Okay, so there are my picks. I’m always revising as I get to see more of the films. It’s going to be an interesting year with some big snubs out there. Let me know what you’re all thinking about the Academy Awards this year.

So there you have it. Another year of Oscar goodness is behind us. I did better with my picks than I ever have before. Unlike other years, I think this was one of the few times I can’t point out a big upset. Until next year, check out the past winners on the Academy Award pages of DidYouSeeThatOne?.

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5 Comments on “The 87th Academy Awards – My Picks – and how it all played out.”

  1. Brandon Conway February 18, 2015 at 3:42 PM #

    Here are my picks:

    Picture: Boyhood
    Director: Linklater (Boyhood)
    Actor: Keaton (Birdman)
    Actress: Moore (Still Alice)
    Supporting Actor: Simmons (Whiplash)
    Supporting Actress: Arquette (Boyhood)
    Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
    Cinematography: Birdman
    Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Makeup and Hairstyling: Foxcatcher
    Film Editing: Boyhood
    Sound Editing: American Sniper
    Sound Mixing: Whiplash
    Original Song: Gone (Selma
    Original Score: The Theory of Everything
    Visual Effects: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    Animated Feature: Big Hero 6
    Documentary Feature: CitizenFour
    Foreign Language Film: Ida
    Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call
    Documentary Short Film: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
    Animated Short Film: The Bigger Picture

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeffro517 February 18, 2015 at 4:24 PM #

      This is gonna be an interesting year for Best Picture and Best Director. I think we agree more often than not with our picks.

      Like

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