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My Oscars picks: Boyhood, Grand Budapest Hotel, Still Alice and CitizenFour

Usually by now we have a pretty good idea what film will do best at the Academy Awards. Last year we knew 12 Years a Slave would be named best picture. The year before that, Argo.

You can’t be sure at all this year. Boyhood was an early favorite and won many critics’ polls and the Golden Globe. But Birdman has been coming on lately, especially when it won at the Producers Guild. They have a very good track record over there.

I took a second look at it but decided to stick with Boyhood. I’d give Richard Linklater Best Director too for the grand ambition he so successfully realized in that film.

Those other people? I’d say with them it’s a tie ... until the envelope opens.

There are spin-off effects though. Michael Keaton has to win best actor. He put his heart and soul into Birdman. Emma Stone is vibrant and natural as his daughter, a perfect Best Supporting Actress. I switched on that one. I used to think Patricia Arquette would win for Boyhood.

The Imitation Game has lots of supporters for best picture but will likely get a consolation prize: Best Adapted Screenplay while ...

 

... the ultra-stylish, very clever Grand Budapest Hotel should get Best Original Screenplay.

And I don’t expect the Academy voters have as much enthusiasm for American Sniper as the ticket-buying public, but will probably give it awards for sound and maybe editing.

I think Julianne Moore has a lock on best actress for two reasons. It’s time; this is her fifth nomination. Also the voters seem to like movies about afflictions.

 

Her portrayal of an Alzheimer’s victim in Still Alice is accurate and very touching.

J. K. Simmons has to win Best Supporting Actor for that tyrant he brought to life in Whiplash.

Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon2 has been on a roll and will probably take it. Disney will win in the short category with Feast.   

Foreign Film: I haven’t seen all of these and am intrigued by the absolutely current story in Timbuktu. But I think the voters will go with Leviathan. Who doesn’t want to stick it to Vladimir Putin these days?

Documentary Feature: CitizenFour, because the subject of surveillance is urgent and affects everybody.

Notice there are two nominees from the Vancouver area in the Visual Effects category, one for the latest X-Men Film, the other for Guardians of the Galaxy, which I hope wins.

Also from here, Tegan and her sister Sara from Montreal will be on the show Sunday performing “Everything is Awesome” from the LEGO Movie. I expect Glory, the song from Selma, will win. A bit of consolation for the snubs suffered by that strong film.

Don’t bet any money with these predictions. They’re not what will happen, merely what could happen.         

 

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