The Super Bowl is to football what the Academy Awards are to the movie industry. Both of these events celebrate the best of the best in their fields. This year the Oscar ceremony will be hosted by TV, film, and Broadway actor Neil Patrick Harris who, coincidentally, had a supporting role in the 2014 flick Gone Girl. Unlike in recent years, however, it’s looking as if this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony may prove to be rather anticlimactic: most of the nominees in the main categories have already won in the various award ceremonies which serve as a lead up to the big event. Among those other awards includes the Golden Globes, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), Critic’s Choice, and the SAG (Screen Actors Guild).
Nominees for the big prize, Best Picture of the Year, include American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash. Acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater shot Boyhood over a period of twelve years as he documented one boy’s growth between five and eighteen years of age. The film was nominated for six Oscars and is the favorite to take home the coveted trophy for Best Picture of the year. Boyhood has already won Best Picture (drama) at the Golden Globes, Best Film at the BAFTAs, and Movie of the Year from the AFI Awards.
In the category of Best Leading Actress the obvious front runner is Julianne Moore who, thankfully, seems to have escaped unscathed after her supporting role in this year’s atrocious David Cronenberg film Maps to the Stars. Moore’s role in Still Alice as a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease has already earned her a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Hollywood Film award, and a Screen Actor’s Guild award.
British actor Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything has already racked up win after win at most of the award ceremonies leading up to the Oscars. Of course, viewers should keep in mind that there’s always the chance of a surprise upset. In that case, possible long shots for Best Leading Actor include Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Michael Keaton for Birdman.
The race for Best Supporting Actor is likely to be won by long time character actor J.K. Simmons for his standout performance in Whiplash. In terms of Best Supporting Actress, it’s a safe bet that Patricia Arquette will take home the Oscar statue for her role in Boyhood.
One of the most difficult categories to predict this year is that of Best Director. Although Wes Anderson is a popular filmmaker and fan favorite, this award usually goes to the director of the year’s top film. In that case, Boyhood’s Richard Linklater should have his acceptance speech at the ready. In terms of a possible dark horse is Birdman’s Alejandro González Iñárritu. The Mexican born director’s past credits include a number of acclaimed movies such as 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), and Biutiful (2010).
Regardless of who wins, the Oscar ceremony is always entertaining (long, but entertaining) and gives film buffs a chance to celebrate the art of film. So on Sunday night whether you choose to attend an Oscar party or spend the evening at home with a bowl of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show. No one celebrates its own better than Hollywood.
For more information on the films and people mentioned, consult the official Academy Awards website. The show takes place Sunday February 22 at 7 p.m. EST.