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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Final Nomination Predictions

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?


1. Boyhood
2. Birdman
3. The Imitation Game

Very Likely
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. The Theory of Everything

6. Whiplash
7. Selma
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

Very Likely
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

Very Likely
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.

Supporting Actor

1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
2. Edward Norton, Birdman
3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Very Likely
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.

Supporting Actress

1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
3. Emma Stone, Birdman

Very Likely
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

Very Likely
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.

Original Screenplay

1. Birdman
2. Boyhood
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Nightcrawler
5. Selma
Mr. Turner
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.

Adapted Screenplay

1. The Imitation Game
2. Gone Girl

Very Likely
3. Whiplash

4. The Theory of Everything
5. American Sniper
Inherent Vice
Guardians of the Galaxy

Somehow this seems easier to predict, at least is American Sniper is gaining momentum.

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