Fasten your seat belts, I think we’re going to have a couple of huge upsets to shake us out of the usual Oscar night doldrums — like “American Sniper” winning Best Picture and its star, Bradley Cooper, snatching the Best Actor trophy.
I am going waaaay out on a limb here — just a couple of weeks ago, I was predicting, along with pretty much everyone else, that “Birdman’’ was a lock for Best Picture because it had won prizes handed out by the triple crown of actors, directors and producers guilds.
Now I’m seeing Oscar prognosticators claiming “Birdman’’ is in a dead heat with critics’ darling “Boyhood,’’ with the 14 pundits at Gold Derby evenly split between the two.
But what really caught my eye was a tweet the other day by Mark Harris, one of the smartest and best-connected Oscar oracles: “Most Oscar voters I’ve talked to aren’t voting for ‘Birdman’ for Best Picture. The sense I get is that nothing has a majority, or close to it.” This has been one of the weirdest Oscar seasons in memory, with “Boyhood’’ seemingly coasting to an easy victory, at least until it wasn’t. Attacks against the Best Picture nominees have been brutal and even bizarre — as polling was closing, one pundit not only labeled “Boyhood’’ racist but claimed it was somehow more offensive than “The Birth of a Nation.’’
No picture has been more smiled than “American Sniper,’’ with critics taking aim at Clint Eastwood’s conservative politics, the veracity of its dead protagonist, Chris Kyle, and even Kyle’s widow, with claims that she reneged on his promise to share royalties from the memoir on which the film is based.