The 2014 Oscar Winner Predictions Spectacular!

Birdman Oscar Predix
Last year, I broke my record by getting 20 out of 24 categories correctly. If I’m being completely honest, I doubt I’ll do that well again. There is potential for some terrible winners this year. Here’s hoping the Academy shows some good taste… Anyway…

best picture

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

“Be careful what you wish for”. A couple weeks ago, after it won the Golden Globe, we were starting to think that all this Boyhood love was getting kind of repetitive. Hollywood took notice, and as a way of teaching us a lesson, it started showering Birdman with awards. It’s time to say “Ok, Hollywood, we get it”, and admit that we still look forward to watching award shows no matter how much fun we make of them. Let’s apologize to Hollywood so that we can have a worthy Best Picture winner. Otherwise, as Peter Labuza put it on Twitter, this will be “like the end of Tropic Thunder but not a joke”.

Will Win: Boyhood
My Vote:The Grand Budapest Hotel

UPDATE: Birdman won. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m a little disappointed. At the end of the day it, of course, doesn’t really matter. Great movies like Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Selma will have a long live in the heart of loving cinephiles.

Best Director

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Despite Birdman having won key awards from the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guilds, and despite all the money Harvey’s Weinstein Company can put into The Imitation Game‘s campaign, It just seems wrong that Richard Linklater could not win this award. Even people who don’t love Boyhood will admit that it was an impressive and adventurous feat, and he is clearly the best choice since Wes Anderson probably has no chance of winning.

Will Win: Richard Linklater
My Vote: Wes Anderson

UPDATE: At the end of the day, the visual feat of Birdman‘s Alejandro G. Iñárritu ended up being more impressive to Academy members than the conceptual feat of Richard Linklater.

best lead actor

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

This list of nominees makes me want to vomit. Remember when Ralph Fiennes, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Oyelowo, and Timothy Spall all seemed like legit possibilities? How did we end up with such a crappy list?… Anyway, this also happens to be the one acting category that still holds a little suspense as far as “who’s going to win” is concerned. Yes, Eddie Redmayne has been racking up awards left and right this season, but Michael Keaton has the surging love for Birdman on his side. I wouldn’t be surprised by a Bradley Cooper win either, considering this is his third nomination in a row, and the fact that American Sniper has turned into a moneymaking machine.

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
My Vote: Fuck this category.

UPDATE: Eddie Redmayne won, and good for him. He was amusingly overwhelmed to have become an Oscar winner.

Best lead actress

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

It’s weird how one surprise nomination can change an entire category in terms of quality. Once Marion Cotillard got nominated for a Dardenne brothers movie, this turned into this year’s best acting line-up (the fact that the other acting categories turned out such bland nominees also helped). I have some quibbles with Jones and Pike, but they are eclipsed by how much I admire the work done by Cotillard, Witherspoon, and especially Moore, who will, after years of turning out outstanding work, finally be an Academy Award winning actress.

Will Win: Julianne Moore
My Vote: Julianne Moore

UPDATE: Julianne Moore is an Oscar winner. I got up and did a little dance when it happened. Enough said.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

Pretty boring list of nominees, huh? Not that they’re bad performances, but if you had asked me five months ago who would be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, I would’ve answered with exactly these five names. Seems like people just accepted that this was going to be J.K. Simmons’s yearand didn’t even bother suggesting alternatives. I’m not a huge fan of Simmons’s work in Whiplash, but that has more to do with the way the character is written than with the actor himself, who has ben putting out solid supporting work for over a decade.

Will Win: J.K. Simmons
My Vote: Ethan Hawke

UPDATE: J.K. Simmons won, of course.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

Patricia Arquette is the favorite to win, and rightfully so. I wouldn’t call any of the other performances great, but it’s a pretty solid category. Laura Dern’s surprise nomination is more than welcome, and Keira Knightley is the only good thing about The Imitation Game. Emma Stone is fine in Birdman, but so good everywhere else that I’m happy she’s an Oscar nominee, and Meryl isn’t the best thing about Into the Woods, but some things never change.

