February 20, 2015


I’ve already identified who should win the Oscars for Best Picture and for all the acting categories; now, let’s take a stab at who’ll actually win this Sunday. Here are predictions for the 87th Oscars…

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) CORRECT
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory Of Everything

In recent years, there have been those when the Oscar winner for Best Picture was almost a done deal, when there was only a second option that could upset the most obvious winner. Avatar was the second when The Hurt Locker won. The Social Network was the second when The King’s Speech won. The Descendants was the second when The Artist won. Argo could have lost out to Lincoln, and 12 Years A Slave to Gravity. This year, however, the odds of Boyhood or Birdman winning are almost 50-50. Boyhood won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – drama, while Birdman won the SAG ensemble and the Producers Guild Of America Award (PGAs) for Best Picture. In the last 17 years, more PGA winners have gone on to win Best Picture Oscars than have the Golden Globe Best Picture winners or the SAG ensemble winners. This year, the PGA named Birdman Best Picture. Additionally, the Directors Guild Of America Awards (DGAs) for directing have been more in-sync with the Oscar Best Picture winners than even the PGAs. This year, the DGA went to Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman.
It’s not unusual for the Academy to award unconventional and novel films as their Best Picture, like 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, or 2011’s The Artist, so it wouldn’t be so far off for one to think that they’ll actually give it to Boyhood this year. However, Birdman is just as novel as Boyhood is, especially considering the kind of films that generally win Best Picture—such as No Country For Old Men, The King’s Speech, 12 Years A Slave. Therefore, this year, despite Boyhood’s novelty and experimental charm, I think it’ll be Birdman taking home the big prize, considering the track record that the Academy has vis-à-vis the big prizes of the other awards.

Alejandro G Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) CORRECT
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

There’s a good chance that Boyhood might win for directing while it loses Best Picture, to Birdman. It could also be the other way around, with Alejandro González Iñárritu winning for directing while Boyhood wins Best Picture. However, majority of Best Picture winners also win the Oscar for directing, and I think Birdman will fall into that majority this year. The perfectly executed screenplay of Birdman and that he could help Keaton, Stone and Norton earn nominations are going to earn him this Oscar.

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory Of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice CORRECT
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

The performances by these lead actresses are all good—relatively quiet, controlled, perfectly restrained—but Julianne Moore takes that restraint further back for those blank moments of hers in Still Alice, and the effective outcome of her overall performance is bound to be recognized.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything CORRECT

Cumberbatch, Keaton or Redmayne—it could be any of these guys. However even though this year, the result isn’t as much of a ‘done deal’ as was the case with Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln or Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, I think the Academy will reward what I think was the best performance of the year, across all acting categories—Eddie Redmayne’s.

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood CORRECT
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Patricia Arquette will win it for the consistency she’s shown over the 12 years of playing the character. Although I personally think Knightley should win.

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
JK Simmons, Whiplash CORRECT

There’s no competition for, and no doubt about Simmons winning this year.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr & Armando Bo
Boyhood, written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher,  written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, screenplay by Wes Anderson; story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, written by Dan Gilroy

Screenplay awards are often like consolation prizes to exemplary films that everyone knows won’t win Best Picture. It could go on to win Best Picture too, but this year, with the odds not entirely in any one film’s favor, I think the consolation prize will come into play for those that won’t win the big prize. This, however, I think will go to The Grand Budapest Hotel, for its dynamic and engaging narrative and character constructs.

American Sniper, written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore CORRECT
Inherent Vice, written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, written by Damien Chazelle

The Imitation Game is winning this one, since it won’t be winning Best Picture, even though it probably should.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) CORRECT
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr Turner

Birdman! Cinematography was the MO of the narrative, taking it forward, quite literally even, and executing what was so effective that it might have gone unnoticed and instead, simply absorbed subconsciously, making for viewing pleasure.

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

The snappy editing in the climax of Whiplash, and actually consistently throughout the film makes me hope that it wins this award. Boyhood’s editing does tie up pieces shot over 12 years into one 150-minute film, for that Boyhood could come close, but I don’t think it will. American Sniper is the one to beat for battle scene edits that were precisely on the mark.

American Sniper CORRECT
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The sound awards could both go to American Sniper or Interstellar; however, I think this year, I think they’ll be split. American Sniper will take out this one.

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Whiplash CORRECT

When music is key, the Academy hears the sound, and that’s why I think Whiplash will be this year’s winner for achievement in sound mixing.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar CORRECT
X-Men: Days of Future Past

For everything Christopher Nolan’s twisted futuristic drama will lose out on, this one’s pretty much locked for Interstellar. It may not have become this year’s Gravity, by turning into a frontrunner for a Best Picture nomination, but in visual effects, there’s no doubt of its win.

The Grand Budapest Hotel CORRECT
The Imitation Game
Into The Woods
Mr Turner

Interstellar could be this year’s Avatar—winning production design for mostly computer-generated imagery. However, I think the Academy will go with the vastly imaginative and resplendent art direction of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr Turner

This one’s Mr Turner’s, for the Academy’s love for everything old and European in visual appeal and historical flair.

The Grand Budapest Hotel CORRECT
Guardians Of The Galaxy

This is where all the major character transformations have been rewarded for their excellence. Traditionally, it should go to Foxcatcher for making Steve Carell unrecognizable, but then even Tilda Swinton looks like a different human being in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and there’s a lot more of that in Budapest than in Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat CORRECT
The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
Mr Turner, Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything, Jóhann Jóhannsson

Jóhann Jóhannsson won the Golden Globe, and the Academy could go traditional, but I suspect that they’ll award the quirky brilliance of The Grand Budapest Hotel’s vibrant score by Alexandre Desplat.

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma CORRECT
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
 “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
 “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

The song won the Golden Globe, it’s popular, it’s the voice of a film that can’t be recognized in any other category, so “Glory” it will be.

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Lego Movie was not nominated. Boo-hoo! Now let’s move on and recognize the amazing How To Train Your Dragon sequel—a very well written film, and beautifully executed in every way. 

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