Skip to main content

Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest. I mean brightest.

Oscar Winners 2015


Neil Patrick Harris: Congratulations to all of the nominees, in particular the eight best-picture nominees. They have all grossed over $600 million. American Sniper alone is responsible for over $300 million of that. To put that in perspective: everyone on this side is the seven other nominees. And, American Sniper is —  Oprah. (To Oprah) Because you’re rich.

David Letterman: (To Oprah) Oprah, Uma. (To Uma) Uma, Oprah.

As usual, I didn’t watch. It would take David Letterman hosting again, or someone else guaranteed to be provocative. Which just won’t happen. Entertaining entertainers tend to bland out amid the worldwide broadcast headlights, for fear of causing offence. Respect is due to Neil Patrick Harris however. He merely tripped where Letterman had previously buried himself, but he still got in an Oprah gag. True, Harris’ wasn’t as disarmingly batty as Dave’s but all credit to him for having a go.

Last year my mix of stabs in the dark and sure things yielded 16 out of 24 correct picks. This year I only got 12. Much of that – aside from the shorts categories, where no one has the faintest – came from miscalculating the swing to the Birdman and being left high and dry by Boyhood’s spectacular misses.

Best Picture
Winner: Birdman
I guessed: Boyhood

I got the big three completely wrong, but the most curious thing is how Birdman scored the big one but missed its formerly most likely slam dunk (Best Actor). Following Alfonso Cuaron’s win last year, Alejandro González Iñárritu is to be congratulated for not succumbing to British-style self-glorification and proclaiming, “The Mexicans are coming”.

How will this win look in years to come? I suspect The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood will have greater longevity, but few are going to say a lousy film won, and a good four of the nominees might have had that levelled at them.

Best Director
Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
I guessed: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

I called Linklater, putting Iñárritu a distant second in likelihood. As with Best Picture, at least someone deserving won out.

Best Actor
Winner: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
I guessed: Michael Keaton (Birdman)

And the disability Oscar goes to… everyone! I seriously didn’t think even the Academy would do a double-header for both Actor and Actress, the kind of self-congratulatory heart-bleeding for which Hollywood rightly gets ridiculed. But they did. And Redmayne is just the latest actor to convince undiscerning voters that the best performance is the most obvious one.

Not that Redmayne wasn’t very good, of course. I just doubt he would have been so warmly welcomed by voters if he had gone “full retard”. As for Keaton, it’s really hard luck. I don’t think he was ever really on radar before as a Best Actor contender (Clean and Sober maybe?), and I don’t think he will be again.

Best Actress
Winner: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
I guessed: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

And the second disability Oscar goes to… The only one of the Big Four I got right, mainly because everyone got it right. And bless Julianne, she deserves it. The only unfortunate side is that, like Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart or Jessica Lange in Blue Sky, no one is going to remember the movie for which they were rewarded.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
I guessed: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

See Julianne above for likelihood.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
I guessed: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

See Julianne and J.K. above for likelihood. The consolation prize for Boyhood too, which few would have guessed at the outcome even only a month ago (including me).

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Birdman
I guessed: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I tipped The Grand Budapest Hotel, with this a runner-up. Some of the discussion (criticism) surrounding Birdman concerns how clever it actually is, and how much of it is down to its director’s ignorance of his expected lack of virtue.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: The Imitation Game
I guessed: The Imitation Game

Stay weird, stay different”, unlike your tepid screenplay, Graham Moore. The Weinsteins’ Oscar campaigning usually bears some fruit, and this was an easy call, despite being a bit rubbish.

Best Cinematography
Winner: Birdman
I guessed: Birdman

Emmanual Lubezki wins two years on the trot. Virtuoso enough to be the most likely contender, and leaving Birdman with a tidy four gongs.

Best Costume Design
Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I guessed: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I called all but Screenplay right for Grand Budapest, which made a strong technical showing. Perhaps not so odd; it’s so hugely idiosyncratic it probably left some cold in respect of the main categories. It’s not remotely worthy, either.

Best Film Editing
Winner: Whiplash
I guessed: American Sniper

I have to admit I found Whiplash’s editing leant too much on the obvious. But the Academy likes obvious.

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: Whiplash
I guessed: American Sniper

Deserved, if (as I said in the predictions) an obvious choice. So obvious I chose American Sniper. Which had to make do with…

Best Sound Editing
Winner: American Sniper
I guessed: American Sniper

A glorious triumph.

