The 87th Academy Awards…. The Predictions

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I realize I’ve been slacking with the reviews of previous best picture winners, but I’m trying my best. Still, here we have my predictions for the 87th Academy Awards. We’ll see if I’m right or not come Sunday night, but for right now these are my best guesses. As usual, I’m not predicting every category (I left out animated shorts, documentary shorts, documentary feature, and short film) because I don’t know enough about them to predict them, other than just parroting back what the internet says. I barely have time to keep up with the rest of the categories, so something has to go. When they are announced at the ceremony, I will list them for completeness but I don’t count them in my prediction average. This year, my winners post will be coming on the Monday after, as opposed to liveblogging like I did last year. I’ll be working on it on Sunday night, but I’ll save the actual post until Monday.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, Huffington Post, Variety, Indiewire, and my general film knowledge

Animated Feature…

pinkstuff_thetaleofprincesskaguya

Nominees: Big Hero Six, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Who I’m rooting for: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

And the award will go to: How to Train Your Dragon 2

I haven’t seen any of the films in these categories, but unlike the other categories that I don’t predict I do just hear general things about them. So I sort of feel like I know what’s happening here. It’s still weird that The Lego Movie wasn’t nominated at all, but in its wake I was basically torn between How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero Six. To the internet! No one is predicting Big Hero Six at all, so it must be more of a popular hit than anything else. Most people seem to be going with How to Train Your Dragon 2 so I am too. Why am I rooting for The Tale of Princess Kaguya? Because given the choice, I would watch that one over the other four.

Foreign Film….

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Nominees: Ida, Leviathan, Tangerines, Timbuktu, and Wild Tales

Who I’m rooting for: Ida

And the award will go to: Ida

I remember Leviathan getting the Globe, and everyone seems to be in love with Wild Tales, so maybe I’m totally wrong here but I’m going with Ida anyway because I’ve seen it. Maybe that means more Academy members will also have seen it? It also got a cinematography nomination, which cannot be said of the rest of these.

Original Score….

THE IMITATION GAMENominees: Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat for The Imitation Game, Hans Zimmer for Interstellar, Gary Yershon for Mr. Turner, and Johann Johannson for The Theory of Everything

Who I’m rooting for: Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel

And the award will go to: Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel

It seems that Mr. Desplat is the Leo DiCaprio of composers; he’s been nominated 8 times already and has never won. He’s nominated twice here, hopefully that won’t divide the vote and give Johann Johannson a chance to sweep in and take it from him. He did win a Globe for his The Theory of Everything score, but I personally like The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s the best out of all of these. None of them super stood out to be during the movies (and I’ve seen Mr. Turner), but I have listened to the soundtrack albums individually and The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s feels most connected to the movie it’s in to me. Hopefully the Academy agrees.

Original Song…

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Nominees:  “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, “Glory” from Selma, “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me, and “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Who I’m rooting for: “Lost Stars” from Begin Again 

And the award will go to: “Glory” from Selma

This one seems like it’s going straight to Selma if you ask me, because the Academy has to make sure they don’t appear racist. I’m not saying that they will if they don’t pick it, I just think that’s the mindset of a lot of people involved. I’m not a huge fan of it because while it’s a perfectly adequate song, in the movie it just sort of gets tacked on with some emotionally manipulative credits and I would be able to get behind it more if it was used in the movie proper. Begin Again is the only other movie I’ve seen out these, and “Lost Stars” functioned that way in the movie. Plus I just like it better. That said, The Lego Movie was snubbed even more than Selma was, so maybe the Academy will go with that one. I still think Selma has the edge though.

Sound mixing….

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Nominees: American Sniper, Birdman, Interstellar, Unbroken, and Whiplash

Who I’m rooting for: Unbroken

And the award will go to: Whiplash

I just remember sitting in the theater for Unbroken and appreciating the sound a lot, especially the effect they had going with the surround sound during the battle scenes. Walking out from it, I was hoping it would get some sound recognition. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen though, with most people predicting American Sniper. Some are still going with Whiplash though, and that’s my gut reaction since nobody’s predicting Unbroken. I guess just because the sound is so important, it being about music and all.

Sound editing….

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

Who I’m rooting for: Unbroken

And the award will go to: American Sniper

There’s so much overlap in these categories that I wonder why they don’t just give out one award for sound design and call it a day. I understand they are very different processes, and I suppose professionals probably can sit through a movie and differentiate between the two, but for the rest of us mortals (meaning me) it’s difficult. I’m going with American Sniper everyone’s predicting it and I don’t have a reason not to. I don’t even really feel that strongly about Unbroken, but going with what I just said about the categories being hard to distinguish, I’ll stick with the same movie.

Makeup and Hair…

elevator_guardiansofthegalaxyNominees:  Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Guardians of the Galaxy 

Who I’m rooting for: The Grand Budapest Hotel

And the award will go to: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

I honestly pegged Foxcatcher to win this. Foxcatcher is a really good movie, and I figured that the Academy would want to give it something. Everyone’s predicting The Grand Budapest Hotel though, and honestly that’s probably the right call if you ask me. The makeup was really noticeable in Foxcatcher, almost to the point where it was distracting.

