Oscar Picks 2015

It is a sad comment that four of the five nominees for Best Foreign Film have not reached Indianapolis by the time I am making my Oscar picks. How can we pretend to be a cultural center and allow this to happen in Indianapolis?

Regardless, let me again venture out on a limb and make my picks.  Of course I will likely be proven wrong again, but I never miss a prediction in my cinematic heart.

Best Picture

Though I strongly believe that The Imitation Game is the best picture of the year, the choice will likely come down to either Birdman or Boyhood. Mr. Iñárritu’s Birdman is my pick.

The Winner: Birdman

Best Director

I remain profoundly disappointed that Ms. Ava DuVernay failed to be recognized for her superlative effort in Selma. Though my personal choice remains Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game, this again is a likely two-horse race between Mr. Iñárritu for Birdman and Richard Linklater for Boyhood. However, Mr. Linklater’s classic film covering twelve years of a young actor’s life has to be both honored and recognized, and this is the ideal spot.

The Winner: Richard Linklater

Best Actress

This award is an easier pick, as I sense that Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon can be excluded. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) will challenge, but she won before for La Vie en Rose. Felicity Jones is deserving for her fabulous role in The Theory of Everything, but I believe Julianne Moore is a lock for her extraordinary performance in Still Alice.   She deserves it, pure and simple.

Winner: Julianne Moore

Best Actor

Again, this is an award that should go to Benedict Cumberbatch for his unforgettable performance in The Imitation Game, but it won’t. Like Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne was magnificent in The Theory of Everything, but I think this award will go to Michael Keaton for Birdman. After all, a character recognizing that he is on the downside of life’s Bell Curve deserves one more shot at the top.

Winner: Michael Keaton

Best Supporting Actress

Can’t we just give Meryl Street a Lifetime Achievement Award so that others have a chance? She would be deserving here as the witch in Into the Woods, though Patricia Arquette remains the popular choice for her role as a multi-divorced mother in Boyhood. However, there was no performance to compare to Emma Stone for Birdman, and that is my pick.

Winner: Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor

This is one of the few certainties in this year’s contest, so let’s just recognize  J.K. Simmons for his performance in Whiplash that will go down in history.

Winner: J.K. Simmons

Animated Feature

It is appalling that The LEGO Movie didn’t get a nomination, but pick between Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Like the contest for live action short film, an Oscar could justifiably be given to both films.  I loved them both, but Big Hero 6 came up the winner when I flipped a coin.

Winner: Big Hero 6

Foreign Language Film

Even though the other four films have yet to hit Indianapolis as noted above, I’m picking the one that I saw, Ida (Poland). It was marvelous, meaningful and depressing beyond description. Who else stands a chance?

The Winner: Ida

Original Screenplay

It has to be Birdman. It was that inventive, and I think it stays on top.

The Winner: Birdman

Adapted Screenplay

This is likely The Imitation Game’s last chance and Graham Moore would be deserving. On the other hand, there was no better adapted script than Damien Chazelle for Whiplash.

The Winner: Damien Chazelle

Film Editing

This award usually is a reflection of the Best Picture winner, but my pick Birdman wasn’t nominated in this category. Since I pick Boyhood, am I missing something?

The Winner: Boyhood


Among the new films that I really loved this year was The Grand Budapest Hotel, and this would be a perfect award to make sure it gets deserved recognition.

The Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Production Design

It has to come down to either Interstellar or Into the Woods, but this is where Interstellar hit all the right buttons.

The Winner: Interstellar

Documentary Feature

Citizenfour is a knockout that continues to resonate throughout our country. Unlike most documentaries, it is not done in hindsight, but rather in real-time interviews with Edward Snowden as his fascinating story unfolds. Give it the Oscar.

The Winner: Citizenfour

Costume Design

It’s either The Grand Budapest Hotel or Into the Woods, as the costumes were fabulous in both. I think a well-dressed witch will win.

The Winner: Into the Woods

Makeup and Hairstyling

One of the great movies of the year was Guardians of the Galaxy, and the makeup was extraordinary. It shouldn’t be denied.

The Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

Visual Effects

Ironically, all five nominees have a legitimate chance, as all of them had the nerve to be profoundly entertaining. The only one that came up a bit short was Interstellar, yet this is the category where it staked its claim.

The Winner: Interstellar

Sound Mixing

For all the wrong reasons, I’m going out on a big limb and go with Whiplash. The music along with the dialogue carried the entire film, and I think it should edge out both Interstellar and Birdman.

The Winner: Whiplash

Sound Editing

I really want Peter Jackson to win for The Hobbit, but my feeling is that Interstellar will mop up in these categories.

The Winner: Interstellar

Original Score

Hans Zimmer’s music defined this film.

The Winner: Interstellar

Original Song

I loved “Lost Stars” in the overlooked Begin Again, but I think this award has to go to “Glory” from “Selma”.

The Winner: Glory

Animated Short Film

If you saw Big Hero 6 this was the lead in film that already captured your attention.  It has a rival in The Dam Keeper though I think Feast may be the best six-minute film ever.

The Winner: Feast

Live Action Short Film

Though it will be challenged by Parvaneh (Switzerland), this is again a category where the Oscar should go to both The Phone Call and Boogaloo and Graham. What a mix when you consider the former as heartbreaking and the later as hysterically funny.  And while I feel as filthy as that little porcupine in the animated feature The Dam Keeper, I’m going with Sally Hawkins and pick The Phone Call.

The Winner: The Phone Call

Unfortunately, to my knowledge none of the nominees for documentary short film reached Indianapolis, so you’re on your own in that category.