Nominations for this year’s Oscars are among the strongest in many a year. The films up for the golden statuette are almost all movies that will stand the test of time. I’ve seen them all except for “Into the Woods” and “Boyhood,” neither of which has played at any theater in Gulf Shores, Alabama. And if they do play here, I won’t go see them. I refuse to see any movie with Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”). I am boycotting all of her movies after her pathetic performance with Tommy Lee Jones a couple of years ago in “Hope Springs.” By the way, I won’t go see any movie in which Samuel L. Jackson has a role (overacting always, never varying in his acting, and he’ll take any role, any time). So, “The Kingsmen” is already off my 2015 list of movies to see.
Back to the Oscars, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 7 p.m., Feb. 22, Hollywood, Calif., to air live on ABC. “Boyhood.” It sounds like one big crashing bore of a movie. I know, I know. It has already won its fair share of awards, but this is one of those movies that 10 years from now people will still be saying, “How the f—–g hell did this ever win an Oscar?” Don’t believe me? Check back with me in ten years.
For my money, the best films of 2014 are these: “Birdman,” “The Imitation Game,” “American Sniper” and “The Theory of Everything.” “Birdman” or “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is a black comedy-drama that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) — famous for portraying an iconic superhero — as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself. I think the movie itself will win Best Film, Edward Norton Best Supporting Actor and Michael Keaton will earn the Best Actor award. But will it win Best Film?
Of all the movies this past year, I was most moved by Clint Eastwood’s brilliant anti-war movie “American Sniper.” And Georgetown University graduate Bradley Cooper gives a strong performance as Chris Kyle, the soldier who was highly decorated for his four tours of duty in Iraq, only to be killed back home in Texas by a deranged veteran of the same war. If Michael Keaton doesn’t win Best Actor, then Bradley Cooper certainly deserves the award. “American Sniper” is the only movie of all the contenders that I’ve seen twice.
By the way, “American Sniper” is the largest grossing film of 2014. But there have only been four box-office champs that won best picture in the past 30 years. “Rain Man” (1988), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003). So, top grossing films do not necessarily fulfill the main criteria for Best Picture. That is why I am worried a film like “Boyhood” might win Best Film. Who has seen this movie?
I’d like to slow down here from the break-neck pace of this column and ask this question about the Oscars: How the hell did Peter O’Toole not win an academy award for Best Actor for his performance in “Lawrence of Arabia”? The Oscars has a big shadow hanging over it ever since this slight.
“The Theory of Everything” is the romantic story between physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. The lead actors are brilliant. Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife. In any other year, both could win the Best Actor and Actress Awards, but not this year.
Best Actress Oscar will go to Julianne Moore for her stunning performance in “Still Alice.” Best Supporting Actress will be Sienna Miller (“American Sniper”).
If there is a sleeper in all of the nominations, it is Wes Anderson for Best Director (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”). But I just don’t see the academy doing him any justice.
So, there you have my predictions for the 2015 Oscars:
= Best Film: “Birdman”
= Best Actor: Michael Keaton (“Birdman”)
= Best Actress: Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”)
= Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton (“Birdman”)
= Best Supporting Actress: Sienna Miller (“American Sniper”)
= Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman”)