Projection: Oscar — Oscar Nomination Predictions – 1/14/2015



At long last, we have arrived at Oscar Nomination Eve. Visions of early-morning journalistic camera flashes are already dancing in my head.

At 5:30am Pacific Time, the nominations will be announced for the 87th Academy Awards – all categories, every last one of them, will be announced live for the first time ever. It’s pundit-geek heaven.

All of the precursors have spoken, most recently the Director’s Guild, who excluded Selma’s Ava DuVernay and Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle in favor of American Sniper’s Clint Eastwood and The Imitation Game’s Morten Tyldum. I can guarantee you the final Oscar list for Best Director will not match the DGA exactly; just how different it will be is the real question.

As the guild nominations came pouring in, Boyhood made a strong transition from critical darling to industry favorite; with it, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game have solidified themselves as top contenders. American Sniper has made a strong showing as well, indicating the film is a real threat to be nominated in multiple categories. Selma has not been a strong precursor player at all, though its late start and subsequent “screener controversy” may have precluded it from being widely viewed before guild nominating was complete; I still expect DuVernay’s film to be a strong contender in multiple categories.

We have this argument every year, but in the perennial “was this a good year for film?” debate, I find myself firmly in the “NO” camp – there were a great many solid films, but very few great ones. That very fact, however, leads me to think that the fight for nominations is quite tight among many equally-respected films, filmmakers, and performances. We typically expect Best Actor to be a crowded field (to that point, I can’t believe I’m not even predicting Steve Carell as my Dark Horse), but interestingly enough, Best Picture and Best Director are equally deep, with about 12 films fighting for (most likely) nine BP slots and eight directors trying to squeeze into the final five.

In less than 12 hours we will know the answers. Until then, I could keep gnashing my teeth over these final nomination predictions…but I think it’s time to just let it ride. Below are my final predictions for nominees in all categories (except those pesky shorts). All choices are ranked, with one outside Dark Horse candidate underlined at the bottom of each list.

Talk to you on the flip side, at which point Phase Two kicks off and we have finally have a set field of contenders to argue about…

Best Picture

  1. Boyhood
  2. Selma
  3. Birdman
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game
  6. The Theory of Everything
  7. American Sniper
  8. Whiplash
  9. Gone Girl
  10. Nightcrawler

Best Director

  1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
  3. Ava DuVernay, Selma
  4. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
  6. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
  3. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  5. Jennifer Aniston, Cake
  6. Amy Adams, Big Eyes

Best Actor

  1. Michael Keaton, Birdman
  2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
  3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  4. David Oyelowo, Selma
  5. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
  6. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  2. Emma Stone, Birdman
  3. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  4. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
  5. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  6. Rene Russo, Nightcrawler

Best Supporting Actor

  1. K. Simmons, Whiplash
  2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  3. Edward Norton, Birdman
  4. Robert Duvall, The Judge
  5. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  6. Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Birdman – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson
  3. Boyhood – Richard Linklater
  4. Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy
  5. Selma – Paul Webb
  6. Foxcatcher — Max Frye, Dan Futterman

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  2. The Imitation Game – Graham Moore
  3. Whiplash – Damien Chazelle
  4. The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten
  5. Wild – Nick Hornby
  6. American Sniper – Jason Hall

Best Film Editing

  1. Birdman
  2. Boyhood
  3. Whiplash
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game
  6. Nightcrawler

Best Cinematography

  1. Birdman
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Turner
  4. Unbroken
  5. Nightcrawler
  6. Ida

Best Foreign Language Film

  1. Leviathan
  2. Ida
  3. Timbuktu
  4. Tangerines
  5. Wild Tales
  6. Force Majeure

Best Animated Feature

  1. The LEGO Movie
  2. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  3. The Boxtrolls
  4. Big Hero 6
  5. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
  6. Song of the Sea

Best Documentary Feature

  2. Life Itself
  3. Finding Vivian Maier
  4. The Overnighters
  5. Last Days in Vietnam
  6. Keep On Keepin’ On

Best Visual Effects

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Interstellar
  4. Godzilla
  5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  6. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Costume Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Into the Woods
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Maleficent
  5. Turner
  6. Selma

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Foxcatcher
  4. The Theory of Everything

Best Original Score

  1. Interstellar
  2. The Theory of Everything
  3. Gone Girl
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game
  6. The Judge

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory” from Selma
  2. “Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie
  3. “Ryan’s Song” from Boyhood
  4. “Lost Stars” from Begin Again
  5. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
  6. “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Best Production Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Turner
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Birdman
  6. Interstellar

Best Sound Editing

  1. Birdman
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. American Sniper
  4. Interstellar
  5. Unbroken
  6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Birdman
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. American Sniper
  4. Into the Woods
  5. Unbroken
  6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

About Author

I married into the cult of cinema at a very young age - I wasn't of legal marriage age, but I didn't care. It has taken advantage of me and abused me many times. Yet I stay in this marriage because I'm obsessed and consumed. Don't try to save me -- I'm too far gone.