It's award season, when Hollywood honours its best and brightest. Over and over again.
The biggest trophy handout remains The Academy Awards, which are also the longest, and often the least surprising. The 6000-plus Oscar voters tend to vote along predictable lines. Dramas nearly always trump comedies while showier roles (involving accents, total transformations, or terminal illnesses) usually get nominations over more subtle work. And veteran actors, many who already have an Oscar on their mantel, invariably get attention ahead of newcomers.
The studios can also influence voters with a million dollar ad campaign. Many an Oscar has been won with a well-aimed media blitz. And don't forget all the other awards: Sometimes the best predictors of Oscar success are the awards handed out in the months preceding the Academy Awards, like the Golden Globes.
The nominations were handed out this Thursday morning, and there were a few surprises. Among them, the notable absence of Golden Globe winner Amy Adams, and the conspicuous absence of actors or actresses of racial minorities. Many of the names and pictures nominated were predictable, however: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman both landed the greatest number of nominations, with a total of nine each, and most of the other Golden Globe favourites got a nom in their respective categories.
The bets are now heating up, and of all the worthy names the following are coming out ahead as the most likely candidates for the biggest honours in Hollywood this year.
6 Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette is currently the bookies' favourite to win Best Supporting Actress for her memorable turn as the mother in Boyhood. It was inarguably the biggest role of her life, starring alongside Ethan Hawke over a period of twelve years. It was an unprecedented role in which she grew old on screen.
5 Best Supporting Actor: JK Simmons
4 Best Actress: Julianne Moore
3 Best Actor: Michael Keaton (Birdman)
2 Best Picture: Boyhood
The odds-on pick to win Best Picture, Boyhood should win just for audacity. This one is hotly contested by some seriously impressive fare, among them The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, Birdman and The Imitation Game.
1 Best Animated Feature Film: Big Hero 6
Up against a couple of less commercially viable animated films this year - like the runner-up favourite Song of the Sea from the makers of The Secret of Kells - Big Hero 6 has received accolades for the intricacy of the animated university it created. The Walt Disney super-hero comedy went up against Interstellar at the box office and came out an admirable second on its opening week, and has since made over $400 million at the box office worldwide. It's still showing in cinemas, so those who haven't taken in this favourite for Best Animated Feature Film can add it to their to-watch list.
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