Halfway to Oscars

We are just about half way through the year.  The real Oscar race doesn’t begin to take shape until September/October.   We to don’t really know anything until the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Oscar bloggers speculate all year long. So let us speculate about Oscar contenders that were seen the first half of the year. I use the word “seen” because the Cannes films have not yet been released.

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INSIDE OUT: The best reviewed movie of the year so far with 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and 93 on Metacritic add the Pixar factor and you have this best animated feature nominee and the likely winner. INSIDE OUT is the closest we have to a sure thing right now.

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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD-One of the best reviewed movies of the year so far with 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some say that it will get a Best Picture nomination, but that is bit ambistious this early on.

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JURASSIC WORLD-If the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences wants to stay relevant and increase the ratings of the Oscar ceremony, they need to acknowledge the box office success of JURASSIC PARK. Even if only through best visual effects. At almost $400 million so far domestically and close to $1 billion worldwide it will soon take over as the highest money maker of the year over AVENGERS:AGE OF ULTRON.

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CAROL: Big hit out of Cannes.  The Weinstein Company is setting CAROL up to be a major player this season. Best Picture will be a difficult battle,but Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara will be competing for best actress nominations.

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SON OF SAUL: Took home the Grand Prix award at Cannes. Just this week, Hungary was the first country to announce its official entry into the best foreign language film category for an Academy Award. This Holocaust story is sure to be recognized throughout awards season.

Oscar Contenders From Cannes 2015

The Cannes Film Festival rarely influences the Oscar race. It does however give us a few movies to start the Oscar conversation. The movies with the most potential coming out of Cannes are:

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CAROL-Directed by Todd Haynes and stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (best actress winner in Cannes). Carol is set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman. Some alreaar. dy calling Mara to get the Best Actress nomination and possibly the win. It’s way too to early to start calling winners, but nineteen Best Actress winners from Cannes went on to get Oscar nominations. (4 have won).

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SON OF SAUL-(Hungary)-In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son. No way to tell if Son of Saul will be submitted or qualify for Best Foreign Language Film, but many predicted it to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or. Instead it took the runner up Grand Prize award. Holocaust movies tend to do well in the Foreign Language category.

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INSIDE OUT- This years Pixar movie. After a girl moves to a new home, her emotions are plunged into chaos as they compete for control of her mind. With strong reviews out of Cannes and the history Pixar has with Best Animated Feature wins, this is the only shoe in for a nomination so far.

2015 Oscar Winners

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BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
Birdman 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Julianne Moore in Still Alice

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Imitation Game
Written by Graham Moore

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman 

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
The Grand Budapest Hotel

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Glory” from Selma

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
CitizenFour

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Whiplash

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
Big Hero 6

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Feast

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Interstellar

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
American Sniper

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Whiplash

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
The Phone Call

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Ida (Poland)

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
The Grand Budapest Hotel

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Final 2015 Oscar Predictions-UPDATE

I am changing Best Picture to Birdman and leaving Linklater for Director. They did the right thing last year and chose 12 Years a Slave for picture and Alfonso Cuarón for Director. It was the best way to honor both films. If Boyhood cant win em both, I am hoping for a split.

Best Picture
Birdman

Best Director
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Actor
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress
Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best Cinematography
Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Foreign Language Film
Ida

Best Adapted Screenplay
Whiplash

Best Original Screenplay
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score
The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song
“Glory,” Selma

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Documentary—Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Film Editing
Boyhood

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Animated Short
The Dam Keeper

Best Live Action Short
Parvaneh

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper

Best Visual Effects
Interstellar

Best Documentary — Feature
Citizenfour

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Says it All….

Sasha Stone from AwardsDaily sums up this years Oscar race perfectly.

And with that, I’m ready to dub this year among the worst years of Oscar watching I have personally ever had. Never have the Oscar voters and the industry voters seemed to narrow-minded and closed off from everything else happening and evolving around them. Never have they seemed so small.