Will Win: Patricia Arquette
My Vote: Patricia Arquette

UPDATE: Patricia Arquette won, and gave a pretty awesome acceptance speech. I see a couple of people complaining she intentionally shut off the struggle of women of color in her message for equal pay, but I personally disagree. Her wording might not have been ideal, but her heart was in the right place.

best original screenplay

Birdman (Alejandro G Iñarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

Boyhood and Birdman are the front-runners to win Best Picture, which would usually mean  they’re the most likely nominees to take home this award. Birdman especially, since it won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. However, and this might be my love for the movie blinding me, I think this is when and where Wes Anderson finally wins an Oscar. He strikes me as very similar to last year’s win for Spike Jonze, a beloved indie director with a beloved movie (Her) who managed to win against a bigger contender (American Hustle).

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
My Vote: The Grand Budapest Hotel

UPDATE: This is the travesty of the night, because of an awesome career award for Wes Anderson (for his best movie!), the Academy decided to award one of the most flawed, conceptually iffy, and smug scripts of the year. I’m talking, of course, about Birdman. 

best adapted screenplay

American Sniper (Jason Hall)
The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

If it weren’t for Best Lead Actor, this would be the worst category of the year. Aside from Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice, which by the way has no chance of winning, there is not a single nominee I don’t have major problems with. So, who wins? I would assume The Imitation Game, since it was nominated across the board and has Harvey Weinstein backing it up. Then again, the British voting block seems to be backing up The Theory of Everything (which just won the BAFTA in this category), and the americans could well rally behind their money-making Sniper. But at the end of the day, there is nothing more appropriate than a screenplay with a line as shitty as “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine” winning an Oscar.

Will Win: The Imitation Game
My Vote: Inherent Vice 

UPDATE: Graham Moore won for The Imitation Game and gave a very heartfelt speech about acceptance, which makes it all the more frustrating that none of the passion she showed last night is to be found in The Imitation Game‘s script. 

best cinematography 

Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert Yeoman)
Ida (Ryszard Lenczewski, Lukasz Zal)
Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Roger Deakins)

Just three years ago, when Emmanuel Lubezki’s magnificent work in The Tree of Life was losing the Oscar to the nauseating teal-and-orange photography of Hugowe wondered if one of the best living cinematographers would ever be recognized by the Academy. It took the computer magic, and gigantic box office, of Gravity to get him a much deserved statue, and just one year later, he is about to win another one. Funny how history works, and funny how everyone would be much happier if he had won for Tree of Life and Children of Men instead. And talking about the best living cinematographers, after twelve nominations, I’m most certain Unbroken won’t break Roger Deakins’s losing streak.

Will Win: Birdman
My Vote: Ida 

UPDATE: Emmanuel Lubezki wins his second Oscar in a row. Not his greatest work, in my opinion,  but a worthy recognition of one of the best working DPs.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen)
The Imitation Game (Maria Djurkovic)
Interstellar (Nathan Crowley)
Into the Woods 
(Dennis Gassner)
Mr. Turner (Suzie Davis)

Of course the woman who came up with the exquisite design of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy gets her first nomination for inferior work in the insipid The Imitation Game. But that’s neither here nor there, and I shouldn’t be complaining, really. Not when it seems like a Wes Anderson movie is finally going to win an Oscar for Production Design. It might sound ridiculous to you, but Anderson’s work hasn’t even been nominated in this category before. Time to end this madness.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
My Vote: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

UPDATE: This deservedly went to The Grand Budapest. And the graphic design for the presentation of the award was particularly beautiful. Well done, Oscars.

best costume design

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Milena Canonero)
Inherent Vice (Mark Bridges)
Into the Woods (Colleen Atwood)
Maleficent (Anna B. Sheppard)
Mr. Turner (Jacqueline Durran)

Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, The Duchess, Marie Antoinette… This category likes to reward lavish costumes, which makes it usually not the hardest to predict. The problem is this year doesn’t feature a nominee that towers over the others in terms of lavishness. I looked back to the last year in which this was the case. Best Picture front-runner The Artist took the trophy, which makes me predict the only Best Picture contender out of these year’s nominees.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

UPDATE: Again, deservedly Grand Budapest. 

