Projection: Oscar — Oscar Predictions Chart – 2/9/2015

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Michael Keaton in Birdman

At this point, it’s all over but the votin’.

Ballots were sent out last Friday. Oscar voting, for the most part, will take place this week. We now know where the guilds and BAFTA stand, and there’s precious little time for anything to change in any significant way. Nevertheless, there are some minor differences between the PGA/SAG/DGA/BAFTA contingencies, respectively, and the AMPAS membership –and those minor differences may end up being the deciding factor in the final Oscar results, especially when a handful of the top races appear to be so hotly contested.

There isn’t much in the way of predictive events between now and Oscar Night, so we are about as informed now as we will be on February 22. And with a race like this, Oscar prognosticating is nothing more than educated guesswork—as if it was ever anything more reliable or sophisticated to begin with.

Behold, this week’s chart:

Best Picture

  1. Birdman – Would be a juggernaut, except for the fact that apparently it isn’t.
  2. Boyhood – The BAFTA win finally shows that it’s in the conversation. Still a race…
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – An easy top three candidate. But I’m guessing the parts are more attractive to voters than their sum.
  4. American Sniper – Sensation and visibility = strength. But there is enough negativity surrounding the film that there’s no way it can win.
  5. The Imitation Game – Is it still a top five contender? I wonder…
  6. Whiplash – If it can compete for wins outside of Best Supporting Actor, maybe it earns enough support to survive a few rounds of vote counting.
  7. Selma – Feels so unfortunately forgotten since it never gained traction with the guilds or the Academy. But there will be that passion contingent as ballots are filled out.
  8. The Theory of Everything – May be stronger than it appears…but not a contender for a Best Picture win.

Best Director

  1. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman – The DGA win means a lot. Plus, it’s the best, most complex filmmaking in the category. Shouldn’t be a question, but still we have a toss-up.
  2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood – Enormous respect for his work and for his career. Will have to wait until the envelope is opened.
  3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel – I wonder how close he is to the top two. Love for the film runs deep.
  4. Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game – His inclusion proves the film is embraced…but not a threat to win.
  5. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher – Happy to be here. Or, knowing Miller, maybe he’s not.

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice – Love her to death, and this is a sure thing…but ICK.
  2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild – Shoulda been a closer race…
  3. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night – The mere fact that she’s nominated here indicates enough support to assume she earns some votes.
  4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything – A glorified supporting role, and all the attention has gone to her male counterpart.
  5. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl – Amy Dunne would know how to manipulate her way into an Oscar win.

Best Actor

  1. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything – SAG + BAFTA = Frontrunner. But his age and the weighted British contingent at the BAFTAs leaves a window of doubt.
  2. Michael Keaton, Birdman – I’ve always found it hard to believe that Keaton could lose if Birdman won Best Picture, but that seems to be the current scenario. However, his status as a beloved veteran and the perceived “comeback” narrative could still result in a win here.
  3. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper – Can he split the difference between the top two? No. But I do think the film’s notoriety earns him some votes.
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game – His chances faded with the film.
  5. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher – I wish Carell had been more of a player in the Oscar press. Would’ve been fun. And deserved.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – Your winner.
  2. Emma Stone, Birdman – Not like it matters who is in second place, but there’s enough derision for Stone’s character that I wonder if she is even in second.
  3. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game – It all becomes muddled after Arquette at the top. Is Keira third? Maybe…
  4. Laura Dern, Wild – An also-ran in terms of winning, but such a deserving nominee.
  5. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods – The obligatory Meryl nomination.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – FedEx him the statue now.
  2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood – In second by default, but no one has a chance here.
  3. Edward Norton, Birdman – Coasting in third.
  4. Robert Duvall, The Judge – Why?
  5. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher – Another all-but-forgotten Foxcatcher nominee, which is unfortunate.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Birdman – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Seemed like a “Screenplay Movie” for a while, but now that it’s a bonafide Picture-Director contender, it’s certainly vulnerable here. And its WGA disqualification means we have no guild indicator.
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson – The BAFTA win is big, though the film is quite Euro-centric. Close race.
  3. Boyhood – Richard Linklater – Seems like Linklater is more of a threat as Best Director than he is in this category.
  4. Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy – No, Part 1.
  5. Foxcatcher — E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman – No, Part 2.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Imitation Game – Graham Moore – If the film is as embraced as it once appeared, this would be the natural place for it to win. But support may be diminishing…
  2. Whiplash – Damien Chazelle – The chief competitor for a sneaky win if Imitation Game falls away.
  3. The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten – The BAFTA winner may be a sleeper for the Oscar as well…
  4. American Sniper – Jason Hall
  5. Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Film Editing

