Contender Countdown: Will 'Boyhood's' Oscar destiny be cemented this weekend?

Posted by · 10:49 am · January 22nd, 2015

It's been a week since the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced and, well, there certainly isn't euphoria in the air for those residing in the 323 or 310 area codes. The controversy over the lack of nominations for “Selma” still stings (as it should) and following the embarrassing hacked Sony E-mails, it's just another round of considerably negative press for Hollywood. There is almost a sense that another shoe is going to drop and somehow things will get even uglier.  Of course, there was a lot of celebrating over the massive box office success for “American Sniper” this past weekend, but it's going to take a lot more blockbusters (they are coming) for Hollywood to feel the weight of all this drama lift off its shoulders. And the Oscars, meant as a time of celebration, may not bring much relief.

As Mr. Tapley has pointedly noted, this weekend's back-to-back guild honors from the Producers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild will truly crown a frontrunner. It's where “American Hustle's” Oscar dreams died last year and could make “Boyhood's” coronation not just likely, but inevitable.

The PGA Awards will announce their winner Saturday night and with seven of the eight Best Picture nominees also PGA-nominated, who they pick will be telling (and the fact that they have a preferential ballot like the Oscars won't hurt either). Granted, the PGA could surprise and reward a non-Oscar nominee such as “Gone Girl” or “Nightcrawler,” but that really would be shocking. If “The Imitation Game” wins, however, and then pulls off a best ensemble honor from SAG? Well, things have gotten very interesting.

More likely, though, “Boyhood” or even “Sniper” will win PGA and “Birdman” or “Grand Budapest” will take SAG. Any win for “Boyhood” is enough to keep its Best Picture frontrunner status in tact. And if Linklater takes the DGA Award next month? Well, there probably won't be much of a surprise in the Best Picture category on Oscar Sunday. And judging by what my fellow Gurus of Gold think in their latest poll, the IFC Films team should rest easy.

Remember this time of relative unsettled-ness. It all changes on Saturday.  

With that being said, here's the latest Contender Countdown.

Jan. 22, 2015

1. “Boyhood”
Aiming to prove the naysayers wrong for good.

2. “The Imitation Game”
Happy all that historical accuracy stuff is focused mostly on two other nominees.

3. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Does it really have a better shot to win than its Searchlight stablemate? Well…

4. “Birdman”
Michael Keaton, original screenplay, cinematography and the sound categories are the big plays here.

5. “Selma”
Anecdotal evidence says it plays much better on the big screen than on screener. Might hurt its comeback chances for members who are, sadly, finally getting around to watching it.

6. “American Sniper”
Box office helps the cause, but there are some loud detractors in the Academy (and we're not just talking about Michael Moore).  

7. “The Theory of Everything”
Could take home a number of statues including best actor and original score (fingers crossed), and don't be surprised if it takes home adapted screenplay.

8. “Whiplash”
A pretty amazing achievement for a movie that has only grossed $6.6 million at the box office so far (don't get us started on that one…).

Can any film take the frontrunner status from “Boyhood?” Share your thoughts below.

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