Oscar predictions

By on February 18, 2015

And the winner is…

The Oscars ceremony takes place this Sunday and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will — along with other prizes — crown best actor and actress for 2014. Over the past several weeks Reel Reviews has looked at best actor nominees Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”) and Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”) and mentioned my choice for best picture, but which man and woman will take the top honor in acting? I’m usually horribly wrong at picking the winners, but that won’t stop me from making a guess.

In the hopes that “The Imitation Game” takes best picture I’m assuming the Academy will not lay two honors on the WWII code breaker film; so, even though I’d like to see Benedict Cumberbatch take the honors for best actor, I doubt it will happen. The award will likely go to Batman … uhm, er, Michael Keaton (the original cinema Batman). In the spirit of Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Hearty” in 2009, win) and Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler” in 2010, nomination) Keaton will resurrect a career most recently blemished by clunkers like “Robocop” and “Need for Speed.” The genius behind Beetlejuice and Batman returns to deliver a wonderful, Oscar-worthy performance in “Birdman.”

Sorry Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”), you have outdone the expectations of all who have seen you in “Anchorman” and “40-year Old Virgin,” but not only are you up against some pretty commanding performances you are a comedic actor and the Academy doesn’t really like comedy. Call it a snub or whatever, but Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) will not win best actor. Not to take anything away from his great performance, but he just has nothing on Daniel Day-Lewis, who this role seems to be meant for … if he were only a bit younger.

Our Reel Reviews correspondent predicts that this year’s best actor Oscar will go to Michael Keaton, for his visceral performance in “Birdman.”

Our Reel Reviews correspondent predicts that this year’s best actor
Oscar will go to Michael Keaton, for his visceral performance in

Now for the ladies. While we are talking about “The Theory of Everything,” Felicity Jones has been accumulating prizes for her role as the wife of Stephen Hawking, but she is up against the arduous force that is Julianne Moore. Many believe — and I can’t argue against them — Moore is the definite winner for best actress. Rosamund Pike’s performance in “Gone Girl” is impressive, but (along with Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night,” and Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”) is simply not on the same level as Moore in “Still Alice.”

Richard Linklater will win best director for “Boyhood.” I say this simply because — and you will know this if you regularly follow Reel Reviews — I don’t want this movie to win best picture. The Academy has a proclivity for rewarding the second best film with Oscars of other merit and I believe this will be the reasoning with “Boyhood.”

J.K Simmons (“Whiplash”) seems like the automatic pick for best supporting actor, but my gut tells me to stick with the venerable Robert Duvall (“The Judge”).

In any category where one performer is up against Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”) the odds are significantly not in their favor. However and surprisingly, the greatest force of female acting has been nominated for 19 Academy Awards and has only won three. (She has won eight Golden Globes.) So, if Streep is not the Academy darling we all think she is who can rise above her this year a best supporting actress? I’m calling Patricia Arquette for her work as a struggling mom in “Boyhood.” Her performance is strong and again, the Academy likes to reward movies worthy of best picture — that did not win best picture — with ancillary prizes. I think this will be the case with “Boyhood.”

But, who knows? I could be completely wrong with my assessments here. My opinion rarely matches that of the Academy. Sometimes, as in the case of Matthew McConaughey, the assembly simply takes too long to recognize greatness, which will bode well for Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”).

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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