And The Award Goes To...: Who Should Actually Win This Year's Oscars
The Oscars change each year, with different movies and actors featured and different stars in attendance.
But each year, they do guarantee one thing: disappointment. Disappointment in the shows, disappointment in the fashion and, most importantly, disappointment in the winners.
The most deserving winner won't always win. It's the nature of the politics of award shows. What the public doesn't realize is the Oscars aren't an award of merit; an Oscar is an award of right place, right time.
Recent winners, like Matthew McConaughey, Meryl Streep and Melissa Leo, had elaborate campaigns behind them, propelling them to a win.
McConaughey, who won last year for his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club," swept the awards season with his McConaissance.
The idea that a talented actor who did his time in romantic comedies is finally getting the roles he deserves is the true underdog story.
Oscars golden girl Meryl Streep won her third trophy for "The Iron Lady" over strong competitor Viola Davis because her campaign team, headed by the notorious Harvey Weinstein, pushed the fact that it has been almost 30 years since she has won an Oscar.
Finally, Melissa Leo did the unthinkable and took out her own "For your Consideration" ads in industry magazines portraying herself in a more glamorous light than her winning role in "The Fighter."
This year will be no exception.
So, instead of giving the Oscars the responsibility of giving the outstanding feats in film their due, I'll just do it myself.
In the Best Picture race, we had the great fortune of having six of the best films from last year nominated, and two solidly medium nominees.
Of course there were films like "A Most Violent Year" and "Nightcrawler" that would've made the category even better, but I'll overlook it this time.
So, chances are, the winner will be somewhat deserving. However, if I had an Oscar ballot, I'd throw my support behind Richard Linklater's "Boyhood."
Despite a recent sentiment that (a) the film isn't much more than its 12-year filming gimmick and (b) it only represents a small demographic of Americans, it still holds up cinematically.
First of all, sure, at first, the fact that it was filmed throughout a 12-year period using the same actors seemed like a gimmick. But, it was filmed for 12 years.
Do you know how difficult that was for everyone involved? Second, it may just be that I fell into that small demographic, but I saw my childhood on that screen.
All it's failures, successes and moments were laid out there. If that doesn't warrant a win, I don't know what does.
The acting races are pretty much tied up this year, except for Best Actor. Michael Keaton ("Birdman") will go head-to-head with Eddie Redmayne, who played Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything."
Three-time nominee Bradley Cooper will also bring some heat with his performance in "American Sniper." Of the nominees, I would give this one to Redmayne.
Yes, "The Theory of Everything" was a bit too fluffy and tidy for me, but his performance was painful to watch. His physicality and struggle at the hands of ALS was gorgeous to watch from a cinematic standpoint, but brutal from a humane one.
Best Actress is all but won by Julianne Moore's performance as a doctor suffering from Alzheimer's disease in "Still Alice."
However, it's Rosamund Pike's icy and dark portrayal of a sociopath in David Fincher's "Gone Girl" that deserves the Oscar.
From femme fatale to victim to villain, she portrayed the role with such grace while still striking a chord of fear in the viewer. Of course, David Fincher deserves some credit for that. If only he were nominated...
The supporting categories are also tied up with several frontrunners. In Supporting Actor, J.K. Simmons plays the abusive jazz instructor, whose high expectations drive Miles Teller's character to the edge.
Villains tend to win in this category; Javier Bardem, Heath Ledger and Christoph Waltz have all won for their evil roles. However, J.K. Simmons' portrayal was as terrifying as it was realistic. He deserves to win here.
On the Supporting Actress side, Patricia Arquette swept through the awards season with grace.
Her performance as a single mother in "Boyhood" takes on a completely different meaning when you realize she not only played the role for 12 years, but alongside playing her real-life role as mom to her real family.
Plus, she says what every parent ends up thinking: "I thought there would be more." Of the nominees, she is a worthy winner.
However, for me, the real winner should be Jessica Chastain ("A Most Violent Year"), who wasn't even nominated.
She is probably one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood, and has wholeheartedly deserved both Oscar nominations she has earned.
However, her performance as Anna in "A Most Violent Year," a role that is as complex as the movie itself, was the best of her career.
There are 26 categories at the Oscars, and I wish I could go through all of them. However, some of the other films I would passionately vote for are "Nightcrawler" for Best Original Screenplay, "Whiplash" for Best Adapted Screenplay and "Interstellar" for Best Visual Effects.
Being an awards show geek has made me impervious to disappointment from time to time. There are always those losses that end up bothering you.
On the bright side, this year it looks like every Best Picture nominee will win at least one award. It's refreshing, considering there tends to be sweeps at the Oscars.
However, it's important to note that the Oscars celebrate the year in film, not only the nominees. We saw movies that made us laugh, made us cry and made us want to see them all over again.
Last year was an interesting year in film, and it truly portrayed the human condition. Nominees, like "Still Alice" and "The Theory of Everything," reminded us of the darker moments in life while "The Grand Budapest Hotel" reminded us of the wackiness. "Boyhood" and "Selma" told stories of triumphs.
From "Birdman" to "The Imitation Game" and "American Sniper" to "Whiplash," I just want everyone to know that whatever wins and whatever loses doesn't matter because at least in some way, every movie reminds us what it means to be alive.