• Pamela Froman

It's The Oscars! 2015

It's the night of a million stars – the Oscars! Each year, the Hollywood elite look to the favor of the Academy Awards. Anticipation abounds as the countdown to the broadcast in February begins. Hundreds of millions of movie lovers watch with bated breath as they take in the glamorous ceremony and learn who will take home the gold. This year the Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on February 22.

The first Academy Awards ceremony was a May 16 dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. As the event grew in size, banquets became impractical and the event moved to a theater venue beginning in 1942, held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Since 2001, the Oscar ceremony has been held in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. The awards ceremony was first televised in 1953. Broadcasting in color began in 1966, and since 1969, the Oscar show has been broadcast internationally.

The Oscar is made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base. It is 13.5 in tall, weighs 8.5 lb and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.

Award-winning star of stage and screen Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Oscars. This will be Harris’ first time hosting the ceremony. As an actor, singer and dancer, Harris is a performer to be reckoned with. His latest role was starring opposite Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the movie “Gone Girl.” He has received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe award nominations. He starred in the title role of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway, earning a Tony Award. Harris has hosted the 61st and 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as the 63rd, 65th, 66th and 67th Tony Awards.

The Biggest Snubs of the 2015 Oscar Nominations

While many expected films and actors and actresses were recognized this year, there were also some big snubs when it came to nominations.

One of the biggest snubs was that Jennifer Aniston failed to land a nomination for her critically acclaimed role in the independent drama “Cake.” Instead, Marion Cotillard was named in the Best Actress category, leaving Aniston on the outs. This was a surprise as Cotillard was not expected to be nominated for her role in “Two Days, One Night” at all, as it was not honored at either the SAG Awards or Golden Globes. This was unlike “Cake,” which was nominated at the SAG, Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.

Another overlook was Gillian Flynn, the screenwriter of “Gone Girl,” who also was snubbed for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

A huge confusion in the animation world was that “The Lego Movie” was not nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. The film performed extraordinarily at the box office and critics loved it but it was on the outs for Oscar contention.

Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress were also a surprise, as Laura Dern of “Wild” received a nomination and Jessica Chastain’s performance in “A Most Violent Year” was left out.

Best Picture

Here's a brief synopsis of the Best Picture nominees:

Whiplash – A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

American Sniper – Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Birdman – A washed up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play.

The Grand Budapest Hotel – The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

The Imitation Game – During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Selma – A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

The Theory of Everything – The relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. Boyhood - The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18, filmed over a period of 12 years.

Best Actor

Here is a better look at each Best Actor nominee.

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne is best known for portraying Colin Clark in My Week with Marilyn, and Marius Pontmercy in the musical film adaptation of Les Misérables.

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes in the series Sherlock. Cumberbatch's film work includes To Kill a King, Atonement, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and War Horse. He has starred in Amazing Grace as William Pitt the Younger, Star Trek Into Darkness as Khan, 12 Years a Slave as William Prince Ford, The Fifth Estate as Julian Assange and Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit film series.

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Michael Keaton started with comedic film roles and earned further acclaim for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns. Since then, he has appeared in a variety of films ranging from dramas and romantic comedies to thriller and action films. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Bradley Cooper garnered three consecutive Oscar nominations for his roles in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook, the comedy-drama American Hustle, and now the biographical war drama American Sniper.

Best Actress

Here is a better look at each Best Actress nominee.

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Marion Cotillard's first Hollywood movie was Tim Burton's Big Fish. She starred in Ridley Scott's A Good Year alongside Russell Crowe. In 2007, Cotillard received international recognition for her iconic portrayal of Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. The role won Cotillard the Academy Award for Best Actress along with a César, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe.

Felicity Jones, The Theory Of Everything

Felicity Jones played school bully Ethel Hallow in the first series of The Worst Witch. Jones also co-starred in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's feature Cemetery Junction. She appeared in 2011 in the drama Like Crazy and in the romantic comedy Chalet Girl. In 2014, she appeared as Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl Rosamund Pike first came to attention for playing Bond girl Miranda Frost in Die Another Day. Her best known film roles include Pride and Prejudice, Johnny English Reborn, Wrath of the Titans, Jack Reacher, and The World's End.

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Reese Witherspoon's role in 1999's Election earned her a Golden Globe Award. Her breakthrough role came with the box-office hit Legally Blonde and she received worldwide attention and praise for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, which earned her the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and the Critics Choice Award.

Best Director

The following is a list of the Best Director nominees:

Richard Linklater, Boyhood Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

You can watch all the Best Picture trailers here:

The Red Carpet – What Are They Wearing?

