My 2014 Oscar Predictions

Many tiny, tiny men were forced to give up their lives after being randomly selected for being made to stand in an uncomfortable upright position and having liquid gold poured on them. Their sacrifice will not go forgotten.

Ah, the Oscars! The award show where the old, rich, out-of-touch white men of Hollywood engage in the biggest circle jerk of the year and hand out golden, vaguely phallic trophies in order to congratulate each other for making pretentious, artsy films that the average moviegoer didn’t even think about before the eve of the ceremony!

God, do I love the Oscars. It’s right up there with my birthday, Christmas, Blue Jays Opening Day, Game 7 of the World Series and Edmonton Comic Expo Weekend in my rankings of my favourite days of the year. For somebody who loves movies as much as I do, it’s so great to see these movies that I’ve grown so attached to in the last few months that I’ve been scrambling to watch them. It’s nice to see them all gathered together where all of them can be celebrated for the joy they’ve brought to people.

And by “all of them”, I, of course mean “Boyhood“.

So, without further ado, let’s get my official predictions out of the way!!!

(Keep in mind that I haven’t seen 100% of the movies. Merely a lot of them. Don’t blame me, blame school.”

That, and the fact that I’m not allowed out of my house anymore after the unfortunate incident at a nearby Dairy Queen.

Visual Effects

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees! And people say we monkey around…”

Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If I were in charge: Interstellar

Interstellar didn’t impress me as much as it did others in terms of story or plot coherence, but I can’t deny the visual majesty that Nolan’s space epic had. That said, when Dawn wins, I will not complain at all, because Apes On Horses.

Film Editing

TWELVE YEARS!!!! THIS TOOK TWELVE YEARS!!!! ITSOAMAAAAAAAAZZIIIINGGG!!!!!!!”

Will win: Boyhood

If I was in charge: Boyhood

Yeah, as burnt out as I am on hearing people call Boyhood the Citizen Kane of our era or some bullshit, I can’t deny the wonderful editing job done in the film.

Costume Design

Dear lord.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and Hairstyling

And this is what happens when you party with Benecio del Toro.

Will win: Guardians of the Galaxy

If I was in charge: Guardians of the Galaxy

Cinematography

Gravity‘s got nothing on this.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

Emmanuel Lubezki. That is all.

Production Design

The symmetry alone, Jesus Christ.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Mixing

Theeeeenn, he swore profusely at me, Pa rum pa pum pum….

Will win: Whiplash

If I was in charge: Whiplash

Man, I’m not exactly being much of a contrarian, am I?

Sound Editing

Oh, there we go.

Will win: American Sniper

If I was in charge: Birdman

Original Song

Will win: “Glory” (Selma)

If I was in charge: “Glory”

Original Score

Just for the record, I would have given the prize to either John Powell or Joe Hisaishi for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, respectively.

Will win: Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary- Short Subject, Documentary- Feature

I didn’t watch any of these. Why? I’m really, really lazy, in case you guys haven’t noticed.

Foreign Language Film

Are her eyes following anybody else? Just me? Okay then…

Will win: Ida

If I was in charge: Leviathan

Animated Feature Film

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

If I was in charge: How to Train Your Dragon 2

While I still think that Dragon is the best animated movie of the year (Yes, even better than The LEGO Movie), I highly suggest any fan of animation to check out The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. You’ll thank me later, trust me.

Adapted Screenplay

Will win: The Imitation Game

If I was in charge: The Imitation Game

Original Screenplay

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should win: Birdman

Supporting Actress

Yeesh, now that kids’ eyes are following me.

Will win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Patricia Arquette

Again, I’m not a huge Boyhood fan. That said, I think I would’ve liked it more if it focused more on Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Supporting Actor

Will win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

If I was in charge: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Actress

“What the fuck am I watching?!?!”                    -Julianne Moore, seen here puzzling over Inherent Vice.

Will win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

If I was in charge: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Admittedly, I haven’t seen Still Alice yet, but with all do respect to Julianne Moore, I don’t see how her performance could be better than Rosamund Pike in the movie that is the biggest Best Picture snub of the year.

Actor

Yeah, no way I’m joking about this photo. I’m not a total asshole.

Will win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

The sentimental part of my brain wants Michael Keaton to win, as Redmayne’s still young, and we don’t know if Keaton will ever be nominated again, but I know in my heart of hearts that Redmayne was probably better.

Director

Meh.

Will win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

I LIKED BOYHOOD, ALRIGHT!?!? I JUST THINK IT’S KIND OF OVERRATED!!! AM I REALLY SO WRONG IN THINKING THAT?!?!

Picture

You know you want it.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

My gut actually says that Boyhood is gonna take it, but winning all the Guild Awards is pretty promising, so maybe Birdman has a realistic shot at winning the big prize?

American Sniper is going to sweep the awards now, just because I said that.

The Theory of Everything (Movie Review)

Oscar-nominated stars Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) and Felicity Jones, who you may remember from the 5-second tease she got in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Felicia Hardy. Godammit, Sony, first you squander Paul Giamatti, and now this?

Right, enough with the filler posts, it’s time to look at  one of the most brilliant men to ever  live on this planet of ours. One who has tested the boundaries of physics and changed the way many people think about the universe.

