2015 Oscar Preview Part One

Wednesday, Feb. 18: the writers and performers. Thursday, Feb. 19: the best of the rest.

Hollywood’s most self-congratulatory night is almost upon us, and with that comes all the office Oscar pools and viewing parties that such an event inspire. I’ll take you through the big awards over the next two days on Moviegoers – sparing you my opinions about best editing or special effects (rest assured, though, I have those opinions) and sticking to the big guns. Without further ado:

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy

Who will win: Birdman.

Who should win: Literally any of the other nominees. Seriously, how did it take four people to create dialogue as trite as that which we hear in Birdman? I’m crossing my fingers for a Wes Anderson upset but doubt its likelihood.

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper, Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

Who will win: American Sniper. I think its massive success must be rewarded somewhere.

Who should win: PTA’s work in adapting Inherent Vice is spectacular, maintaining the tone and much of the meat of the source material while making it undoubtedly his own.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Who will win: J.K. Simmons

Who should win: Simmons, for sure. You could talk me into the other nominees (Norton is effervescent in Birdman), but Simmons’ dictatorial music instructor is an all-timer of a character and is already permeating the pop culture landscape a little bit. Sorry, Ruffalo and Hawke, you’re not quite my tempo this year.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Who will win: Patricia Arquette.

Who should win: Arquette again. Emma Stone’s work in Birdman is some of her worst, in my opinion, completely at odds with the stylized performances she’s surrounded by, and the rest of the field doesn’t stick out.

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne. It’s nice to have Keaton back, but Redmayne’s incredible transformation is right up Oscar’s alley.

Who should win: We’ve been together for a while, Moviegoers, so I feel like I can confide in you: I don’t think any of these performances deserve the Oscar. Redmayne’s great, but it’s in the service of pure mediocrity, and Carell’s work in Foxcatcher is its biggest detriment. Keaton, Cumberbatch and Cooper are all fine, but none of them were ‘year’s best’ material.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Who will win: Julianne Moore.

Who should win: Wild is really, really good and I’m disappointed it hasn’t resonated very much. And Rosamund Pike is freakishly good in Gone Girl.

Thursday, Feb. 19: The best of the rest! Check back for directors, documentaries, original songs, and a few others you might be interested in.



Tom Fuchs is a Milwaukee-based film writer whose early love for cinema has grown into a happy obsession. He graduated with honors in Film Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has since focused on film criticism. He works closely with the Milwaukee Film Festival and has written reviews and ongoing columns for Milwaukee Magazine since 2012. In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs at home (watching movies), taking day trips to Chicago (to see movies), and reading books (about movies). You can follow him on Twitter @tjfuchs or email him at tjfuchs@gmail.com.