Tuesday, October 28, 2014

After the reveal of 'Interstellar', where does the Best Picture race stand?

The fall movie season started a while ago, but the Oscar race is finally heating up. Most of the major awards players have premiered, and some movies can definitely be eliminated from competition at this point. However, big movies like Unbroken, Big Eyes, American Sniper, The Gambler, Exodus and A Most Violent Year still need to debut. However, one of the big ones debuted yesterday: Interstellar. It definitely stirred the Oscar race up. Here are my current Best Picture predictions with additional analysis about the state of the race.


1. Birdman
2. Boyhood
3. Interstellar
4. Gone Girl
5. Unbroken
6. Foxcatcher
7. The Imitation Game
8. The Theory of Everything
9. Whiplash
10. American Sniper

Until yesterday, I was certain that Interstellar would be our Best Picture winner. I had heard nothing but spectacular things and the talent involved was too much to pass up. But then the reviews hit. I was blindsided yesterday when the first official reviews for Interstellar debuted and were decidedly mixed. Some praised the film (Variety, Time Out), some lambasted it (The Playlist), but most fell somewhere it in the middle, calling it a good film that just isn't perfect. The film is sitting at 69% on Rotten Tomatoes and 77 on Metacritic. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but not stellar (pun intended) either. This doesn't mean that Interstellar isn't going to win Best Picture. It just means that it isn't the hands-down favorite anymore.

Before I delve into the top ten, let's talk about some of the films that I don't have nominated. Fury was a question mark going into the month of October, and having seen the film, I think it's still a question mark. It's an odd little film and it doesn't seem like one that is tailored towards the Academy. I also took A Most Violent Year and Inherent Vice out of my top ten. A Most Violent Year could definitely surprise, but at this point, it looks too small to crack the final ten. And Inherent Vice is apparently just plain weird. Reviews have been good, but it don't see it making the cut. 

So where does that leave us? Certain films we know will be nominated. The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game will be Best Picture nominees. They're too generic to win, but they're well-liked and feature performances that will be nominated in many acting categories. American Sniper also had a terrific trailer, but which Clint Eastwood will we see? The one who made Million Dollar Baby or the one who made Jersey Boys? It's in my top ten for now, but I feel like this is one to be hesitant about. Whiplash feels like a movie that could sneak in to the final ten as well. It's a beloved film and J.K. Simmons could definitely win Best Suppoting Actor. It's just not a movie that's going to win. Same can be said for Gone Girl and Foxcatcher. Gone Girl is one of the best movies of the last several years, yet I don't see it having a chance at the win. Foxcatcher is another film that is highly admired, but also very dark. 

That leaves us with Unbroken, Interstellar, Boyhood, and Birdman. Unbroken is the one unknown quantity in this group. However, I dare you to watch that trailer and not immediately think of awards glory for this film. This movie practically screams Oscar contender. It definitely is not a film to sleep on. Boyhood is another film that I believe will be in the race until the very end. It's an incredibly ambitious film and I refuse to believe that the academy will not want to award director Richard Linklater in one way or another. I've already discussed Interstellar in great detail, but I'll wrap it up by saying that we can't count this one out until the very end. 

Right now, I have Birdman winning Best Picture. I've heard some pundits discuss how odd of a film it is, but it has so much going for it. For one, Fox Searchlight is great at promoting these movies. They led 12 Years A Slave to victory last year and I think that they can do the same with Birdman. Box office has also been huge and reviews have been spectacular. Not to mention the fact that it's a Hollywood movie and the Academy loves those. It's not a surefire thing, but right now, Birdman is my pick. 

Image Credits: Hollywood Reporter, New York Post, Moviefone, Coming Soon

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