The Oscars: What Will Win?

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By Corey O’Leary

Many people consider the Academy Awards as the definitive award ceremony for movies, a night where the most respected names in film can come together with up-and-coming filmmakers to celebrate the achievements of film that have taken place in the past year.

Cinephiles and casual-moviegoers alike tune-in across America for the famous ceremony which boasts the highest viewership out of any American award show. An expected 40 million people are going to watch the Oscars this year and while the Oscars still reign king of the American awards show, it is no exception to the fact that the majority of people watching the show are above the age of 45. Of the ten most popular American Awards shows, seven have a median viewership age of above 50, and only the Video Music Awards achieve a median viewership age of under 45.

Since the nominees were announced on Jan. 15, the Academy experienced the routine speculation and criticism about the Oscars. The most prominent complaint about this year is the perceived snub of the director of Selma, Ava DuVernay. David Oyelowo had received intense praise for his convincing and complicated portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., the main character in Selma, but has also been denied a nomination. Selma is one of the year’s most critically acclaimed movies and was awarded a Best Picture nomination, so why the lack of recognition for DuVernay? The Academy has been criticized in the past for the lack of diversity of their nominees. This year they offer up a completely white list of nominees for the best actor/actress categories. Females and African-Americans are considered to be extremely under-recognized in the film industry as a whole and many people would have loved to see DuVernay receive a nomination. If you are talented enough to direct one of the years best movies, common sense dictates that you are talented enough to be considered one of the best directors of the year. Another highly publicized snub was that of The Lego Movie not being nominated for best animated feature, despite the widespread adoration the film experienced from critics and viewers alike.

However, the Oscars are still going to take place, and 40 million people are going to watch the show regardless of the questionable methods the Academy uses to choose nominations. Despite the popularity, many Americans still do not know the major contenders or the nominations in key categories.

The most popular category in the whole show is the best picture category, and this year eight films are up for the prestigious title. This includes box office hits such as The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, to lesser known independent films like Whiplash. As with every year, there are favorites in each category, and this year a majority of speculation points to Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film Boyhood nabbing the award, a movie that took 12 years to film. Not only was the film an achievement in patience, but has garnered universal critical acclaim since its release on July 11. The widespread acclaim and Linklater’s history with the Academy makes this a promising choice for Best Picture. Another favorite was this years spectacular film Birdman, directed by Alejandro Inarritu and starring Michael Keaton. Leading man Keaton is up for the Best Actor award for his role, and the film has received an impressive 11 nominations in total, tying Grand Budapest for most nominations this year.