Saturday, February 21, 2015

My 2015 Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards ceremony is tomorrow night on ABC.  Check your local listings. 

I first tried to pick the Oscar winners four years ago.  I got a respectable 16 out of 24 correct.  The next two years I tried to really do my homework and see as many nominees as possible.  The result?  I dropped to 14 out of 24 then 12 out of 24.  Last year I didn’t really have time to research probable winners, so of course I did my best yet with 17 out of 24 winners picked correctly.

This year I’ve seen most of the major nominees, although several of the acting nominations were in films where that was the only one from the movie.  I haven’t seen some of those yet.  Regardless, I will do my best to make selections for every category.  Good or bad I will do a follow-up post on how I did.

Here is the complete list of nominations in all twenty-four categories.  What I would pick is highlighted in yellow.  No highlight means I have not seen any of the choices.  What I think will win is in bold.  I will also say if I think my choice is a lock, likely, educated guess, or wild-ass guess.

Best Picture

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Confidence – Likely
Comment – The message of Birdman will resonate with the voters and overcome the special nature of how Boyhood was filmed.

Best Animated Film

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

Confidence – Wild-Ass Guess
Comment – I’ve only seen the one film, and I’ve heard almost no buzz about any of them.

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida
Poland
Leviathan
Russia
Tangerines
Estonia
Timbuktu
Mauritania
Wild Tales
Argentina

Confidence – Likely
Comment – I have not seen any of the nominees, but this is the one that everyone seems to feel is the best.

Best Documentary

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – I’ve only seen this one nominee, but I cannot imagine that the nature of it – covering the Edward Snowden leaks with the man in person as they were happening – will not seriously impress the voters.

Best Actor

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

Confidence – Likely
Comment – Eddie Redmayne played all phases of physical disability during the film, which usually merits a win.  The only thing keeping me from naming this a Lock is the possible sentimental votes for Keaton in Birdman.

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

Confidence – Likely
Comment – I have not seen Moore’s performance, but she’s the only one anyone is talking about in regards to winning.  Pike’s is better than Jones’ among the two nominees who I have seen.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall
The Judge
Ethan Hawke
Boyhood
Edward Norton
Birdman
Mark Ruffalo
Foxcatcher
J. K. Simmons
Whiplash

Confidence – Lock
Comment – If Simmons doesn’t win it will be stunning.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette
Boyhood
Laura Dern
Wild
Keira Knightley
The Imitation Game
Emma Stone
Birdman
Meryl Streep
Into the Woods

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – Voters will want to reward Boyhood and Arquette’s performance is the one probably most justifiable to people.  I feel Knightley took what could easily have been a generic role hugely overshadowed by Cumberbatch’s performance and made it not only a real one, but also more than held her own on screen with him.

Best Director

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – This is the toughest one of the major categories for me.  Will voters want to reward Linklater for the special nature of how Boyhood was shot, or to reward Inarritu for the nature and filming style of Birdman?  I’m going to go with a split vote for Picture/Director, something that has happened each of the last two years.

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Confidence – Likely
Comment – This has been Anderson’s category where he has been slotted in the past when the Academy didn’t want to go so far as to give his films Best Picture/Director nominations.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – I haven’t seen Inherent Vice yet.  American Sniper’s focus may turn off some voters, so that leaves us with the man who was also a wartime hero, but was persecuted afterwards.

Best Original Song

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

Confidence – Likely
Comment – All the bitching about the lack of “diverse” nominees will make people want to give Selma the one vote they can justify.  It’s a decent song, but it’s horribly out of place in the film and it is tacked on over the end credits.  On the other hand, Lost Stars from Begin Again is an integral part of the movie.  I actually don’t consider it the best song from that film (my pick would be Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home), but somehow it was the one nominated.

Best Original Score

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

Confidence – Wild Ass Guess
Comment – I got done watching Birdman figuring it was almost a lock to win Best Score, only to discover that it didn’t even get nominated because of the classical music that was also played in it.  I watched all of these nominees except Mr. Turner, but I can’t remember a single thing that stood out about the score in any of them.

Best Cinematography

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Confidence – Lock
Comment – The pseudo-single shot nature of this movie’s filming should easily win this award for it.  It took a lot of planning and practice to pull it off.

Best Editing

American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – I also thought Birdman would easily win Best Editing only to discover it wasn’t even nominated.  It took a lot of skill to hide the edits in Birdman, but it’s the flashier, lots of edits kind of nominees that usually win, that’s why I’m picking Whiplash.

Best Production Design

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – The huge hotel, seen both at its height and in disrepair, takes this award.

Best Costume Design

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – I’ve only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel and Maleficent among these nominees.  The former is far more acclaimed, so I will go with that.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Confidence – Wild-Ass Guess
Comment – Guardians should win this in a rout, but there will be prejudice against a “comic book film” and there will be people impressed by the false nose in Foxcatcher, and just generally impressed overall with The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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

Confidence – Likely
Comment – Again, Guardians should win this in a rout, and in this category I think it will.  Having two main characters be fully CGI and interacting with three real people – and convincingly pulling it off – is very impressive.

Best Sound Editing

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

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – In American Sniper the sound of the bullet as it goes by or comes in really makes an impact (no pun intended), so I think the sound awards will go to this film – unless Birdman just gets the overflow award from winning Best Picture and the voters check it off in most other categories, too.

Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Confidence – Educated Guess
Comment – In American Sniper the sound of the bullet as it goes by or comes in really makes an impact (no pun intended), so I think the sound awards will go to this film – unless Birdman just gets the overflow award from winning Best Picture and the voters check it off in most other categories, too.

Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Confidence – Wild-Ass Guess
Comment – I know nothing about any of these.

Best Documentary Short

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Confidence – Wild-Ass Guess
Comment – I know nothing about any of these.

Best Live Action Short

Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Confidence – Wild-Ass Guess
Comment – I know nothing about any of these.

Summary of Picks by Confidence Level

Lock:
  1. Best Supporting Actor
  2. Best Cinematography

Likely:
  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Foreign Language Film
  3. Best Actor
  4. Best Actress
  5. Best Original Screenplay
  6. Best Original Song
  7. Best Visual Effects

Educated Guess:
  1. Best Documentary
  2. Best Supporting Actress
  3. Best Director
  4. Best Adapted Screenplay
  5. Best Editing
  6. Best Production Design
  7. Best Costume Design
  8. Best Sound Editing
  9. Best Sound Mixing

Wild-Ass Guess:
  1. Best Animated Film
  2. Best Original Score
  3. Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  4. Best Animated Short
  5. Best Documentary Short
  6. Best Live Action Short

4 comments:

  1. Those look like sensible predictions. Of the foreign films, I've seen Ida and Leviathan, and prefer the latter for the Russian humor. Ida for me is among the most overpraised films of the past year, I found it quite dull.
    I'm rooting for Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood to win some oscars, I loved both films. Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater have been knocking at the door for years, and I think its time they won some big awards.

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    1. Of the two I think Linklater has the better chance to break through tonight. In another 12 hours or so, we'll know.

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  2. This may have been the first year where I had seen zero of the pictures in contention. Many of them sound interesting, though, so I'll probably catch up at some point. My husband is keen to see American Sniper and I'd like to catch The Imitation Game and some of the others.

    My nephew came over. He'd seen most of them so it made the ceremony more interesting. He got 19/24 mostly by sticking with the betting odds.

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    Replies
    1. The two movies you mentioned were in my Top 3 among the nominees. I think you and your husband will like them.

      I got 15 of 24. I'll be posting on the winners and some observations a little later today.

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