“Boyhood”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

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Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater
Main Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, and many others as well…
Past Oscar relations: Richard Linklater has been nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Adapted Screenplay for Before Sunset and Before Midnight), while Ethan Hawke has three Academy Award nominations (the two Linklater got and Best Supporting Actor for Training Day) on his resume…

Here’s a brand new article in this series of mine on 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of notable Oscar attention as contenders at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here is the one of a kind coming of age story Boyhood, which seeks to take its unique premise and making of tale and compel Oscar voters to throw some love its way. Personally, I’m hoping that it does.

This is a literal coming of age story, in more ways than one too. Linklater cast a young boy over a decade ago and for the next 12 years he filmed a few days a year with Ellar Coltrane as he literally grew up. Along with watching Coltrane go though his coming of age before our eyes, we see Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke do the same as his parents, along with Lorelei Linklater as his sister. We follow Coltrane’s Mason as he goes from a little boy to a college student, plain and simple. It sounds boring, but trust me, it’s not. This is among the finest films of the year so far. If voters are paying attention, a deserving nominee is opening this weekend.

What this flick has going in its favor is its inherent quality as well as its one of a kind nature, not to mention the trio of main performances. The mere achievement of getting it made almost makes it worthy of consideration, but when you factor in that it could be Linklater’s masterpiece when all is said and done, you have to imagine that the same people that nominated him twice before in Best Adapted Screenplay will fight the good fight for him to get into a number of fields here, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, in addition to the main trio of actors, since Arquette (who’s best in show to me), Coltrane, and Hawke will capture your heart in a big way. Just about anyone who watches this with an open heart and mind will want to bang the drum for it afterwards. This is the sort of summer indie flick that can sustain buzz throughout the season.

Working against Boyhood is sadly that it’s a bit of an early release and not especially flashy either. If you don’t go in with an open mind this can seem too simple to really want to pitch for major awards. If a number of big Oscar contenders live up to or exceed expectations, I suppose this one could get overlooked when the precursors begin. That being said, this will certainly be in the Oscar conversation. It’s just a matter of if it can actually get those nominations in the end.

So, can this be a player at all? My heart says yes but my head says that it’s somewhat of a 50/50 crapshoot. Best Picture could happen with the expanded field, while Best Supporting Actress for Arquette and Best Original Screenplay seem to be likely campaigns that could actually happen. Best Supporting Actor for Hawke depends on how the film is received by the precursors and Best Actor for Coltrane seems like a bit of a long shot. Time will tell if Linklater’s brilliant work can translate to Oscar glory, but it’s essential viewing for all lovers of cinema. Don’t miss it this week, plain and simple…

Grade: Likely Contender

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles coming your way next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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