They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Final Oscar Nominations Predictions for 2015

By J. Don Birnam

January 14, 2015

I wonder if I'll be up for Oscar in more than a decade.

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Early on Thursday morning, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science will announce the nominees for Oscars in all 24 competitive categories at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Who will get predawn congratulatory phone calls? We have been following the Oscar race since Toronto in September, and as it enters its third and final stage, it is time to put our prognosticator money where our mouth is.

Update on Oscar Race: Final Precursors Update

As you likely saw, the Golden Globes on Sunday crowned Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel victorious. The latter was somewhat of a surprise, as most expected to see Birdman emerge the winner in that category, but that movie had to console itself with a screenplay award. For the Oscars, this means that the Original Screenplay race will be very tight between the three frontrunners: Boyhood, Birdman, and Grand Budapest. In the acting races, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, and Patricia Arquette continued their long march to the Dolby Theater stage on February 22nd, while Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton will duke it out to the finish (with the latter significantly improving his chances with an emotional and heartfelt speech).

As for my Globes predictions: I did pretty well if you consider my “Could Win” picks, missing out completely only on Amy Adams’ well-deserved Best Actress in a Comedy win over Emily Blunt. She’s becoming close to “overdue” for an Oscar.

The other major precursor update is that the Directors Guild of America announced their nominees for the Best Director of the year. The five nominees include four expected names: Linklater for Boyhood, Anderson for Grand Budapest Hotel, Inarritu for Birdman, and Tyldum for The Imitation Game. The fifth slot went to Clint Eastwood for American Sniper, which seems to have caught on fire just as voting was under way. Most years see four of the five DGA nominees repeat at Oscar, so I expect Eastwood’s slot is vulnerable. That said, an exact five to five match is not out of the question this year.

Do or Die Time: Final Oscar Nominations Predictions for 2015

Let’s do these in reverse order from least to most important category, listing one alternate for each of the 21 categories (I’m excluding the three shorts categories). Explanations added as needed.

Best Foreign Language Film
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Alt: Wild Tales (Argentina)

Best Documentary Feature Film
Citizenfour
Life Itself
The Case Against 8
Last Days in Vietnam
The Overnighters
Alt: Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Best Animated Feature Film
The LEGO Movie
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Boxtrolls
Alt: The Book of Life

Best Make-Up And Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
Guardians of the Galaxy
Maleficient
Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Visual Effects
Interstellar
Guardians of the Galaxy
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Alt: Captain America: Winter Soldier

Best Sound Mixing
Into the Woods
Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
American Sniper
Whiplash
Alt: Fury




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Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
Interstellar
Fury
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Alt: Godzilla

Best Original Song
Glory (Selma)
Lost Stars (Begin Again)
Big Eyes (Big Eyes)
Yellow Flicker Beat (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1)
Ryan’s Song (Boyhood)
Alt: Opportunity (Annie)

Best Original Score
Interstellar
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat scored this and Budapest Hotel)
The Theory of Everything
Gone Girl
Alt: Unbroken (also a Desplat score, so I expect he will get at least two nods this year)

Best Costume Design
Into the Woods
Selma
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Mr. Turner
Alt: Maleficent

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into The Woods
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Big Eyes
Alt: Mr. Turner

Best Cinematography
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Alt: Mr. Turner

Best Film Editing

This seems like one of the hardest to predict right now, and will be a tell-tale sign of where the winds are blowing here. A Grand Budapest Hotel nod here would mean it should be taken seriously as an actual Best Picture contender.

Boyhood
The Imitation Game
Whiplash
American Sniper
Birdman
Alt: Gone Girl

Best Original Screenplay
Boyhood
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler
Selma
Alt: A Most Violent Year

Best Adapted Screenplay
Gone Girl
Whiplash
The Theory of Everything
The Imitation Game
American Sniper
Alt: Wild

Best Supporting Actor
J.K Simmons (Whiplash)
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Ed Norton (Birdman)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Alt: Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
Alt: Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Best Actor

Really, there are at least 4 other names that could land that fifth spot.

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
David Oyelowo (Selma)
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
Alt: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Best Actress
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Alt: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

Best Director

I’ll be happy if I get even three right here. This one will go down to the wire.

Richard Linklater (Boyood)
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Alt: Clint Eastwood (American Sniper)

Best Picture

I think we will have nine nominees once more, but there are several credible alternatives for that last spot, including Nightcrawler and Foxcatcher. But here is what my gut is telling me.

Boyhood
Birdman
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything
American Sniper
Whiplash
Selma
Nightcrawler
Alt: Gone Girl


     


 
 

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