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.
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.
The Imitation Game 10%
The Grand Budapest Hotel 8%
The Theory of Everything 6%
American Sniper 4%
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%
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%
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
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.
The Grand Budapest Hotel 24%
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
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%
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%)
Birdman (50%), The Grand Budapest Hotel (25%), Mr. Turner (12%), Ida (7%), Unbroken (6%)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
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%)
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
“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)
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
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
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%)