Open the envelope, the suspense is killing me!

The Oscars

The Oscar ceremonies are being held on the 22nd of this month. So far most of the talk has been about Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which has weighed in with a whopping nine nominations, including one for Anderson himself – his first as a director.

Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s Birdman has received the same number of nominations, however, and could pose a realistic challenge to Anderson’s movie sweeping the boards. 

The ‘wooden spoon’ award would seem to have been visited upon Ava DuVernay’s biopic of Martin Luther King Jr., Selma. This only garnered two nominations instead of the hatful that were predicted for it, including one for DuVernay herself. Was sexism involved in this decision, and/or racism? African-American women have traditionally been snubbed by the Academy and the current omission seems to be carrying on such a frustrating strain. Neither was Angelina Jolie nominated for helming Unbroken, contrary to popular (if not populist) expectation.

Britain has a lot to shout about this year, what with The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game both receiving Best Picture nods. But the sentimental vote might go to Boyhood, which set so many people’s hearts racing during the year. Or Selma could be a surprise winner.

I was disappointed to see neither Into the Woods nor A Most Violent Year in the running.

Eddie Redmayne (who’s also British) is the favourite for Best Actor for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Could Micheal Keaton pip him for Birdman? Or Bradley Cooper for American Sniper? Unlikely but possible. 

J.K. Simmons looks set to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Whiplash despite the realistic challenges posed by Ed Norton for Birdman, Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher and Ethan Hawke for Boyhood. If veteran Robert Duvall wins for The Judge it would be as much a Life Achievement Award as anything else.

Julianne Moore is favourite to take the Best Actress statuette for Still Alice, in which she plays a woman struggling with early Alzheimer’s disease. (Screen infirmities like this have often resulted in gongs, and Moore is also due a covert Life Achievement Award). 

She’s pitted against Rosamund Pike for the much-praised Gone Girl, Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, a surprising Marion Cotillard for Two Days One Night, and Reese Withspoon for Wild (Pike and Jones are British as well). 

The Best Supporting Actress Oscar will probably go to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood but she faces stern opposition from Laura Dern, who plays Witherspoon’s mother in Wild, if not Kiera Knightley (The Imitation Game) and Emma Stone (Birdman).  

I thought Meryl Streep was brilliant in Into the Woods but they couldn’t give her another one, could they? She’d probably have nowhere to put it.