Red carpet glam can boost an actor onto the A-List. So what are the actors going to wear on the biggest night of the year? Here are some guesses.

Look for shimmery, art deco-inspired gowns or bold colors for Julianne Moore. Dressing in sequins, glitter and feathers has created her signature look. A classic, body-hugging Armani gown is what works for Reese Witherspoon. Rosamund Pike works her fashion by showing some skin. Expect a Prada or Alexander McQueen dress. Marion Cotillard will definitely wear Dior to the ceremony. Bet on something extra feminine. Felicity Jones should wear a dress that is sunny and bright, perhaps a Marchesa design.

Expect something classic from Steve Carell; Tom Ford would be a great choice. Bradley Cooper should arrive in something whimsical. A velvet smoking jacket from Gucci, perhaps in deep burgundy or navy blue, would be a great choice. Benedict Cumberbatch will go for a classic suit or tuxedo with a simple white pocket square. Michael Keaton will rock a conventional suit, perhaps a Burberry. Eddie Redmayne should strive to look classic and formal. He favors velvet, tweed and even colorful suits and jackets. Perhaps a grey suit by Burberry.

Emma Stone should go the elegant, classic route with a polished yet risky ensemble. A sculptural Lanvin or balloon-skirted Giambattista Valli gown would be stunning. Meryl Streep will be chic as always. She has worn Lanvin to the Oscars for the past three years, but she may switch it up to a full-skirted gown from either Oscar de la Renta or Carolina Herrera. Laura Dern favors warm colors but she may go for a red, or even metallic gown. Vera Wang is a favorite. Keira Knightley may go for something completely original and it's likely she'll wear Chanel. Patricia Arquette favors clean, classic lines. A subdued Michael Kors dress would be amazing.

Robert Duvall will likely go for a completely classic look by an all-American designer such as Brooks Brothers or Ralph Lauren. JK Simmons will want to look buttoned-up and polished. A timeless Ralph Lauren or Tom Ford suit is likely. Ethan Hawke likes to play with texture and color. He has worn Prada in the past, but Burberry would be great on him. Edward Norton would do well with a deep purple velvet jacket, but he might play it safe with a classic tuxedo. Mark Ruffalo might also go the classic route but he may do something surprising.

Who Will Win?

Oscars 2015 Predictions Whiplash star J.K. Simmons, has whipped the competition, winning a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, and the SAG for his Best Supporting Actor performance as the violent music teacher and tormenter Terence Fletcher. He will likely win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Patricia Arquette is a powerhouse in her category. The Boyhood star will most likely come out on top thanks to her stunning take of a single mother moving through a series of destructive relationships. She has already earned a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, and a SAG Award.

This may finally be Julianne Moore's year. She has been nominated for an Oscar 5 times, but this may be the year she wins for her role as a young titular Alzheimer's patient in Still Alice. The stunning performance has scored her a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, and a SAG.

Will it be acting expert Michael Keaton or new face Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor? Both men scored the Golden Globe in different genres, Keaton winning for his role as Riggan Thomson in Birdman at the Critics’ Choice Awards while Redmayne went won at the SAGs for his amazing turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. It's too close to call.

Best Director and Best Picture tend to go hand in hand. The two most likely are Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman. Birdman used a gifted group of to circumvent the complexities of the script and the film's set of single-camera shots. But the comprehensiveness of Boyhood both in storytelling and acting cannot be contradicted. Shot over 12 years, this literal coming-of-age story has garnered the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards for both Best Director and Best Picture.

The Box Office – How are Best Picture Nominees Faring?

American Sniper is setting box office records, pulling in an estimated $200.1 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film cost Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow $58 million to make. Birdman added 362 theaters (to 833 total) and upped its weekend ticket sales 24% from last weekend. It pulled in $1.9 million in its 15th weekend in release, raising its gross to $30.9 million. Boyhood, first released in July, added an estimated $197,000. Its total gross is $24.9 million. The film is also available on home video. The Grand Budapest Hotel brought in $800,000 from four theaters in its first week, for a per-screen average of $200,000. To date, it has made about $59.1 million. The Imitation Game" came in sixth with $7.1 million. With the addition of 414 theaters (to a total of more than 2,000 theaters), the film was up 5%. To date, it has made $60.6 million. Selma came in eighth place with $5.5 million, raising its total haul to about $39.2 million. The Theory of Everything was up 34% after adding 349 locations (to 858 total). To date, it's made about $29.1 million. Whiplash was up 116% after expanding to 378 more theaters (567 in all). The film has made about $7.6 million.

