Sunday, January 25, 2015

SNL: Season 40 Ep. 12

Well, it was a good run while it lasted. Blake Shelton hosted this week, and lets just was rather bland. But just how poor of an episode was it? Lets check out the review.

The cold open was of course, Deflategate. It opened with Beck Bennett as Coach Belichick, who pulled off the "grumpy" persona well (however limited his time was). The majority of the time was focused on Taran Killam as Brady, who pulled him off well, displaying how innocent he tried to appear. However Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan stole the sketch playing a reporter and equipment manager (respectively), shouting at each other for the truth. All in all, they could have done a lot more with this (and it certainly could have used more Belichick and Brady), but it was alright considering.

Blake Shelton's monologue turned into an episode of Hee-Haw, with cast members not sure what to do (turning it into a roast of Blake Shelton). Leslie Jones was great here, just displaying how uncomfortable she was with it all. This was one of the lone bright spots of the night. 

The first skit was a Bachelor parody, "Farm Hunk". This was used as a female ensemble skit. At first it started off slow, but as it kept going, a theme started to emerge (especially with Aidy Bryant)....but then it kept on going, and going, and going 

You get the picture. It was a decent concept, but it just lost its luster after a while.

Next up was one of the most bizarre segments I've seen on SNL (and SNL has had a lot of bizarre stuff over the years...even just this season). It was a country music video for "Wishing Boots". It was that kind of weirdness that faded in and out. It wasn't brilliant by any stretch, but it was humorous in its weirdness.

Should have known that we would see this style of skit this week, Family Feud: The Voice vs. American Idol. The only bright spot here was Kate McKinnon's Keith Urban impression. Everything else about this was just stale (especially the long intros of each guest). And a sidenote, why was Nicki Minaj (Zamata) and Steven Tyler (Mooney) featured? Could no one on the cast do a JLO, or Seacrest impression??

Finally we arrived to Weekend Update (which was extended, given how short it was last week). Colin Jost just seemed like he wasn't in it, just going through the motions. To be honest, I'm kind of done with him. Michael Che at least tried, and still has potential, especially with one guest in particular.

The first Update guest was Che's college friend, Riblet (Moynihan). He thought he could do his job better than Che, so he takes over for a bit. This kind of character is Moynihan at his best (mic drop included). 

Pete Davidson made his return. He was supposed to talk about password safety...but went on about how he isn't gay despite his search history. Was it as good as his prior appearances? No, but still good none the less (especially this week considering the host). 

Pete Davidson

And finally we had Sasheer Zamata as Che's ex-girlfriend. It was another "meh" Update appearance for Zamata, although her back and forth with Che was pretty good (as was the reveal...her new boyfriend, Riblet).

The post Update skit was a Shawshank-style parole hearing featuring Kenan Thompson. The actual parole board (Shelton, Cecily Strong, Moynihan) was kind of hit and miss, Kenan really sold the heck out of this though. It turns out.....he's a cannibal, naive in thinking he's going to get released. If Kenan leaves after this season (which all signs point to yes), he's really going to be missed. He's had a steady, veteran presence this season.

Next was a local tv show skit, Topeka Today. It featured Taran as an old man, who wrote a song about his deceased wife, sung by, you guessed it, Blake Shelton (a singer playing a singer, what range). This was a good concept in thinking, but it was just bland. Blake just plodded along as each verse went more and more in depth (bashing the late wife).

The show oddly closed out (with about 5-6 minutes to spare), with a magic show skit (again, featuring Taran), being heckled by a guest (Blake). Blake wants to "get rich", and "make me go down on myself". This got annoying really quick, with Blake just repeating the same thing again and again.........and again.......

(hey, I only featured 3 segments, so got to get some other content up in this review, hahaha)

So that was that. I must admit, the cast did the best they could here, but Blake Shelton was just an incredibly poor host. At least with Chris Rock, it was poor content that he had to play up to. Blake often faded into the background (and for good measure, as he wasn't able to deliver in starring skits). 

