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Predicting the 89th Academy Awards

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The biggest possible screen for the likeliest winner…but would that make it better? (Source)

We’re getting down to the wire here, people.

I’ve watched every Picture, Director, acting, and writing nominee, and most of the tech nominees, and pored over a season’s worth of winners and nominees, to bring you a thorough overview of the nominations and a carefully considered prediction of the winners in each category.

Get comfortable, kids. We’ve got a lot of territory to cover.

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Predicting the 89th Academy Awards Nominees

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I fancy they’ll be recognized – but what about their film?

Tomorrow morning, the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced. You’ll see many a blog post trying to predict the contenders; you’ll hear many a pundit try and make the case for Film A over Film B; commenters on an infinitude of social media posts will tell you why one nomination can’t happen but another must.

Let me be an oasis of practicality amidst all the sound and fury. Let me, who has devoted more time than any reasonable man should to meditating on films and film awards, offer you my insight into what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will likely anoint and elevate into the canon.

If you wish to read my thoughts on other aspects of the awards race, I have compiled a list of key articles at the bottom of this post. We have a lot of ground to cover, and let us commence without delay.

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Final Oscar Predictions: 2015

It’s almost time. Let’s review the evidence.

Best Picture:

One of the most wide-open Best Picture categories I can remember. Three strong contenders to win and a possible spoiler. And had Carol not been fucked over, it might be even worse. Ditto Ridley Scott.

  • The Big Short (#2) – I’m really torn as to how I feel about its chances. It won the PGA, and since the expansion of the Best Picture category the PGA winner has always won Best Picture. It also won at the WGA and the ACE, but it lost the SAG Ensemble award, the DGA, the Globe, and the BAFTA. So let’s not pretend it isn’t in a precarious spot right now. I want to predict it to win in good faith. But I can’t. I think at the very least it’s a very close second, but if you want to call it the front-runner, accept that its status as such is not secure.
  • Bridge of Spies (#7) – It’s a great film and I’m glad it was nominated. But it missed out on Director and Editing, rendering its chances virtually nil. So it’s just happy to be here.
  • Brooklyn (#14) – It got three nominations. I’m a little shocked it got on at all (especially over Carol). It’s a sweet film and hardly a bad choice for a nomination…but it might actually be the least likely film to win. Its other two nominations are a different matter, but Picture is completely out of the question.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (#1) – Sadly, I think its best hope is that the three front-runners cancel each other out and it rises to the top. But it hasn’t done that all season, and since the NBR has mostly won Picture only from local critics’ groups. As much as I love it, I knew going in that I’d be happy if it just got nominated. Once it was, I was all right with it not winning. And I still am.
  • The Martian (#12) – I’m just glad this was good enough to deserve the nomination. It’s a shame Ridley Scott got snubbed, though, since without a nomination for him, there’s no way in hell this would ever win. Not that it was likely to, since it had already peaked some time ago. But it tightens up what may be the most open Best Picture race I can recall.
  • The Revenant (#8) – It won the Globe, BAFTA, and DGA. It’s come a long way in a short time. That it didn’t get SAG Ensemble or Screenplay nominations, or win the PGA, makes me hesitant to predict it to win (and if Iñárritu pulls it off he’ll be the first director ever to win Best Picture in consecutive years), but…it’s really hard for me not to. It’s this or The Big Short.
  • Room (#16) – Someone on IndieWire was saying this might be a surprise winner (probably given the surprise Director nomination), but I don’t see it. It has no traction for a Picture win. It’s just happy to be here. There’s a very definite split the possible winners and the happy-to-be-heres this year.
  • Spotlight (#40) – For a while it looked like this had Best Picture in the bag. And then it started losing. It lost BAFTA and DGA to The Revenant, and the PGA to The Big Short. It did win the SAG Ensemble award, but that doesn’t mean as much as you might think. American Hustle won SAG Ensemble and went 0-10 at the Oscars. So I’d put this as third-likeliest to win. Normally, that’d be pretty damning, but given how weird this particular year is, it means it still has a shot.

So…is it The Big Short, The Revenant, or Spotlight?

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Final Oscar Predictions

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

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NSFC and Friends: Hordes of Awards

"The best film of 2050" - a friend of mine who's seen this something like 6 times (Source)

“The best film of 2050” – a friend of mine who’s seen this something like 6 times (Source)

I always love it when an awards group does something crazy-awesome. And the National Society of Film Critics did something crazy awesome. Crazy, crazy awesome.

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