We are only days away from Hollywood’s biggest self-aggrandizing annual event: The Academy Awards. For the last couple months entertainment journalists have been predicting who will walk away with the most validation in the form of a little gold dude hiding his junk with a sword (by most accounts Boyhood will get at least a couple, which I’d be cool with). People can speculate all they want, analyze the factors, enter the office pools, and be incredibly confident in their picks, but I will give the Academy credit for often throwing a couple curveball winners into the mix, probably just to mess with your cocky coworkers. Picking the winners is like filling out a multiple choice test, you’re bound to get a couple right, which is why I’ve decided to make 10 predictions pertaining other aspects of the night’s festivities. In the words of this year’s tacky Oscar posters: ‘Imagine What’s Possible’… which isn’t very difficult if you’ve watched any of the ceremonies in the past.
1. Neil Patrick Harris will make a ‘Dick Poop’ joke in the opening monologue/ song
I thought I might as well start off with an easy one. Ever since the first (and likely last) live telecast of the nominations last month, when Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs mispronounced Dick Pope’s name, we knew this would be easy fodder for the host. I just hope that Harris can at least make it classy… Mr. Pope has suffered enough.
2. A correlation will be made between the score of Birdman and the subject of Whiplash.
Never before has jazz drumming played such a prominent role in two of the year’s major contenders. The almost all-drums score of Birdman (composed by Antonio Sanchez) sounds as though it could have been performed by Whiplash‘s tortured music student Andrew (Miles Teller). If there’s any kind of video montage/ mash-up to honour the best picture nominees, expect to see a long Birdman-inspired tracking shot that at some point whips over to reveal Miles Teller banging out the accompanying music.
3. A male presenter will make an inappropriate joke about a female nominee or co-presenter.
This may be 2015, but bring beautiful women into a room full of booze and old boy’s club mentality and there will undoubtedly be a Jeremy Renner in the bunch.
4. The Academy will try to integrate as much diversity as possible into every aspect of the production in an attempt to shed that #OscarsSoWhite image.
When the nominees were announced there was a lot of focus on how white they all were . The Academy has been getting a lot of heat for this, so expect to see a sad attempt to make up for it with their choice of presenters, performers, and anyone else they can bring up to prove they have black friends.
5. At least 75% of the foreign filmmakers nominated will feel a little less special when their name gets mispronounced.
Actors are admired for their skill with languages and different accents, but this ability is somehow rendered inaccessible when it’s a name on a teleprompter. It’s almost though all of the nominees’ names have been kept in a sealed envelope and this is the first time they’re reading them. I don’t envy the person tasked with it this year, as films by Zaza Urushadze, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Pawel Pawlikowski, Abderrahmane Sissako, and Damián Szifron make up the foreign language category. After reading this list, Chiwetel Ejiofor looks like Tom Hanks.
6. The Sony hack will be joked about in an attempt make us believe half the room wasn’t scared shitless when it happened.
Just like everyone else, Hollywood has secrets, their secrets just have more dead hookers than yours. Okay, maybe the whole ‘dead hooker’ thing is a stereotype, but they did seem to get off pretty easy with the Sony hack. We learned that Scott Rudin doesn’t like Angelina Jolie, Sony didn’t know what to do with Spider-Man, Channing Tatum is as funny as we’d all hoped, and a mediocre comedy didn’t make it to theatres, resulting in far more people seeing it than would have in the first place. I’m sure there was other info floating around that didn’t make it to the press for fear of the studio taking legal action against any media outlet who ran it. Once again the lawyers allowed everyone to take a collective sigh of relief. So basically, no dead hookers = comedy safe zone.
7. The belief that actors’ lives are valued higher than everyone else’s will be reinforced by the level of applause during the ‘In Memoriam’ montage.
It always felt odd to me how applause would vary during the montage of people who have passed away, as if people are voting for their favourite dead person. Why not just let the music play over the montage and save all applause until the end?
8. Somebody will defer their award to someone else they deem more deserving.
Okay, this one is more wishful thinking than a prediction. This very rarely happens and it is always a delight when it does. The only time I can remember seeing it is when Ving Rhames gave his Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon in 1998. I’d love to see someone take it to the next level and give it somebody who wasn’t even nominated (*cough* David Oyelowo *cough*).
9. A winner will take the opportunity to make a political statement that nobody wants to hear.
This has almost become common practise, it’s like the new ‘thanking God’ of Oscar speeches. It’s a little more tolerable when the cause relates to the film they’re being honoured for, but how many people have had their political views shifted by an actor accepting an award for playing make-believe?
10. Nobody will make a Johnny Depp joke.
Even though his career has turned into a bit of joke, the wounds of Mortdecai and Transcendence are still too fresh… plus he still gets paid more than everyone else, so, respect?