Scott Hardie | January 10, 2015
Oscar nominations come out in a few days. Which do you think will be Meryl Streep's automatic nomination this year: Into the Woods or The Homesman or The Giver?

Samir Mehta | January 11, 2015
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Steve West | January 11, 2015
I'd be shocked if it wasn't Into the Woods.

Chris Lemler | January 11, 2015
I would be going with the long shot The Giver

Erik Bates | January 12, 2015
I've only seen Into the Woods, so I'm going with that.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2015
Will a superhero movie ever be nominated for Best Picture?

Samir Mehta | January 15, 2015
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Scott Hardie | January 17, 2015
I liked the third Rings movie, but if I didn't, I would think of its win as a recognition of Peter Jackson's overall achievement with the trilogy, like The Departed winning on behalf of greater Scorsese films. Then again, Rings reminds me of a time when the Academy nominated films that people had actually seen.

Does Birdman count as a superhero movie? I wouldn't normally think well of its Best Picture chances, but the Academy loves movies about showbiz (see recent wins for The Artist and Argo), so perhaps it will come out on top. I can't help but wonder if it's a nod to the superhero trend taking over the business, a way for the Academy to nominate a superhero film while still feeling serious about their art. Then again, the change from five Best Picture nominees to "up to ten" was widely interpreted as happening because The Dark Knight was narrowly edged out of a Best Picture nomination, so perhaps the day will come soon when a Marvel or DC film gets to join that club.

I was disappointed not to see Ralph Fiennes nominated for Lead Actor for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Comedy isn't respected I suppose, but it's an especially good performance in a movie (and a career) full of them. I would have also liked to see Ellar Coltrane nominated for Boyhood, since I thought he was very good and the movie wouldn't have worked if he wasn't, but that would have been quite a long shot.

I don't think it needs any further plugging, but just in case: The 2015 Oscars contest is underway.

Samir Mehta | January 17, 2015
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Chris Lemler | January 17, 2015
I would of thought the Jersey Boys movie would of made it in

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2015
Awesome. Due to a hardware failure with the hosting company, the site went down around 4pm and it wasn't restored until sometime after 9pm. I know of at least two players who were prevented from making last-minute changes to their predictions, one of whom is stuck with predictions made in the first week of the contest. I have no choice but to tally up the predictions as they were made prior to 4pm today. Let's see how this contest unfolds. Good luck all.

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2015
Wild night, lots of surprises. Kudos to Brian Bedard for making the best predictions in the midst of all of that chaos. I can't wait until next year.

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2015
Birdman? Really, Academy? Birdman is the best movie of the year?

Listen, Academy, you're starting to look like a cheap date, like you'll jump into bed with any film that pays you a compliment. If I was a director hoping to score with you over someone who had worked hard for say, twelve years, I'd just make a movie that flattered showbiz and you'd be all mine.

Don't believe how easily you fall for compliments? Consider:

2009, Slumdog Millionaire: A poor kid from the slums gets to turn his whole life around by winning a game show, which, incidentally, entrances the entire country on television.

2011, The King's Speech: A speech therapist helps a stuttering royal learn how to speak on the radio. It's implied that this saves the war.

2012, The Artist: A silent film star can't keep up with the talkies. You looked gorgeous back then in your youth, didn't you Hollywood?

2013, Argo: The CIA rescues Iranian hostages by staging a fake sci-fi movie. You've always known that movies can save lives!

2015, Birdman: A washed-up actor literally haunted by his past success tries to redeem himself. It's because you're embarrassed by superhero movies and yet you can't escape them, can you? This movie understands you.

Have some self-respect, Academy. Save yourself for someone who deserves you.

Erik Bates | February 23, 2015
I'm, surprisingly ok with Birdman taking the best picture award. I'm not saying that it's my personal choice (that would go to The Grand Budapest Hotel), but -- and I feel this may go against what a lot of people feel -- I'm just glad it didn't go to Boyhood.

After all the wind-up, I was hoping Budapest was going to take home either Director or Picture. But perhaps that was just wishful thinking.

Birdman, in my opinion, was a great film, with an intriguing storyline, and incredibly clever vision. The impression that it was shot in one continuous take was pretty dang cool. Though, yes, I can see your point about kissing the Academy's ass.

Boyhood, while having a clever concept, filming over the course of 12 years, to me, offered nothing in the way of originality in plot. Also, Patricia Arquette is just not a good actress. I'm sorry.

Over the weekend, we sat down and watched The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Birdman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. We'd seen Boyhood recently, so it's still fresh in my mind. Having not seen the remaining three films in the category, can't really speak to their worthiness. I really need to see Selma. One, because it seems like a worthy film to see, and two, because I need to see if see any merit to outrage at lack of win (or nominations) for the cast.

Because, honestly, it wouldn't take much to give a better performance than Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.

Just saying.

Side note: considering what I am assuming to be liberal-leaning tendencies of the Academy, I'm going to go ahead and put this conspiracy theory out there: American Sniper was nominated for the express purpose of snubbing it.

Samir Mehta | February 23, 2015
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Samir Mehta | February 23, 2015
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Scott Hardie | February 25, 2015
My criticism above about Birdman isn't really about Birdman of course -- I haven't seen it and very much look forward to rectifying that -- but about Academy voters being pushovers when certain topics are concerned. It's well-known that Holocaust films (hello, Ida) tend to do well at the Oscars, and that actors playing characters with a mental or physical disability tend to do better, and so on. "Showbiz glorification" films have been doing really well lately, and personally I'm annoyed.

Boyhood is far from a perfect film, and feels very meandering in its back half. It's a collection of feelings rather than a story; Terrence Malick might like it. I imagine that all of the praise heaped upon it must lead to hypekill for many viewers.

We can disagree about Patricia Arquette, Erik. I just saw her episode of SVU and it's amazing how much she transforms herself into this tough Jersey prostitute from the streets, and eventually brings out the vulnerable humanity in that woman by the end of the hour.

Alternative conspiracy theory: American Sniper was nominated to avoid accusations of Hollywood not respecting veterans. Remember the criticism when The Dark Knight was shut out of the Best Picture race? Multiply that several times if American Sniper had not been nominated. (Honestly though, I think it was nominated partly because voters genuinely liked it, and partly because Clint Eastwood commands so much respect in the business.)

I'm still frustrated by the site outage before the contest began. I've heard from players whose scores would have been quite different. I researched and wrote down my own changes that evening in the hopes of the site coming back online before 8pm, and had I been able to make them, my final score would have been 99 points, just shy of the top. We might have had a different winner. Oh well; here's looking forward to next year, when a movie about a man in a wheelchair who survives the Holocaust to become a Hollywood star wins every category.

Erik Bates | February 25, 2015
I'm in pre-production on a sequel alt-history to Schindler's List, in which Schindler develops ALS shortly after the end of the war, but lives long enough to free POWs from Korea by digging a tunnel out of North Korea using a shovel made of Legos, under the guise of a Canadian studio filming a movie about mining on the moon. I'm trying to get Danny Elfman and Lonely Island to collaborate on the score, and I'm in final talks with Ralph Feinnes' agent to get him to reprise his character (albeit a ghost).

I'm going to call it Hogan's Heroes - Redux

Samir Mehta | February 25, 2015
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