Costumes….

shasta_inherentvice

Nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Into the WoodsMaleficent, and Mr. Turner 

Who I’m rooting for: Inherent Vice

And the award will go to: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

I think a good rule of thumb for this year is to predict The Grand Budapest Hotel in all of the design categories and you’ll be probably be correct. That seems to be what the experts are doing. Though TGBH is a great choice, Inherent Vice gets my vote, just because this is one of the two awards it is up for and it’s soooo seventies. Groovy, man.

Production Design…

INTO THE WOODSNominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Into the Woods, and Mr. Turner 

Who I’m rooting for: Into the Woods

And the award will go to: The Grand Budapest Hotel

You’ll understand why I’m rooting for Into the Woods when I tell you that they built over half of the trees you see in the movie. That’s so cool! But I have to officially predict TGBH because that’s the rule of thumb for this year.

Visual Effects….

cooliceplanet_interstellar

Nominees: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, and X-Men: Days of Future Past

Who I’m rooting for: Interstellar

And the award will go to: Interstellar

Still haven’t seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Guardians, so I’m going with Interstellar. I thought the effects were super cool, and the Academy will go with it because it’s the artsiest choice out of all of these. That’s pretty much the rule for this category in general, I think. The Academy gets to look cool and populist by nominating all of the blockbustery superhero/scifi films, and then they go with whichever one is the most highbrow.

Editing….

withhisdad_boyhood

Nominees: American Sniper, BoyhoodThe Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Whiplash

Who I’m rooting for: Whiplash

And the award will go to: Boyhood

Boyhood‘s gonna win this one, and honestly I can see why. There were some cool scene transitions and it must have been tough to accomplish with it spanning 12 years and all. If and when it wins, I won’t be that upset. Whiplash’s editing was really intense though, so I would rather see it win. Which is technically better? Beats me, but I have to wonder why the other three are here and Birdman wasn’t. Maybe because the editing is so awesome you don’t notice it? Wait, that’s dumb. It should have been here, Academy.

Cinematography…

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Nominees: Roger Deakins for Unbroken, Emmaneul Lubezki for Birdman, Dick Pope for Mr. Turner, Robert Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Lukas Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski for Ida 

Who I’m rooting for: Emmaneul Lubezki for Birdman

And the award will go to: Emmaneul Lubezki for Birdman

Poor Roger Deakins can never catch a break can he. I have a lot of problems with the nominations in this category, but my pic for the year and the guy who’s going to win are one and the same, and I suppose that counts. Lubezki just won last year, but no one even cares because he’s so awesome and his work on Birdman is a marvelously executed gimmick that is totally and 100% justified by the story (*cough cough* Boyhood *cough cough*).

Best Adapted Screenplay….

morenerdparty_thetheoryofeverything

Nominees: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash 

Who I’m rooting for: Inherent Vice

And the award will go to: Whiplash

I’m still working my way through the screenplay nominees unfortunately, and I’ve read more of the originals than I have of the adapteds. l’m about halfway through Inherent Vice right now, which is not going to win in a million years but is almost as delightful to read as it is to watch. My gut instinct had me going for The Imitation Game, I don’t know why, but it seems as if Whiplash is the favorite in this category. Far be it for me to argue. (Though we all know Gone Girl should be winning this category…. grrr Academy……)

Best Original Screenplay….

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Nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher, and Nightcrawler 

Who I’m rooting for: I’m basically cool with anything that’s not Boyhood, but I’ll go with Nightcrawler

And the award will go to: The Grand Budapest Hotel

It’s pretty much unanimous at this point, The Grand Budapest Hotel is cleaning up in the “lesser” categories (and by that I mean not acting, directing, or picture). It’s won like all the precursors and there seems to be no stopping it. I’ve read Birdman and Nightcrawler so far, and both are excellent. I’m more inclined to root for Nightcrawler, mostly because this is the only thing it’s up for and that’s not really fair at all! Though if Birdman ends up with nothing but cinematography I’m going to be really sad.

Best Supporting Actress….

lauradern_wild

Nominees: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, Laura Dern for Wild, Kiera Knightley for The Imitation Game, Emma Stone for Birdman, and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods 

Who I’m rooting for: Kiera Knightley for The Imitation Game

And the award will go to: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Both supporting categories are basically set in stone at this point, which is too bad. Especially this one, because I like Patricia Arquette in general but I still don’t think she did a whole lot in Boyhood. I’d be more happy if Emma Stone or Laura Dern won, but I would be most happy if Kiera Knightley won. She just made The Imitation Game if you ask me. Knightley is not one of those actresses who can disappear into a role, you always know it’s her, but she manages to make everything she does appear effortless and natural. I’m really glad she’s nominated here and I wish she would win.