And being that Blake has a rivalry with Adam Levine....point Adam (in terms of hosting SNL).

Avg. Score: 6.60 (each segment was scored out of 10, and averaged, including the musical act).

Bill Hader - 8.06
Martin Freeman - 7.56
Kevin Hart - 7.51
Chris Pratt - 7.50
Woody Harrelson - 7.42
Amy Adams - 7.19
Sarah Silverman - 7.15
James Franco - 7.07
Jim Carrey - 7.01
Cameron Diaz - 6.81
Blake Shelton - 6.60
Chris Rock - 6.52

Friday, January 23, 2015

Grammy's "Best Album Review" (Sam Smith)

Its time again to review the nominees for "Album of the Year" (well, technically this is just the 2nd year I've done this), but anyways. The review process will be much like last year. Each track will be reviewed, followed by either a ✔(great track), an (just okay/average), or an X(throwaway/poor)Following the reviewI'll have the percentages for each rating. The raw score will come with multiplying the percentage by 2, adding the O percentage, and then subtracting the X percentage. Got it? Okay. Here we go.

Sam Smith - "In the Lonely Hour"
(All Rights to Sam Smith and Capitol/Method records)

1) Money on my Mind

It starts off with a sort of EDM intro. The lyrics have a lot of imagery; "I do it for the love...I am not a puppet, I will work against your strings". This track has a throwback feel to it. The drum backing really enhances the dance sound, which is incredibly catchy. (✔).

2) Good Thing

It has a grand intro. Once again, its a very lyrical song; "too much of a good thing won't be good for long/ Although you made my heart sing, to stay with you would be wrong". Its simple instrumental backing enhances the vocals (which features a good chord progression). (✔)

3) Stay With Me

 It has a nice piano opening. The lyrics really paint a message; "Why am I so emotional? No, its not a good look, gain some self control". Its a very meaningful song about the need for attachment. (✔)

4) Leave Your Lover

It has very lyrical and at times metaphorical lyrics; "What use is money, when you need someone to hold?". This song really speaks about how you're after someone already attached, but you think they'd be perfect with you. Its a feeling most (myself included) have had at one time or another. (✔)

5) I Know I'm Not the Only One

It has an old-school feel in the intro (sort of motown-esque). The song deals with unfaithfulness and lays out the difficulties that comes with that realization. Most "cheating" songs are done with anger, but like the rest of the album thus far its done with true feeling and emotion. (✔)

6) I've Told You Now

It has a folksy intro, that transitions to a sort of old-school r&b feel. The vocals really sell this song; "Why the hell do you think I come round here on my free will". This song lays out the conflicting emotions that come from an argument in a relationship (getting your thoughts out to someone you really care for).  (✔)

7) Like I Can

This intro has sort of a rock-feel to it, with a catchy and driving beat. The lyrics really play out; "Why are you looking down all the wrong roads? When mine is the heart and the salt of the soul/ There may be lovers who hold out their hand, but they'll never love you like I can".  (✔)

8) Life Support

It has a moving string intro. This track has a nice use of falsetto from Smith. Once again, its a very lyrical song; "Sick of waking up in darkness, when the sky is always painted blue". The effects from "Money on my Mind" return, but its not overused.  (✔)

9) Not in That Way

Smith's phrasing really comes through here. Its a song where he wants to be more than friends, but is stuck.  (✔)

10) Lay Me Down

Simple instrumental backing lets Smith's vocals play out. It has powerful lyrics dealing with the longing of missing someone.  (✔)

Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour is a fantastic album top to bottom. His vocals shine throughout. Each track is incredibly lyrical, with a finite attention to detail. Smith's rich tone and phrasing truly stands out. With this album, he really is like the male version of Adele. This album is very deserving of a perfect score.

