2015 Oscar Predictions

oscars

I have big shoes to fill. Last year, I correctly predicted all of the big six and 17 out of 21 overall. This year there are much fewer clear cut favorites, which makes the predictions much harder. Still, I’m aiming to do even better than last year. Here goes!

Best Picture

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

Prediction: It’s between Birdman and Boyhood. I’m going with Birdman.

Personal Choice: Birdman

Other Thoughts: Yes Whiplash ranks higher on my favorite films of the year, mainly because I loved it’s energy and intensity and passion, but objectively speaking I do think Birdman is the better film. I wish Wild would have made it here, and maybe Gone Girl too, there were two more spots available and either film could easily have replaced The Theory of Everything, the only film in this list that I think isn’t very good.

Best Directing

  • Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  • Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Prediction: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Personal Choice: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Other Thoughts: Oh the controversy! No Ava Durvenay, who would have been the first black female in this category ever. But honestly, to me Selma didn’t contain the artistry and vision required for a best director nomination. It’s an excellent film, but it’s more as a historical re-enactment than a cinematic masterpiece. It’s definitely no Hurt Locker (female winner) or 12 Years A Slave (black winner), I think the directing in those films is much more interesting.

Best Actor

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

Prediction: Eddie Redmayne

Personal Choice: So many good choices, so hard to choose! But I think I’ll go with Benedict Cumberbatch.

Other Thoughts: More controversy here, with David Oyelowo (as MLK Jr) also missing out on a Selma nomination. No question he deserved it, but then so did Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler and Joaquin Phoenix for Inherent Vice. And who do you get rid of? Definitely not Cumberbatch, Redmayne, or Keaton, and Carrell was amazing in Foxcatcher, I almost want him as my personal choice over Cumberbatch. No matter which way you cut it, there was going to be snubs here.

More Thoughts: Of the five nominees, four are playing historical characters and only one is a made up character. In the last ten years, seven winners were playing historical characters and only three were made up characters. I’m predicting another one this year.

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

Prediction: Julianne Moore

Personal Choice: I still haven’t seen Two Days One Night or Still Alice, so I’ll go with not enough information.

Other Thoughts: Finally Wild shows up! That and Whiplash were my favorite film of the year, and Reese Witherspoon was amazing! Very raw and emotional, a great change of pace from the sugar coated roles she often plays. I’m also glad Felicity Jones got a nomination, the rawness and energy she puts into all her roles is amazing. I’m surprised to see Rosamund Pike, she was great in Gone Girl but that’s not the type of film that normally gets acting nominations.

Oh, and comparing the girls to the guys, two of five here are playing historical characters. Four of the last ten best actress winners played historical characters, not as many as the guys but still more than I would have guessed had I not already known about this preference.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • JK Simmons, Whiplash

Prediction: JK Simmons

Personal Choice: JK Simmons

Other Thoughts: There’s so much hype around JK Simmons’s performance in Whiplash, how can he not win? The hype is definitely deserved though; his performance was amazing. So was Miles Teller, who deserved a best actor nomination (as if there weren’t enough deserving performances already!). I definitely think we’ll be seeing some awards for him in the future.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Laura Dern, Wild
  • Keira Knightly, The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

Prediction: Patricia Arquette

Personal Choice: Patricia Arquette

Other Thoughts: Minus Patricia Arquette and Emma Stone, these performances don’t thrill me nearly as much as the other categories (and where is Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year? She was amazing, even if the film itself was mediocre). That’s not a slight on the actors, all of which are great; it’s a slight on the writers and producers: where are all the great roles for female actors? There definitely aren’t as many juicy female roles as there are male, both as leads and supporting. And that’s a shame. It’s one of the reasons I’m such a big proponent and fan of female driven films, and almost all my films feature strong female leads.

Last Thoughts on Acting: 20 nominations, 20 white people. That’s the real controversy this year, and a legitimate one too. But like the lack of juicy female roles, this lack of minority nominations I think stems not from racism on the part of the Academy but from a lack of great roles for minorities. I mean, other than Selma, what was there this year? Top Five (an awesome film, but not an award film)? Selma can’t automatically get the nominations because it was the only film of its type out there, we need to make more of these types of films!

Best Original Screenplay

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler

Prediction: Again, it’s between Birdman and Boyhood. I’ll go with Boyhood

Personal Choice: Birdman

Other Thoughts: Seeing Foxcatcher here weakens my what I said about that film in my best director thoughts; I guess I can just say I don’t agree with its nomination here. Interesting to see Nightcrawler here, that’s not the type of film that normally gets awards noms. It deserves it though.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Prediction: Hmmm, another tough one. I’ll go with The Imitation Game

Personal Choice: Whiplash

Other Thoughts: The Academy might want to change their rules regarding original vs adapted, as Whiplash is clearly an original screenplay (for those who don’t know, Whiplash was written as a feature but they couldn’t get funding so they adapted it to a short, made the short, used it to get funding, then made the feature. Since the short was made first, the feature is considered adapted, even though the feature screenplay was written before the short one was). The funny things is, with Boyhood and Birdman up for the original award, Whiplash has a better chance of winning here, so the weird rules may work out in it’s favor. 

Also, I’m shocked Wild isn’t here. A great script, from a story that must have been really hard to turn into a screenplay. Unless I’m missing something, it definitely deserved a nomination.

Best Animated Feature

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

Prediction: Big Hero 6 

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: Another snub, not have The Lego Movie here. Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of that film, so this is another snub that is okay with me. I have yet to see any of the films that are nominated, but I hear Big Hero 6 was really good. Disney is definitely in the midst of another hot streak; it is exciting!

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Ida, Poland
  • Leviathan, Russia
  • Tangerines, Estonia
  • Timbuktu, France
  • Wild Tales, Argentina

Prediction: Leviathan

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: Lots of hype around Leviathan; it’s the only one of the five I’ve seen and it’s really good! It’s also amazing that it even got made with Russia how it is right now. I love Polish cinema, so I should definitely see Ida, and I just got back from Argentina, so I guess that means I should see Wild Tales as well! I hear Timbuktu is good too!

Best Documentary Feature

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

Prediction: Wow I have no idea, not much hype behind any of these; none have really distanced themselves from the pack. I’ll go with The Salt of the Earth.

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: No Life Itself? Steve James gets snubbed again! Although Life Itself isn’t really an award film, so maybe snub is the wrong word. But he is left out again, that’s for sure.

Alright, now it’s time for the technical categories.

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About Gabriel Bruskoff
I write about films! I make them too! See www.gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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