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Midday Movies: Handicapping The 87th Academy Awards

Film critics evaluate this year’s Oscar race

Richard Linklater's

Credit: IFC Films

Above: Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" caught Oscar's eye with his portrait of a young boy who grows up before our eyes. Ellar Coltrane shot over 12 years with Linklater to make the film. Will it walk away with the top prize on Sunday?

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The 87th Academy Awards are this Sunday (red carpet begins at 4 p.m.). Vegas oddsmakers have the independent film "Boyhood" as the favorite with the Clint Eastwood war film "American Sniper" as the extreme long shot. Find out what a pair of San Diego film critics think of this year's Oscar race.

While there is a diversity of filmmaking styles on display among the nominated films, there have been complaints that this is the whitest group of nominees in years. The "Selma" nomination for best picture is the one exception. It focused on the campaign of Martin Luther King Jr. to secure equal voting rights through a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965.

But does the lack of ethnic diversity among the nominees reflect an underlying racism among Academy voters or does it say something about the pool of films from which they had to choose?

Beth Accomando said it reflects "the lack of diversity behind the camera in Hollywood rather than a racist bias on the part of voters. But whether it's the fault of Academy voters or the studios making mostly white films, Hollywood needs to address the lack of diversity among the people writing and directing its films."

Every Oscar race stirs some kind of debate or controversy over who gets nominated and who doesn't.

For Ian Forbes, a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, the greatest oversight among this year's nominees is the omission of "Nightcrawler" from the top categories. The film cleaned up at the San Diego Film Critics Society's awards, winning seven categories including best film, best director for Dan Gilroy, and best actor for Jake Gyllenhaal.

For a less serious take on the Oscars, check out Barbarella Fokos' tip on watching the show and how it could be made better.

Barbarella on Watching the Oscars and Making Them Better

You can find a complete list of the nominees for the 87th Academy Awards at the Oscar website, complete with a printable ballot. You can find Accomando's picks for the year's best on Cinema Junkie.

The Oscars will be telecast live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 22 starting at 4 p.m. Neil Patrick Harris will be the host.

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