BEST FILM EDITING

American Sniper (Joel Cox)
Boyhood (Sandra Adair)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Barney Pilling)
The Imitation Game (William Goldenberg)
Whiplash (Tom Cross)

This category loves action movies, which would usually be a sign of strength for American Sniper. Meanwhile, Whiplash isn’t an action movie, but moves like one. These seem like the traditionally likely winners in this category, which makes it so weird that I find myself voting for a movie with such an unassuming editing job as Boyhood. The logic here is that that “twelve years in the making” gimmick, will pay off with a win in this category.

Will Win: Boyhood
My Vote: The Grand Budapest Hotel

UPDATE: Whiplash won, and with a total of three awards last night, Oscar voters liked it more than I anticipated. It is especially weird, on the other hand, that Boyhood, once the front-runner, only won a single award.

best makeup and hair

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy 

Being the only one of these films nominated for Best Picture, it’d be rather dumb not to put your money on The Grand Budapest Hotel. And yet, the prosthetics of Foxcatcher make me remember a recent winner (The Iron Lady), as do the alien design of Guardians (Star Trek). This might be a more competitive category than we’re expecting is all I’m saying.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
My Vote: The Grand Budapest Hotel

UPDATE: Grand Budapest won.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)
Mr. Turner(Gary Yershon)
The Theory of Everything 
(Johann Johannsson)

The unfortunately named Johann Johannsson won the Golden Globe for his traditionally sweeping score for The Theory of Everything, which would usually mean he’s on a good path to win the Oscar, except for the fact that after eight nominations, Alexandre Desplat has to win a golden statue lest he becomes the Roger Deakins of this category. With The Grand Budapest Hotel poised to dominate the technical categories, it seems like the right time for a Desplat win (as long as his Imitation Game nominations does’t take too many votes away from himself).

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel 
My Vote: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

UPDATE: Alexandre Desplat breaks his losing streak and takes it for Grand Budapest. 

best original song

“Everything is Awesome” (The LEGO Movie)
“Gory” (Selma)
“Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me)
“Lost Stars” (Begin Again)

At this point the Academy must have received so much flack that Selma not winning this category has to be out of the question. It’s going to be irritating when one of the best movies of the year wins its only Oscar for one of its weakest elements. That song does nothing for me. And how funny is it that I think the best song in this category is “Lost Stars”, which is featured in the worst of the movies nominated here (although I haven’t seen that Glen Campbell documentary)?

Will Win: “Glory”
My Vote: “Lost Stars”

UPDATE: “Glory” won in a very emotionally satisfying moment, as exemplified by David Oyelowo’s uncontrollable tears.

best sound mixing

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash 

Musicals tend to do good in this category. Whiplash is not a musical in the traditional sense, but it’s full of music. But how much jazz-drumming is too much? Could the fact that Birdman‘s score is also drumming away in this category result in a split vote? If yes, then I’m assuming box-office giant American Sniper takes the trophy, because it’s still a bit of a head-scratcher that Interstellar, a movie specifically criticized for its poor sound mixing, managed a nomination here, and Unbroken is a movie that everyone’s forgotten about.

Will Win: Whiplash 
My Vote: Whiplash 

UPDATE: Whiplash won.

best sound editing

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

Sound Mixing and Editing usually go to the same movie, but since Whiplash isn’t nominated here, I’ll just apply the logic that says the most action in the most well liked movie wins, and assume this will go to American Sniper. 

Will Win: American Sniper
My Vote: I haven’t seen either The Hobbit or Unbroken, so I’ll abstain.

UPDATE: American Sniper takes it.

