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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.

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