2015 Oscars Predictions: What Will Win And What Should

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL film

Best Picture

American Sniper Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
Boyhood Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
The Imitation Game Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
Selma Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
The Theory of Everything Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
Whiplash Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

What Will Win

Boyhood

I liked Boyhood quite a bit less than most people, but a fair shade more than the few who were opposed to it. Basically, the fact it was filmed over 12 years is a remarkable filmmaking achievement, but on its own it doesn’t make the movie the best. And there are too many things about the film’s focus on minutiae that keeps it from really being the best to me.

That said, Hollywood loves movies about the theater, giving Birdman a leg up. And Selma could benefit from being a “significant” movie that was “snubbed” in other categories.

What Should Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I’m not sure what the Vegas line on Budapest is, but if Wes Anderson’s European epic was a NBA team, I’d put its odds somewhere around the same as the Milwaukee Bucks at winning the title. Yes, it’s technically in the race, but barring some suspensions, there’s no way. Still, this was Anderson at his biggest, if not his best. And that’s something that made the film enjoyable, regardless of whether you dig his aesthetic.

Actor

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

Who Will Win

Eddie Redmayne

Actors have won this award before for playing someone who is handicapped, and doing something like that automatically gives you a leg up in the eyes of some voters. Redmayne’s performance goes far beyond that though, and really, far beyond some of the best biopic performances we’ve seen in recent years. The way he contorts his body and his voice allows him to become Hawking. Within minutes of ALS hitting the character, I forgot that I was watching an actor who was able to walk home every night after filming.

Who Should Win

Eddie Redmayne

See above.

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Supporting Actor

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

Who Will Win

J.K. Simmons

Simmons turned in an absolutely phenomenal performance in Whiplash, really making the movie. He’s tormented, he’s angry, and he’s completely enthralling to watch from start to finish.

Who Should Win

Edward Norton

For as much as I enjoyed Simmons performance, I enjoyed Norton’s even more. Birdman is the most that I’ve liked what Norton has done since Rounders, and he’s done quite a few movies since then. He doesn’t quite carry Birdman as much as Simmons carries Whiplash, but he’s by far the best of the cast.

Actress

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

Who Will Win

Julianne Moore

After being nominated for five Oscars, it looks like Julianne Moore is finally going to take home one of those elusive Golden Statues. She’s been winning everything up until this point, and there’s no reason why that should change at the biggest show of them all.

Who Should Win

Julianne Moore

This may be a weak year in the Best Actress category, but there’s no denying that Moore is deserving.

Supporting Actress

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

Who Will Win

Patricia Arquette

Arquette has received a lot of hype for her performance in Boyhood, playing the role over 12 years of her life. She’ll win, if for no other reason than the Academy won’t let the film go home without any acting awards.

Who Should Win

Emma Stone

As with most aspects of Boyhood, I think Arquette’s performance is a fair bit overrated. The same can’t be said for Stone’s. It’s simple, but what Stone does with her brief time on the screen is marvelous.

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Animated Feature

Big Hero 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea Tomm Moore and Paul Young
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

What Will Win

How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon is one of the most remarkable animated family films of the past decade, and its sequel stayed true to that mold. While most of the talk around this category is about the exclusion of The Lego Movie, even if that film had earned a nomination, HTTYD2 is still deserving of the win.

What Should Win

How To Train Your Dragon 2

See above.

Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash Written by Damien Chazelle

What Will Win

The Theory of Everything

McCarten takes the story of one of the most iconic figures to ever live in science, and finds a way to bring it to the big screen while that figure is still alive. That does lead to some things being handled in a slightly safer way than I would like, but there’s no denying that as the story weaves and winds its way to modern day Hawking, there’s enough meat to it to capture even the most cynical of hearts.

What Should Win

Whiplash

To address the controversy over whether Whiplash should count for the adapted category: Yes. It should. One of the biggest perks to an adaptation is you’re able to tell what worked with the original story. Even when the original is something you wrote yourself. But in terms of the screenplay itself, it’s incredible. First of all, this movie makes drumming seem way more exciting than drumming actually is. Not even drummers want to hear six minute drum solos. But in reading the script, the jazz just oozes off the page. Chazelle will likely have a closet full of nominations before too long.

Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood Written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler Written by Dan Gilroy

What Will Win

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Hollywood loves movies about the theater. If they don’t reward Inarritu with the Best Picture title (and even if they do) look for him to walk away with a Best Original Screenplay award. The story is as complex and dark as it is hilariously enjoyable. A rare quality in a nominate movie.

What Should Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

This was an extremely hard decision for me between Budapest and Nightcrawler, but there’s just something about the way Anderson writes his novellas of scripts that makes me feel he should be walking away with this award every single time he has a movie out that year. Budapest is no different. The story is tight. The characters full of life. And the language as vibrant as the images on the screen.

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Cinematography

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel Robert Yeoman
Ida Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner Dick Pope
Unbroken Roger Deakins

What Will Win

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman is one of those rare movies where not only is the camera an additional character, but it’s an additional character who turns in a memorable performance that you actually care about. The camera tells the story here and does it in a beautiful way.

What Should Win

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

I’m a sucker for extended-shot movies.

Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice Mark Bridges
Into the Woods Colleen Atwood
Maleficent Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
Mr. Turner Jacqueline Durran

What Will Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The costume design category is usually a crapshoot when it comes to predictions, at least from someone like me who has no experience in that industry, but there’s no way that Budapest doesn’t come out on top here. It’s a completely fictional world that felt more real due to the production design than 2014 New York City.

What Should Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I spent half my savings trying to buy authentic garb from Zubrowka before realizing it isn’t a real country.

Director

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

Who Will Win

Richard Linklater

The biggest accomplishment of Boyhood is the fact that Linklater was able to take a completely ordinary story and make it captivating. Every scene is wonderfully put together, plus, the accomplishment of the 12-year shoot is almost entirely a directing accomplishment.

Who Should Win

Wes Anderson

Did I mention I enjoyed Budapest?

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Film Editing

American Sniper Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
Boyhood Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game William Goldenberg
Whiplash Tom Cross

What Will Win

Boyhood

Crafting a 2:30+ movie in a way that tells a 12-year story is a remarkable feat not only in scripting, but in editing as well.

What Should Win

Whiplash

As a former editor, very few movies have impressed me as much as Whiplash with what was done in that realm. My jaw literally dropped at some of the sequences in the movie.

Makeup and Hairstyling

Foxcatcher Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
The Grand Budapest Hotel Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
Guardians of the Galaxy Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

What Will Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

For all the reasons I listed under costuming, I reiterate for this category. Plus, did you see Tilda Swinton?

What Should Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything Jóhann Jóhannsson

Who Will Win

The Theory of Everything Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Theory of Everything was hugely carried by musical cues, in traditional biopic fashion. I don’t say that to detract from the film, but rather to complement the work that Johannsson put in. Well deserving of a win.

Who Should Win

The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat

2014 can be known as the year of Desplat, at least among original score-files. His work for Unbroken wasn’t nominated, though it was nearly as impressive as his two films that did snag nominations. Of the two, Budapest is my favorite, and I give it the nod.

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Original Song

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

What Will Win

“Glory” from Selma

This is a rather weak year, but then again, that doesn’t really matter to the voters. The past couple years the only qualification question seems to have been “Which song is the most repetitive?” This category will be another example of trying to un-“snub” Selma.

What Should Win

“Glory” from Selma

It’s actually a solid choice in comparison. I just don’t think it would have won plenty of other years.

Production Design

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Sound Editing

American Sniper Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
Interstellar Richard King
Unbroken Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

What Will Win

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock

The sound in Birdman is part of what had so many so excited about the movie.

What Should Win

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Brent Burge and Jason Canovas

The fact this is the only category The Hobbit was nominated in disgusts me.

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Sound Mixing

American Sniper John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
Interstellar Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
Unbroken Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
Whiplash Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

What Will Win

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Voters are suckers for urban drums sounds…

What Should Win

Whiplash

…but Jazz drum sounds are way cooler.

Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
Interstellar Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

What Will Win

Interstellar

The biggest snub of them all is Interstellar. If you want a wider range of my thoughts on the film, you can read my review. But the gist of it is that Interstellar is a stunning movie, and that is due in large part to the visuals

What Should Win

Interstellar

Did you even see the movie? There’s a black hole!

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About the author /


Alex wishes he had the smarts of Will Hunting, the skills of Jason Bourne and the nose of Linus Caldwell. You also might find him sticking his fingers into spiderwebs, just in case one happens to be radioactive.

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