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.
- Julianne Moore on "Still Alice" and her non-stop career ("CBS This Morning," 01/21/15)
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.
- J.K. Simmons and the "Whiplash" effect ("Sunday Morning," 02/08/15)
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.
- Michael Keaton takes wing in "Birdman" ("Sunday Morning," 10/12/14)
- Eddie Redmayne on playing Stephen Hawing ("CBS This Morning," 01/09/15)
- Bradley Cooper on "60 Minutes" (02/15/15)
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!"
- "Boyhood": A film whose time has come ("Sunday Morning," 07/06/14)
- "Birdman" cast describe acting on top of acting (CBS News, 10/14/14)
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.
For more info:
- Complete list of 2015 Academy Award nominations
- Downloadable Oscar Ballot (pdf) - For your Oscar party or office pool
- Complete CBSNews.com coverage: The Academy Awards
More from David Edelstein:
- "Selma" gets it mostly right
- On hackers' chilling effect on movies
- "The Babadook": The horror film you must see
- Get real! David Edelstein celebrates documentary films
- Edelstein on "Gone Girl": Elegantly wicked
- Films for movie-loving couch potatoes
- "Boyhood": A film whose time has come
- David Edelstein on the politics of movies