With only days to go before the 87th Academy Awards, Impact Film & TV weighs in on our predicted outcome for the most anticipated categories to take place in the ceremony on Sunday.
Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Predicted Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Reason: The Apes sequel by no means brags the largest or flashiest special effects of the nominees, but the detailed realism boasted by the motion capture technology was executed flawlessly. Andy Serkis’ protagonist Caesar is one of the most compelling animated characters since Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, the same film that won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 2004. With motion capture noticeably improved since, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is more than deserving and likely to take home the award since the Academy have demonstrated their willingness to acknowledge the technology.
Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Predicted Winner: Big Hero 6
Reason: It is always fantastic to see an animated feature pursue its young target demographic whilst still tackling heavy, relatable topics for all. Big Hero 6 does just that. Sticking to its comic book roots as well as the tradition of its parent companies (Disney and subsidiary Marvel), it mixes gorgeous animation with a nuanced exploration of how love and compassion go a long way to healing grief; that it does so through a fun superhero jaunt only makes it better. The diverse appeal of the film would make it a quintessential winner of this award.
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Robert Yeoman – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski – Ida
Dick Pope – Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins – Unbroken
Predicted Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki
Reason: In aesthetic terms, of the films in 2014, Birdman reigns victorious as the most instantly recognisable due its landmark status in cinematographic work. Seamless long takes intercut beautifully with adventurous angles, and the tracking shots are achievements in a film so mesmerising that Lubezki’s efforts make it a challenge to ever look away from the screen – not that one would even ever want to for a moment throughout.
Best Film Editing
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach – American Sniper
Sandra Adair – Boyhood
Barney Pilling – The Grand Budapest Hotel
William Goldenberg – The Imitation Game
Tom Cross – Whiplash
Predicted Winner: Tom Cross – Whiplash
Reason: Full-on and draining in its intensity, Whiplash owes much of its impact to the work of Tom Cross. Pacing a film that has such a loud personality is a difficult task, and he handles it with aplomb, giving us just the right amount of breathing space to fully enjoy the ride. Whiplash might be cacophonic in volume, but it is certainly a harmonious product of the editing room.
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J. K. Simmons – Whiplash
Predicted Winner: J. K. Simmons
Reason: J. K. Simmons delivers one of the best antagonistic characters of 2014, with a vehemence and passion for his discipline that is unrivalled. Whenever one discusses Best Supporting Actor or Actress in a motion picture, making a justified selection not only comes down to that actor’s sheer presence on screen, but also their complementary ability relative to the rest of the cast, particularly the lead. Simmons almost eclipses the leading man of Whiplash, let alone all the other actors on this list.
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Predicted Winner: Patricia Arquette
Reason: Defying the Oscar-bait tag that is often associated with the Supporting Acting categories, Patricia Arquette delves into what is, in many ways, the most relatable role of the group. She explores the everyday trials and tribulations of a wife and mother, not brought about by calamity or illness, but by life not going as smoothly as we would like. She deserves to win simply because she makes an ordinary life more compelling than any stereotypically dramatic alternative.
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Micheal Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everthing
Predicted Winner: Eddie Redmayne
Reason: There isn’t an actor on this list undeserving of their place on it, and even many altogether snubbed names would be deemed clear-cut winners by some. Regardless, Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything warrants the waves of recognition that comes with an Academy Award victory. Required to constantly alter and evolve his performance at each stage of Hawking’s illness, Redmayne’s challenge of changing his performance whilst still portraying the same character is an incredible feat of acting, and one that Redmayne pulls off masterfully.
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Predicted Winner: Julianne Moore
Reason: The risk with having a nominee who is long overdue recognition by the awarding body is that they can be rewarded for less-than-stellar acting. Julianne Moore certainly does not fall into that category. Giving a heartfelt and authentic performance of a woman suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s, Moore proves that quiet roles can be just as moving, if not more so, than a more explosive scene-grabber.
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
Predicted Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Reason: Alejandro González Iñárritu edges out the other fierce nominees in tow with Birdman. Iñárritu manages to balance an incredibly strong cast, giving each actor and actress their moment in the spotlight, pulling out some of the best performances from the members of this cast to date. This is not even the highlight of Iñárritu’s direction, as he meticulously crafts an entrancing, theatrical canvas of artistic and creative beauty, whereby his subjects simply flow in and out of the frame in a perfectly paced, groundbreaking picturesque film.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Predicted Winner: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Reason: 2014 was a great year for film. Boyhood made cinematic history with its twelve year filming schedule, Whiplash was perhaps one of the most intense films of this past year, and yet it is Birdman that stands out above them all. With its unique shooting style, sharp thought-provoking monologues, and a tremendous cast of equal excellence, it is hard to see Birdman not winning for Best Picture.
Glenn Tanner and Ibtisam Ahmed
Featured image courtesy of Prayitno via Flickr