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Final Oscar Predictions

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Best Picture:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

It’s a tight race at this point. Birdman has all the guild awards. Boyhood has the Globe, BAFTA, and Critic’s Choice. Based on years past, that actually gives Birdman the edge, but Boyhood has been so roundly acclaimed it’s hard not to predict.

Then, last night, the Independent Spirit Awards gave Birdman Best Picture. And to me, that sealed the deal. If they didn’t pick Boyhood, the Academy isn’t likely to. The only hope for any other film is a split–but The Grand Budapest Hotel is the only possible result.

Will Win: Birdman

Could Win: Boyhood

Should Win: Birdman, Selma

Best Director:

  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  • Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

This race is even tighter than the Picture race. Iñárritu won the Director’s Guild, and it’s very hard for the DGA winner to not win the Oscar. But Linklater has a lot of major awards, and given the acclaim for the film and his stature, I think it’s going to end up a split. In any case, no one else has a meaningful chance of winning.

Will Win: Linklater

Could Win: Iñárritu

Should Win: Iñárritu


  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Redmayne has SAG, the Globe – Drama, the BAFTA…he’s made an impressive late surge. But I can’t count out Keaton, who was the favorite for so long (and who headlines the likely Best Picture winner). And Cooper, for that matter, is on his third straight nomination and could sneak in. That’s unlikely, but Keaton winning is not. Redmayne is the frontrunner by a hair–but only a hair.

Will Win: Redmayne

Could Win: Keaton

Should Win: Keaton


  • Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Moore has won pretty much everything. I haven’t seen the film yet (and am not terribly eager to), but I think we all know she’s winning this mostly because she’s horribly overdue. I’ve only seen Pike and Jones, but Pike is ridiculously good, and I think if it weren’t for Moore, she’d win. And to be honest, she’s the second-likeliest.

Will Win: Moore

Could Win: Pike

Should Win: Pike, Moore (for her career)

Supporting Actor:

  • Robert Duvall, The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Simmons has won pretty much everything. Which is fine. I’d go with Norton or Ruffalo, but I’m fine with this.

Will Win: Simmons

Could Win: Norton

Should Win: Norton, Simmons, Ruffalo

Supporting Actress:

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Laura Dern, Wild
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

And Arquette has won everything, too! I’m rooting for a Stone upset (and if anyone upsets, it’s her), but let’s be realistic.

Will Win: Arquette

Could Win: Stone

Should Win: Stone

Original Screenplay:

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler

Now, Birdman won the Globe and Budapest won the Globe for Musical/Comedy Picture, but then Budapest won the BAFTA. I think the split will continue and Wes Anderson will finally have an Oscar, but Birdman may end up sweeping. There’s a lot up for grabs this year. (I wouldn’t even rule out a Nightcrawler upset, which would be awesome.)

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could Win: Birdman

Should Win: Nightcrawler, Birdman

Adapted Screenplay:

  • American Sniper
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

I really have no idea here. Many are saying this will be Imitation‘s consolation prize (and it won the WGA), but P.T. Anderson is so overdue (and managed a nomination, which to me says a lot), and Theory won the BAFTA, and Whiplash is really popular… (Sniper winning would be horrific.)

I’ll just guess The Imitation Game and hope to be proven wrong.

Will Win: The Imitation Game

Could Win: Whiplash, The Theory of Everything

Should Win: Inherent Vice


  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • Unbroken

Enjoy the second Oscar, Chivo.

Maybe Budapest sweeps the tech categories and wins this, or maybe Roger Deakins finally wins (for lesser work in an underwhelming film). But that’s a long, long shot.

Will Win: Birdman

Could Win: Unbroken, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should Win: Birdman


  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

This one’s up in the air at this point. Boyhood seems like the choice, but Sniper and Whiplash are right there. Plus, Whiplash won the BAFTA (which Boyhood wasn’t up for) and the Independent Spirit (which it was).

Will Win: Boyhood

Could Win: Whiplash, American Sniper

Should Win: Whiplash

Production Design:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

Come on.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could Win: Into the Woods

Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Costume Design:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr. Turner

Come. The fuck. On.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could Win: Into the Woods

Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup & Hairstyling:

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Any of these could win. A Budapest sweep is most likely, but Guardians was pretty fucking incredible, and Foxcatcher might take this, just because it’s the only award it could take.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could Win: Guardians of the Galaxy, Foxcatcher

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy


  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Theory has the Globe. Budapest has the BAFTA. Imitation has Harvey Weinstein.

I’ll just guess that Budapest adds this to its sweep.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could Win: The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game

Should Win: Interstellar


  • “Everything is Awesome”, The Lego Movie
  • “Glory”, Selma
  • “Grateful”, Beyond the Lights
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
  • “Lost Stars”, Begin Again

“Glory” is a fine song and would be a good chance to recognize a largely snubbed film. But the same thing could be said of “Everything is Awesome”. And “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” has a very strong sentimental factor (it’s also quite a good song, which helps).

I think “Glory” takes it, but any of those three would make sense.

Will Win: “Glory”

Could Win: “Everything is Awesome”, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

Should Win: “Glory”, “Everything is Awesome”

Sound Mixing:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

Birdman won the Cinema Audio Society’s award. Sniper and Whiplash are threats, but I think Birdman, with its rich environmental sounds, will take it.

Will Win: Birdman

Could Win: Whiplash, American Sniper

Should Win: Whiplash, Birdman

Sound Editing:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

The MPSE went with Sniper. This would be the place to recognize it.

Will Win: American Sniper

Could Win: Interstellar, Birdman

Should Win: Interstellar

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

It’s a showdown between Dawn and Interstellar. Dawn won big at the Visual Effects Society awards, but Interstellar has the class factor. It’s kind of a coin toss at this point, but I’ll say Interstellar (by about 51%).

Will Win: Interstellar

Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Should Win: Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Animated Feature:

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Dragon has the momentum. Kaguya is pretty acclaimed, but it’s a long shot. I suppose Big Hero 6 is a bit of a threat, but is it really?

(Also, I got to see Song of the Sea the other day. It was really delightful. Too bad it won’t have more of a chance.)

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Could Win: Big Hero 6, (maybe) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Should Win: Song of the Sea, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Foreign Language Film:

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Tangerines
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

This is a notoriously tricky category. Leviathan has the Globe win (and it’s timely), while Ida has the Cinematography nomination. Anything could happen, but I’ll just guess Leviathan.

Will Win: Leviathan

Could Win: Ida

Should Win: haven’t seen it yet, but I’m rooting for Leviathan


  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

Without Life Itself, the result seems pretty clear.


Could Win: Virunga



5 Awards: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Original Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Score)

3 Awards: Birdman (Picture, Cinematography, Sound Mixing); Boyhood (Director, Supporting Actress, Editing)

1 Award: The Theory of Everything (Actor); Still Alice (Actress); Whiplash (Supporting Actor); The Imitation Game (Adapted Screenplay); Selma (Song); American Sniper (Sound Editing); Interstellar (Visual Effects); How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Animated Feature); Ida (Foreign Language Film); CITIZENFOUR (Documentary Feature)

And lastly, my ranking of the Best Picture nominees, and where I rank them for the year (based on the 101 films I’ve seen for 2014):

  • Birdman – #6
  • Selma – #8
  • Whiplash – #19 or #20 (depending on where A Most Violent Year ends up)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – #26
  • Boyhood – #35
  • The Imitation Game – #48
  • The Theory of Everything – #69
  • American Sniper – #84 (still a high **½)

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