About a month ago, this year’s Academy Awards seemed like a perfunctory affair, with most of the major categories leaning heavily toward one movie particular movie or actor. Since then, however, it’s become a real horse race between two films: the early frontrunner ‘Boyhood’ and the late bloomer ‘Birdman’. How things will actually pan out this Sunday night is anyone’s guess. Here’s mine.
- Wes Anderson – ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘
- Alejandro G. Iñárritu – ‘Birdman‘
- Richard Linklater – ‘Boyhood‘
- Bennett Miller – ‘Foxcatcher‘
- Morten Tyldum – ‘The Imitation Game‘
This category seemed like a sure-thing for Richard Linklater, whose choice to shoot a film over the span of more than a decade has paid off at most of the season’s prior awards ceremonies. However, Iñárritu recently picked up the Directors Guild of America trophy for Best Director, which almost always predicts the Oscar. This is an extremely tight race, but I have the feeling that Richard Linklater will garner enough votes from those voters who aren’t also members of the DGA to walk away with the gold.
- Marion Cotillard – ‘Two Days, One Night’
- Felicity Jones – ‘The Theory of Everything‘
- Julianne Moore – ‘Still Alice‘
- Rosamund Pike – ‘Gone Girl‘
- Reese Witherspoon – ‘Wild‘
There are a few locks at this year’s ceremony, with none bigger than the assurance that Julianne Moore will walk away with her first-ever Oscar for her performance as a college professor with early onset Alzheimer’s.
- Steve Carell – ‘Foxcatcher’
- Bradley Cooper – ‘American Sniper‘
- Benedict Cumberbatch – ‘The Imitation Game’
- Michael Keaton – ‘Birdman’
- Eddie Redmayne – ‘The Theory of Everything’
I’ll admit to being biased in this category. Michael Keaton is a hometown favorite (from Pittsburgh, PA) and I would love nothing more for him to have the opportunity to top the moving speech he gave at last month’s Golden Globes. However, Eddie Redmayne became the frontrunner in this contest when he picked up the Screen Actors Guild award. This one is going to be a photo finish, but when in doubt, always bet on Batman. I’m taking Michael Keaton for the win.
- ‘American Sniper’
- ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
- ‘The Imitation Game’
- ‘The Theory of Everything’
Again, this is primarily a contest between ‘Birdman’ and ‘Boyhood’. It’s anyone’s guess right now which movie will come out on top. At the beginning of the year, ‘Boyhood’ was the clear leader, but ‘Birdman’ has racked up a number of wins recently, including the top prizes at the SAGs, the DGAs, and the Producers Guild Awards. For me, that’s a pretty good indication that ‘Birdman‘ will pull an upset here. It’s also one of the reasons I think the Academy will split the trophies for Best Picture and Best Director (see my Linklater prediction above). Voters will want to award both movies in the big categories.
You’ll note that I didn’t dive into the supporting categories above, but if you’re involved in an Oscar pool at work, Patricia Arquette (‘Boyhood’) and J.K. Simmons (‘Whiplash’) are all but shoe-ins in their respective categories.
The 87th Academy Awards take place this Sunday, February 22nd. Let us know who you think will win.