2015 Academy Awards Predictions: Who’s Going Home with Oscar Gold?

2015 Academy Awards Predictions Oscars

With the big show no less than a week away, I must fulfill TTRC’s due diligence in reporting my picks in who I believe will walk away with Oscars this weekend. The 87th Annual Academy Awards are pretty stacked this year, with the nominees closer in competition than of recent years past. There are many strong contenders for most of the categories, but as they say, there can only be one (rarely two). Redmayne or Keaton? Birdman or Boyhood? Find out my predictions for the Oscars after the break.

Birdman 2014 Movie Michael Keaton Riggan Thomson Underwear Time Squar Screenshot 1

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
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)

Winner: Michael Keaton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))

Why: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences consists of many actors, and Birdman is an actor’s movie. It speaks to the voting audience. And if Sandra Bullock’s Oscar for Best Actress for The Blind Side proves anything, the Academy tends to hand out trophies for career work rather than what’s considered the best. However, I this would be a well-deserved win if Keaton is chosen. Redmayne puts on one hell of an imitation of Stephen Hawking, but Keaton completely embodies the role of Riggan Thomson and the character’s moral dilemmas.

Whiplash 2014 Movie Screenshot JK Simmons Fletcher 22

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Edward Norton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Winner: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Why: Simmons has this one in the bag. His performance is flawless and absolutely electrifying. None of the other nominees come close to the magnitude and presence that J.K. emits as the hardened jazz instructor Fletcher in Whiplash.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Winner: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Why: This has been Julianne Moore’s game since the beginning. Another career Oscar, but also well-deserved. This is her fifth Oscar nomination and her role in Still Alice is utterly gripping and emotional. Sadly, I have not seen Two Days, One Night due to its limited release, but I believe that ever since the Golden Globes kicked off awards season, and her win at the SAG Awards, Moore has been the clear winner.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Laura Dern (Wild)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Emma Stone (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Winner: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Why: Arquette has been another fan favorite since the beginning of awards season. She has swept the floor with the competition. As much as I wish the Academy would favor Dern’s performance in Wild, Arquette puts on a very convincing, motherly performance that is heartfelt and speaks to the Academy’s emotions.

Birdman 2014 Movie Michael Keaton Riggan Thomson Screenshot 22

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Winner: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Why: This year will be another split. I can just feel it in my bones. Like the past few years, the Academy seems to be torn between Best Director and Best Picture – 12 Years a Slave (Best Picture) / Gravity (Best Director); Argo (Best Picture) / Life of Pie (Best Director). And again I believe we’re at a crossroads. Birdman has a very eloquent vibe that can come across more entertaining and dazzling than its competitors. As a whole it is driven and wildly enjoyable, but it doesn’t come close to the demand for attention that the Best Director has accomplished this past year.

Boyhood Now Available on Blu-Ray Criterion

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Winner: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Why: Which brings us to why Richard Linklater will take home the gold for Boyhood. Seeing how this baby took 12 years to develop, while he directed other projects between down time, it’s an amazing feat that he was able to create such a compelling narrative and keep it on track for so long. If a 12-year film with that kind of attention to story doesn’t speak to the Academy, than we’ve got some issues.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Final Trailer

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Winner: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Why: Since The LEGO Movie is not in contention, this category is guaranteed for How to Train Your Dragon 2. The first HTTYD had no chance against Toy Story 3, and now director Dean DeBlois will be recognized for building an incredibly realized and thrilling franchise. HTTYD2 is definitely the Empire Strikes Back of animated sequels. Big Hero 6 is great, but doesn’t come across as bold as Dragon 2.

Birdman 2014 Movie Michael Keaton Riggan Thomson Gun Screenshot

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski (Ida)
Dick Pope (Mr. Turner)
Roger Deakins (Unbroken)

Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))

Why: As beautiful as Robert Yeoman’s cinematography is for The Grand Budapest Hotel, it just cannot compare to the challenges that Emmanuel Lubezki faced in filming Birdman. Calculating lighting, camera movements, framing, and all the other pieces to the puzzle to appear as though this film was shot in one continuous take is breathtaking and nothing short of astounding.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach (American Sniper)
Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
Tom Cross (Whiplash)

Winner: Sandra Adair (Boyhood)

Why: Having to cut down footage, shot across a 12-year span has got to be a rigorous process for all parties involved, but especially the editor. It takes a very talented editor to ensure that all scenes come together to create a coherent narrative, and I think Sandra Adair pulls it off. I can’t even imagine if they needed to film more for a certain scene to feel right. This honestly should go to the team behind Birdman, but they weren’t nominated for some silly reason.

