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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Oscars: Who will win or lose?

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    New Regency Pictures

    A heavyweight title fight between a teenage boy and a down-on-his-luck actor who used to play a bird-costumed superhero: This is what this year’s Academy Awards have become. The ceremony has actually turned into must-watch television, simply because the final results aren’t so predictable this time around. The 87th Academy Awards air Sunday on ABC at 5 p.m. MST. So, “Birdman” or “Boyhood”?

    Best Picture

    Who Should Win — “Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” This was a film of unbridled energy, motion and creativity. The most enjoyable movie-going experience of the year.

    Who Will Win — “Birdman.” This year, a coin flip is just as accurate a predictor for this category. There hasn’t been a more neck-and-neck showdown between two candidates since James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” faced off in 2009.

    Eight out of 10 — Although up to 10 films can be nominated for Best Picture, only eight were nominated this year. “Foxcatcher,” “Nightcrawler,” and “A Most Violent Year” were all denied deserved nominations, while “American Sniper” snuck in, to the surprise of many.

    Best Director

    Who Should Win — Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman.” Iñárritu took it upon himself, as well as his cast and crew, to do something that most filmmakers would never entertain the idea of: make a movie as if it was done in one shot. It was not actually shot in one continuous take, with tricks of camera and editing masking the different cutting points. However, the takes were still long by typical film standards, with the average being 10 minutes and the longest being 15 minutes.

    Who Will Win — Richard Linklater, “Boyhood.” Of late, this award has gone to the director whose film has the most unique conceit. Last year, Alfonso Cuarón Orozco won for the space technical juggernaut “Gravity,” and, in 2011, Michel Hazanavicius won for the almost completely silent “The Artist.” “Boyhood” was filmed over the course of 12 years, allowing actor Ellar Coltrane to grow up before the audience’s eyes. Linklater deserves credit for shepherding such an ambitious project.

    Lest We Forget — The biggest story to come out of the nominations was “Selma” director Ava DuVernay being denied a nomination. This fueled conversations that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t give adequate credit to minorities.

    Best Actor

    Who Should Win — Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything.” While it was memorable to see Steve Carell make skin crawl or Michael Keaton have a metaphysical fight against delusion, Redmayne deserves the win for the brutal physicality needed to show the heart-breaking deterioration of Stephen Hawking’s body.

    Who Will Win — Redmayne. He’s scored the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for his portrayal of Hawking.

    Who Was Snubbed — Jake Gyllenhaal and David Oyelowo. Accompanying DuVernay’s directorial snub was Oyelowo not getting a nod for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.” Another major, unfortunate surprise was Gyllenhaal not being recognized for his work as Louis Bloom, a creepy, unblinking go-getter who tries to film the juiciest story to sell to the highest late-night news bidder.

    Best Actress

    Who Should Win — Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl.” She’s not given much of a chance, if any, but you have to stick to your guns. Pike’s portrayal as missing, conniving Amy Dunne was amazing.

    Who Will Win — Julianne Moore, “Still Alice.” This is a lock, essentially. Moore’s performance as Alice Howard, a linguistics professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, is the only Academy Awards claim that the film can hang its hat on. The same can be said of fellow nominees Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Marion Cotillard (“Two Days, One Night”). Heck, “Wild” only has Reese Witherspoon’s Best Actress and Laura Dern’s Best Supporting Actress nominations.

    It’s Been Awhile — You have to go back to 2004 to find when the Best Actress winner was also part of the Best Picture winner. Hilary Swank’s performance as boxer Maggie Fitzgerald helped propel “Million Dollar Baby” to the ultimate prize. This streak is almost certain to continue, as Felicity Jones and “The Theory of Everything” are the only chances for it be broken.

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    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter.

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