Oscar season is without a doubt the most exciting time in any film fanatic’s calendar. I mean what could be better than celebrating the richest, whitest actors in Hollywood? This year, The Saint team made their own predictions for the winners a few days before the results were announced. Here is our breakdown of who won versus who we believe ‘should’ have won.
While Birdman was certainly one of my favourite films this year, as it combined fantastic performances from a number of actors with some fantastic cinematography, Boyhood should have won best film for the sheer monumental feat that it pulls off. Many felt that the hype around Boyhood lay in the gimmick of the 11 year film period, but the emotionally capturing storyline and consistently strong acting of the entire cast did enough to merit a win in our opinion. Grand Budapest Hotel also deserves an honourable mentionl for managing to combine the niche in a way that speaks to a mainstream audience. It may not have done enough to beat Birdman or Boyhood, but it is certainly a very worthy runner-up.
Something has to be said for the predictability of a bodily transformation role winning big at the Oscars. The academy loves physical proof of an actor who suffers for their work (see Anne Hathaway who won best supporting actress as a consolation for losing her hair). However, Eddie Redmayne’s performance in The Theory of Everything is guided by the physical transformation that he undergoes, rather than being led by it, and so he is a worthy recipient of the award.
Reese Witherspoon portrayed something in Wild that will come as a huge surprise to those familiar with her previous work. Julianne Moore, on the other hand, did give a touching and insightful performance in Still Alice, but her brilliance was more of a response to a challenge in the role of an Alzheimer patient than anything profoundly new. Witherspoon’s role was career changing, and this, in our eyes, makes her a more worthy recipient for the award.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Although this is not the first time Ethan Hawke has been involved in a Linklater epic that spans the years, his fantastic acting ability plus the continuity that his character provided to Boyhood shapes the action more than any other. His ability to avoid being typecast as either hero or villain in the storyline comes down to an excellent performance. Overall, he would have been the more deserving recipient of the award despite JK Simmons’ excellent performance in Whiplash.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette is a worthy winner. Boyhood is a triumph, what more can we say. Plus, the movie gave her the chance to deliver this passionate call to action highlighting the wage gap that still exists in Hollywood today – *cue Meryl Steep’s frantic applause!*
Although Birdman was an excellent film and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a talented director, The Saint believes that Richard Linklater deserved the win for Boyhood. Before you think that this entire review is Boyhood promo material, can we remind you that this film manages to stay engaging and relevant across the board despite the fact that it was filmed over an 11 year period. Linklater’s ability to continually direct a cast through-out their entire childhood is something so rare and difficult that he needs to be recognised as pulling off a historic feat in direction. Inarritu does a wonderful job in getting the best out of the very talented cast available to him, but the biggest technical feat of this movie, that it’s made to look like it’s all in one take, owes as much to his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki as it does to him.