The 87th Academy Awards are this Sunday night and I have to admit, I have done a woefully inadequate job at getting prepared for it. I would point out that it’s not all my fault because it seems like the majority of nominated movies came out only a month or two before the actual awards show- giving you very little time to actually plow through and watch all the nominated films and performances. I’ve heard there’s ways around this via the Internet, but I’m not a criminal and I also have no idea how that whole thing actually works. And while I did harbor the purest and noblest of aspirations to see as many movies as possible, the reality is that I’ve only managed to see four of the eight best picture nominations, in addition to not yet seeing Foxcatcher, that Julianne Moore movie, that Marion Cotillard movie or Wild.
I’ll say it- I’m not proud of myself.
I’ll also say- there’s a lot of good television on right now and only so many hours in between dinner and snooze town.
So I’m not in a good place to make predictions, make cases for who should and shouldn’t win, or label anyone a dark horse that needs to be kept an eye on. Frankly, I have more questions than answers when it comes to this year’s Oscars.
Which then leads me to…
Giddy Up America’s 87th Oscars Q & A
Of the four movies you’ve seen, would you consider one the Best Picture?
Yes, Boyhood. I thought Boyhood was amazing and so very good. It was so emotionally resonant and sweet and powerful. And while I don’t think the director, Richard Linklater, will win Best Director, his 13 year gamble and experiment gets rewarded with the Best Picture award.
So if not Linklater, who gets Best Director?
It has to be the dude who did Birdman, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, because what he did with that movie is a master’s class in directing. The single take wasn’t just a gimmick, it was an effective way to set the tone, to get us inside Michael Keaton’s character’s head. It was used for a reason, not just to be cute. I totally think that it’d be less of a movie without it. Although the same could be said for Linklater and his experiment of filming over thirteen years. That too also wasn’t just a gimmick but an effective way of enhancing a story. I’m still going with Inarritu, though. That being said, I wouldn’t be bummed if Linklater won.
Did the ending of Birdman ruin it for you? It was kind of…lame…or cheesy.
At first I was put off by it, then I started thinking about it. You want to know my theory?
Sure. Spoiler alert?
Okay, spoiler alert. What’s your theory on the ending of Birdman?
Keaton’s character, Riggan Thomson, didn’t just shoot his nose off when he pulled a gun on himself. He killed himself. So that would make that final scene in the hospital room his version of Heaven. He’s finally appreciated as an artist, his performance was met with rave reviews and offers are pouring in. His wife and daughter are there by his side and he’s finally respected again; and respected as an actor. Thomson can now look the Birdman in the eye, tell him to eff off and then head held high, fly off into the sunset.
So, no magical realism?
No. No magical realism.
Will Keaton win Best Actor?
But will he?
I hope so. But apparently his main contenders are Bradley Cooper and Eddie Redmayne and both of those dudes seem to be gaining on Keaton. I haven’t seen either of their movies, but whatever, I did see Birdman and Keaton owned it with the hammer to nail bruising style of vintage Daniel Day-Lewis. He was so freakin’ good! I just can’t believe that what Cooper or Redmayne did was somehow better.
If you could only see one, which would movie would you see- American Sniper or The Theory of Everything?
American Sniper. I’ve been interested since that first trailer came out. Whereas The Theory of Everything looks kind of like a generic bio-pic.
Does any of the controversy surrounding American Sniper affect how you feel about the movie?
No, because it seems like a lot of the controversy has to do with Chris Kyle’s life after he got back from the war. And isn’t American Sniper mainly about his time in combat?
Beats me. I haven’t seen it either.
Well I think it is. And also about his experience coming home. I’m assuming this was all before the legend of Chris Kyle grew, which seems like where a lot of his fudging the truth problems came from.
If Keaton doesn’t win Best Actor, who would be an acceptable winner for you- Cooper or Redmayne?
Cooper I guess.
As for Best Supporting Actor, does anyone beat that dude from Whiplash?
Sure doesn’t look that way.
Take him, J.K. Simmons, out of it, who should win?
Ethan Hawke, because he was incredible in Boyhood. Edward Norton was also really, really good in Birdman. But man, Hawke was so good in Boyhood. I thought they way he grew throughout the movie was as impression as young Mason’s growth was.
How many movies have you seen that received Best Actress nominations?
One. Gone Girl.
How many movies have you seen that received Best Supporting Actress nominations?
Three. Birdman, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood.
Isn’t it kind of weird that year after year, these two categories feature the most movies you haven’t seen?
It is. I don’t know what it says or means, but it’s true. It seems like every year I’ve barely seen any of the Best Actress, both lead and supporting, performances. And it’s not like I’m someone who only watches big budget, smash ’em up action movies or something like that. I love Marion Cotillard, but the last movie I saw her in was Dark Knight Rises. I have no idea what Two Days, One Night is about. Is it even an American film? Same thing for Julianne Moore. What the hell is Still Alice? Was it even out in theaters? I feel like Best Actress movies always slip under the radar and you don’t even know they exist until Oscar nominations are announced. I can’t explain why this is, only point out that it happens- year after year.
So, not opinion on Best Actress?
Not really. Although I heard Julianne Moore was really good. For what it’s worth, the one performance I did see, Rosamund Pike’s in Gone Girl was pretty killer. She made that movie and also made me feel compelled to ask my wife we’re cool, right? after watching it.
What about Best Supporting Actress?
It’s got to be Patricia Arquette for Boyhood. She was that movie’s heart and deserves to be recognized for it.
Yes. Plus I’m sick of Meryl Streep getting nominated everywhere. I feel like if she appeared in a garbage YouTube video she’d somehow get nominated.
It does seem like she gets nominated every year.
It does! It also doesn’t seem fair, especially because it seems like whereas there are always 10 available spots for dudes (5 in Best Actor, 5 in Best Supporting Actor) there are only 9 for the ladies because Meryl always has one locked up.
Did you see Into the Woods?
No. But My Darling Wife did and if memory serves correct (which it does 68% of the time) she’s not on board with Streep getting nominated.
So, will you watch the Oscars?
I will. And I’m already pre-annoyed by the “magic of movies” montage they’ll play halfway through the show. Why do the Oscars feel so compelled to massage their own Johnson rod every year? The magic of movies, the glory days of movies, the impact of movies. Every year they roll out some bullshit, why movies matter theme and montage. Give it up. People obviously dig movies because they’re watching a boring three hour award show about movies instead of something worthwhile like Downton Abbey or the Jinx (which is really effin’ good by the way.)
Any last thoughts about the Oscars?
Chef was robbed.
Top graphic: New York Daily News