Final Predictions for the 87th Academy Awards

I’m usually pretty good at these (I went 23 out of 24 last year), but this is the least certain I’ve been about wins since I started following back in 2005. Even categories like Original Score and Sound Mixing are up in the air. Birdman and Boyhood are neck and neck for Picture and Director, and I legitimately don’t know who takes what. Both have statistics in their side. Remember, these are my PREDICTIONS, NOT what I think SHOULD win. These predictions come from following the many critic and industry awards throughout the season.

Best Picture:
Birdman

Potential Spoiler:
Boyhood

(This is going to be SO close. I cannot describe how close this is going to be. Boyhood has just about every critic group as well as the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, but there are reports of Academy members not taking to the film as well as critics have, and Birdman has won the Industry awards (SAG, PGA, DGA, and 7 others. These are the guys who actually vote, unlike Critics, which means Birdman has a leg up. Don’t be surprised if Boyhood runs away with it though. It was very much the frontrunner until about a month ago, and could still come out on top.)

Best Director:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Potential Spoiler:
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Once again, I’m basically flipping a coin here. Inarritu won the Directors Guild, the winner of which has almost never failed to win the Oscar, but Linklater’s feat of maintaining a film over 12 years will impress a number of voters. He could very well take this.

Best Actor:
Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything

Potential Spoiler: Michael Keaton- Birdman

Redmayne has the BAFTA, the Golden Globe, and the SAG, a combination that rarely fails to lead an actor to a subsequent win. If AMPAS (The Academy) really, really digs Birdman though, Keaton’s impressive comeback tale may be enough to bring him to the finish line instead.

Best Actress:
Julianne Moore- Still Alice

This is a lock. It has been since September. I don’t even need to put a potential spoiler, because nobody else is taking this award.

Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette- Boyhood

Like Moore, she’s a lock. She was won EVERY possible prize this season. Even if Boyhood doesn’t end up winning a single other award, she’s taking this.

Best Supporting Actor:
JK Simmons- Whiplash

It’s interesting that in such an unpredictable year, 3 of the 4 acting categories are locked up. NOBODY is beating JK Simmons. The man has completely swept the season.

Best Original Screenplay:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Potential Spoiler: Birdman

This one is another coin flip. If Birdman does in fact win Best Picture, it feels unlikely that they would give the film the prize without Screenplay as well…Budapest won the BAFTA and WGA while Birdman won the Golden Globe and BFCA. It’s anyone’s guess. My guess is they want to spread the love and reward Wes, but I will not be the least bit surprised if Birdman takes it instead.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Imitation Game

Potential Spoiler: Whiplash

So this one is anyone’s guess. Hell, American Sniper or The Theory of Everything could take this as well. My guess is, given Imitation Game’s former frontrunner status, as well as the obvious support it has (Director nom, etc), it wins. It is the type of film AMPAS loves. Whiplash has a lot of support though. Imitation Game won the WGA, but Whiplash has competed as ‘original’ throughout the season. This is its first time competing in the ‘Adapted’ category, and it may yet win.

Best Cinematography:
Birdman

Potential Spoiler:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

So I don’t honestly see anything beating Birdman in this category. It has swept just about every cinematography prize this season. The long take feat is just too obvious and impressive to ignore. Amazing how it took Lubezki years to win his first Oscar, and now he’s winning his second already a year later.

Best Editing:
Boyhood

Potential Spoiler:
Whiplash

Though Whiplash’s breakneck pace earned it a BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award, judging by the ACE win, and the anonymously published Oscar ballots, the feat of editing 12 years of footage into a coherent narrative film will make Boyhood triumphant here.

Best Production Design:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

There is no other answer.

Best Costume Design:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Potential Spoiler:
Into the Woods

Grand Budapest holds a sizable lead here…I don’t see it losing.

Best Original Makeup/Hairstyling:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Potential Spoiler: Guardians of the Galaxy

As impressive as Guardians’ array of creatures was, AMPAS loves to go for the Best Picture nominee in this category when there is one. As a result, Tilda Swinton’s impressive aging makeup and Grand Budapest will likely bring it yet another win.

Best Original Score:
The Theory of Everything

Potential Spoiler: The Grand Budapest Hotel or The Imitation Game

Theory of Everything has done well with precursors, and is the kind of traditional, classy score AMPAS loves. Alexandre Desplat is nominated for both The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game, but chances are, he splits votes, allowing Johan Johansson to walk away with the prize for Theory. I honestly can’t tell you the last time this category was this hard to predict.

Best Original Song:
Glory- Selma

Potential Spoiler:
I’m Not Gonna Miss You- Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Chances are, Glory takes this, partially because it is a fantastic song, and partially because AMPAS is well-aware of the controversy they stirred up by snubbing Selma. This win is their way of atoning. If it loses, then it will be because “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” is a safe choice that reminds them of bygone days…I’m sure there are still a number of Glenn Campbell fans in The Academy.

Best Visual Effects:
Interstellar

Potential Spoiler:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This is a close race. The Academy’s Visual Effects branch will likely throw its support behind Apes (as they did with the VFX Society Awards), but Apes has no nominations anywhere else. Meanwhile, Interstellar has 5, and is the closest thing this category has to a “prestige pic.”

Best Sound Mixing:
American Sniper

Potential Spoiler:
Whiplash or Birdman

Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I had trouble predicting this category. This time around, it is a three horse race. AMPAS loves music-heavy films…but they also likes war films. Sniper being the most obvious ‘sound’ choice, seems like the most likely winner. Whiplash’s BAFTA win in the category, and Birdman’s Cinema Audio Society win mean that both are major threats however.

Best Sound Editing:
American Sniper

Potential Spoiler:
Birdman or Interstellar

I’m fairly confident that Sniper wins here. AMPAS can’t resist war films when it comes to this category.

Best Foreign Film:
Ida

Potential Spoiler:
Wild Tales

Ida is likely the most widely-seen Foreign film nominee, and has a nomination elsewhere (Cinematography). Wild Tales’ late release probably dooms it, but it is a crowd pleaser, and could pull off a surprise win in this often unpredictable category.

Best Documentary Film:
Citizenfour

Potential Spoiler:
Virunga

I’m pretty confident Citizenfour is taking this one. All season, this award was a battle between Life Itself and Citizenfour…when Life Itself missed out on a nom, there seemed only one logical winner.

Best Animated Film:
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Potential Spoiler:
Big Hero 6

Nothing stood a chance against The Lego Movie in this category, all season long. Then, in one of Oscar’s biggest snubs in recent memory, the film failed to secure a nomination. Now it is very much a two-horse race. How to Train Your Dragon 2 probably takes it, but don’t be surprised to see Big Hero 6 (which has a lot of industry support) take it instead.

Best Documentary Short:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short:
The Dam Keeper

Potential Spoiler:
Feast

Best Live Action Short:
The Phone Call

Potential Spoiler:
Boogaloo and Graham

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