✔ = 100%
O = 0%
X = 0%

Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour: 200
Beyonce - Beyonce: 179
Ed Sheeran - X: 151
Beck - Morning Phase: 138

Sunday, January 18, 2015

SNL: Season 40 Ep.11

Season 40 returned this week with Kevin Hart and Sia. Did SNL continue with its consistent run of shows that the fall run saw? Well lets dive into the review and find out.

The cold open saw Martin Luther King appear to a student (Pete Davidson) working on a MLK-essay. Kenan Thompson was great as MLK looking bewildered at the current state of things (hashtag protesting for example). They also had a biting line on the Oscars with Selma only receiving 2 nominations. Overall, this was a pretty decent cold open.

Monologues always seem to be at their best with stand-up comics. Hart went into about animals he's scared about in his new community (raccoons,etc). It started to go on a little long, with Hart just rambling on, but it picked up in the end. (Hart must have been sweating buckets in that leather shirt). 

For the parody ad this week, we saw a pair of Justin Bieber "Calvin Klein" ads. Anything that gives us Kate McKinnon as Bieber is fantastic, but this really lived up to expectations. McKinnon playing up Bieber's childish attitude in particular was hilarious.

The first skit was "Why'd You Post That", a show where Hart skewered instagram posts. This had promise, but the set malfunctioned on them (the screen). After that happened, this wasn't really able to get it back together.

SNL keeps churning out brilliant shorts this season. This week was "Bushwick,Brooklyn", with Hart, Kenan and Jay Pharoah talking on the side of the street. Just discussing what they're up to, the conversation shows how upscale the neighborhood has become. (Mayonnaise shops, painting parties,etc). I wasn't aware that wine/painting parties were a thing, but apparently they are very much so. The production value of this was fantastic.

The next skit saw "Get On Up" with Hart as James Brown asking his band if they needed more funk. This shouldn't have worked out, but it did. Taran Killam's straight answers added a nice element. The plot of this was different, but the start and stop singing/performing was similar to the "Red Boots" skit from Martin Freeman.

"Get On Up"

After back to back solid sketches, we were bound for a clunker. "Nancy" was some talk-show bringing back fake soap opera stars. They each get dramatic sounding music for their entrances, except for Vanessa Bayer (who gets fart funny). Their was some comic element here, but it was buried by the idiocy of the skit. Hart played a producer who could speak...but didn't understand English. This was drastically under-used, and could have brought this lifeless skit up.

I've only featured music acts here a couple of times,but I'm doing it again. Sia was fantastic. She truly gives that performance element to her music (being that her face is covered). It moves your focus to the dancers, or just to the lyrics and music itself. Some may not "get" or understand Sia, but that shouldn't take away from what were a pair of brilliant performances. Sia can make you emotional....yet you're not sure why.

Elastic Heart


Weekend Update was drastically short this week. We only had 1 guest, McKinnon as Colin Jost's neighbor "Mrs. Santini". She read letters about some of her annoying neighbors. It was humorous, but never really went anywhere. As for the actual jokes themselves, I felt it was improved from Michael Che and Jost. Che gave his monologue/rant, which is becoming a thing. And Jost seems to have found a bit of  a niche delivering scathing/biting lines....and pausing to let it sink in. We'll see how this Update team continues to advance.

The post-update skit was about a castle under attack from a dragon....and they were singing. Everyone...except Hart. This kind of thing has been done (see ABC's Galavant), but Kevin Hart made this work. His insistence on fleeing without having to sing.....until his wife, Leslie Jones arrives. Overall, this was a slightly amusing skit.

Next was a vehicle skit to allow Pharoah to do a Kevin Hart impression. The premise was that after a show, Hart runs into Leslie, who says that Pharoah is his kid. Hart relents, until hearing how Pharoah talks and acts. This really worked (and we should really be appreciating Jay Pharoah more).

The closing "10 to 1 " sketch was a listening party for a rapper (Hart). This was the best live skit of the week. "pue pue, pop, pop, gunshot sounds". I was laughing hysterically....legit. Hart was rapping about the secrets of his crew...(including a "Weekend At Bernie's" reference). This is probably the best closing skit of the season so far...."pue pue, pop, pop...gunshot sounds".

