Final Oscar Pick: Best Picture

Oscar Day is HERE! I’ve already posted my picks for all of the other categories (parts one, two, and three), below is my final prediction for Best Picture!

Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Whiplash
Statistically speaking, this is a tight, tight race between Boyhood and Birdman with a little possibility of The Grand Budapest Hotel sprinkled in. The cinematic community loves to praise Boyhood, and with good reason, but it’s hard to separate the film from the way it was made. After I watched Boyhood I found myself asking “Would I have liked this as much if I had not known it was filmed over 12 years?” and I’m not sure I can answer that. If the answer to that question is no, is my evaluation of the film as a final product fair? These are questions that Academy voters have had to grapple with as well. That flicker of doubt aside, I thought Birdman was the better film. It was more entertaining and daring in a different way. It’s not without its flaws but definitely makes sense as the Best Picture winner this year. I still stand by my claim that Whiplash was the best movie made in 2014, but that’s just not how the Academy will vote. History has shown that Academy voters love movies about the artistic process and Birdman is all over that.
This is one of the first years since the new ‘up to 10 nominees’ system that I’ve been really, really pleased with every movie nominated. Usually there are 3 that are so clearly not in the same league as the winners that I sometimes never even bothered to see those films, but the spread is pretty even this year. American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, and the Theory of Everything are all great films but haven’t struck me with the kind of excitement that Birdman, Boyhood, and Whiplash have.

That wraps up all of the predictions! For one final look at other awards ceremonies you can check out last night’s results of the Independent Spirit Awards.

Red Carpet coverage on E! starts today at 12:30pm (even I think that’s excessive) with the show being broadcast on ABC at 7:30pm! (All times are CST). I will be live tweeting the show as well.

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Oscar Predictions: Part 3

The third installment of my Oscar picks. You can read the first two parts here and here.

This post includes: Best Editing, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Actress, Actor, and Director. My Best Picture Pick will be posted tomorrow!


Best Film Editing
American Sniper, Joel Cox, Gary Roach
Boyhood, Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game, William Goldenberg
Whiplash, Tom Cross
boyhood-darkroomWill Win: Boyhood, Sandra Adair
Could WinWhiplash, Tom Cross
Should Win: Whiplash, Tom Cross
Boyhood has been the favorite for this category from the start, and it is beautifully edited. Sandra Adair took twelve years of footage and pieced it into a smooth, digestable product that wasn’t overly simplistic or saccharine. I love just about everything about Whiplash, and one of the big things that I took away from it was how well it was edited. I’d prefer to see Tom Cross win in this category, but Sandra Adair is a fine, fine alternative. (more…)

Review: Boyhood



Written & Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke

I smiled through this whole movie. Boyhood is an absolutely delight. I saw this film when it was first released in the summer and really enjoyed it; I wondered if time would have soured the charm that Boyhood had but it absolutely did not. Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making passion project might not be for everyone, but if you don’t connect with these characters in at any point in the story you’re not human.

Boyhood follows Mason Evans (played by Ellar Coltrane) from age six to eighteen; the film chronicles his growth and the elements that have contributed to who the person he has become by the end of the film. The concept is that simple. The unique ambition that Richard Linklater had was to film this transformation in real time: for a few weeks out of every year from 2002 to 2013 the cast and crew came together to capture that moment in time. It’s an entirely scripted story but is told so organically I often had to remind myself that there is no real family story upon which this is based. (more…)

Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game


Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Written by: Graham Moore, based on “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong

If the term ‘Oscar Bait’ was in the dictionary you would find a definition that perfectly encapsulates The Imitation Game: a reputable cast and crew take on the story of a misunderstood public figure in an effort to humanize him/her while making some kind of political statement about the injustices they suffered. This sounds like a negative sentiment, but I did actually really, really like this movie. The Imitation Game is rich with emotional tension and is beautifully put together and acted. The realities of Turing’s life are tragic; by the time the credits rolled I was heartbroken but eager to learn so, so much more. (more…)

DGA Winners are in–with a small surprise

Before we dive into the DGA’s- THE OSCARS ARE JUST TWO WEEKS AWAY. Voting opened on Friday morning and the Academy has until the 17th to finalize their ballots. We’re really hitting the home stretch!