Best Supporting Actor…

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Nominees: Robert Duvall for The Judge, Ethan Hawke for Boyhood, Ed Norton for Birdman, Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, and JK Simmons for Whiplash

Who I’m rooting for: JK Simmons for Whiplash

And the award will go to: JK Simmons for Whiplash

Like supporting actress, we all already know who’s taking this one home. JK Simmons has been doing great character work for years, and it’s nice to see him finally get some recognition for it. I like his performance enough that I don’t feel like mustering up enough vitriol to actually root for Ruffalo or Norton, both whom easily deserve this award just as much as Simmons does. I even liked Hawke in Boyhood, but since I’m really not a fan of that movie and I like other performances better, might as well just leave well enough alone and go with Simmons.

Best Actress….

bathtub_gonegirl

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

Who I’m rooting for: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl

And the award will go to: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Ugh, the tragic saga that is the Academy’s continued snub of Gone Girl. I haven’t seen Still Alice, and I’m not going to anytime soon because there’s no way I would be able to judge Julianne Moore’s performance fairly because Rosamund Pike was so good and it’s gonna take me a while to get over her loosing. She is going to loose, because Julianne Moore’s character has a disease, she doesn’t have an Oscar yet, and the Academy hates Gone Girl. That’s just the simple truth. I’m sure Moore is good, and I’ve heard she’s good, but I’ve also heard she’s been better. Hopefully it won’t matter in the long run and Pike will get some good roles based on her outstanding work here, because as of right now that’s the only reward she’s looking at.

Best Actor…

guns_foxcatcherNominees: Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, Michael Keaton for Birdman, and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Who I’m rooting for: Michael Keaton for Birdman

And the award will go to: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Aw man would I have loved to see Jake Gyllenhaal win this. Alas, it’s not to be. Out of these, I definitely have to go with Keaton. Eddie Redmayne has got a SAG award though, and that basically wraps it up. It’s not like Keaton doesn’t have a shot, but it would a surprise if he won at this point. Some are still wondering if Bradley Cooper can win it, not having been in contention for the precursor awards at all really. I’m thinking that’s not super likely. Redmayne does a great job, but it’s easy to fall into cynical mode about why the Academy’s going to pick him. He hasn’t been around as long as Keaton, but he’s playing a real life person with a disease which the Academy eats up. His win is not as certain as Moore’s but I still think it’s a pretty good bet.

Director….

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Nominees: Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, Bennet Miller for Foxcatcher, and Morton Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Who I’m rooting for: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

And the award will go to: Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Best picture and director are tied so closely together that whenever one isn’t a sure thing, the other one starts becoming uncertain as well. That has been the case for the past two years, and what was once considered very closely related has been split ever since Ben Affleck was snubbed in 2012. So that makes my job here a bit trickier. For most of awards season, I was pretty sure that Linklater was going to take this. Now I’m not as sure, but I’m still going with it. Personally, I always think they should go together instead of having best director turn into a sort of consolation prize for which ever movie doesn’t win BP, but I do understand why they are separate categories. Inarritu, my pic out of these, won the DGA so things are little bit murkier, but I think I’ll stick with Linklater.

Best Picture….

emmastone_birdman

Nominees: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game,  Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash

Who I’m rooting for: Birdman

And the award will go to: Birdman

I have literally been predicting Boyhood since like probably October or so. Everyone loved it and nothing seemed to be taking its place. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past two years of predicting BP, it’s that going with your first instinct usually works. I thought Argo had a shot when I first saw it, got seduced by Lincoln/Life of Pi, only to have Argo gain momentum in the home stretch and then actually win. Almost exactly the same deal with 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. I had predicted 12 Years like a year in advance, sight unseen, and it turned out winning, despite all of the hype Gravity had it got director instead. Now, things aren’t exactly the same this year as our token CGI movie (Interstellar) didn’t go over well, but my instinct was still to go with Boyhood because it looked so likely for so long. Then Birdman started winning a bunch of awards, to be surprise and delight, but I still held out, mostly out of fear. I actually want Birdman to win, and didn’t want to get my hopes up. However, I just checked 4 different sites and 3 are predicting Birdman. I guess I’m switching it up this year, and I really hope I didn’t jinx it.

So to recap, I’m predicting that The Grand Budapest Hotel will come home with the most awards (five), Whiplash and Boyhood tied for second with three, Birdman getting 2, and How to Train Your Dragon 2, Ida, Selma, American Sniper, Interstellar, Still Alice, and The Theory of Everything winning one apiece.

This is probably the most uncertain I’ve been about BP in my three years of doing this. I know that’s not that long, but seriously, for the past two years I’ve been way more confident in predicting BP. With Argo the lead up was really exciting, as it kept winning and winning even though most people were thinking Lincoln would be. But about two weeks out it was basically wrapped up. Then we had 12 Years, which was seriously threatened by Gravity for a while, but I personally never thought it would win. It was more up in the air at the time of predictions and the actually anouncement though. This year I think Boyhood has more of a chance than Gravity did last year, if it really is the underdog. I seriously have been thinking Boyhood was going to win this whole time, but the awards have been pretty split, so we’ll see. On the other hand, the acting categories and many of the technical ones seem pretty sewn up, so it’s really the big one that’s the most unpredictable, which is new and different.

Either way, let me know if you agree or disagree, and we’ll see who’s right on Sunday night!

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