Los Angeles: In one of the most fiercely contested years in the Oscars’ history, Alejandro G Inarritu’s ‘Birdman’ and Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ have emerged front-runners as the Academy rolls out the red carpet to honour the best in cinema this Sunday here. Both ‘Birdman’ and Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ are leading the race this year with nine nods apiece, though the battle in the best picture, director and actor categories are up in the air. However, Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and J K Simmons seem certain to scoop the golden statuettes in the best actress, best supporting actress and actor categories, respectively.
Fan favourite ‘The Imitation Game’, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as British World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, has eight nominations but it is staring at an uphill task as its competitors have an edge in the run up to the ceremony. ‘Boyhood’, Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age tale about childhood, which took 12-years to complete, initially looked to score some major trophies but has faced tougher battle with ‘Birdman’, ‘American Sniper’, ‘Whiplash’ and Selma’s names being thrown in the mix by critics.
India’s ‘Liar’s Dice’ failed to make the cut in the best foreign language film category where Polish drama ‘Ida’, Russia’s ‘Leviathan’, Estonia’s ‘Tangerines’, Argentina’s ‘Wild Tales’ and ‘Timbuktu’ from Mauritania will compete. The Academy faced major flak with #allwhite trending on social media criticising the exclusion of black artists from the 25 people that it nominated in the acting and direction categories. It has since ensured to include a rainbow list of presenters.
‘Selma’ actor David Oyelowo, who got snubbed along with director Ava DuVernay, will take to the stage as presenter. The ceremony, to be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, is high on music this year with Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Adam Levine with Maroon 5, Rita Ora and others set to perform. Harris is hosting the Oscars for the first time and will be closely watched by critics and the audience alike. Comparisons are inevitable with last year’s host Ellen DeGeneres, her internet breaking selfie and the glorious hosting turn by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes.
The Oscars will hand out trophies in 24 categories on Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. In India, due to the time difference, fans will be able to watch the show live on Star Movies at 5.30 am while a repeat will follow at 8.30 pm on February 23.