The Directors Guild of America had their annual awards last night. This is the strongest indicator of who will win the Best Director Oscar. I was fairly certain that the highest honor would be going to Richard Linklater for Boyhood, but with a bit of a surprise, Alejandro G. Inarritu won for Birdman. I imagine that the vote was close, so we can’t say that this is a 100% lock for the Oscars but its certainly a good sign. You can find the full list of DGA winners here.


The BAFTA Awards are going to be broadcast in just a few hours. If you’re in the states and you want to watch the actual ceremony you can watch the live stream here or wait until the evening broadcast on BBC America.  I will be posting a live update of the winners here.

Review: Birdman



Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan

I was very, very skeptical about Birdman when it was first released in the fall. I put off seeing it until practically one of the last screenings. The story as I understood it didn’t interest me, the gimmick with Michael Keaton literally having superpowers seemed too much to bear, and the only reputable person on the project that I was aware of was Immannuel Lubezki. Eventually the attention it was getting from critics was just too much to ignore so I reluctantly made my way to the theater and ended up loving just about every minute of Birdman. (more…)

Review: Whiplash



Directed & Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons

I. Love. Whiplash. This was absolutely my favorite film of 2014. It was smart and funny and brilliantly made. Since it’s 5 well earned Oscar nominations were announced (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing) Whiplash has made a second lap in theaters and has a slightly wider release than its original run in the fall. I wish Whiplash was given as many showtimes as something like American Sniper because it has probably an equal audience appeal and is a far better film. (more…)

SAG and PGA Awards results are in!

generic_sagawardslogo_noyear_horitzonal_copy          pga-awards

The Producer’s Guild of America had their annual awards show on Saturday and named Birdman with the top prize, making it an even stronger Best Picture Oscar nominee.

Last night we got the results of the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, which historically have the largest influence over the acting categories for the Oscars. The Best Actor category is a great example: the last time that the Best Actor winners were not the same for both the Oscars and the SAG Awards was in 2003, every year since then the results have been parallel. There is a huge overlap in SAG voters  and Oscar acting category voters, so whoever wins the SAG award will almost certainly be getting an Oscar this year. Top prizes went to Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette, and J.K. Simmons.

You can find the full list of PGA Awards winners here, and the SAG Awards winners here.

Where to See All of the Best Picture Nominees

Do you want to get caught up on all of the Oscar Best Picture Nominees? Right now you’re in luck, as most movies are in wide release, but there’s a few you’ll need to make a special effort to track down. Buzzfeed posted the great list below of how to see each of the nominated films. I’ve also included where to see these films in the Madison area.

American Sniper


Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
Where You Can See It: American Sniper is in wide-release beginning today, January 16th. It should be available for rental and purchase in April.
In Madison: Eastgate Cinemas, Point Cinemas, AMC Star Fitchburg, Sundance 608 (more…)

The Golden Globes Predictions: Movies

The last of my picks and predictions for the films that will be recognized at The Golden Globes.


I have to note- there’s an excessive love for Birdman on this list, which I absolutely think it deserves…BUT- Whiplash was shamefully snubbed and isn’t a contender in a few categories where I think it could have won. Stupid Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

I’ll be relentlessly live tweeting during the ceremony on Sunday.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Boyhood_Quad_KeyArt_LoRes1Should Win: Boyhood
Could Win: ……………
I really can’t see anything other than Boyhood winning. The Theory of Everything is a solid film with great performances, Selma is a beautifully photographed and well acted movie, Foxcatcher has gotten questionable reviews; and while I really liked The Imitation Game the ambition of the project doesn’t match the risk that was taken making Boyhood. (more…)