Projection: Oscar — Oscar Predictions Chart – 1/22/2015


J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Today is January 22. Oscar Night is February 22. It’s barreling down on us already.

It’s difficult to gauge any subtle movement just one week removed from the nominations announcement. It’s safe to say American Sniper has moved up, if for no other reason than its remarkable box-office performance. I watched all of the Best Animated Short contenders and wound up more confused than ever, since there are actually a few strong contenders in that group (check out The Dam Keeper and A Single Life wherever you can – but more on the shorts coming in a future column). Outside of that, we are in a sort of holding pattern. Not a ton of movement.

Behold, this week’s chart:

Best Picture

  1. Boyhood – No legitimate reason to doubt at this point. Maybe if PGA or SAG go another way…
  2. Birdman – The closest upset contender. A SAG win could make the race interesting.
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – So well-loved and so strong across the board that it’s hard to deny it a spot in the Top Three.
  4. American Sniper – Already the highest grossing film of the bunch. Popularity plus media onslaught shifts a spotlight directly onto the film.
  5. The Imitation Game – Seems to be fading, but strong across the board, especially with a Best Director nomination.
  6. Selma – The film will remain top of mind for all AMPAS voters given the uproar over its perceived snubs as well as its unexpected ideological battle against Sniper.
  7. Whiplash – Happy to be here, which is a pity for the best film in the category.
  8. The Theory of Everything – Feels like a throwaway Best Picture nomination. This one’s all about acting.

Best Director

  1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood – The clear frontrunner, without question.
  2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman – The degree of difficulty associated with this work makes it the most obvious upset contender.
  3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel – Doesn’t feel like he can win, but it also feels like if this were a three-person category, Anderson would be in for sure.
  4. Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game – Apparently a lot of respect for this work from the Directing branch of AMPAS. With the group at large, he will fall away.
  5. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher – Happy for this nomination. And the nomination is Miller’s reward.

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice – Doesn’t seem like anyone can stop her.
  2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild – Hard to determine who Moore’s closest competitor is. Witherspoon is front and center in her best role in years. Seems to make sense.
  3. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night – The Academy clearly loves her. And she’s won as a dark horse before…
  4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything – Kind of a glorified supporting performance. Very good but all the attention will go to her male counterpart.
  5. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl – Do you know how good this performance is? She’s the best in the category. But there is apparent visceral hatred for the movie from among the Academy…

Best Actor

  1. Michael Keaton, Birdman – His to lose at this point.
  2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything – Can a SAG win flip the race?
  3. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper – The real sleeper of the race. Will depend on how the culture war narrative progresses in the next few weeks.
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game – Once upon a time, he was near the top of the list. Not anymore.
  5. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher – Since the film has kind of been sidelined, it’s a shame we aren’t seeing a Carell victory lap for this nomination. Well deserved.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – Your winner.
  2. Emma Stone, Birdman – In second place by virtue of starring in the second place movie.
  3. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game – It all becomes muddled after Arquette at the top, but love for the film probably earns Knightley some votes.
  4. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods – The obligatory Meryl nomination. I actually wonder if her pedigree earns some significant votes…
  5. Laura Dern, Wild – Hopefully this nomination will make the Academy at large take notice.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – Over.
  2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood – The only possible chance for a (shocker) upset.
  3. Edward Norton, Birdman – Coasting in third.
  4. Robert Duvall, The Judge – Why?
  5. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher – A well-deserved nomination is once again the reward for 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. Foxcatcher — E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Whiplash – Damien Chazelle
  2. The Imitation Game – Graham Moore
  3. American Sniper – Jason Hall
  4. The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten
  5. Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Film Editing

  1. Whiplash – Please…
  2. Boyhood – What editing?
  3. American Sniper – If there’s a movement toward the film, this could happen.
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Cinematography

  1. Birdman – Two in a row for Chivo?
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Mr. Turner
  4. Ida
  5. Unbroken

Best Foreign Language Film

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

Best Animated Feature

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

Best Documentary Feature

  2. Finding Vivian Maier
  3. Last Days in Vietnam
  4. Virunga
  5. The Salt of the Earth

Best Visual Effects

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

Best Costume Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Mr. Turner
  3. Into the Woods
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Inherent Vice

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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

Best Original Score

  1. Interstellar – Kind of an open category. Hans Zimmer, tho…
  2. The Theory of Everything – Won the Globe…could take it here, too.
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Fanciful…could be part of a few wins for Anderson’s film.
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Mr. Turner

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory” from Selma – Not even close.
  2. “Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie
  3. “Lost Stars” from Begin Again
  4. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
  5. “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights

Best Production Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel – So odd that this will be the first Production Design Oscar for a Wes Anderson film.
  2. Mr. Turner
  3. Interstellar
  4. Into the Woods
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Sound Editing

  1. Birdman
  2. American Sniper – Feels like the sound categories could be an area where the Academy throws Sniper a bone…
  3. Interstellar
  4. Unbroken
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Whiplash – Would be a well-deserved win. The correct choice.
  2. American Sniper – Ditto here…
  3. Birdman
  4. Interstellar
  5. Unbroken

Best Animated Short

  1. The Dam Keeper – Taking a shot on this one. It’s gorgeous and deeply felt.
  2. Feast – The obligatory Disney nominee that can be hit or miss with AMPAS.
  3. A Single Life – The most fun of the group; quick, funny, and cleverly conceptual.
  4. The Bigger Picture
  5. Me and My Moulton



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.