Ida Movie 2014 on Netflix

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

Winner: Ida (Poland)

Why: I have only seen Ida, but in doing my research, it seems like it’s pretty clear that it will be victorious. Leviathan has been gobbling up awards, but I think it may be too broad for the Academy, and they tend to like sweet and safe movies for their Best Foreign Language Film.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Winner: CitizenFour

Why: Although I haven’t seen any of these nominees, I pick CitzenFour based on all of the buzz and praise it has received. I haven’t heard anything regarding the other contenders.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Concierge

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Mark Bridges (Inherent Vice)
Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods)
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive (Maleficent)
Jacqueline Durran (Mr. Turner)

Winner: Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard (Foxcatcher)
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Winner: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Why: The Grand Budapest Hotel is a stunning achievement in all three aforementioned categories. It wins production design because it feels like a unique and colorful world compared to the others. Costume Design generally goes to more period, ballroom, and fantasy pieces (Alice in Wonderland; Anna Karenina; The Great Gatsby), but I think Budapest Hotel stands a chance with its odds for Production Design and the creative characters the story tells over three different eras. And although it would be awesome to see Guardians of the Galaxy take away best makeup, the old farts in the Academy tend to favor something more in their wheel house than sci-fi comedies.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Ralph Fiennes

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game)
Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner)
Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything)

Winner: Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Why: The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most fun score out of the bunch. The Theory of Everything could overcome, but I believe Budapest’s light and caper-like score stands out more than the a-typical, orchestrated period piece.

Selma Movie Screenshot March 10

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Everything Is Awesome” Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson (The Lego Movie)
“Glory” Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (Selma)
“Grateful” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren (Beyond the Lights)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me)
“Lost Stars” Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois (Begin Again)

Winner: “Glory” Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (Selma)

Why: It stands to say the most if it wins, and “Glory” has won just about all the other awards for this category thus far.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Winner: Feast

Why:  Sadly, I have only seen Feast, and I am just throwing caution to the wind by voting on Disney. The Dam Keeper looks terribly depressing; The Bigger Picture looks too bizarre for the likes of the Academy to find agreeable; and Me and Moulton and A Single Life don’t seem as entertaining. Feast is cute, whimsical, and highly resonating.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Winner: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Why: Simply guessing based on research and buzz

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Winner: The Phone Call

Why: Simply guessing based on research and buzz

American Sniper Movie Screenshot Bradley Cooper Chris Kyle 19

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Winner: American Sniper

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Winner: American Sniper

Why: The two awards for sound typically go to war movies. Don’t ask me why, but that’s how it usually tends to go. I’m not sure how replicating the sound of gun fire is more challenging than anything else, but hey, I’m not a sound mixer, editor, or foley artist. If I had to pick another movie to win over American Sniper it would be Whiplash for mixing and Birdman for editing.

Interstellar Movie Trailer 3

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Winner: Interstellar

Why: The practical effects in Interstellar outweighs the motion capture achievement in Dawn of the Apes. I still don’t believe The Academy has warmed up to mo-cap yet. And plus, the visual effects in Interstellar are simply remarkable with what they were able to do without green screen.

The Imitation Game Movie Screenshot Benedict Cumberbatch Alan Turing 25

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
American Sniper Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash Written by Damien Chazelle

Winner: The Imitation Game Written by Graham Moore

Why: I really want Whiplash to win here, but after the WGA Awards, The Imitation Game should have this one in the bag.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Gustave H

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
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

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Why: Wes Anderson and The Grand Budapest Hotel have been sweeping up the writing awards for Original Screenplay and I doubt it would go any other way. It’s a really rousing story that I’m sure have tugged on the heartstrings of the Academy.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, February 22, 2015. They will be hosted by none other than Neil Patrick Harris at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on the ABC at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.

I will be live blogging during the event. So stay tuned!


You can follow me on the Twitters @TyRawrrnosaurus

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