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And the Oscar goes to…

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After seeing six of the eight films nominated for Best Picture as well as a few other nominees and eligible motion pictures, I hereby present my wish list for tonight’s awards. [Note: This is not who I think will win. In fact, while I still think the race for Best Picture is between Birdman and Boyhood, I wouldn’t rule out a come-from-behind victory by American Sniper.] I’m not really rooting for anything in particular; mostly I’m just hoping for one or two surprises.

First off, I must say, 2014 was a pretty good year for films, especially those starring women front and center (Belle; A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night; Gone Girl; Ida; Maleficent; Obvious Child; Two Days, One Night; Under the Skin; We Are the Best!; Wild). It’s a shame that these works continue to go mostly unrecognized by the Academy. I swear, if there wasn’t a special category for actresses, I’m not sure how many of these movies would even be seen or nominated. I would love to know the percentage of women in the non-acting branches of the academy. Are these films even considered for awards like Best Screenplay or Best Sound?

I thought it was not possible for me to hate something more than I hated The Master, but I hated this more.

—Money quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 1

With that said, and based on what I’ve seen, here is what or who I would like to see win tonight, in order of preference within each category. In some categories, I’ve also included those I feel should have been nominated (SHBN).*

Best Picture
Whiplash
Boyhood
Birdman
SHBN: Nightcrawler, Under the Skin

Directing
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman
SHBN: Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, Jonathan Glazer for Under the Skin

Adapted Screenplay
Damien Chazelle for Whiplash
SHBN: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman for Guardians of the Galaxy, Gillian Robespierre for Obvious Child

Original Screenplay
Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
Alejandro G. Iñárritu et al. for Birdman
SHBN: J. C. Chandor for A Most Violent Year, Jeremy Saulnier for Blue Ruin

Actor in a Leading Role
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Michael Keaton for Birdman
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
SHBN: Macon Blair for Blue Ruin, Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler

Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
SHBN: Scarlett Johansson for Under the Skin, Jenny Slate for Obvious Child

Actor in a Supporting Role
J. K. Simmons for Whiplash
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
SHBN: Riz Ahmed for Nightcrawler

Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Laura Dern, Wild
SHBN: Agata Kulesza for Ida, Tilda Swinton for Snowpiercer

Cinematography
Roger Deakins for Unbroken
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski for Ida
Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
SHBN: Jeremy Saulnier for Blue Ruin, Jonathan Sela for John Wick

Film Editing
Tom Cross for Whiplash
Sandra Adair for Boyhood
SHBN: Julia Bloch for Blue Ruin, Steve M. Choe and Changju Kim for Snowpiercer

Original Score
SHBN: Marco Beltrami for Snowpiercer, Michael Giacchino for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mica Levi for Under the Skin, Victor Reyes for Grand Piano

Visual Effects
Joe Letteri et al. for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I give it to the apes! If you can make people believe and care about apes as credible performers, you deserve a lot of points.

—Money quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 2

Documentary Feature
Virunga
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier

Animated Short Film
A Single Life
Feast
The Dam Keeper

Live Action Short Film
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au beurre de yak)
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Oscar Statues

Who would you like to see take home one of these golden boys?

And please tune in next week when I expand upon the Oscar nominations that weren’t and some of my favorite films of 2014.



*I also would have liked to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night nominated in a number of these categories but for whatever reason it was not on the AMPAS list of eligible films.

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