The SAG awards are also happening this Sunday. With Jennifer Aniston out of the Oscar race and Marion Cotillard in, that makes predicting Best Actress kind of tough, although it’s mostly still Julianne Moore’s to lose. The SAG will be the big test. I had a feeling Aniston might take that prize, which would have boosted her chances at an Oscar – one speech was all she needed to push it over the top. I don’t think that awards make much of a difference to a lot of people. I’ve come around to Jim Rocchi’s view of them, which is, why do we care about what this group of people thinks is best? It is really an absurd way of finding best – anonymous voting, cronyism, consensus. But every so often something or someone comes along where awards seem important as a way of validation. That Jennifer Aniston went for it this year was criticized, I thought, unfairly. Roles like Aniston’s aren’t being offered to women anymore in mainstream Hollywood. They have to seek them out. If they win awards for them that helps changes things for all older actresses. But alas.
Either way, Julianne Moore is overdue – and deserving. It’s not the most exciting win, to be sure, but her entire career in film has thus far gone unrewarded, which is a shame considering the contributions to film she’s made for decades. At this rate, I don’t think anyone can upset her with Aniston out of the race.
But if we were just to look at the performances, the best of the five is, without a doubt, Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, the performance of the year in the film of the year (shared with Boyhood and Selma, in my opinion). Pike’s Amazing Amy is one of those performances that will be talked about years from now, not unlike Jack Nicholson in The Shining or Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. I have not had a more gloriously pleasurable moment watching any film this year as I did the scene in Gone Girl that happens at the hour mark.
The majority men I read talked about Gone Girl as though it was an inside joke they didn’t get. Maybe it was. Maybe they have been so cut off from the internal world of women that they can’t really picture it in this satirical form. Every line of dialogue in Flynn’s script is quotable and memorable. Like “The girl with the giant come-on-me-tits…now she looks like a mennonite.” Women in film in 2015 do not talk like that. They’ve been erased and replaced with Stepford wives.
I can’t argue with Moore finally winning but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought Pike’s was the best of the nominated five. I actually preferred Moore in Maps to the Stars. But as I say, I don’t think the Oscars mean much of anything except when they mean something and rewarding Moore means something. Shutting out Gone Girl was foolish and shortsighted of the Academy – but, like not nominating David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay from Selma – it really only makes the Academy itself look even worse than it did before. They need to catch up to the modern world. They’re holding themselves, and their dying industry, back.
The supporting categories are locked. I don’t expect to see any surprises there – neither Patricia Arquette nor JK Simmons has a challenger. I don’t think Emma Stone can compete, nor do I think Edward Norton, though both are excellent can touch either of these beloved industry vets who delivered their best work in Boyhood and Whiplash.
Best Actor is wide open and as unpredictable as SAG ensemble. It’s down to the big three – Eddie Redmayne in Theory of Everything, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and Michael Keaton in Birdman. I myself have gone back and forth on them. It’s nearly impossible to decide. History tells that who wins here goes on to win the Oscar. This is the one category that draws a blank for me. All three have more than one SAG nod including ensemble. Two out of three are likable. Two out of three are British. I guess that means, to me, that Keaton has the slight edge, being that he’s the one not unlike the other two.
It’s hard to say who is most deserving as all three performances are as good as it gets. I suppose I’ll have to go with Keaton, though my brethren are mostly predicting Redmayne.
Let’s get her done, shall we?
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood, JK Simmons, Whiplash
If Birdman wins Ensemble and Boyhood wins PGA — that should make for an interesting final act. If Imitation Game wins either? Look out. If Boyhood wins both? Stick a fork in it.
Grand Budapest Hotel also has a huge ensemble and is perfect for this award. It will likely have no impact on the Best Picture race but it’s still worth noting.