Best Visual Effects
Winner: Interstellar
I guessed: Guardians of the Galaxy

Can’t say I’m not pleased, but I thought Guardians of the Galaxy would bag it.

Best Makeup
Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I guessed: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Tilda Swinton looked phenomenally decrepit.

Best Production Design
Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I guessed: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The best Hotel won.

Best Original Song
Winner: Glory (Selma)
I guessed: Glory (Selma)

It couldn’t not, really.

Best Original Score
Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I guessed: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alexandre Desplat’s first win, and well deserved (the only shame is, Interstellar had to lose out).

Best Animated Short
Winner: Feast
I guessed: The Dam Keeper

Disney got it! They didn’t last year, so these things are less certain than they may look.

Best Documentary Short
Winner: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
I guessed: Joanna

I bet on the Holocaust. I lost.

Best Live Action Short
Winner: The Phone Call
I guessed: Butter Lamp

After The Voorman Problem lost last year I didn’t expert the quirky British short to win. So if there’s one next year, it probably won’t. Unless that’s exactly what they want you to think.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: Citizenfour
I guessed: Virunga

Harvey Weinstein’s other saving face of the evening. I think it’s safe to predict that Oliver Stone’s dramatisation of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing won’t be winning any big prizes come its Oscar night.

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: Ida
I guessed: Leviathan

See, I only went and picked the wrong Holocaust picture to win.

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Big Hero 6
I guessed: Big Hero 6

Disney win again! Smart money was on How to Train Your Dragon 2, which most agree is superior to Big Hero 6. The first Marvel movie to win a Best Picture Oscar.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

As in the hokey kids’ show guy?

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) (SPOILERS) I don’t think Mr Rogers could have been any creepier had Kevin Spacey played him. It isn’t just the baggage Tom Hanks brings, and whether or not he’s the adrenochrome lord to the stars and/or in Guantanamo and/or dead and/or going to make a perfectly dreadful Colonel Tom Parker and an equally awful Geppetto; it’s that his performance is so constipated and mannered an imitation of Mr Rogers’ genuineness that this “biopic” takes on a fundamentally sinister turn. His every scene with a youngster isn’t so much exuding benevolent empathy as suggestive of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ’s Child Catcher let loose in a TV studio (and again, this bodes well for Geppetto). Extend that to A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood ’s conceit, that Mr Rogers’ life is one of a sociopathic shrink milking angst from his victims/patients in order to get some kind of satiating high – a bit like a rejuvenating drug, on that score – and you have a deeply unsettli

Who’s got the Figgy Port?

Loki (2021) (SPOILERS) Can something be of redeemable value and shot through with woke (the answer is: Mad Max: Fury Road )? The two attributes certainly sound essentially irreconcilable, and Loki ’s tendencies – obviously, with new improved super-progressive Kevin Feige touting Disney’s uber-agenda – undeniably get in the way of what might have been a top-tier MCU entry from realising its full potential. But there are nevertheless solid bursts of highly engaging storytelling in the mix here, for all its less cherishable motivations. It also boasts an effortlessly commanding lead performance from Tom Hiddleston; that alone puts Loki head and shoulders above the other limited series thus far.

It’ll be like living in the top drawer of a glass box.

Someone’s Watching Me! (1978) (SPOILERS) The first of a pair of TV movies John Carpenter directed in the 1970s, but Someone’s Watching Me! is more affiliated, in genre terms, to his breakout hit ( Halloween ) and reasonably successful writing job ( The Eyes of Laura Mars ) of the same year than the also-small-screen Elvis . Carpenter wrote a slew of gun-for-hire scripts during this period – some of which went on to see the twilight of day during the 1990s – so directing Someone’s Watching Me! was not a given. It’s well-enough made and has its moments of suspense, but you sorely miss a signature Carpenter theme – it was by Harry Sukman, his penultimate work, the final being Salem’s Lot – and it really does feel very TV movie-ish.

I'm offering you a half-share in the universe.

