Oscar predix - 2015
BEST PICTURE and DIRECTOR
Nominees for Picture: Boyhood; Birdman; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; American Sniper; Selma; Whiplash; The Theory of Everything.
Nominees for Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Alexander Gonzálex Iñárritu, Birdman; Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Morten Tydlum, The Imitation Game; Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
What Will Win: I'm taking these two awards together because, as I see it, there's about
30% chance of Birdman for Best Picture, Boyhood/Linklater for Director
25% chance of the reverse - Boyhood for Best Picture, Iñarritu for Director
20% chance of Birdman getting BOTH Picture and Director
15% chance of Boyhood getting BOTH Picture and Director
10% chance of both splitting the vote with neither getting Picture, but one of them is definitely getting Director (50/50 shot between them in that scenario)
Even though Boyhood has been the sentimental favorite for a while now, and beloved by everyone I personally know who's seen it, Birdman has won all the recent Guild awards (Producer, Director, Screen Actors) and seems to be resonating more with the likely Oscar voter population because it deals so directly with the stress of being in show business, the hunger for recognition, and the fear of obsolescence. The Artist won just a few years ago for likely similar reasons. As for Director, it comes down to whether voters were more impressed by Linklater's incredible 12-year labor of love or Iñarritu's technical finesse (the whole single tracking shot thing).
Upshot: Some combination of Birdman and Boyhood; at this time, I'm going with Birdman for Picture and Boyhood for Director, but it could just as easily be the reverse - with only a slightly lesser chance of Birdman taking both awards.
What Should Win: Well, my personal favorite of this group is Whiplash, but I would be pretty happy with a Boyhood win for both Picture and Director.
Nominees: Michael Keaton, Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Who Will Win: Another tight race between Keaton and Redmayne; Keaton has a lot of goodwill going for both him and Birdman generally, but it's hard to bet against actors who play real-life people with serious disabilities - and play them as well as Redmayne does. I'm giving the edge to Redmayne.
Who Should Win: Redmayne. His performance was more than a technical impersonation of Stephen Hawking (though an uncannily accurate one); he really inhabited the man emotionally, through and through. That said, there is a part of me that hopes Keaton will get it.
Nominees: Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Reese Witherspoon, Wild; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything.
Who Will Win: Moore. This one you can take to the bank.
Who Should Win: Moore. I've seen all five performances and it's a strong lineup, but there's a reason Moore's a lock beyond the fact that she's way overdue. She's fantastic.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash; Ed Norton, Birdman; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; Robert Duvall, The Judge
Who Will Win: Simmons. 100% certainty on this one, too.
Who Should Win: Another strong lineup, although I haven't seen The Judge (and frankly have zero interest in seeing it). Among the rest, Simmons' is the most bravura performance and deserves all the accolades it's been getting, but I also really loved both Norton and Ruffalo - one all high-wire energy, the other understated, intelligent, and wonderfully nuanced.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Emma Stone, Birdman; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods; Laura Dern, Wild
Who Will Win: Arquette. Another lock.
Who Should Win: I agree with the consensus - Arquette was very moving and believable as an all too human mom just trying to do her best. But Emma Stone did have that one killer scene.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Nominees: Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Foxcatcher; Nightcrawler
What Will Win: Grand Budapest Hotel. The Academy is finally ready to reward Wes Anderson's quirky ways.
What Should Win: Eh, I don't think any of these movies were so remarkable for their script as for other things, so I guess I'll just go with the one I thought worked best overall - Boyhood.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nominees: The Imitation Game; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash; American Sniper; Inherent Vice
What Will Win: The Imitation Game, though Whiplash has an outside chance of an upset.
What Should Win: Whiplash. It's not perfect, but it's by far the tightest and packs the most punch.