Donald Clarke's crystal ball: What should win and what will win the Oscars
Last year The Irish Times called every award correctly. Fingers crossed for 2015
It wasn’t always this way. But predicting the Oscars is now a little like anticipating the results of a presidential election. We already know the winners in most constituencies. What remains of interest is the behaviour of a few volatile voters in a few swing states. Ponder this. Last year 100 per cent of this writer’s predictions proved correct. Either The Irish Times is infallible or this game is getting a lot easier.
Birdman. After a slow start, most of the precursor awards have gone its way.
The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson’s best film. Could easily take the most Oscars.
Wes Anderson, for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu, for Birdman
Richard Linklater, for Boyhood
Bennett Miller, for Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, for The Imitation Game
Alejandro Iñárritu. This year, as the two main competitors are “directorial achievements”, expect picture and director to tally as they used to.
Bennett Miller. Or Anderson. Or Linklater. All made fine films. Sadly, Foxcatcher never caught on with awards juries.
Steve Carell, for Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, for American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, for The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, for Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, for The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne. Has everything the Oscar requires (although Redmayne is younger than most winners): real person, debilitating disease. If Birdman fails to win best picture he’s utterly safe.
Steve Carell. Carrell’s turn as a psychotic billionaire is by far the most original of the nominated performances. As a result, he doesn’t stand a chance.
Marion Cotillard, for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, for The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, for Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, for Wild
Julianne Moore. She’s been nominated five times. She plays somebody with a “condition”. Even invasion by North Korea wouldn’t stop her.
Julianne Moore. Oh why not? The film is a humble affair, but Moore’s portrayal of a person succumbing to Alzheimer’s is properly touching.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, for The Judge
Ethan Hawke, for Boyhood
Edward Norton, for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, for Foxcatcher
JK Simmons, for Whiplash
JK Simmons. He gets to tear up the set with full-on bravura madness. He’s a veteran. Safe as sausages.
JK Simmons. It is both the biggest and the best of the performances.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, for Boyhood
Laura Dern, for Wild
Keira Knightley, for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, for Birdman
Meryl Streep, for Into the Woods
Patricia Arquette. More than a few critics noted that Linklater’s film could (perhaps should) have been called ‘Motherhood’.
Patricia Arquette. Maintaining and developing a character over 12 years is no mean feat. For mums everywhere.