​David Edelstein stoops to predict the Oscars


Will it be "Boyhood" or "Birdman" for Best Picture? Our film critic doesn't much care, but he offers his take anyway.

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With just hours to go, there's lots of Oscar speculation. So what does our David Edelstein think?

"Birdman" vs. "Boyhood": Which front-running "B" wins tonight Big O?

I'm going to risk alienating you here: I don't much care.

See, I'm a critic, and any critic who doesn't believe that he or she is the universe's supreme arbiter of value just isn't arrogant enough to do the job.

I decided Best Picture. It's "Boyhood."

And David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in "Selma" gave the year's best performance, and wasn't even nominated, so to hell with Best Actor. And on that subject, why is this the whitest, most lily-livered set of nominations in decades?

So, I'll leave it there ... except, that even I get turned on by the unhinged glamour, the confrontational clothes-horsing, the savage competition to see who can act more humble.

I love watching desperately insecure people win -- their instant realization that whatever they do for the rest of their lives, their obituary will open with, "Academy Award-winner Joe Blow ..."

Who wouldn't want to be Joe Blow?

I already know some of tonight's Joe and Josie Blows.

No one can take Best Supporting Actress from Patricia Arquette in "Boyhood." Her performance snapped into focus when she said, in her last scene, that she'd stopped seeing herself as a person, only a mom. It was heartbreaking, and an Oscar for the actress somehow validates the character, too.

Plus, women in Hollywood love that she's had no plastic surgery.

Julianne Moore as a victim of early-onset Alzheimer's in "Still Alice": A lock. Oscar-bait role meets Oscar-overdue actress -- Cowabunga! That it happens to be a great performance isn't really relevant, but it's nice when it happens.

Best Supporting Actor looks like J.K. Simmons as the sadistic drill sergeant-jazz band director in "Whiplash." Look at him. No adipose tissue, just muscle, sinew and meanness. He's the Hollywood ideal.

Best Actor: I don't know. Comeback kid Michael Keaton is the current fave for his mesmerizing self-pity in "Birdman." Previous fave Eddie Redmayne could win for nailing both Stephen Hawking's twisted body and fierce intellect in "The Theory of Everything."

But I wouldn't be shocked if Bradley Cooper stole it for his rock-hard but still so vulnerable performance in "American Sniper." I have questions about the movie, but his aim was true.

Which brings us to Best Picture: I'm guessing "Birdman" over my beloved "Boyhood." It's a pile of cliches and pretentiousness, but so ferociously well-staged and shot that you have to throw up your hands and say, "OK, OK, you win!"

It's a pretty shallow reason, I know, but never underestimate the Academy's shallowness.

Never underestimate our shallowness. This yearly ritual insinuates itself into our fantasies, our dreams of immortality. Yes, even I have to fight to shake off the thought, "That movie must be great. It won the Oscar."

ALERT: David Edelstein will be live-blogging the Oscars tonight. Go to vulture.com for more information.

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