Cynical and Hopeful: Bennett Does The Oscars

I am still not sure of my motivation for writing a piece on the biggest awards show of the year. I could take this very seriously and break down each category, but then that would involve me having to explain the difference between sound editing and sound mixing. The time it would take to read even a paragraph of that explanation would be much longer than the time Academy voters spend considering their choices for these awards, so that seems pretty silly. I could also pipe this thing full of bad info, in hopes that my Oscar betting pool tries to scope out my picks ahead of time. However, the internet never forgets, and the last thing I want a future employer seeing is that I even pretended to support Boyhood and its inevitable success at the Oscars. So, I have decided to do two picks for some of the categories that mean something in my pretentious mind.

I have watched the Academy Awards for long enough to know that the film that I feel deserves the most recognition can get snubbed, due to a lack of cultural context or whatever justification that has been keeping the man (Leo) down for so long. So, I will be making a cynical choice and a hopeful choice for the major categories. The first is a more realistic bet that will inevitably end up on my pick sheet come Sunday night, and my hopeful choice will be what I really think should win, but probably won’t be my pick. You think I’m a sell out? Well, daddy wants a new pair of shoes and you don’t get that by betting on Moneyball (deuces, 2012).

Best Directing


This is not a category normally deemed as particularly significant compared to the other heavy hitting awards, however I have very strong opinions on who should win this award, so I’m going to talk about it anyways.

Birdman – Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game – Morten Tyldum

Hopeful Pick: 

In my mind, there are really only two viable options for this award. Foxcatcher has the particular distinction of being one of only a handful of movies every nominated for Best Directing and not Best Picture. So toss it. Wes Anderson freaks some people out, and while I love him, I don’t see GBH getting it done for him. Finally, Imitation had its time in the spotlight, but the big showdown has no room for it so see ya. This is the standoff between a boy (kinda) and a bird (kinda). Do you take the guy who has been filming this movie for over a decade, or the guy who just made nearly two hours of movie without a visual break. In my mind, Iñárritu should be the obvious recipient of this award. I also think that Birdman should win every award it was nominated for; however, I have a greater desire to see Boyhood lose. I commend Linklater for the sacrifice he made to deliver such a revolutionary film. However, between the force-fed nostalgia and the entourage of drunken ass-hole husbands, I can’t help but feel like Boyhood was far more concept and not content driven. Birdman has to get this one.

Realistic Pick: 

This is Boyhood‘s to lose. Birdman will get its revenge, but I see to many voters feeling bad for not voting for Boyhood for Best Picture, and throwing them a bone right here.

Best Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Hopeful Pick: 

I can picture it in my head now. They announce the nominees, but wait, what is that sixth nominee on the list? Nobody told us about this one. Boom! The Lego Movie has come back from Exile Island and the entire game is changed completely. Jeff Probst, you cheeky bastard, we didn’t see this one coming. All of the other movies suffering from shock are blown away once more as the cast and crew for the greatest animated movie of all time mount the stage and accept their well-deserved award. Chris Pratt becomes President. Taco Tuesday is just a thing we do because eating tacos is a smart choice when you’re trying to save some money. Everything IS awesome.

Realistic Pick: 

Apart from my fantasy of a society based off of Survivor and Legos and nostalgia and everything that is good and right in this world, someone who doesn’t deserve this award is going to have to get it. I am just going to guess it will be How to Train Your Dragon 2, because all of the others are too weird for the Academy. I don’t know. I only watched Big Hero 6 and Lego Movie this year, thinking that would be enough. I have abstained from the rest out of protest.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild 

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Hopeful Choice: 


Excellent point Cam. Listen, I know she isn’t going to win for Into the Woods, but I am OBSESSED with her in this movie. I am totally fine with either Meryl Streep or Emma Stone winning here. I would actually also love Emma Stone winning this. If you know me at all, this is a huge statement. I have considered Stone one of the most overrated talents in Hollywood of the past 5 years, but even I know when to tip my hat. Emma Stone delivered the most chilling monologue of a movie defined by chilling monologues, and it was freaking gorgeous. Her and Meryl can share the award for all I care.