SNL's midseason return could have been a downer....but it kept up the consistency of Season 40. Kevin Hart's had a much better time hosting his second time around. His frantic energy really played well with the top skits of the week.

 Avg. Score: 7.51 (each segment was scored out of 10, and averaged, including the musical act).

Bill Hader - 8.06
Martin Freeman - 7.56
Kevin Hart - 7.51
Chris Pratt - 7.50
Woody Harrelson - 7.42
Amy Adams - 7.19
Sarah Silverman - 7.15
James Franco - 7.07
Jim Carrey - 7.01
Cameron Diaz - 6.81
Chris Rock - 6.52

Friday, January 16, 2015

AFC/NFC Championship Game (Podcast)

With championship Sunday approaching, I decided to do a brief podcast preview each game.        Key factors will include the running game (colts/patriots), and Aaron Rodger's health (packers/seahawks).

After I recorded this, I realized I forgot another key to the NFC Championship game, and that's Marshawn Lynch. He's been kind of off towards the back half of the regular season and playoffs. With Eddie Lacy improving, it'll be important for the Seahawks to get their running game on point.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations Podcast

From Selma and David Oyelowo, to American Sniper and Bradley Cooper, there were a lot of snubs and surprises when the Oscar nominations were announced. In this podcast, I break down and run through some of the surprises.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Golden Globes Wrap-up (Podcast)

So I decided to do a quick podcast (yes, podcast) with the 72nd Golden Globes. Overall, it was kind of odd (since we saw hardly any of Tina and Amy after their monologue), but it was generally okay as far as award shows go. Check out as I dive into the award-winners, how the Oscars could shake out.


(Sidenote: Now that I know how to upload audio files as video files, I'll try to do these more often. I might do one this week, looking at the Oscar nominees and the conference championships, truly fitting this blog's name. Anyway, watch this space for more podcasts).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Globes 2015 Predictions

The People's Choice Awards may have just passed, but lets get real, the awards season really begins on Sunday, January 11th with the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes are always an entertaining event, with the TV and cinema worlds combined. The awards themselves are also intriguing, seeing how they differentiate from the Emmys, and how they set up the Oscars.

So with that, lets get into some predictions. I'm usually pretty bad predicting the Globes (since there always seems to be a good number of upsets and surprises), but with that being said, lets take a shot at it.

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series/Miniseries/TV Movie:
Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge)
Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)
Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart)
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)
Colin Hanks (Fargo)

These categories are pretty tough to gauge, with 3 different TV platforms merged into one award. With that being said, I think The Normal Heart gets some recognition here.

Pick: Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart)

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series/Miniseries/TV Movie:
Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Freak Show)
Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black)
Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey)
Michelle Monaghan (True Detective)
Allison Janney (Mom)

Feels like the main contenders for this one are Aduba, Froggatt and Monaghan. Michelle Monoghan had a very subtle, but important role in True Detective, and you can never count out Downton Abbey, but I think Uzo Aduba really deserves one for how she portrays "Crazy Eyes". Its just such a wild and "out of this world" character.

Pick: Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black)

Best Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie:
Martin Freeman (Fargo)
Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)
Woody Harrelson (True Detective)
Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)
Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart)

What a talented field here, with stars from Fargo, True Detective and The Normal Heart. True Detective was just on another level for me, and 2014/15 has been McConaughey's year awards-wise.

Pick: Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)

Best Actress in a Miniseries/TV Movie:
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman)
Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge)
Allison Tolman (Fargo)
Frances O'Connor (The Missing)

I'm not sure what to do with this category. This is basically a pure guess, being that I've seen none of these. From what I can tell, seems like its been a down season for American Horror Story. On the flip-side though, The Missing has been getting a lot of solid praise, therefore i think it gets recognized.

