Oscar weekend has arrived and with it comes the onslaught of predictions from every journalist, blogger, neighbour, casual moviegoer and cinéphile out there. I am of course no exception to that crowd and am about to list my predictions for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony taking place on Sunday.
Before I share some of those picks (some of which are justified, some of which are random selections, and some of which I have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about), I want to say that the Oscars should never be a sole reflection of the strength, quality and effort made in a film in any capacity. There are plenty of films, performances and technical efforts that don’t get nominated that are worthy of your attention as much as the ones that are nominated. I made a few predictions about a month ago on who may be nominated and was disappointed by some of the resulting nominations. This year’s batch of snubs includes A Most Violent Year, David Oyelowo’s performance in Selma, The Lego Movie, Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort, Ava DuVernay’s work in Selma, Gone Girl‘s score and many, many more that I probably haven’t even thought of yet.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great films nominated at this year’s awards, and if you haven’t checked many of them out, I would definitely recommend making a few trips to the theatre this weekend and study up for the show. Want some help on what you should see? You can read my reviews for The Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, Wild, and Selma here.
I’ve selected my top pick for each category as well as other potential winners I would not be surprised by:
Top Pick: Birdman
Other contenders: (2) The Imitation Game (3) Boyhood (4) The Grand Budapest Hotel
There are so many incredible qualities about Birdman. The cinematography is phenomenal, Michael Keaton delivers an exquisite performance, the supporting cast is just as strong and the story is a great mix of dark comedy meets drama meets tragedy. While many predict that Boyhood is the top film to contend with, I would not be surprised if The Imitation Game slips through and wins the prize over Linklater’s cinematic achievement. The Imitation Game has all the elements of a crowd-pleasing, Oscar-bait flick, akin to The King’s Speech which won Best Picture back in 2011. The Grand Budapest Hotel, with several Oscar nominations under its belt, seems to have grabbed the attention of Oscar voters, and rightly so for a lovely film that came out much earlier in the year.
Top Pick: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Other Contenders: (2) Michael Keaton, Birdman
This is a very tough category. There was such a dynamism to Keaton’s work in Birdman but Redmayne’s physicality is untouched in this year’s batch. I loved both of their performances for entirely different reasons, and would be pleased to see either of them win. I just foresee Redmayne edging Keaton out in this round.
Top Pick: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Other Contenders: (2) Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl (3) Reese Witherspoon, Wild
I watched Still Alice this past Tuesday and I found several moments of genius in Moore’s performance as a professor suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was a beautiful, honest look at the personal and familial challenges many encounter and Moore handled it so well. She’s been a clear winner throughout award season, and I think she’ll continue her streak this Sunday and will finally receive her first Academy Award. But, Rosamund Pike as Amazing Amy in Gone Girl was so convincing as an incredibly dysfunctional character, shock factor included and she should be a major contender for it. Reese Witherspoon’s resurgence is manifested in her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed, which I spoke about in my review, and she came back really strong.
Best Supporting Actor
Top Pick:J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Other Contender: Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons is going to win. It will happen. There is zero doubt in my mind that it will happen, but I’ll throw in Norton for kicks (and he is a major reason why Birdman is so fantastic.)
Best Supporting Actress
Top Pick: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Other Contenders: (2) Emma Stone, Birdman (3) Laura Dern, Wild
You probably won’t take me as seriously when I tell you that I still have not watched Boyhood. I’ll be watching it this weekend before the award show, but I admit that this is me just going with general critical consensus. That being said, I think Emma Stone was remarkable in Birdman, particularly in the stand-off against Michael Keaton, and Laura Dern has such a presence to her character in Wild. I’d love to see either of them honoured on Sunday.
Top Pick: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Other Contenders: (2) Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman (3) Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Yes, I just picked a director for a movie I have not seen yet, but theoretically speaking, Linklater has achieved something completely unique to cinematic history that it would be strange if it were not honoured this Sunday. It’s a tough pick because Iñárritu guided a phenomenal cast and curated an incredible viewing experience for audiences in Birdman. Anderson on the other hand also spearheaded an aesthetically creative and quirky film that stuck in the minds of voters during the nomination process. Maybe it will be a frontrunner in voters’ minds again.
Other Award Predictions
Cinematography: (1) Birdman (2) The Grand Budapest Hotel
Costume Design: (1) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2) Mr. Turner
Film Editing: (1) Boyhood (2) The Imitation Game (3) The Grand Budapest Hotel
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Music – Original Score: (1) The Theory of Everything (2) The Grand Budapest Hotel (3) The Imitation Game
Music – Original Song: (1) “Glory” from Selma (2) “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Production Design: (1) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2) Into the Woods
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Sound Mixing: American Sniper, Birdman
Visual Effects: (1) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2) Interstellar (3) Guardians of the Galaxy
Writing – Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
Writing – Original Screenplay: (1) Birdman (2) Nightcrawler
Best Animated Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Total guess – I haven’t seen it)
I have absolutely no opinion/guesses for Best Short Film (Live), Best Short Film (Animated), Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Foreign Film because I haven’t seen any of the nominees in these categories at all. I know. I’m bad.
I am really curious about what your Oscar predictions are , so comment or tweet me @whatthemehek and let me know what your thoughts are for the awards! I’m really excited that Neil Patrick Harris is hosting (and I’m hoping there’ll be some Gone Girl-esque sequence in his opening). I’ll definitely be live-tweeting my reactions, so make sure to join in on the conversation and film fun!