The Oscar Red Carpet Experience

Do you want to be a part of Hollywood's biggest night? The Oscars offer 700 bleacher seats to fans each year. The Oscar Fan experience is the ultimate event for stargazing (of the movie variety), as winners get to sit and watch A-list celebrities walk the red carpet. Besides getting up close and personal with the stars, winners are able to watch the Oscars at a nearby theatre, and take home a fan gift bag. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences uses a lottery system each year to determine who gets to go. Check out for more details.

Oscar After Parties

Just because you weren’t invited to the 87th Annual Academy Awards show doesn’t mean you can’t go to the after parties or luxury viewing blowouts. All you need is a ticket. Night of 100 Stars Oscar® Viewing Dinner Party is a star-infested black tie whoop-de-doo that you don’t want to miss. Entertainment industry execs, film stars, TV actors and financiers assemble at the Beverly Hills Hotel to let it all hang out.

Elton John’s Academy Award® Party - This chic soiree is in West Hollywood at the Pacific Design Center. At the bash, you’ll see plenty of folks from all over the world. The best reason to attend the get-together is that all proceeds benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Weinstein Brothers Pre-Oscar® Party / Weinstein Brothers After-Party The Weinstein Brothers Pre-Oscar® Party is at the Soho House on Sunset Boulevard. Among those who got together last year were Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry and Meryl Streep. The next day Weinstein Brothers head over to their second fiesta on the Sunset Strip at the Mondrian Hotel. Many of the stars that hit the Pre-Party go to the Weinstein’s After-party too. After all, who can get enough of a good thing? For more info go to

Oscar Parties For the Rest of Us

Okay so you're not a movie star. That doesn't mean you can't partake in some local Oscar fun. Check out these Oscar events that anyone can attend. Hollywood Roosevelt Where better to enjoy the Oscars than at the site of the very first Academy Awards ceremony? Hollywood Roosevelt will host a viewing dinner and party on Oscar Sunday with a three-course menu for $99.

APLA Party @ The Abbey AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) is holding its annual Oscar Viewing Party at the Abbey. Tickets start at $500, but it goes to a great cause and the night includes dinner, drinks and fun. The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design at FIDM The Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising hosts its annual showcase of Oscar-nominated costumes in the Best Costume Design category. The free exhibit includes nominated costumes from the current year's nominees as well as the winners for best costume design from the previous year.

The Universal Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood You can see more costumes, props, sets and make-up from Oscar-nominated films at The Universal Experience: Behind the Scenes at Universal Pictures. The exhibit features items from Universal's library of over 6,000 movies produced by the studio since 1913, including its latest Academy Award contenders.

Movie Matinees Saluting the Oscars

The Thousand Oaks Library will be saluting the Oscars with free screenings of Best Picture titles through the month of February. More information at Feb. 2 - 1:00 - Free screening of 1973 Best Picture, The Sting. Won 7 Oscars Feb. 9 - 1:00 - Grant R. Brimhall Library Free screening of the 1987 Best Original Screenplay Picture, Moonstruck. Won 3 Oscars. Feb. 23 - 1:00 - Grant R. Brimhall Library Free screening of the 1960 Best Picture, The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.

Plan Your Own Oscar Party

Get in on the action with your own Oscar party. Gather some friends for an over-the-top Oscar extravaganza. Here’s how to have a blast and put a piece of Hollywood in your living room. This is a glued-to-the-tv party, so make sure there’s seating for all. Plump up the sofa and be sure to have lots of floor cushions. Create a Walk of Fame – guests can find their names on your very own Hollywood Boulevard. You'll find a template on And keep the film theme going.

Try decorating with Hollywood-themed goodies like director clipboards, a camera piñata and your very own red carpet.

Get Dressed Up – All the celebrities will be wearing their finery, so why not you? Encourage guests to dress up and glam up.

Make-your-own popcorn bar – What are the movies without popcorn? What’s even better than popcorn? A DIY Popcorn Bar! This is basically a design-your-own popcorn variety setup, with the popcorn as a base, and lots of toppings of varied flavors to make it special. Set out small bowls or cute popcorn boxes or sacks to hold the popcorn. Then, set up a bar with toppings and mix-ins.

DIY Photo Booth – Be snapped by the paparazzi in your very own Photo Booth! For detailed instructions how go to

The Game – Keep the night interesting by giving each guest a ballot and having them pick the winners of the night. Play along with the show and offer prizes like DVDs of last years Best Picture. Collect the ballots prior to the first award being given.

Champagne – Add extra touches for cocktails like flecks of edible gold leaf.

Create a buffet of easy to grab finger foods.

Send guests home with a red carpet worthy Swag Bag. Lights, Camera, Action! See you at the movies!

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