What can we expect from the 87th Academy Awards this coming Sunday?
Although first time host Neil Patrick Harris has this week been confessing to media outlets that he is unprepared and full of nerves, there is no doubt that he will deliver plenty of laughs and entertainment on the night. Harris, who has hosted the Tony Awards four times and the Emmys twice, is no stranger to this type of gig and as a triple threat with his acting, dancing and vocal talents he is sure to delight and have plenty of surprises up his sleeve.
If Harris does feel the nerves, he has plenty of company that will be joining him on stage to share the duties. Among the presenters of this years awards will be Terence Howard, Felicity Jones, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, Liam Neeson, Jessica Chastain, Kevin Hart, Shirley Maclaine, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong'o, Jared Leto, Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston and more.
One thing we will be expecting is a song and dance number early in the piece by Harris. The question remains, will this be an individual, joint or group effort? Past Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson has been named as a performer, as has Anna Kendrick, Jack Black and Lady Gaga. The five songs nominated for Best Original Song will also be performed live on the night by John Legend and Common, Maroon 5, Tim McGraw and Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island.
The red carpet fashion is always a talking point, but promises to be incredible this year with some of the most fashionable actresses gracing the carpet. The ones to watch as they arrive are Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones and Emma Stone, and although Keira Knightey's style at the Golden Globes has been scrutinized, she has since been forgiven and is sure to dazzle on Sunday night.
Now for the actual Oscars predictions. What to expect in regards to the best performance Oscars are no surprises. Attempting to predict the recipients of the acting awards this year is particularly easy as all four of the predicted have scooped up every award on the way that would point to a golden man victory. However, it is the Academy Awards for Best Film and Best Director which are the talking point this year and the awards which people are most interested in due to the unpredictability involved.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything
Our prediction- Boyhood
It seems to be a race to the finish for Best Picture with the frontrunners being Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman and Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Things have been made interesting with Boyhood winning the highest award at the Golden Globes and Birdman winning big at the Screen Actors and Directors Guild Awards. However, Boyhood is still the frontrunner in our eyes for the fact that it has a greater universal appeal. It is true that the members of the academy are all involved in show business and many may relate to Birdman greatly, but the wonderful thing about Boyhood was that everybody could relate to growing up as seen through the eyes of a child. The film which is revolutionary in it's style and mode of storytelling is a loving tribute to the life itself.
Our Runner Up- Birdman
Richard Linklater- Boyhood
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- Birdman
Bennett Miller- Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson- The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum- The Imitation Game
Our prediction-Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu- Birdman
The Best Director battle reads much the same as that of Best Picture as it is between Richard Linklater for Boyhood and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman. Yet this time we can see Inarritu taking the Oscar for his direction. Again it is very close as Linklater won at the Golden Globes and Inarritu won at the Directors Guilds, but considering it was him who won at the Guilds and many of the same people will be voting in this category at the Oscars a victory for him seems likely. However, Linklater really is not very far behind. This is certainly going to be an interesting moment of the night.
Our Runner Up- Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell- Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton- Birdman
Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything
Our prediction- Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne has won every major award leading up to this which is as good an indication as any that he will be the winner of this most coveted acting award, but one has only to watch the five performances nominated to realise that he is miles ahead of his competition. This is no light statement, as this category is perhaps the strongest of all the acting fields for the night. All five performances are terrific and had Michael Keaton or Benedict Cumberbatch been nominated in another year, either of them could well have been certainties. However, Redmayne's performance as Stephen Hawking is one of the best in years and wonderful on so many levels that he is about to turn his first Oscar nomination into his first Oscar win.
Our Runner Up- Michael Keaton- Birdman
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard- Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones- The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore- Still Alice
Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon- Wild
Our Prediction- Julianne Moore for Still Alice
With her fifth Oscar nomination, it seems as though Julianne Moore will finally make the conversion from nominee to winner. Nobody else's name has even been mentioned as a true contender in this category and Moore has won every award leading up to the Oscars so there is really no doubt that this is her year. Moore's performance spoke to those touched by a disease that is often ignored in popular culture and is receiving a hero's reception as a result of her superb performance.
Our Runner Up- Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall- The Judge
Ethan Hawke- Boyhood
Edward Norton- Birdman
Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons- Whiplash
Our Prediction-J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
Much like the rest of the categories, there has only been one name uttered for Best Supporting Actor. J.K. Simmons is in a field with some fine performances, but his performance as the formidable music teacher, Fletcher in Whiplash had everyone talking. His character was the man that haunts you in your nightmares because of his unpredictability and damaging style of motivation. Simmons has, like our other predicted winners, won all the awards leading up to the Oscars and it will be a huge surprise to hear someone else's name besides his called out on Sunday night.
Our Runner Up- Edward Norton for Birdman
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette- Boyhood
Laura Dern- Wild
Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game
Emma Stone- Birdman
Meryl Streep- Into The Woods
Our Prediction- Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Patricia Arquette has become the crowning glory performance-wise of Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Arquette played Olivia, the woman so many mothers could relate to and so many children could see their mothers in. It was a fine performance and that along with the twelve year commitment factor look to have secured her her first Oscar.
Our Runner Up- Emma Stone for Birdman
An interesting point is that if our predictions are correct, we will have a pool of first time winners and more than half of the winners will be winning with their first nomination.
Join us in the days following the Oscars for our recap of Oscars week in Los Angeles and of the night itself and it's winners!
Happy Oscars everyone!