Tonight is the biggest event of the year for movies. The 87 annual Academy Awards will begin live with the red carpet arrival at 7 p.m. on ABC, and everyone watching and in attendance will be wondering: Who will walk away with the Oscars? Well, here is your complete guide to tonight’s gala…it’s everything you need to know heading into this year’s Oscars, just in case you still haven’t submitted your Oscar Prediction ballots.
And oh yeah, be sure to join me live during the red carpet and throughout the broadcast tonight, as I will be live tweeting for the Detroit Film Critics Society, which you can follow, @detfilm.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR. The Nominees: Robert Duvall (The Judge), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Edward Norton (Birdman). Prediction: A strong category that would under normal circumstances would be a very tight race…that is, if it wasn’t for the inclusion of J.K. Simmons. He is the closest thing to a lock that there is this year, with his amazingly powerful performance in Whiplash. Any other year, against any other nominee, it would have probably gone to the under-rated Ethan Hawke…but the four-time nominee is going to have to wait a bit longer for his first Oscar win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS. The Nominees: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Theory of Everything), Emma Stone (Birdman), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods). Prediction: Despite this being the record 19th acting nomination for Meryl Streep, this category is a pretty obvious one: Patricia Arquette has all but swept this category throughout awards season, and there’s no reason to believe that this category will contain an upset.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM. The Nominees: Big Hero 6, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, The Boxtrolls. Prediction: In a perfect world, the Academy would still somehow announce The Lego Movie as best Animated Film…what a snub, one that I’m not quite over. But horrible omissions aside, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the safe bet here, although Big Hero 6 has seemed to gain some serious momentum as of late.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. The Nominees: Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida, Mr. Turner, Unbroken. Prediction: Dick Poop…um, I mean Pope, deserves this award for the poetically shot, Mr. Turner. But it’s nearly a sure thing that the “one-continuous shot” seamless fluidity of Birdman‘s seven-time nominee, Emmanuel Lubezki, will take home the prize for the second-straight year (Gravity).
BEST COSTUME DESIGN. The Nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Into the Woods, Maleficent, Mr. Turner. Prediction: Again, it would be nice to see a win for Mr. Turner, but my money would go to The Grand Budapest Hotel and nine-time nominee Milena Canonero.
BEST DIRECTOR. The Nominees: Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game). Prediction: This is a close category to call, especially after Inarritu was just awarded the top prize from the Directors Guild. Even still, I would find it mind-boggling if the Academy didn’t award the 12-year-in-the-making effort of Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood. Don’t be surprised if they give Linklater the win here, and award Inarritu the night’s top prize.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE. The Nominees: CitizenFour, Finding Vivian Maier, Last Days in Vietnam, The Salt of the Earth, Virunga. Prediction: The Edward Snowden doc CitizenFour has swept up every major award in this category, and a win here is all but a done deal.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT. The Nominees: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Joanna, Our Curse, The Reaper (La Parka), White Earth. Prediction: This was one Debbie Downer of a category this year, but Crisis Hotline is the front-runner and my pick.
BEST FILM EDITING. The Nominees: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Whiplash. Prediction: A very interesting category, where I personally feel like Whiplash should win for its amazingly sequences that gives playing the drums a tension usually reserved for action-thrillers. Speaking of tension, the patience of American Sniper and the drama that is created in the editing is also a deserving winner. But although it doesn’t seem flashy, I think Boyhood‘s Sandra Adair will win, for seamlessly cutting together 12 years worth of footage into one cohesive and powerful story.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. The Nominees: Ida (Poland), Leviathan (Russia), Tangerines (Estonia), Timbuktu (Mauritania), Wild Tales (Argentina). Prediction: Ida is the clear front-runner here, but I’m calling the upset: Timbuktu, that is, if enough voters actually saw it. But for those that have, this should be obvious choice. Beware though when filling out your Oscar ballots, as it’s a clear long-shot. But hey, I call ’em like I see ’em.
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING. The Nominees: Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy. Prediction: If the Academy has a soul (which I think you know the answer to), Guardians of the Galaxy should easily win. But The Grand Budapest Hotel is the more “serious” contender, and I expect it to win.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE. The Nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Mr. Turner, The Theory of Everything. Prediction: Poor Alexandre Desplat. The composer is nominated twice in this category, for The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which now make him a seventh and eighth-time nominee with zero wins. Although the Academy would love to award his work, I don’t think these two scores are different enough for Oscar voters to pick one clear winner from the two. That leaves room for The Theory of Everything‘s Johann Johannsson to sneak out a win. If you do want to pick Desplat for the upset, go with The Imitation Game.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG. Prediction: I’ll cut to the chase here: “Glory” from Selma is the best of the bunch and has been awarded multiple times already. Jot that one down, despite wanting to go with “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN. The Nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Mr. Turner. Prediction: This is the safest bet of the night for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Mark it down.
