For months now, I’ve been guaranteeing that “Boyhood” would be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in January. I predicted this weeks before actually seeing it. Then I posted it in my review over the summer, on this very blog. I even dubbed it a certainty on national radio, when I reviewed it on “America Weekend with Ed Kalegi” in late September. Am I bragging? Not really. In fact, the reason I bring all this up, is because it now appears that I may have undershot! “Boyhood” won Best Picture from the New York Film Critics Circle last week, and Richard Linklater also grabbed the Best Director prize for his epic achievement. This past weekend, the L.A. Film Critics Association followed suit in both categories. Btw, the Boston Society of Film Critics recently honored “Boyhood” and Linklater too. So, could the film and director actually snare the top prizes at the 2015 Oscar ceremony? It seems to be tracking that way right now. However, if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t lay down any cash just yet…and I’ll tell you why.
Early front-runner is usually not a good thing to be during awards season. For one thing, it leaves too much time for the backlash to grow. And with “Boyhood”, I fear that is bound to happen, because it is not an audience-friendly film. It’s too specialized and arty, and something that plays well for select audiences–and not the masses. And with a few weeks left ahead of nomination time, anything from “Unbroken” to “The Imitation Game” to “Into the Woods” to “America Sniper” could curry favor with the Academy voting bloc. So, what “Boyhood” has managed, thus far, is impressive–but far from making it a lock. In the meantime, expect mucho “Boyhood” love to continue this coming Thursday, when the annual Golden Globe nominations are announced. And, at the very least, all of this attention is bringing long overdue recognition to the highly accomplished Mr. Linklater. He never received this amount of consideration for his groundbreaking “Dazed and Confused” in 1993, or his masterful “Before” trilogy that capped in 2013. Richard’s due–and good for him!