Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Oscar Predictions: The BIRDMAN Rises



Best Picture

American Sniper
Birdman (or, the Unbearable Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: Boyhood
Watch Out For: American Sniper

Reasoning: One doesn't win the Golden Globe, PGA, SAG, and DGA, and then lose the Oscars. Birdman is as close to a lock as this race gets. If anything's going to beat it, it'll be critics' darling Boyhood, or public phenomenon American Sniper (which would be as big an upset as the Oscars have ever had). Here's a big reason to bet against Birdman: it is not nominated for Best Film Editing. What's that, you say? You have to go back to 1980 when Ordinary People won Best Picture to find a movie that won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Film Editing. That potentially puts Boyhood or, heaven forbid, American Sniper in the driver's seat to an "upset."

Best Director

Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro G. Innaritu, Birdman (or, The Unbearable Virtue of Ignorance)
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Will Win: Alejandro G. Innaritu
Should Win: Richard Linklater
Watch Out For: Richard Linklater

Reasoning: I should be happier that this could be the second year in a row a Mexican director wins this prize. Innaritu won the DGA, but Richard Linklater won the Golden Globe. Birdman is in a better position to win the evening, so it should follow here, if history holds.

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman (or, The Unbearable Virtue of Ignorance)
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Should Win: Michael Keaton
Watch Out For: Michael Keaton

Reasoning: This is the only acting category that's remotely a race, and the only one to expect any sort of upset in (Bradley Cooper is a solid No Guts, No Glory bet). Keaton and Redmayne both won Golden Globes, but Redmayne won the SAG and the BAFTA.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Will Win: Julianne Moore
Should Win: Marion Cotillard
Watch Out For: Reese Witherspoon

Reasoning: This is a "sorry for all those other times we didn't give you one!" Oscar. I wish I felt more excited about it.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman (or, The Unbearable Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Watch Out For: Edward Norton

Reasoning: It's been a lock out of the gate.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman (or, The Unbearable Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Watch Out For: Emma Stone

Reasoning: It's been a lock since the season started.

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Nightcrawler
Watch Out For: Birdman

Reasoning: This is a weird one, and one of the few major categories that has any sort of competition. Budapest won the WGA, but Birdman was not eligible because of various Guild rules. Birdman beat Budapest at the Globes. Budapest beat Birdman at the BAFTA. Wes Anderson's never won an Oscar, and boy, do they love Budapest.

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Will Win: The Imitation Game
Should Win: Inherent Vice
Watch Out For: American Sniper(???)

Reasoning: The road feels pretty clear for Imitation Game to win its only award here. If Sniper has a surging fan base in the Academy, or if there's enough support for Whiplash (evident by its Picture nom), either could win here.

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Songs of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Should Win: N/A
Watch Out For: Big Hero 6

Reasoning: With the Lego Movie out of the way, flip a coin between Dragon and Hero.

Best Documentary Feature

Citizenfour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Will Win: Citizenfour
Should Win: N/A
Watch Out For: Virunga

Reasoning: Citizenfour has been in command of this since its release, but Virunga has had a steady surge over the voting period. Will be interesting, especially after last year's kerfuffle.

Best Foreign Film

Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

Will Win: Wild Tales
Should Win: N/A
Watch Out For: Ida

Reasoning: Most folks are picking Ida here, and rightly so. But I gotta have at least one prediction that bucks the trend, and the vibrations of hype around Wild Tales have me wondering if it could be a surprise winner here.

Best Cinematography

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: Mr. Turner
Watch Out For: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Reasoning: I feel pretty confident that Birdman will take this (the Cinematography is, largely, the story of the film's success), but thinking up a spoiler is tough: either Ida or Grand Budapest could take this one if Lubezki loses.

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Watch Out For: Into the Woods

Reasoning: It's flashy, they love it. They also love musicals, if you're looking for a spoiler.

Best Film Editing

American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Will Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Boyhood
Watch Out For: American Sniper

Reasoning: Much like how Cinematography is the story of Birdman, Editing is the story of Boyhood, and it's where the film breathes and works. A win feels almost too obvious. The combat stuff in American Sniper or the fierce tempo work in Whiplash could win here.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Watch Out For: Guardians of the Galaxy

Reasoning: This one feels pretty self-evident.

Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Watch Out For: Into the Woods

Reasoning: This feels like as obvious a category as Best Supporting Actor. If anything besides Budapest wins, it will be one of the night's biggest upsets.

Best Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Should Win: Interstellar, I guess
Watch Out For: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Reasoning: It's tempting to see Dusplat winning for Budapest here, but people keep giving awards to that string-y Theory of Everything score.

Best Song

"Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie
"Glory" from Selma
"Grateful" from Beyond the Lights
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell
"Lost Stars" from Begin Again

Will Win: Selma
Should Win: Selma
Watch Out For: The LEGO Movie

Reasoning: One of the other perceived "locks" of the night. If enough people are pissed about LEGO not getting the Animated Feature nom, it could surge here.

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Will Win: American Sniper
Should Win: Unbroken
Watch Out For: Unbroken

Reasoning: Unbroken won the MPSE, where it was not in competition against Sniper, which is infinitely more popular in the Academy. War films do very well here.

Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: Whiplash
Watch Out For: Whiplash

Reasoning: This is, for whatever reason, one of the more interesting categories of the evening. Whiplash won the BAFTA, and movies with lots of music often do well here. Birdman won the CAS. American Sniper is a war movie. As long as Interstellar doesn't win, I think I'll be okay. I'm picking the presumed Picture frontrunner to scoop a weird win here.

Best Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-men: Days of Future Past

Will Win: Interstellar
Should Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Watch Out For: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Reasoning: I have no idea why people love the visuals in Interstellar.