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'Boyhood': Why its recent wins may not mean what you think for the Oscars

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(Read caption) 'Boyhood' stars Ellar Coltrane.

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“Boyhood” is admired by film critics, and that may at least guarantee it a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars – will it also receive the big prize? 

The movie “Boyhood" follows a boy (Ellar Coltrane) and his family (his parents are portrayed by “The Purge” actor Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette of “Boardwalk Empire”) to adulthood. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, was filmed over 12 years, following Coltrane’s character Mason from the age of 6 to 18.

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“Boyhood” has received the Best Picture prize from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, both seen as possible previews of what movies will receive Best Picture nods at the Oscars. Their choices, however, especially those by the LAFCA, don’t always match up with the eventual Academy Award Best Picture. Last year the NYFCC chose the 2013 film “American Hustle” as Best Picture (“12 Years a Slave” would eventually win), though the NYFCC Best Picture has lined up with the Oscar Best Picture other years, as when it selected 2011’s “The Artist,” 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” and 2007’s “No Country for Old Men.” The LAFCA’s Best Picture hasn’t lined up with the Oscars’ movie of the year since 2009, when it also selected “Locker.” However, all of the NYFCC's Best Pictures since 2007 have at least received a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars and the LAFCA's selections have received nods for the past 10 years, so, if history is any indication, the odds are strong that "Boyhood" will be on the list when Best Picture Oscar nominees are announced.

And this does mean that “Boyhood” is still part of the awards season conversation – not always a given when a movie is released in July. The LAFCA selected Wes Anderson’s film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” as its runner-up for Best Picture, which may also provide the movie a boost. “Budapest” was released in March. By contrast, many awards season hopefuls, such as “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods,” “Big Eyes,” “Selma,” and “American Sniper,” have yet to hit theaters. 

Monitor film critic Peter Rainer awarded “Boyhood” an A grade and wrote of the film and its director Linklater, “I have long maintained that Richard Linklater is the most gifted and audacious director of his generation. His new movie, ‘Boyhood’… is a stunning reconfirmation.” 


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