BEST SHORT FILM – ANIMATED. The Nominees: The Bigger Picture, The Dam Keeper, Feast, Me and My Moulton, A Single Life. Prediction: All strong contenders, I think most will agree that Feast is the most impactful of the bunch. But the question is, will the Academy award the brilliant innovative animation style of The Bigger Picture instead? I’m sticking with Disney’s Feast.
BEST SHORT FILM – LIVE ACTION. The Nominees: Aya, Boogaloo and Graham, Butter Lamp, Parvaneh, The Phone Call. Prediction: My choice in this category would go to Aya, which contains mesmerizing performances but what could be polarizing to some. Boogaloo and Graham is also an interesting choice, as its the only comedic film of the bunch. But the Sally Hawkins short, The Phone Call, is the front-runner, which ironically deals with the same topic as the expected Documentary Short winner, Crisis Hotline.
BEST SOUND EDITING. The Nominees: American Sniper, Birdman, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Interstellar, Unbroken. Prediction: What’s the difference between sound editing and sound mixing? I’m sure they’ll explain it to us again during this year’s broadcast. But take my word for it: American Sniper will win here.
BEST SOUND MIXING. The Nominees: American Sniper, Birdman, Interstellar, Unbroken, Whiplash. Prediction: Hopefully Whiplash receives a lot of Oscar love tonight, and if it wins here, it would be somewhat unexpected, but very much well-deserved. If not, look for American Sniper to take both sound categories.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS. The Nominees: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Prediction: It may not have been a big a hit as many would have thought, and think of it what you might, but Interstellar had some ground-breaking, amazing visuals. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t rewarded for them.
BEST WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. The Nominees: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash. Prediction: Whiplash got the shaft by being disqualified as an “original” work, because the movie was based on a short…a short that was also created by writer/director Damien Chazelle, in order to get the full-length version made. But might that technical snafu be Whiplash‘s saving grace? The Writers Guild listed it in the Original Screenplay where it lost to The Grand Budapest Hotel, and they awarded The Imitation Game the Adapted category prize. The category change may have just screwed The Imitation Game out of a writing Oscar, because I’m picking Whiplash as the more sexy pick for Oscar gold.
BEST WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. The Nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler. Prediction: I would personally vote for Nightcrawler, but it was just an honor for Dan Gilroy to be nominated. As mentioned, The Grand Budapest Hotel is now the clear front-runner and my pick to win, having won with the Writers Guild. But if you are looking for an upset here, go with Boyhood.
BEST ACTOR. The Nominees: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). Prediction: It’s going to be hard not to give the prize to Eddie Redmayne, although this is a closely contested category between him and Michael Keaton. I’m sticking with Eddie Redmayne.
BEST ACTRESS. The Nominees: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild). Prediction: A very frustrating category, indeed. It is a 100% lock that Julianne Moore will win, although she shouldn’t: Still Alice is pure Lifetime movie melodrama and I found her performance to be increasingly over-the-top. It might be karma though, as I thought she should have won a few years back for The Kids Are All Right. So she will be in possession of the right amount of Oscar trophies, she is just being awarded for the wrong one. Oh well. In fact, I think she gave the fifth-most-deserving performance in this category and it’s too bad that Rosamund Pike or Felicity Jones are going to be over-looked for their incredibly powerful, memorable roles.
BEST PICTURE. The Nominees: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Birdman, Selma, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash. Prediction: I have not minced words in saying that Whiplash is the best film of 2014. But here, it has zero chance of pulling the upset. No, this is an absolute two-horse race. For months and months, it appeared Boyhood was all but a lock to win. But with a recent surge of wins with major award groups like the Directors and Producers Guilds, Birdman is now a top candidate. If voters wanted to make real headlines, they would all band behind Selma, but that won’t happen. So which is it? It’s great that this is the tightest Best Picture race in recent memory, but although many are beginning to lean in Birdman‘s direction, I’m sticking with Boyhood.
So there you have it! Remember I will be live tweeting during tonight’s broadcast, @detfilm. Be sure to follow and enjoy the Oscars tonight!