The red carpet has been rolled out and the big guns of the film industry are ready to do battle at the 87th Academy Awards. Matt Blackwell gives you the run down on who’s up for what
It’s that time of year again. The time when actors, actresses, directors, composers and the hundreds of others that go into making a film come together to honour the cinematic accomplishments of the preceding 12 months.
Officially rebranded from The Academy Awards to The Oscars in 2013, this year’s ceremony will be broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 23.
A total of 60 films were nominated in more than 24 categories and the final winners are voted for by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an invitation-only organisation made up of actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, producers and many other industry professionals.
Here, we look at four of the most highly coveted categories and assess the contenders.
While there are eight films nominated in total, this one is really starting to look like a two-horse race. Filmed intermittently over a period of 12 years, Boyhood was groundbreaking in its portrayal of growing up in the modern world, but after losing out to Birdman at the Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America awards recently, it seems that the latter film has just about managed to get its nose – or beak, rather – in front. The other films nominated are American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, The Imitation Game, Selma and The Theory of Everything.
Y’s prediction: Birdman
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) will go head to head in this category. Iñárritu picked up the Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film earlier this month, which has correctly predicted the Best Director Academy Award for 10 of the past 11 years. However, Linklater took the honours at the British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards and the Critics Choice Movie Awards. This is one tough category to call, but we’re going to have to go with the divining power of the DGA.
Y’s prediction: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Steve Carell looks destined to be overlooked for his role in Foxcatcher, as does Benedict Cumberbatch for his impressive depiction of the Enigma code breaker Alan Turing, as Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything), Michael Keaton (Riggan Thomson, Birdman) and Bradley Cooper (Chris Kyle, American Sniper) battle it out for the top spot. Keaton’s performance in Birdman is arguably his best to date, but Redmayne’s poignant portrayal of one of the world’s greatest living minds struggling to come to terms with the debilitating effects of motor neurone disease is simply stunning.
Y’s prediction: Eddie Redmayne
Of course there is no such thing as “a given” when it comes to the Oscars, but this year’s award for Best Actress is perhaps as close as you can get. Give it to Julianne Moore. Now. She depicts Alice in Still Alice, playing a linguistics professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, with heartbreaking accuracy. Moore’s closest rivals are Reese Witherspoon for her role as Cheryl Strayed in Wild and first-time nominee Rosamund Pike, who played Amy Elliott-Dunne in the hugely popular Gone Girl.
Y’s prediction: Julianne Moore
Even if they don’t take home one of the coveted statues, each of those nominated in the Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress and Best Director categories will walk away with an Oscars gift bag worth more than RO48,000. Goodies include a three-night stay in a villa in Tuscany, a RO9,625 piece of custom furniture designed by Elena Foccoli and an RO7,700 gift certificate from Enigma Life, a company that offers dream analysis and lessons in mind control techniques.
Meryl Streep has received a record 19 Oscar nominations over the course of her career. The 65-year-old American actress has won three times, but will be looking to make it four with her nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Into the Woods.
Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel are both tied for the most nominations this year with nine each.
The most awards won by a single film is 11. Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) all managed this feat.
Walt Disney holds the record for the most Oscars won by a male with 22, while costume designer Edith Head holds the record for females with eight.
The length of the red carpet that will be laid out at the Dolby Theatre is 152.4 metres.