Realistic Pick: 

And then there is Patricia Arquette. I know she can’t help the fact that her son was an unsympathetic robot trying to mimic human emotions, but I don’t want her to win this award. She definitely has a really good shot at it, but Emma Stone will give her a run for her money. Edge to Arquette, but that is only a slight one.

Actor in a Supporting Role:


Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke  – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Hopeful Pick: 

This is by far the most stacked category of the year. You can toss out Robert Duvall. I am sure he did an amazing job, but the academy will never give such a major award to a movie that performed so poorly. After that, I am confounded. Ethan Hawke was by far the most enjoyable part of Boyhood, and he gave an amazing performance. Edward Norton was brilliant as the truth- and self-obsessed Broadway stage actor. I could watch him and Keaton read the thesaurus opposite of each other and be happy. Mark Ruffalo’s physical acting in Foxcatcher was bar none, and watching J.K. Simmons deliver a performance of precise brutality made me want to drum and cry all at the same time. I will not be disappointed by this category. I’m gonna go with J.K. on this one, just because I am obsessed with Whiplash, and I am not expecting it to get much love on Sunday.

Realistic Pick:

I’m guessing this comes down between Edward Norton and Ethan Hawke on this one. Let’s see who won the BAFTA….. MOTHER OF… DRUMS! It was J.K.!!!!! I’m throwing everything out. All in on J.K., Mr. Dealer. Your move, Academy.

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

Hopeful Pick: 

Admittedly, I have only seen one of these movies. And, I’m not sure if Rosamund Pike is going to beat out the stories of Still Alice and Theory of Everything. I am seeing Theory the night of the Oscars per my betting pool’s tradition of watching a movie right before hardware is handed out to mess with everyone’s picks. I really like Felicity Jones and am just going to assume that after I watch the movie, I will want her to win.

Realistic Pick:

The Golden Globe went to Amy Adams for Big Eyes, and the BAFTA went to Julianne Moore. I guess the best bet is probably with Julianne Moore then. This was a very weak section, and it is a sad commentary on the state of leading women in film. I hope that other far more qualified than I have addressed this.

Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Benedict Cumberpatch – The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything


Hopeful Pick: (with a guest appearance from the Realistic Pick)

This is Michael Keaton’s to lose. Steve Carell was excellent but wasn’t even billed as a leading actor for the BAFTA’s, so I don’t think he has much of a shot here. All Imitation Game hype, as previously mentioned, has long died off. Bradley Cooper has lost two acting Oscars before for much better performances, and I just don’t think that this war movie has the legs to bring home a bunch of awards. It comes down between Eddie Redmayne who won the Golden Globe and the Golden Boy, Michael Keaton. Given the fact I have not seen Theory of Everything, this could be way off, but Michael Keaton was simply amazing in Birdman. I will be shocked if he does not win.

Best Picture

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory Everything


Hopeful Pick:

I definitely want Birdman to win here. However, let’s play some Devil’s Advocate. There are some movies here that need some serious recognition. I am baffled that Selma did not get nominated for Best Actor or Best Directing. Seeing it get some love would be cool. Whiplash might get Best Supporting Actor, and some sound awards, but this movie was just magnificent. I would really love to see this one get the underdog win as well. However, Birdman seems like the obvious choice here. The only thing Hollywood loves more than movies is movies about other people who make movies. The Artist, Argo, and now Birdman all fall into that category and being associated with two of the past three Best Picture winners certainly helps the street cred. However, Birdman is not necessarily riding the coattails of these two either. By far the best of these three, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s criticism of the blockbuster should be going home with the crown.


Realistic Pick: 

All of that sounds really nice, but Boyhood still has 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 100 metacritic score on IMDb. I fear this will win, and I will lose my betting pool, because I have — in protest — snubbed Boyhood in every single category. But, a man has got to have some principles. A code. Don’t vote for Boyhood.





Bennett Garland is a student at Georgia Tech. Despite attending what is far and away the best school in the state of Georgia, he has far too much time on his hands and consumes video media at a ferocious pace. We don’t know how he finds time to watch all three dozen super hero movies that come out every summer while also watching every SyFy showing of Sharknado and Sharknado 2, but he does and writes about his adventures in film and music.

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