GDD 313E’s Oscar Preview

Every year the Oscars happen. 2015 is no exception (thank goodness). Below, the residents of GDD 313E strive to provide a definitive Oscars preview that will likely devolve into a debate over whether or not Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor (he is) despite the fact that he’s not nominated.

Jake Greenberg:
To start off with an Oscars hot take, Birdman is both the favorite to win best picture and not a particularly good movie. Michael Keaton’s like, “Oh no, I’m old and I want to be famous but I hate Twitter,” and then Emma Stone’s like, “Go Twitter!” and then Ed Norton’s like, “I’m a very familiar, cocky dude who makes sex jokes but I’m Ed Norton so you care.” I know everyone likes those super dark tracking shots that follow characters for minutes on end, but they just felt like the director was showing off. Oh well, can’t expect the Academy to reward the right movie two years in a row (we love you Steve McQueen!). Horvo, your thoughts?

Max Horvath:
I take a much more tolerant view here than my esteemed roomie Green-b. There is so much going on in this movie, from Keaton having magical powers both in his mind and in the real world to (finally) seeing 80 percent of naked Norton, that I know that I haven’t gotten it all yet. In that regard, it’s like Inception was at first—it’s so complicated that I know I’ve missed some important stuff. I’m desperately holding out hope that the genius of Innaritu would reveal itself to me if I rewatched the movie five, six, seven times. Of course, me rewatching Birdman five, six, seven times is about as likely as 300: Rise of an Empire winning best picture.

That doesn’t seem very likely. Let’s talk about the favorites in each of the four acting categories: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette. Like everyone reading this article right now, I have not seen Moore in Still Alice, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to oppose anything good happening to Julianne Moore. Moore had a spectacular run in the 90s, which I guess she’s finally being rewarded for, and if you doubt she’s one of her generation’s greatest actors, go watch Magnolia. I’ll see you in several hours. I’ve totally seen The Theory of Everything and know everything that happens in it so definitely don’t ask me about it. Simmons manages to be absolutely terrifying and dominant in a loathsome role. His bald head really works in this movie; seriously great performance by his baldness. I’ll stand for Arquette anytime and she’s the best part of Boyhood. It’s hard to be a mom. Write yours a handwritten note detailing all of her greatest strengths sometime.

I’d like to take a couple words to express the melancholy that floods my senses when I think about the current state of the Best Actor category. Eddie Redmayne, I’m sure, offered an incredible portrayal of Stephen Hawking, probably worthy of the Oscar. Here, however, lies my issue: could I possibly be the only one who thinks the Academy could go in a more interesting direction? C’mon guys. Everyone falls asleep in physics class. Keaton’s “inspirational” comeback story from being Batman to being nothing to essentially playing his own nostalgic and washed-up self doesn’t come close to doing it for me either. Perhaps the best story in this category is Steve Carell, the renowned comedian whose first foray into serious acting was a virtuoso performance as an absolutely chilling murderer/billionaire in Foxcatcher. Ding ding! We (should) have a winner! But we don’t. Still, the most egregious offense must be the Academy’s refusal to nominate David Oyewolo for playing MLK in Selma. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly surprising that this particular most moving performance of the year in this particular most powerful movie of the year didn’t get the credit that he or it clearly deserves. I think you catch my drift (if you don’t, it’s because Oyewolo is a black actor playing a black leader in an overwhelmingly black movie). Greenberg, drop some more knowledge for me.

Yes, the academy is racist. And sexist. You don’t just accidentally forget to nominate the best director of the year (Selma’s Ava DuVernay) if she’s not a black woman. If you’re ever tempted to take the Oscars seriously, remember that no actors of color are nominated this year and only one woman has ever won best director. So yes, they are indeed a joke.

Before we go, Max, what will be this year’s Adele Dazim moment? What moment will unite us all in wonder? Something McConaughey-related, maybe?

While it’s a sure-thing that my boy Matthew will do something to make us all fall even more in love with him, I’m taking an underdog for this year’s greatest moment of all time. Terrence Howard will win the award for the year’s most exciting presenter when he decides to completely ignore the script he’s been given, and instead cue the music to his hit single “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from his role as an aspiring rapper in Hustle and Flow. Then he’ll introduce the animated short films.

Or McConaughey in True Detective form will incite a movement toward nihilism in this country from which we’ll never recover. We’ll see.