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87th Academy Awards Predictions

The 2014-2015 Awards Season has been a rather dull and uneventful one. After an exhilarating Golden Globes, every other awards show has been pretty much a domino effect reflection of the former. It’s all too lineal and unitary. I’d take the typical 50-50 split between the Globes-BAFTA winners and the Guild-Oscar ones any day compared to what we got. Hopefully, the dinosaurs over at the AMPAS use their sincere and Eenie, Meenie votes to rebel this time around.

The only other thing of note that happened this season was how almost every frontrunner was largely ignored during the “For Your Consideration” phase. Early on, people thought films like Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, Into the Woods, The Judge, and Interstellar would dominate. Instead, we got a Spring film season upstart in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Richard Linklater finally winning, and Whiplash posing a serious challenge.

Anyhow, the following list compiles my predictions for this year’s winners of the 87th Academy Awards. As usual, some footnotes are included. Entries in bold represent who I think WILL win while underlined ones represent who I think SHOULD win:

Best Picture
  • American Sniper – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, and James W. Skotchdopole*
  • Boyhood – Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson
  • The Imitation Game – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, and Teddy Schwarzman
  • Selma – Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner
  • The Theory of Everything – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony McCarten
  • Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster

*Boyhood or, God forbid, The Grand Budapest Hotel might upset. Whiplash would be a very interesting one though.

Best Directing
  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)*
  • Richard Linklater – Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
  • Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

*Having seen all 5 films, I can say that each director did at least a decent job (Tyldum) while the others were varying forms of excellent. I say this is a classic 50-50 split as mentioned above. DGA and Oscar goes to Mr. Inarritu while Linklater keeps his Globe and BAFTA.

Best Actor
  • Steve Carell – Foxcatcher as John Eleuthère du Pont
  • Bradley Cooper – American Sniper as Chris Kyle
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game as Alan Turing
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Riggan Thomson / Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything as Stephen Hawking*

*The Redmayne train shall remain unstoppable unless the AMPAS voters do something about it. Stephen Hawking’s life and health condition is utter bait for AMPAS voters and I doubt there are enough members to appreciate Keaton’s unconventional role.

Best Actress
  • Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night as Sandra Bya
  • Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything as Jane Wilde Hawking
  • Julianne Moore – Still Alice as Dr. Alice Howland*
  • Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl as Amy Elliott-Dunne
  • Reese Witherspoon – Wild as Cheryl Strayed

*Remember when everyone and their mothers thought Pike had it in the bag? After decades of being a bridesmaid, this might finally be it for Moore, who largely deserves it. I’m also cool with Reese winning for her emotionally raw performance.

Best Supporting Actor
  • Robert Duvall – The Judge as Judge Joseph Palmer
  • Ethan Hawke – Boyhood as Mason Evans, Sr.
  • Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Mike Shiner
  • Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher as Dave Schultz
  • J. K. Simmons – Whiplash as Terence Fletcher*

*All great actors. All solid performances but Simmons gave a career highlight. Would be cool with Norton upsetting.

Best Supporting Actress
  • Patricia Arquette – Boyhood as Olivia Evans*
  • Laura Dern – Wild as Barbara “Bobbi” Grey
  • Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game as Joan Clarke
  • Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as Sam Thomson
  • Meryl Streep – Into the Woods as The Witch
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*Remember when everyone thought Streep had it in the bag? Arquette’s mid-life crisis breakdown in Boyhood was its saving grace. Also, Keira Knightley?! Sure, her character was a lovable math genius but Knightley was just being herself spouting jargon.

Best Original Screenplay
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
  • Boyhood – Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness*
  • Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

*All three underlined ones were pretty good. The Academy loves Wes as a writer than Wes as a director (like Tarantino et al) so he has this. Inarritu or even Linklater could upset.

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • American Sniper – Jason Hall from American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
  • The Imitation Game – Graham Moore from Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
  • Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson from Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
  • The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten from Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking
  • Whiplash – Damien Chazelle from his short film of the same name
Best Animated Feature Film
  • Big Hero 6 – Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli*
  • The Boxtrolls – Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
  • Song of the Sea – Tomm Moore and Paul Young
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

*I would personally replace 6 with The Lego Movie. Otherwise, all deserving.

Best Foreign Language Film
  • Ida (Poland) in Polish  – Paweł Pawlikowski
  • Leviathan (Russia) in Russian – Andrey Zvyagintsev*
  • Tangerines (Estonia) in Estonian and Russian – Zaza Urushadze
  • Timbuktu (Mauritania) in French  – Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Wild Tales (Argentina) in Spanish  – Damián Szifrón

*SEE IT.

Best Documentary – Feature
  • Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutsky
  • Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
  • Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
  • The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Lélia Wanick Salgado and David Rosier
  • Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Best Documentary – Short Subject
  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
  • Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
  • Our Curse – Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki
  • The Reaper (La Parka) – Gabriel Serra Arguello
  • White Earth – J. Christian Jensen
Best Live Action Short Film
  • Aya – Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
  • Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au beurre de yak) – Hu Wei and Julien Féret
  • Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
  • The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Best Animated Short Film
  • The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
  • The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi
  • Feast – Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
  • Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
  • A Single Life – Joris Oprins
Best Original Score
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat
  • The Imitation Game – Alexandre Desplat
  • Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
  • Mr. Turner – Gary Yershon
  • The Theory of Everything – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Best Original Song
  • “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie – Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • “Glory” from Selma – Music and Lyric by John Legend and Common*
  • “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights – Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” from Begin Again – Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
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*None of this songs are really “Oscar worthy” for me.

Best Sound Editing
  • American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
  • Interstellar – Richard King
  • Unbroken – Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Best Sound Mixing
  • American Sniper – John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga*
  • Interstellar – Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
  • Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
  • Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

*All the other entries, except Unbroken, seem possible upsets.

Best Production Design
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)*
  • The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
  • Interstellar – Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)
  • Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • Mr. Turner – Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

*Possible upsets from Interstellar and Into the Woods

Best Cinematography
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Emmanuel Lubezki*
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman
  • Ida – Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski
  • Mr. Turner – Dick Pope
  • Unbroken – Roger Deakins

*The only possible upset here is Yeoman’s work.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Foxcatcher – Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier*
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

*All three films did great make-up jobs for me. I can’t really single out one entry but the various award-giving bodies love Hannon and Coulier’s work so much. Guardians might upset.

Best Costume Design
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero*
  • Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
  • Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
  • Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard
  • Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran

*Into the Woods might upset

Best Film Editing
  • American Sniper – Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
  • Boyhood – Sandra Adair*
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
  • The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
  • Whiplash – Tom Cross

*This one is tough to call since editing is, thankfully, anyone’s game and evenly distributed nowadays. Budapest and Whiplash might upset.

Best Visual Effects
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
  • Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher*
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

*In an industry replete with CGI, the Academy is going to for practical effects wizardry thanks to Nolan’s Interstellar. Among the CGI-heavy ones though, I’d say Dawn should win.

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Kim Antonio
Kim Antonio
Passionate geek.

Sometimes referred to as All-Moderator or Galactus. Has the latter's appetite too.
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There you have it folks, on the second of May…