OSCARS 2015: Final Predictions

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Chris Luckett

Left your Oscar pool until the last minute? Want to show up your friends with a little friendly competition? Here’s my guide for what to expect during tonight’s Academy Awards.


BEST PICTURE

The Best Picture race almost always has a dramatic shift in its final leg, when the assumed frontrunner suddenly finds itself fighting to beat a late bloomer. The Social Network, Lincoln, and Gravity were all sure-things to win when their respective years’ nominations came out, but by the time of the shows, they lost to the runaway momentum of The King’s Speech, Argo, and 12 Years a Slave.

So, the question is, can Boyhood fight off the groundswell behind Birdman? What seemed like a lock now is one of the tightest races of the night. One thing’s for sure: if Birdman starts winning the smaller categories, it will snowball and take the top ones, too. If it doesn’t, there won’t be enough support to overpower Richard Linklater’s childhood drama. It’s incredibly tight, but history tells me Birdman will emerge the victor.

Birdman                                35%
Boyhood                                  32%

The Imitation Game               10%
The Grand Budapest Hotel     8%
The Theory of Everything      6%
American Sniper                     4%
Whiplash                                 3%
Selma                                      2%


BEST DIRECTOR

Photo: IFC Films

Photo: IFC Films

Another trend in recent years is the splitting of winners for Picture and Director, to recognize two movies instead of one. It’s happened 24 over the 86 years of the Academy Awards, but it’s happened five times in just the last 15 years — including in 2014 and 2013. Birdman may win Picture, but expect Richard Linklater to receive the Directing award for dedicating twelve years of his life to the filming of Boyhood.

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)                                45%
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)                              40%

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)            8%
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)                    4%
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)                                     3%


BEST ACTOR

When the nominations came out, it seemed like this would be a tight race between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne. In the weeks since, though, Keaton has killed with every acceptance speech he’s given, especially at the Golden Globes. Redmayne won at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, so he’s definitely still got a lot of support, but Keaton’s got a whole career he’ll be receiving the award for, while many will feel Redmayne will have other chances to win in the future.

Michael Keaton (Birdman)                                    40%
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)        35%

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)       15%
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)                          6%
Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)                                          4%


BEST ACTRESS

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics/Mongrel Media

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics/Mongrel Media

Not even worth debating. Julianne Moore’s the closest thing to a lock there is this year.

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)                                   70%
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)                                      10%

Reese Witherspoon (Wild)                                       8%
Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)                 7%
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)               5%


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics/Mongrel Media

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics/Mongrel Media

It’s not a very tight race this year. Both because it was the most acclaimed supporting performance of the year and because the competition isn’t strong enough to upset his lead, this is J.K. Simmons’s to lose.

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)              60%
Edward Norton (Birdman)               18%

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)                  10%
Robert Duvall (The Judge)                8%
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)                4%


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Ethan Hawke doesn’t really stand a chance of winning Best Supporting Actor and star Ellar Coltrane wasn’t even nominated, leaving all of Boyhood’s acting credentials on Arquette’s shoulders. Whether you argue the win will be due to her powerful performance or in recognition of the movie itself, expect Patricia Arquette to walk away with the gold.

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)                     55%
Laura Dern (Wild)                                        20%

Emma Stone (Birdman)                                15%
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)                    6%
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)        4%


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Traditionally, the Original Screenplay category is the one that rewards ingenuity and creativity the most, allowing the AMPAS to recognize less conventional movies like Her, Django Unchained, and Juno. In any other year, that would mean this would either go to the twisted Nightcrawler or the sublime The Grand Budapest Hotel. But this year’s Picture frontrunners both have original screenplays, which throws Birdman and Boyhood into the mix, making this category almost anybody’s game.

Birdman                                25%
The Grand Budapest Hotel     24%

Boyhood                                  22%
Nightcrawler                          20%
Foxcatcher                              9%


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Twisting the light-hearted film noir tone of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice into the most labyrinthine stoner comedy since The Big Lebowski, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest may take the award on ingenuity alone. Of course, The Imitation Game’s screenplay has an acclaimed history (beginning with its inclusion on 2007’s Black List of the hottest unproduced screenplays), Whiplash comes with Sundance cred, and The Theory of Everything has the “prestigious bio-pic” factor. It’s a close race, but not as close as Original Screenplay’s.

Inherent Vice                                    30%
The Imitation Game               25%

Whiplash                                 20%
The Theory of Everything      15%
American Sniper                     10%


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Big Hero 6 (40%), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (25%), Song of the Sea (15%), The Boxtrolls (12%), The Tale of Princess Kaguya (8%)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Birdman (50%), The Grand Budapest Hotel (25%), Mr. Turner (12%), Ida (7%), Unbroken (6%)


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Grand Budapest Hotel (40%), Into the Woods (22%), Mr. Turner (15%), Maleficent (13%), Inherent Vice (10%)

 


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Citizenfour (45%), Last Days in Vietnam (20%), Finding Vivian Maier (18%), Virunga (10%), The Salt of the Earth (7%)


BEST EDITING

Boyhood (30%), Whiplash (28%), The Grand Budapest Hotel (23%), American Sniper (12%), The Imitation Game (7%)


BEST FOREIGN-LANGAUGE FEATURE

Ida (35%), Wild Tales (30%), Leviathan (20%), Timbuktu (10%), Tangerines (5%)


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

The Grand Budapest Hotel (40%), Guardians of the Galaxy (35%), Foxcatcher (25%)


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Theory of Everything (35%), The Grand Budapest Hotel (32%), The Imitation Game (20%), Interstellar (9%), Mr. Turner (4%)


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

“Glory,” Selma (40%), “Everything is Awesome,” The LEGO Movie (35%), “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me (12%), “Grateful,” Beyond the Lights (7%), “Lost Stars,” Begin Again (6%)


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel (30%), Into the Woods (25%), Mr. Turner (20%), Interstellar (18%), The Imitation Game (7%)


BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Artwork: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Artwork: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Feast (40%), The Dam Keeper (38%), The Bigger Picture (10%), A Single Life (7%), Me and My Moulton (5%)


BEST SHORT FILM (DOCUMENTARY)

Joanna (50%), Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (40%), Our Curse (5%), The Reaper (3%), White Earth (2%)


BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE-ACTION)

The Phone Call (30%), Aya (25%), Boogaloo and Graham (22%), Butter Lamp (15%), Parvaneh (8%)


BEST SOUND EDITING

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

American Sniper (30%), Interstellar (27%), Birdman (25%), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (12%), Unbroken (6%)


BEST SOUND MIXING

Whiplash (35%), Birdman (30%), American Sniper (15%), Interstellar (12%), Unbroken (8%)


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (30%), Interstellar (28%), Guardians of the Galaxy (20%), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (12%), X-Men: Days of Future Past (10%)

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