Where is Oscars 2015?

Oscars 2015: Birdman and Boyhood set for a sumo contest

Cover the Academy Awards long enough, and a certain sheepish self-consciousness sets in. Look back at the ghosts of Oscars ceremonies past, and it’s like discovering old photos of yourself in once-trendy clothes. Yikes! Did we really devote all that brow-furrowing critical attention to Argo (best picture, 2012), an engaging but supremely middleweight true-life dramedy about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis? Did we really spend so much time reflecting upon Catherine Zeta-Jones (best supporting actress, 2002) and her competent performance in the musical Chicago? We did. As the late Christopher Hitchens remarked: it’s impossible to have a nourishing conversation about last year’s Oscars results.

Related: Who will win Oscars in 2015? And who should?

But as it happens I am excited about this year’s Oscars – really and truly – because they are likely to honour a film which I think is a modern classic: Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater. This is the time-lapse study of a child’s growth to adulthood, filmed for a fortnight or so annually for 12 years: an artwork of inspired simplicity and organic consistency, infused with pure generosity and love, and easily capable of riding out the backlash-lifecycle that always attends much-fancied films like this. (Nay-sayers and meh-sayers call it something knocked off from TV’s 7-Up, and wonder if it would have been praised as much if it was just an actor in incrementally increased ageing makeup. This, in the words of Caitlin Moran, is not just missing the point but dozing off on the train and finding the Point was three stations back.) Boyhood is a frontrunner to win best film, with a best supporting actress prize for Patricia Arquette, who plays the mother of the boy (Ellar Coltrane): Arquette deserves it for her heartbreaking moment of empty-nest agony and fear of death at the film’s end.

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