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At one point do we stop pretending that Richard Linklater’s Boyhood isn’t a complete and total awards juggernaut? Do we continue to entertain the notion that an excellent film like Selma or Birdman -- or an unexpected awards contender like The Theory of Everything or The Grand Budapest Hotel -- can swoop in at the last minute and steal Boyhood’s thunder? Or can we just accept the fact that the results from Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony will be mirrored at the Oscars, and just embrace that incredible reality.
OK, fine. Boyhood hasn’t even secured an Oscar nomination yet – a technicality that will be resolved on Thursday, when the Academy reveals its noms. And I have tracked enough awards races to know that films that build momentum can fade when challenged by an equally powerful contender. The Social Network won the Globe in 2010, but watched The King’s Speech claim the Oscar weeks later. Babel claimed the Globe in 2006, then lost to The Departed. Currents shift. Campaigns heat up. Films that look invulnerable in January suffer strange losses in March.
That shouldn’t happen to Boyhood. Richard Linklater’s movie has enjoyed its particular perch in the frontrunner’s "Driver’s Seat" since critics groups started handing out recognitions late last year. (Cue the latest joke about how long it took to make Boyhood, versus how long Hollywood has spent honoring Linklater’s incredible accomplishment.) That’s the thing, though. It’s virtually impossible NOT to ackowledge Linklater’s gamble – and his victory – by handing Boyhood the top prize any film can earn: A Best Picture Oscar. By filming a story once a year for 12 years, Linklater accomplishes what no one outside of Michael Apted has attempted. His film is more leisurely anthology than fervent page-turner. But it’s also a heartwarming, eye-opening time capsule of American life, and for so many reasons, it needs to be celebrated.
Boyhood earned serious momentum at the Golden Globes. It grabbed trophies for Director and Picture (Drama), as well as Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. It’s possible another film charms Oscar between now and February 22. But I firmly believe that evening will be reserved for Linklater’s final Boyhood party, one that has been 12 years in the making.