The Oscar nominations are tomorrow and it's time for my annual predictions. An unpredictable year with some big unknowns, but here are my best guesses. I've divided into "locks," very likely, possible, and contenders, listed in order of likelihood.
Look for the nomination leaders to be Birdman, The Imitation Game, and maybe The Grand Budapest Hotel. Boyhood is still our likely winner, but won't get many technical/craft nominations.
A few big questions for tomorrow:
-Did the lack of precursor support for Selma combined with the historical controversy (the role of LBJ) really hurt Selma, once a presumed major player?
-Is American Sniper actually a major contender? (Personal note.... did the Oscar race really need a late-breaking, mainstream Eastwood movie?)
-How much did the Academy like Gone Girl and Nightcrawler, two genre movies that aren't typical Oscar bait but have been doing well this season?
3. The Imitation Game
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. The Theory of Everything
8. American Sniper
9. Gone Girl
Into the Woods
While there could be anything between 5-10, I'm guessing we'll continue the 9 pattern of the last several years. After the first five, some really tough calls. No matter what, how cool is it that a Wes Anderson movie is pretty much a lock??
1. Michael Keaton, Birdman
2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
4. David Oyelowo, Selma
5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
A category chock-full of contenders, and I think only two (one of whom will win) are 100% safe. The surprise I am most hoping for is a Fiennes nomination, but I highly doubt it will happen.
1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
3. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
5. Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Certainly a weak category this year. So much so that Aniston will probably get in for a movie that no one liked all that much and has barely opened.
1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
2. Edward Norton, Birdman
3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
5. Robert Duvall, The Judge
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Tom Wilkinson, Selma
Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher (If they decide to switch categories)
A category with 4 amazing performances (the top 4) and not a hell of a lot else.
1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
3. Emma Stone, Birdman
4. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
5. Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Laura Dern, Wild
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer
My most risky pick this year is guessing Russo gets in. Nightcrawler has been doing well, and buzz around A Most Violent Year has been extremely quiet.
1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
2. Alejandro Guiterraz Innaritu, Birdman
3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Morton Tyldum, The Imitation Game
5. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava Duvernay, Selma
Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Tony Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Director is often the most interesting category. In 2012, presumed frontrunners Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) were left out for indie directors Benh Zeitlan (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Michael Haneke (Amour). I'm guessing they'll give the indie slot to Chazelle.
These are always tough, so I could very well only get 3 out of 5.
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
A Most Violent Year
The LEGO Movie
Beyond the top 3, a category ripe for some interesting happenings, especially with Whiplash moved to adapted. That last slot seems really tricky.
1. The Imitation Game
2. Gone Girl
4. The Theory of Everything
5. American Sniper
Guardians of the Galaxy
Somehow this seems easier to predict, at least is American Sniper is gaining momentum.