1. Richard Linklater’s vision contains more dedication than anything most of us have ever undertaken: Can you imagine anything that you’ve committed to for twelve years? The average diet only holds out for approximately nineteen days. Even far less than the “seven year itch,” the average romantic relationship nowadays only lasts two years and nine months. Whether you appreciate the aesthetics, acting, or narrative of the film or not, you have to value Linklater’s ongoing dedication to such a laborious project.
2. Boyhood’s editors had the toughest job of all: Sure, Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of a subpar American dad doesn’t hold much of an argument against Eddie Redmayne’s precise portrayal of Stephen Hawking. Perhaps the entirety of the everyday, somewhat anticlimactic plotline may not appeal to the Academy as much as a film such as Birdman. However, no other editors had a task as daunting as the team of Boyhood, sifting through twelve years’ worth of footage to create a single feature-length film.
3. It creates a glimpse of history that will stand the test of time: The cultural references in the film—from the Oregon Trail video game to the Razr cell phone to the surge in popularity of Toms—create a sort of biopic that will forever document the accuracy of life in the early twenty-first century; meanwhile, enduring themes including teen rebellion, first loves, family dynamics, and other ups and downs of growing up will remain forever relevant. As Mark Kermode, BBC Reporter, stated, “It felt like there will be a pub quiz question in 10 years’ time, and the question will be: ‘What won the Oscar for best picture the year that Boyhood didn’t?’”
4. Choosing and coaching the actors was an added directorial challenge: Linklater chose the prime star of the film, Ellar Coltrane, when the latter was only six years old—and, based not on his acting ability but largely on the fact that Coltrane’s family would remain local to Austin, Texas (the setting of the movie). Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, portrayed Ellar’s sister in the film and wasn’t consistently on board with the filming process: three years into shooting, at age 12, she asked her father to kill off her character. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite like working with seasoned veterans such as Michael Keaton or Reese Witherspoon.
5. The concept held so much uncertainty: From getting consent from investors who had to trust they’d get their money back in about thirteen years to writing new scripts for the actors each and every year, planning a film such as Boyhood took more preparation and development than perhaps all of the other nominated films combined. Writing the Iraqi war and Obama election into the script required foresight into not only the future of the plotline, but into the future of our country.