Pick: Frances O'Connor (The Missing)

Best Miniseries/TV Movie:
Olive Kitteridge
The Missing
True Detective
The Normal Heart

Unlike the Emmys, True Detective qualifies for the miniseries category at the Globes. That still makes this tough to guess. As  mentioned in the last category, The Missing seems like an underdog here, and I could certainly see The Normal Heart taking this. However, for my take, I'm going with True Detective. It just took TV dramas, and television in general to whole other level. 

Pick: True Detective

Best Actor in a TV Musical/Comedy:
Don Cheadle (House of Lies)
William H Macy (Shameless)
Ricky Gervais (Derek)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Louis CK (Louie)

No Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory nominees to be found (Or last year's big winner, Brooklyn 99), so we should get a fresh winner here. I'm putting my money on Jeffrey Tambor. What he brings to Transparent makes it feel unique.

Pick: Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

Best Actress in a TV Musical/Comedy:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin)
Lena Dunham (Girls)
Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black)

This is a stacked field. A lot of veteran nominee/winners (along with the rookie Rodriguez). All in all, I've come to know never to bet against Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Plus, Veep has kept up its brilliance this past season. So it may be the safe pick, but its the one I'm going with.

Pick: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

Best TV Musical/Comedy:
Orange is the New Black
Jane the Virgin
Silicon Valley

A lot of different ways to go here. Go with the veteran in Girls? The rising standouts in Orange is the New Black, and Veep? Or rookies in Jane the Virgin and Transparent? With Orange is the New Black, Transparent, and Veep all winning in my predictions, and with the notion that the Globes like to go outside the box when it comes to TV, I think the award goes to the CW rookie.

Pick: Jane the Virgin

Best Actor in a TV Drama:
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Clive Owen (The Knick)
James Spader (The Blacklist)
Dominic West (The Affair)
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)

A good mix here. Now unlike Actress-Comedy, I'm not going to go with the safe pick here (Kevin Spacey). Instead, I'm going with the buzzed about (ugh, I can't believe I said 'buzz', what am I now? Buzzfeed, anyway, I digress), Dominic West and The Affair.

Best Actress in a TV Drama:
Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Juliana Margulies (The Good Wife)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Ruth Wilson (The Affair)

Another category featuring rookies and veterans. Basic cable TV has sort of fallen off when it comes to awards, but I think it gets its due here. Viola Davis has been extraordinary in How to Get Away With Murder. Long live TGIT.

Pick: Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder)

Best TV Drama:
Downton Abbey
The Affair
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
The Good Wife

Besides The Affair,this is a category full of veterans. This time around, I'll go with the safe call, and predict House of Cards gets the win. The use of Netflix has opened up similar avenues for TV, as we've seen with Amazon's Transparent this year, and I think its here to stay.

Pick: House of Cards

Best Original Song in a Motion Picture:
"Big Eyes" - Lana Del Rey (Big Eyes)
"Glory" - John Legend/Common (Selma)
"Mercy is Music" - Patti Smith/Lenny Kaye (Noah)
"Opportunity" - Greg Karstin/Sia/Will Gluck (Annie)
"Yellow Flicker Beat" - Lorde (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

We now get into the Movie portion of the predictions. In a field of fairly moderate/average nominees, I think "Glory"  is going to take this one and enter as a favorite at the Oscars. The combination of John Legend and Common really works for this powerful track.

Pick: "Glory" - John Legend/Common (Selma)

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture:
Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game)
Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross (Gone Girl)
Antonio Sanchez (Birdman)
Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)

This is a tough one. On one hand, you have the veteran in Desplat, but also the moving score from Johannsson. However, I think this one is going to Reznor and Ross. Their score for Gone Girl is so out there, it really stands out and brings the movie up a notch (just as it did with The Social Network).

Pick: Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross (Gone Girl)

Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture:
Grand Budapest Hotel
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game

Its always tougher to predict screenplay winners at the Globes, being that its just 1 combined category for original and adapted. With that being said, this feels like its down to Gone Girl and Birdman. Because of the originality of it, I'm going with Birdman (but would not be shocked if Gone Girl pulls off the win).

