With the Academy Awards Sunday night, it is time to start thinking about what will win. My predictions below:
Best Picture: Birdman
With the DGA, PGA, and SAG, the guilds have all unified behind Birdman. With that kind of pedigree behind it, it’d be a shock if it lost Best Picture. The only threat appears to be Boyhood, but if anything, that serves a greater threat to Best Director at this point.
Sleeper: American Sniper
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Winning the DGA almost assures the winner an upcoming Oscar with the two matching nearly 90% of the time. The only real threat to Iñárritu again is Richard Linklater for Boyhood, an award voters may feel inclined to award based on dedication if nothing else.
Alternate: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Sleeper: Nothing really. Perhaps Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Redmayne has won both the SAG and the BAFTA, both of which strongly correspond to Oscar winning. The only threat appears to be Michael Keaton for Birdman, who if voters vote Birdman down the line may win. But with voters wanting to spread the glory among different films, Birdman may well win Best Picture and Best Director, but lose this race.
Alternate: Michael Keaton, Birdman
Sleeper: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Julianne Moore has basically won everything at this point. SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA… There really is no stopping her.
Sleeper: Really none
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Just like Moore, Simmons has rolled through the critic’s and guild awards with ease. It’d be a shock not to see him win on Oscar night.
Alternate: Edward Norton, Birdman (not much of a chance, but if voters chose to be different than the consensus he could squeak a win)
Sleeper: Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Another acting category, another sweep of the guilds and critics awards. If anyone other than Arquette wins, it’d be a major surprise.
Alternate: Laura Dern, Wild (if voters were sentimental enough to reward a career performance)
Sleeper: Emma Stone, Birdman
Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
With Birdman and Boyhood taking most of the fire for Best Picture and Director, screenplay may be the one area where The Grand Budapest Hotel can be rewarded. Winning the WGA certainly helps as is the fact that Wes Anderson has never won an Academy Award. Opposed to the other films in this category, The Grand Budapest Hotel is known as a writer’s film and should help it secure this win.
Alternate: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo,, Birdman
Sleeper: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
A decidedly weak field, but with The Imitation Game not getting much recognition from the other categories, here is where it may strike gold.
Alternate: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Sleeper: Jason Hall, American Sniper (The reason American Sniper is so many sleeper picks is that it peaked very late in the awards season and therefore did not have much guild support. There are no prognosticators of how it played out with the voters.)
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
With The Lego Movie shamefully snubbed from the nominees list, this category is a bit wide open. It seems as though it is a two-horse race between How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, but Dragon 2 should prevail.
Alternate: Big Hero 6
Sleeper: The Boxtrolls
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Alternate: Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alternate: Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent
Best Film Editing: Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, American Sniper
Alternate: Tom Cross, Whiplash
Best Makeup: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alternate: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alternate: Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Song: John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, “Glory” from Selma
Alternate: Shawn Patterson, “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alternate: Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration), The Imitation Game
Best Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper
Alternate: Richard King, Interstellar
Best Sound Mixing: John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin, American Sniper
Alternate: Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, Interstellar
Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, Interstellar
Alternate: Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould, Guardians of the Galaxy