It is almost time for a winner to be crowned. This Sunday, the 22nd, the Oscars will air. This year is particularly interesting because there are 3 categories that have two frontrunners in each, and it could honestly go either way. Even with the “lack of diversity” and “whitewashing” of the Oscars this year, you cannot deny the quality of the films that were nominated. This season was exceptional, with a number of movies that were rightly nominated and only a few that shouldn’t have been. I will be doing in-depth analyses of the major categories, but for the technical stuff I will just be doing predictions. Without further ado, let us get down to the nitty gritty. Bolded movies are what I want to win, Italicized are what I think will when.

Best Picture:

Whiplash

Grand Budapest Hotel

Boyhood

Birdman

Selma

American Sniper

Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

Reason: Both Boyhood and Birdman have won their fair share of awards. Birdman shockingly lost at the Globes, while it swept the SAGS. Both are ambitious films, but Boyhood is more ambitious. It took 12 years to make, it is a revolutionary idea, and it also carries a sentimental value. If we look at previous awards, sentimentality tends to win over more serious material (i.e. Saving Private Ryan losing to Shakespeare in Love and Social Network losing to Kings Speech.) Boyhoods accessibility and its appeals to life and time will probably take it over the acting powerhouse and technically masterful Birdman.

 

Best Actor:

Steve Carell- Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game

Bradley Cooper- American Sniper

Michael Keaton- Birdman

Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything

Reason: Both actors have been in a deadlock all season. Redmayne has the young, crowd appealing, and fresh persona while Keaton has the aged, more mature and probably “one-time-only” shot at the Oscar. It is lifelong achievement against newcomer. I think that’s why Keaton will win, even though Bruce Dern lost last year for Nebraska and that was probably his last chance at an award. Redmayne, though, has the disabled performances which is usually complete and utter Oscar bait, and it is important to note that most predictors have him edging out Keaton in terms of odds. Most sites predict him to win, and he certainly might. But then again, Bradley Cooper might just come out of nowhere and take it. There is always room for an upset.

 

Best Actress:

Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl

Julianne Moore- Still Alice

Reese Witherspoon- Wild

Marion Cotillard- Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones- The Theory of Everything

Reason: Julianne Moore has swept every other award show, so it’s basically her win here. The only one I could see coming close is Reese Witherspoon, but it’s a big long-shot.

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall- The Judge

Ethan Hawke- Boyhood

Edward Norton- Birdman

Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

Reason: Simmons has won just about every award there is thus far. He owned his performance and created one of the most vicious and terrifying teachers ever in the history of film. He deserves it hands-down.

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette- Boyhood

Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game

Laura Dern- Wild

Emma Stone- Birdman

Meryl Streep- Into the Woods

Reaction: Another shoe-in. Arquette has swept the awards, giving one of her best performances ever. Who knows, though, the Academy does tend to give Meryl more Oscars than she probably should have.

 

Best Director:

Richard Linklater- Boyhood

Bennett Miller- Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson- Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum- The Imitation Game

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- Birdman

Reason: Another contentious category. Does the Academy give it to the man who got brilliant performance out of a dizzying and mesmerizing film that critiques the state of Hollywood?  Or do they give it to the man who had a vision over 12 years ago, and against all odds delivered one of the most astounding movies to come out in recent years? Both directors were innovative, ambitious, and above all, masterful. However, Linklater has been a name in the Academy before, and is one who has been innovating films for over 20 years. Inarritu might be too “weird” for some people, even though he isn’t exactly new to the Awards (Babel, Biutiful, and Amores Perros) and perhaps they might split the awards for Birdman and Boyhood, but my money is on Linklater.

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Boyhood

Birdman

Foxcatcher

Nightcrawler

Grand Budapest Hotel

Reaction: Wes Anderson, who has never been honored with an Oscar for his original, zany, and wonderful scripts should and probably will win it this year. Though he won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy, this is the only major category that he will likely win. The only other winner could be Birdman, which is a fabulous script.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

American Sniper

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Imitation Game

 

Reason: Whiplash had a phenomenal script, but Imitation Game did as well. Both were superb movies, but I think Imitation Games timeliness will win over Whiplash’s brutality. Inherent Vice was an odd choice here, and I doubt Theory or American Sniper will win with the latter being the weakest film in the bunch.

 

 

Best Animated Film:

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Big Hero 6

The Box Trolls

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

(The Lego Movie) 

Reason: The Lego Movie wins in my heart, but considering it is one of the biggest snubs of the year, it only has a nomination for best song. However, since How to Train Your Dragon 2 has won all of the major awards, it is going to win the Oscar as well.

 

Best Foreign Film:

Ida

Leviathan

Tangerines

Wild Tales

Timbuktu

Reason: I have not seen any of these this year, but considering Leviathan won the Golden Globe, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise if it won the Oscar as well.

 

Best Cinematography

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mr. Turner

Unbroken

Ida

Reason: Birdman is a massive achievement in cinematography, so it would be shocking if the Academy did not award that. Its constantly moving camera and spectacular long-takes make it a mesmerizing experience. Unbroken, Ida, and Mr. Turner do not stand a chance, and I don’t think Grand Budapest has much of a chance either.

 

Best Editing:

Boyhood

Grand Budapest Hotel

Imitation Game

Whiplash

American Sniper

Reason: With Birdman’s exclusion, the only appropriate choice would be Boyhood which blends together the 12 years into a cohesive story where one year seamlessly bleeds into the next.

 

Best Score:

The Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

Interstellar

Mr. Turner

Grand Budapest Hotel

Reason: Again, without Birdman (which was supposedly excluded because of its mainly drum-based score) the only stand out is Theory of Everything which won the Golden Globe. Though I would really want Interstellar to take it, it seems like that is way too big of a long shot.

 

Best Song:

Glory- Selma

Everything is Awesome- Lego Movie

Lost Stars- Begin Again

Grateful- Beyond the Lights

Glen Campbell- I’ll be Me

Reason: Glory has been winning every award out there, and even with the inclusion of the awesome Everything is Awesome, there is no way that it won’t win.

 

Best Production Design:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Into the Woods

Mr. Turner

 

Best Costume Design:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Maleficent

Into the Woods

Mr. Turner

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Grand Budapest Hotel

Foxcatcher

Guardians of the Galaxy 

 

Best Sound Mixing:

Birdman

American Sniper

Whiplash

Unbroken

Interstellar

 

Best Sound Editing:

American Sniper

Birdman

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Interstellar 

Unbroken

 

Best Visual Effects:

Interstellar

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Guardians of the Galaxy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Best Documentary:

Citizenfour 

Finding Vivian Maier

Last Days in Vietnam

The Salt of the Earth

Virunga

 

Best Documentary Short:

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Joanna

Our Curse

The Reaper

White Earth

 

Best Animated Short:

Feast 

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper

Me and My Moulton

A Single Life

 

Best Live Short:

The Phone Call

Parvaneh

Butter Lamp

Boogaloo and Graham

Aya

 

 

And there we have it. My predictions for the Academy Awards. Every year has proven that there can and will be upsets. Who knows, maybe Grand Budapest Hotel might sweep it all; maybe American Sniper’s late entry into the game will prove to be a big shake-up. Be sure to tune in on Sunday to see which movies take the gold, and which films will go the way of the Lego Movie. Got a disagreement? Let me know in the comments.

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