Boy vs. Bird at the 87th Oscars

A look at the odds-on favorites before Sunday night’s telecast.

Boyhood (photo credit: PR)
(photo credit: PR)
The truest saying about Hollywood is this phrase by screenwriter William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything,” and it comes to mind every year when it’s time for the Oscar ceremony.
The 87th Academy Award ceremony will take place on Sunday night in Los Angeles and at 3:30 a.m. on Monday morning in Israel. Red carpet coverage begins on all the YES movie channels at 1 a.m., and then will be followed by the ceremony. On HOT, red carpet coverage begins at 2 a.m. on HOT Gold, and the ceremony will be shown after that.
The Oscar broadcast will be available later on YES VOD and HOT VOD Movies. An edited version of the ceremony will be broadcast on YES 1 with Hebrew titles on February 24 at 9:30 p.m.
and will be repeated on February 28 in the afternoon.
Certainly, nobody knew that independent films would dominate this year’s Oscars or that the two favorites would be Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, an audacious, unprecedented experiment about a kid growing up in Texas that was filmed over a period of 12 years, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s trippy, surreal, special-effects laden Birdman, about a washedup superhero actor trying to make a comeback. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash are also acclaimed indies.
But just because the nominated movies are interesting this year doesn’t mean that the show will be much fun, though. In recent years, as the Golden Globes have sizzled with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting, the Oscar telecast has become duller and has received lower ratings. This year, actor Neil Patrick Harris has been given the task of trying to keep audiences awake.
Israel will be represented by the charming movie Aya, directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun, which is nominated in the Best Live Action Short category – more on that below.
Few people still have a local DVD store where they can enter a Pickthe- Oscars contest, but there are many online. Here’s a guide to what is likely to win:
BEST PICTURE: There are eight nominees this year – there can be up to 10 now – but there are only five Best Director nominees. Since only four movies have ever won Best Picture without a Best Director nominee, that narrows it done.
The five movies with a Best Director nominee are Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game. In the end, it will be a tossup between Birdman and Boyhood, which are two very different movies. But Boyhood, which so brilliantly portrays a boy’s coming of age in a way that no movie has done before, has the edge.
WINNER: Boyhood
Richard Linklater, who came up with the concept of using the same actors for 12 years in Boyhood, will win and should win.
There isn’t anyone in Hollywood who doesn’t wish that he came up with this concept himself, and they know that executing this idea so brilliantly wasn’t easy.
WINNER: Richard Linklater
BEST ACTOR: This is the most up in the air of the major categories.
Bradley Cooper got great reviews for his performance as a heroic soldier who died tragically in American Sniper, but most of the critics’ awards have gone to veteran actor Michael Keaton for his role as a washed-up superhero star making a comeback in Birdman or Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Let’s go back to Oscar Picking 101 for this.
Keaton is a well-liked older actor who has never won. But Redmayne has the edge: He’s playing a real disabled person with an inspiring story, and if you count the mechanical voice Hawking uses to communicate, he has an accent. Put all those factors together and you’ve got a winning formula. Redmayne gives a wonderful performance, too.
That doesn’t hurt.
WINNER: Eddie Redmayne
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore, who has been nominated four times in the past but never won, is a shooin for her performance as a young and very attractive early onset Alzheimer’s sufferer in the wellreviewed Still Alice. Marion Cotillard, who is nominated for Two Days, One Night, and Reese Witherspoon, who is nominated for Wild, are both past Best Actress winners and aren’t likely to pick up a second statuette this year. Rosamund Pike is nominated for Gone Girl, a bloody, psychological thriller that isn’t really an Oscar movie.
WINNER: Julianne Moore
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Character actor J.K. Simmons has been in 148 films and television shows – you may remember him as the father in Juno – and will probably be in 148 more. But his role this year as a crazily demanding music teacher in Whiplash will win him his first Oscar.
WINNER: J.K. Simmons
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette, who plays the mother in Boyhood, is really the lead actress in the movie, not a supporting actress, even though the movie revolves around her son’s character.
Leads nominated as supporting actors usually win in this category.
Arquette has been appearing in television and low-profile movies for years, so her performance and nomination represent a comeback of sorts.
WINNER: Patricia Arquette
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Imitation Game is a strong choice, but Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash has received enormous critical acclaim.
WINNER: Whiplash
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is certainly original, as are all his movies, but he’s never won. This will be his year.
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s indictment of Russian corruption, won the Golden Globe, but Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida has a Holocaust theme and also scored a Best Cinematography nod.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: We’re all watching this category this year because of Aya, and I hope it wins because it’s a beautifully written, wonderfully acted movie. This is a tough category to predict, but Boogaloo and Graham features cute kids who adopt chicks while coping with unrest in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.
WINNER: Boogaloo and Graham