It’s time to examine: Dr. Stephen Hawking’s love life!!!

You’re elated. I can tell.

 The Theory of Everything

 Directed by: James Marsh

 Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten

 Screenplay by: Anthony McCarten

 Genre: Biographical romantic drama

 Based on: Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis, Harry Lloyd, Emily Watson, Maxine Peake

Music by: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Plot: In 1963, Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is just your average brilliant astrophysics student attending prestigious Cambridge University, where his hobbies include math, physics, not having a topic for his thesis, and hanging out with his buddy, Viserys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. One day, while doing whatever it is that upper-class university students do, he meets a student of Romance Languages named Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), and the two young whippersnappers fall in love almost immediately. What follows is the story of their long, loving, frequently troubled relationship, through Dr. Hawking’s devastating struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (You know, ALS). You know, Lou Gehrig’s disease.

You know, the thing everyone was doing this for a few months back.

Admittedly, this movie was far from the movie I wanted to see most out of this year’s Best Picture nominees. I had heard good reviews, just not overwhelmingly positive ones, and I just thought it looked like one of those movies that are specifically crafted to rack up nominations by simply existing within the Academy’s wheelhouse (Recent examples include PhilomenaThe Artist and Everything that Meryl Streep Has So Much As a Goddamn Cameo in).

Also, I think I speak for many beleaguered high school students of the world when I say that physics can go fuck itself.

Just imagining it makes me want to start texting and put off studying.

Anyways, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely incorrect in that assumption as the film does, in fact hit many familiar beats, but it is executed in such a way that made me shrug my shoulders and say “Who really gives a crap?”. It’s not the most creative movie in the class of ’14, but I thought it was still a terrific movie that deserves all the recognition it can get. Unlike my next reviewed movie, which I would erase from everybody’s memory if I had the flashy pen-type things from Men in Black.

DO SOMETHING!!!

While the main reason that this movie works as well as it does is, as you may have guessed, the two leads, whose relationship actually came super close to making me shed man-tears, the other aspects of the movie are very well done, to boot. It’s very well directed, and the cinematography is downright gorgeous, to the point where it can kinda feel like they’re romanticizing a bit much, but I didn’t find it to be that much of a problem. The writing’s fine, and done in a way that actually made me understand more about physics than I did in three years of high school, even if it does wisely take a backseat to the relationship between Dr. Stephen and Jane (Those of you wanting to learn more about Dr. Hawking’s work would probably be better off going to a library. Or Wikipedia, whichever).

Also, the score, composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson of Iceland (A country whose musical output I’ve greatly respected since learning about Sigur Rós), is very beautiful, and quite memorable if you’re not an idiot like me who enjoys watching so much movies in such a short period so that all the soundtracks sound the same to you. Seriously though, it is beautiful.

While the lead actors do get a lot of deserved buzz for their performances, the very talented supporting cast also shines as well, with no real weak links among the bunch. Charlie Cox (Of Boardwalk Empire fame) is super-charming as a friend of the Hawking-Wilde family, which bodes well for his upcoming role as everyone’s favourite blind Marvel superhero).

Madame Web, Obviously.

I’ve watched this movie twice so far, and during neither viewing did I realize that the dude who plays Brian, Dr. Hawking’s college roommate, is the same guy (Harry Lloyd) who played Viserys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. I guess I didn’t recognize him without his sadism, creepy relationship with his sister or flowing platinum locks. Or it could’ve been the noticeable absence of liquid gold cascading over said platinum locks. Yeah, probably that. Anyways, he does a really solid job, as does David Thewlis as Hawking’s professor. Stephen Hawking himself makes a cameo as his own computerized voice and really disappears into his role in a way that nobody else could.

Obviously though, the actors that have really captured everybody’s attention are Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, and as emotionally poignant and fantastic as Jones is, Redmayne’s is the one that truly stands heads and shoulders above damn near everybody else this year. I’m not just being my usual lazy self when I say that I can’t come up with a way to describe this performance (Although that is playing a part). You truly need to see it for yourself to know what I’m talking about.

So, for all my fanboying out over this movie, do I have any complaints with it? Well yeah, it’s not a perfect movie.

Now this… THIS is a perfect movie.

For instance, while the makeup and prosthetics team did a fantastic job with Eddie Redmayne to help him look the part of somebody with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they really didn’t do that great a job of aging Felicity Jones to make her look like a fifty-year old by the end of the movie. I’m not bashing her performance by any means, and this doesn’t rate as a huge issue in my book, but it still took me out of the movie.

I guess it’s not like Felicity Jones can help the fact that she looks eighteen.

Also, this may just be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I am so fucking done with love triangles as a film trope, and there are two of them in this movie. TWO (This isn’t a spoiler, you see them coming from a mile away). I get that it’s what really happened, but I can only take much before it gets annoying. I suppose it’s handled well enough to cut out the “will-they, won’t-they” bullshit, but it still irks me quite a bit. I dunno, maybe the first season of Legend of Korra just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Overall: It’s more or less a conventional Oscar movie, but if you get as entranced by the emotional resonance of the movie as I was, you won’t give a damn.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next time on PKTM: I review Left Behind/contemplate agonizing forms of suicide.