I love the movies. Always have. From the start, I wanted to be a filmmaker. Other boys dreamed of being an astronaut, a baseball player, a fireman. I wanted to live on the big screen and make people laugh or cry. The best do both. I don't consider myself a failure. I never tried. You can't fail at something you don't attempt. Am I disappointed? Of course. Most parents live vicariously through their children by forcing them to play sports or by pushing them into advanced classes until their heads pop off. My children do theatre. It helps that I teach acting. My son plans to take a gap year after high school and try his luck in Los Angeles. He has his sights set on the Groundlings (where Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon studied). Good for him. I'd rather pay for his roadtrip than see him waste his talents in college without ever trying. (I'll pay for both, of course).
I've watched the Oscars for as long as I can remember. This dates back to the late 70s. I remember Bob Hope's final gig and loved Johnny Carson. What matters more is that this has become a family event in the Drago household much like watching the Super Bowl (I picked the Pats 24-20, by the way). In fact, just as I sat down to write this post, my phone rang with my mom asking for my picks. She might do better than I do this year. Ten minutes later, my daughter saw my ballot on my desk and asked for her copy. This matters to us. My wife and I watch every film nominated in all the major categories. The last conversation I had with my grandmother in 2011 was during the Oscars. She called The King's Speech. I teased her about the hospital not having an oxygen mask big enough to fit over her potato nose before I told her I loved her for the last time.
I do well with my picks. I study history and the current trends. I review the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, the SAGs, DGA awards, WGA awards, national press selections, local critics choices. It's a science. Last year, I chose 23 out of 24. I don't expect to do as well this year because I'm picking with my heart in a few categories. That never gets me anywhere. I hope I call at least 16 right out of the 24. We'll see. Enjoy the show!
Best Picture - Birdman (probably will go to Boyhood; Birdman isn't nominated for Best Film Editing, but I'll take the chance)
Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne (not sure Michael Keaton's had the staying power through award season)
Best Actress - Julianne Moore (loved her since Benny and Joon)
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons (you go Yellow Peanut M&M!)
Best Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette
Best Animated Feature - Big Hero 6 (the favorite is How To Train Your Dragon 2, but I think Disney takes home the trophy)
Cinematography - Birdman (Boyhood not nominated here, interesting)
Costume Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel (been calling this The Grand Budacrap Hotel for so long, I almost keyed that; yes, I don't care for Wes Anderson - I've always thought comedies should be funny)
Best Director - Birdman (could go to Boyhood)
Best Documentary Feature - Citizenfour
Best Documentary Short - "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"
Best Film Editing - Boyhood
Best Foreign Language Film - Ida
Makeup and Hairstyling - Foxcatcher (could go to Budacrap Hotel, along with everything artsy)
Original Score - The Theory of Everything
Original Song - "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" by Glen Campbell (a sentimental choice - I met Glen Campbell in a Best Buy in Scottsdale 20 years ago and heard he's been calling out for Elvis of late; "Glory" from Selma will win and probably deserves the nod)
Production Design - Budacrap Hotel
Best Animated Short - "The Bigger Keeper"
Best Live Action Short - "Boogaloo and Graham" (check out "Baby Ray" - the live action short about a washed-up rock star that my kids and I made a few years ago!)
Sound Editing - American Sniper
Sound Mixing - Whiplash
Visual Effects - Interstellar (could go to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - I watched the 1968 original a few nights ago; still better than all the sequels and reboots)
Adapted Screenplay - The Imitation Game (my son read the book and enjoyed it)
Original Screenplay - Budacrap Hotel (funniest thing about this movie is that it will win this award)