Doctor Who Season 8 – Worst to Best I’m not sure I’d watched Season Eight chronologically before. While I have no hesitation in placing it as the second-best Pertwee season, based on its stories, I’m not sure it pays the same dividends watched as a unit. Simply, there’s too much Master, even as Roger Delgado never gets boring to watch and the stories themselves offer sufficient variety. His presence, turning up like clockwork, is inevitably repetitive. There were no particular revelatory reassessments resulting from this visit, then, except that, taken together – and as The Directing Route extra on the Blu-ray set highlights – it’s often much more visually inventive than what would follow. And that Michael Ferguson should probably have been on permanent attachment throughout this era.

What's a movie star need a rocket for anyway?

The Rocketeer (1991) (SPOILERS) The Rocketeer has a fantastic poster. One of the best of the last thirty years (and while that may seem like faint praise, what with poster design being a dying art – I’m looking at you Marvel, or Amazon and the recent The Tomorrow War – it isn’t meant to be). The movie itself, however, tends towards stodge. Unremarkable pictures with a wide/cult fanbase, conditioned by childhood nostalgia, are ten-a-penny – Willow for example – and in this case, there was also a reasonably warm critical reception. But such an embrace can’t alter that Joe Johnston makes an inveterately bland, tepid movie director. His “feel” for period here got him The First Avenger: Captain America gig, a bland, tepid movie tending towards stodge. So at least he’s consistent.

Here’s Bloody Justice for you.

Laughter in Paradise (1951) (SPOILERS) The beginning of a comedic run for director-producer Mario Zampa that spanned much of the 1950s, invariably aided by writers Michael Pertwee and Jack Davies (the latter went on to pen a spate of Norman Wisdom pictures including The Early Bird , and also comedy rally classic Monte Carlo or Bust! ) As usual with these Pertwee jaunts, Laughter in Paradise boasts a sparky premise – renowned practical joker bequeaths a fortune to four relatives, on condition they complete selected tasks that tickle him – and more than enough resultant situational humour.

You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) The final finale of the Twilight saga, in which pig-boy Jacob tells Bella that, “No, it's not like that at all!” after she accuses him of being a paedo. But then she comes around to his viewpoint, doubtless displaying the kind of denial many parents did who let their kids spend time with Jimmy Savile or Gary Glitter during the ‘70s. It's lucky little Renesmee will be an adult by the age of seven, right? Right... Jacob even jokes that he should start calling Edward, “Dad”. And all the while they smile and smile.

By whom will this be rectified? Your ridiculously ineffectual assassins?

The X-Files 3.2: Paperclip Paperclip recovers ground after The Blessing Way stumbled slightly in its detour, and does so with some of the series’ most compelling dramatics so far. As well as more of Albert performing prayer rituals for the sick (perhaps we could spend some time with the poor guy over breakfast, or going to the movies? No, all he’s allowed is stock Native American mysticism).

When I barked, I was enormous.

Dean Spanley (2008) (SPOILERS) There is such a profusion of average, respectable – but immaculately made – British period drama held up for instant adulation, it’s hardly surprising that, when something truly worthy of acclaim comes along, it should be singularly ignored. To be fair, Dean Spanley was well liked by critics upon its release, but its subsequent impact has proved disappointingly slight. Based on Lord Dunsany’s 1939 novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley , our narrator relates how the titular Dean’s imbibification of a moderate quantity of Imperial Tokay (“ too syrupy ”, is the conclusion reached by both members of the Fisk family regarding this Hungarian wine) precludes his recollection of a past life as a dog.  Inevitably, reviews pounced on the chance to reference Dean Spanley as a literal shaggy dog story, so I shall get that out of the way now. While the phrase is more than fitting, it serves to underrepresent how affecting the picture is when it has c

Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun.

The Sound of Music (1965) (SPOILERS) One of the most successful movies ever made – and the most successful musical – The Sound of Music has earned probably quite enough unfiltered adulation over the years to drown out the dissenting voices, those that denounce it as an inveterately saccharine, hollow confection warranting no truck. It’s certainly true that there are impossibly nice and wholesome elements here, from Julie Andrews’ career-dooming stereotype governess to the seven sonorous children more than willing to dress up in old curtains and join her gallivanting troupe. Whether the consequence is something insidious in its infectious spirit is debatable, but I’ll admit that it manages to ensnare me. I don’t think I’d seen the movie in its entirety since I was a kid, and maybe that formativeness is a key brainwashing facet of its appeal, but it retains its essential lustre just the same.