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 

The past few years have offered little competition in this category, as effects-driven juggernauts like Life of Pi and Gravity steamrolled the competition. This year, some people went crazy for the motion capture work in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and most people went crazy for the… I don’t really know why, but they loved Guardians of the Galaxy. Still, I think those “pop corn” movies won’t be able to take this award from the more “respectable” Interstellar, which might’ve lacked support to make it into the Best Picture race, but is the one movie in this category that was once regarded as a legitimate contender.

Will Win: Interstellar
My Vote: Interstellar

UPDATE: Interstellar it is.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

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

If The LEGO Movie snub is the reason we got both Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya nominated, then I’ll take it. There is more artistry in a single frame of Kaguya than in the entirety of Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2. The latter of these two has emerged as the front-runner, despite killing the originality of the first Dragon movie and succumbing to Hollywood franchise sameness. Maybe it’s my dislike for the movie talking, but I feel like Dragon 2 isn’t as strong a front-runner as we usually have in this category. It’s probably just me imagining how happy I’d be if Boxtrolls, Song of the Sea, or even better, Princess Kaguya win instead.

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2 
My Vote: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 

UPDATE: Big Hero 6 won this in a little bit of a surprise. I bet the guys over at Dreamworks, which put up a HUGE campaign for Dragon are really sad about it.

best Foreign Language Film

Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

It used to be that you had to watch all five nominees at an Academy-sponsored screening in order to vote for this category, which would have benefitted crowd pleasers like Wild Tales and Tangerines. If the past few years are any indication, the most popular film will win, which this year, thanks to a surprise cinematography nomination, is Ida. 

Will Win: Ida
My Vote: I have only seen one of the nominees.

UPDATE: Ida won, and in the best moment of the night, director Pawel Pwalikowski managed to win the unbeatable fight when he kept talking and managed to not be played off the stage. Well done, sir!

best documentary

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

In order to vote in this category, it used to be required to attend screenings in order to make sure voters had seen all five nominees. Ever since that rule was changed, the Oscar has gone to the most popular of the nominees, which just happened to be light, music-oriented, and frankly, not that remarkable documentaries (Searching for Sugarman, 20 Feet from Stardom). However, there is no musically oriented nominee this year, and the most popular movie seems to be Citizenfour, which will make one hell of a deserving winner.

Will Win: Citizenfour
My Vote: I have only seen one of the nominees

UPDATE: Citizenfour won.

the short categories

I have only seen one of the shorts nominated for Best Animated Short and that’s it. But I’m familiar enough with what has won this categories before as to at least attempt to predict them.

Animated Short: The Dam Keeper
Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veteran’s Press 1
Live Action Short: The Phone Call 

UPDATE: I got Documentary and Live Action right, but Animated Short went to the ridiculously adorable Feast (which played with Oscar winner Big Hero 6).

There you have it! I know I’m predicting stupidly little wins for Birdman, but what can I do? This year, I’ve preferred to remain optimistic. That is, until the Academy crushes all my dreams, which is often what it does best.

POST-CEREMONY COMMENTARY: I got 18 out of 24 predictions correct, which is not as good as the 21 I got right last year, but it’s still pretty solid. As for the ceremony, it got off to a good start, but Neil Patrick Harris disappointed as the show went on. Surprising given how great a job he did hosting the Emmys and the Tonys in the past.

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5 comments

  1. The Animation Commendation · February 17, 2015

    Awesome! Did you check out my predictions on my blog?

    I hope to beat my score from last year (which was like 14 or so correct, lol).

    • Conrado Falco · February 17, 2015

      I’ll check them out right now

  2. smilingldsgirl · February 18, 2015

    So I take it you liked Grand Budapest Hotel? ;) I enjoyed it too and normally not a big Wes Anderson fan. I will be very disappointed if Boyhood doesn’t win. I think it was far and away the best movie of the year and my second favorite would be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  3. smilingldsgirl · February 18, 2015

    It’s so funny as I read your commentary almost every opinion you give I disagree with. Ha. Just goes to show takes all types!

  4. smilingldsgirl · February 18, 2015

    My predictions. We agree on most of the will win’s but disagree greatly on the my picks. Kind of fun. http://wp.me/p4VRGy-14Z

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