It's 5pm on the west coast, meaning it's pencils down for Academy voters. Polls are now closed for the upcoming 87th Oscars, and now, we wait. But in the meantime, let's consider a few of the closer races that could make for some considerable drama on Sunday night.
As Oscar season winds down and several major categories boil down to shoo-in victories, it seems salient to ask whether the tastes of the average American moviegoer dovetail with Academy consensus.
The answer? Almost never. And that's not a bad thing.
For a long stretch of the season — arguably going as far back as the 2014 Sundance Film Festival over a year ago — the Best Supporting Actor race has felt like it had a true frontrunner. And with less than a week to go before the Oscars put a bow on everything, that still appears to be the case.
If you thought the awards season was going to end Sunday, BOY WERE YOU WRONG. Lest you forget, the MTV Movie Awards always comes along and bats clean-up with nominations not long after the Oscars and an awards show in April. Amy Schumer has been tapped to host the proceedings and they've already started the roll-out of ads pimping the upcoming show.
If you would have told someone in The Academy's Music Branch that the Best Original Song category would be a battle for Oscar redemption this year, you may have been met with a, "Come again?" Yes, the Academy Awards can't seem to get through a season without snubbing contenders the public, media and even Academy members are embarrassed over. This year, two films have been the center of particular vitriol: "The LEGO Movie" and "Selma." But one of them may find some small silver lining in the original song category.
While film actors seem to vie their whole lives to be recognized by AMPAS for even just a single performance, it's amazing how many singers and non-actors all but wander into receiving Oscar nominations.
Screenwriters never have it easy, do they? They often complain they are seen as second class citizens to the director. Actors often get credit for improvising a line they wrote and, worse, producers will often play games with the media, insisting they came up with a key storyline or the entire project themselves. Things get even more complicated with the sometimes unfair arbitration rules that often find the wrong writer getting final credit for a project (often because of a contract he or she signed). Frankly, all of this adversity might be one reason why winning an Academy Award means so much to a working Hollywood screenwriter.
On one hand, the Best Visual Effects Oscar has felt like it should go ahead and be engraved since before the season really took off. On the other, the frontrunner from afar crashed on the rocks of some divisive critical opinion in November, leaving some question as to how things might actually shake out. Let's take a look…
Neil Patrick Harris is clearly going to be one of the smarter hosts in Oscar history.
The actor opened up in a new "Academy Originals" video about his plans for Sunday's ceremony, and although he didn't give much away, he has (seemingly) put real and comprehensive thought into his act. He says he's watched past ceremonies and analyzed what did and didn't work. Do we think Seth MacFarlane put such care into his hosting gig? I sincerely doubt it.
Check out his plan below. I'm really, really psyched for the ceremony.
As we touched on in Writers Guild Awards coverage over the weekend, the screenplay categories are a certifiable mess this year because of all the unexpected wild cards. Best Picture frontrunner "Birdman" was ineligible for WGA. Indie favorite "Whiplash" competed in the original category with the WGA but was deemed adapted by the Academy. There hasn't been a lot of consistency in the run-up to the Oscars, so basically, you can argue things just about any way you'd like and you would have a point. But let's look at adapted specifically.