Susan Granger began her talk with a disclaimer stating that while she had achieved a 100% accuracy rate with her last year’s Oscar predictions, this year deciding between contenders is much more difficult and her predictions could miss badly.
Considering the Best Picture nominees, it had been thought that Selma would be an early strong contender. But events led to bad timing for the film. The studio had placed its early backing and money on the film, Interstellar. However, when released, Interstellar was not well received so the studio rushed to get Selma released. Notwithstanding the later focus on Selma, the film missed the optimum time for its release and to further complicate matters no DVDs were sent to the Academy voters in time for the holiday viewings that these voters traditionally give to contenders. This resulted in many Academy voters not seeing the movie and consequently not getting behind the nomination. The film also suffers from bad editing, which makes for some awkward transitions and too much time spent on certain sequences.
In Ms. Granger’s opinion the two strongest candidates for Best Picture are Birdman and Boyhood with Birdman being the most innovative plus enjoying the fruits of very skillful editing. Consequently, Ms. Granger predicts Birdman will win the coveted Best Picture award.
More dark horse candidates would be American Sniper that sold more tickets than all the other nominees combined and The Imitation Game, which benefits from the unparalleled campaigning of Harvey Weinstein.
For Best Director, Ms. Granger again predicts that Birdman will take it and, if not then, Boyhood.
In the category of Best Actress, Julianne Moore is the predicted winner.
For Best Actor it will come down to Keaton vs Redmayne. Ms. Granger favors Redmayne, but feels that Keaton will get it because the Academy loves comebacks.
For Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette is the predicted winner.
For Best Supporting Actor, JK Simmons is the predicted winner.
For Best Adaptive Screen play, Ms Granger goes with Graham Moore.
For Most Original Screen Play the selection is Wes Anderson.
The Best Animated Film goes to How to Train Your Dragon II.
The Best Song will go to “Glory” as the Academy will realize that they haven’t given anything to Selma.
Best Documentary: “Citizenfour.”
Best Foreign Language: “Ida” from Poland.
Best Cinematography: “Birdman.”
Best Editing: “Boyhood.”
Best Visual Effects: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Best Production Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Best Makeup And Hairstyling: “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Best Costume Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Best Original Song: “Glory” from “Selma.”
Best Original Score: “The Theory of Everything.”
Best Sound Editing: “American Sniper.”
Best Sound Mixing: “Birdman.”
Best Documentary Short Subject: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.”
Best Animated Short Film: “Feast.”
Q. How do you promote movies?
A. You have to make the public aware. This means appearances, which mention the upcoming movie. For Oscar campaigns it means parties and screenings where potential voters can meet the film’s stars.
Q. Do you have any comments concerning the recent hackings that have received so-much publicity?
A. Internet stuff is accessible and hackers will get to it and get it out. You have to be stupid to put adverse comments in emails.
Q. Do you have any comment about “Lincoln” not winning the Oscar for Best Picture?
A. Politics in the Academy probably played a major role in this instance. There was a general feeling in the Academy that Ben Affleck should have been nominated for Best Director. When he wasn’t they went with his film for Best Picture. Politics is a big factor in film selection.
Q. How does the Academy judge foreign language films?
A. There is a committee that views all candidates and makes the nominations. The committee then sends out the DVDs to the voting members for their selection.
Q. How many members are there in the Academy and how do you qualify for it?
A. There are about 6,000 Academy members and you have to be invited to join. It is an honor and the invitations are given on the selected member’s body of work.
Q. What is the Oscar’s worth at the box office?
A. Oscars give much prestige to their recipients and raise their price tags, but I don’t know the effect at the box office.
Q. Any comment on the degradation of language that we hear in today’s films?
A. Films reflect the culture at the time they are release except for period pieces. That is how people talk today.
Q. Why do we still see smoking in movies?
A. Usually it’s the sleazy characters who smoke except for period movies. Actors will smoke if the character demands it.
Q. Is there a committee for each category of Oscar and does a nominee have to vote for someone else?
A. Actors vote for themselves and actively campaign to win the award. There are very few committees. They only exist for documentaries and foreign language films. For the other categories those members in that category do the nominations. The Best Picture Oscar is the result of a very confusing voting formula.
Q. Do Oscars usually follow the Golden Globe Awards?
A. The Golden Globes are considered a joke in the industry because they are frequently awarded on the basis of bribery. The Hollywood foreign press has no limits on what gifts may be accepted and many are offered and taken.
Q. Why were your reviews dropped from the Westport News? Were you too expensive?
A. I wasn’t too expensive, but the space for the movie listings was considered too expensive so they were dropped and it was then felt there was no need for movie reviews. I was kept on the paper’s Website as a contributor.
Q. What is the possibility of the Oscars losing influence because of the surge in Netflix and other pay for view delivery systems?
A. There will always be movies albeit delivered in many different ways. Consequently, the Academy will always have importance.