Pick: Birdman

Best Director of a Motion Picture
Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inurritu (Birdman)
David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Will this be how the Oscars field looks like? Time will tell. As it stands now, this could seemingly go to anyone, as each director would be a worthy winner. However, given her breakthrough, I think DuVernay is going to take this for her brilliant work in Selma.

Pick: Ava DuVernay (Selma)

Best Supporting Actor:
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Robert DuVall (The Judge)
Edward Norton (Birdman)
J.K Simmons (Whiplash)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

Supporting Actor seems to be between DuVall and Simmons during the early part of this award season. With that being said, I wouldn't be shocked if Norton or Ruffalo snuck in to pull off an upset. I'm going with the favorite though, J.K Simmons, and his impressive role in Whiplash as a no-nonsense band leader.

Pick: J.K Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Emma Stone (Birdman)

This seems to be a 2 woman race between Patricia Arquette and Keira Knightley. I think Keira gets her due here for The Imitation Game. She really adds something here with her chemistry with lead Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Pick: Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Best Foreign Film:
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel)

So.......yeah, this is just a pure guess. Through research, it seems Leviathan seems to be getting the best reviews, so, that's my pick.......

Pick: Leviathan (Russia)

Best Animated Film:
The Lego Movie
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls

Last year it was Frozen, this year it seems we have another runaway favorite, The Lego Movie. It was far and away the top rated and reviewed animated film this past year. I just can't envision anyone pulling off an upset.

Pick: The Lego Movie

Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy:
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice)

This seems like another category with a runaway favorite. While there's a small chance Fiennes could pull off an upset (he really made The Grand Budapest Hotel work), this seems like its all Michael Keaton. Keaton should be among the nominees for the Oscar, as Birdman really rejuvenated his career.

Pick: Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy:
Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars)
Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
Emily Blunt (Into the Woods)
Helen Mirren (The Hundred Foot Journey)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie)

This is a difficult category to size up. In the end though, I think its down to Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. As a pure toss-up, I think its going to Amy Adams for her magnificent portrayal of artist Margaret Keane.

Pick: Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy:
Into the Woods
The Grand Budapest Hotel
St. Vincent

This seems to be a runaway (unless The Grand Budapest Hotel sneaks in). Birdman is seen as one of the favorites for Best Picture overall at the Oscars. Its just such a unique film, with the 1-shot/take quality of it. I think it gets the Golden Globe here.

Pick: Birdman

Best Actor Drama:
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
David Oyelowo (Selma)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

When it comes to the Oscars, Best Actor is shaping up as a loaded and unpredictable category. I predicted Michael Keaton to win for musical/comedy, so who will join him here? Throughout the early awards and buzz, this seems like a pure toss-up. With that being said, I'm going to go with Oyelowo. How he captured Martin Luther King Jr's image and speech is astounding. He makes Selma come to life.

Pick: David Oyelowo (Selma)

Best Actress Drama:
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

Now unlike Best Actor, the Best Actress race is shaping up as a runaway with Julianne Moore. She really brings to life early-onset Alzheimer's, and the struggles that comes with that for a surrounding family in everyday life. All signs here points to Moore.

Pick: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best Motion Picture Drama:
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

While there's no clear cut favorite, early signs have pointed towards Boyhood joining Birdman as an Oscar favorite. However, with the early positive buzz that Selma has already been getting, I'm going out on a limb and picking it to win. Selma isn't your ordinary biopic. It focuses more on the actual movement and actions that led to the historic march. It really drops you into that moment in time. When it comes to the Oscars, I feel like Boyhood is going to have to fight tooth and nail even if it wins here. If Selma indeed takes it? Kind of feels like as far as momentum goes, it would be close to ballgame.

Pick: Selma

So there you have it. How wrong will I be? Probably pretty wrong, but its just my best educated guess. So with that, sit back and enjoy. The awards season is in full swing.