  1. Boyhood – Still banking on a win for Sandra Adair, even if this is one of only a few wins for the film.
  2. Whiplash – Hoping the BAFTA win inspires Academy members to take a fresh look…
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Won the ACE award for Comedy, and is clearly strong with AMPAS voters.
  4. American Sniper – Fading as the sensation dies down.
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Cinematography

  1. Birdman – If the film is assured of anything, this is it.
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Mr. Turner
  4. Ida
  5. Unbroken

Best Foreign Language Film

  1. Ida – Feels like a frontrunner based on other wins and its Cinematography nomination.
  2. Wild Tales – There is a large swath of support for the bleak Argentinian comedy. Depends on how it plays with the Academy at large.
  3. Leviathan – Still in the hunt.
  4. Timbuktu
  5. Tangerines

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

  1. CITIZENFOUR – Feels undeniable. Anything else would be a definite upset.
  2. Virunga – Powerful subject, and power of Netflix…
  3. Finding Vivian Maier
  4. Last Days in Vietnam
  5. The Salt of the Earth

Best Visual Effects

  1. Interstellar – A battle between man…
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — …and ape…
  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 – Guild and BAFTA support bodes well for the film.
  2. Into the Woods
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. Inherent Vice

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Could be a mini-sweep for the film in the craft categories.
  2. Foxcatcher – I’ve long felt that the more subtle work in the serious film would merit a win in this category. Plus it’s a way to give Foxcatcher a win.
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Desplat just won the BAFTA, and this feels like a realistic take for a film that will have a solid Oscar showing below the line.
  2. The Theory of Everything – Won the Globe…feels like a two-film race at this point.
  3. Interstellar – The Zimmer Factor…
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Mr. Turner

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory” from Selma – The kind of frontrunner that seems so in front that now everyone seems to be questioning it. But I don’t feel there is reason to doubt.
  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 – Won the BAFTA, won with the guild. Seems undeniable.
  2. Mr. Turner
  3. Interstellar
  4. Into the Woods
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Sound Editing

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

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Whiplash – Would be a well-deserved win, plus it just won the BAFTA. Fingers crossed…
  2. American Sniper – Another opportunity to recognize a controversial film in a non-controversial way.
  3. Birdman
  4. Interstellar
  5. Unbroken

Best Animated Short

  1. The Dam Keeper – Gorgeous and deeply felt. Can it topple the Disney machine?
  2. Feast – Solid, emotional, and Disney-backed. Could easily win.
  3. A Single Life – The most fun of the group; quick, funny, and cleverly conceptual.
  4. The Bigger Picture – Beautifully rendered and a BAFTA winner, though it didn’t compete against these four films.
  5. Me and My Moulton – Has Academy pedigree, but feels very standard compared to the other nominees.

Best Documentary Short

  1. Joanna – A profound slice of life about valuing and celebrating life. Don’t see how this misses, unless it’s too much of a downer.
  2. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – The most conventional of the nominees, with an HBO backing to boot. And it’s solid. Could happen.
  3. Our Curse – More misery with a slice of hope, with ragged production value. But the humanity should play with Academy members.
  4. The Reaper (La Parka) – Another downer, but about the human toll of corporate cattle slaughter. Relevant at a time when humane cattle raising is a hot topic.
  5. White Earth – Seems incomplete in its current form. Doubt this makes an impression.

Best Live Action Short

  1. The Phone Call – Not the best of the lot, but it has some star power and is broadly emotionally accessible.
  2. Parvaneh – Now this is the best of the lot. The most significant and humane of the nominees. Hope it can make the leap.
  3. Boogaloo and Graham – Very sweet and funny. Also the BAFTA winner, though not against any of these films.
  4. Aya – A similar “cultural divide” film to Parvaneh, but more long-winded.
  5. The Butter Lamp (Le Lamp au Beurre de Yak) – Too nebulous and non-narrative for broad Academy support.

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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.