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The 87th Academy Awards Final Predictions and Thoughts

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Tonight’s the night! The 87th Academy Awards ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris begins tonight at 8:30 EST on ABC! I’ve gotten around to watching a lot more of the nominated work since my last set of predictions and have final thoughts on many of the categories! Good luck to all the nominees tonight!

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
American Sniper- Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan
*American Sniper was nothing more than a pedestal showcasing Bradley Cooper’s acting talents and there’s no denying the fact that this is a career best performance. However, American Sniper is nothing extraordinary given Clint Eastwood’s resumé and didn’t deserve to be nominated over films like Nightcrawler and Gone Girl. Rating: 7.9/10

Birdman- Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, and James W. Skotchdopole
*Despite many telling A.G. Iñárritu that Birdman would be a disaster given his vision for completing it, the one shot wonder that is Birdman is impressive. Bolstered by a sharp script, incredible camera work, and a fantastic ensemble. Birdman is Iñárritu’s best film since Amores Perros. Rating: 9.0/10

Boyhood- Richard Linklater & Cathleen Sutherland
*Boyhood is a film unlike any other. Linklater’s astonishing achievement in making a film in the span of 12 years chronicling the life of a young boy until his first year in college is nothing short of amazing. The film is so real, the performances are incredible, and Linklater’s sure handed direction make it one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Rating: 9.9/10

The Grand Budapest Hotel- Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven M. Rales, and Jeremy Dawson
*Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel is fantastic. It is truly a great and creative film that benefits from its All-star cast, humorous and brilliant script, and its beautiful sets. This is my 2nd favorite Wes Anderson film (Fantastic Mr. Fox being my favorite). Rating: 9.6/10

The Imitation Game- Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, and Teddy Schwarzman
*This was the only Best Picture nominee I didn’t get around to seeing sadly. But Benedict Cumberbatch is basically great in anything he’s in, and a friend of mine who’s opinion I value a lot gives the film a Rating: 8.5/10

Selma- Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner
*Ava DuVernay’s Selma gives life once again to the incredible and one of the most inspirational figures in American history that was Martin Luther King Jr. Anchored by David Oyelowo’s incredible portrayal of Dr. King and DuVernay’s smart direction, Selma is an important and captivating film. Rating: 8.9/10

The Theory of Everything- Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony McCarten
*The film that brought to life Stephen and Jane Hawking’s relationship is powered by the awe inspiring performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. While the film’s second act is dragged out a little too long, it’s Redmayne’s spot on portrayal of Hawking that makes the film worthwhile to see. Rating: 8.2/10

Whiplash- Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster
*Electrifying indeed! Whiplash is an incredible film that is fast paced, energetic, and will keep you on your toes until the credits start rolling. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons’ performances are unbelievable and give the film so much life that make it a must see! Rating: 9.5/10

Will Win: Boyhood
Could Win: Birdman
Should Win: Boyhood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell- Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper- American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton- Birdman
Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything

*In a year where we saw so many incredible Leading Actor performances (Ralph Fiennes for Grand Budapest, Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler, David Oyelowo for Selma, Timothy Spall for Mr. Turner, and Miles Teller for Whiplash, would let alone have been an amazing set of nominees), this race is between Keaton and Redmayne. Though Keaton was the clear frontrunner early on, Redmayne’s BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe wins have made him the frontrunner now.

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Could Win: Michael Keaton
Should Win: Michael Keaton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard- Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones- The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore- Still Alice
Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon- Wild

*Unfortunately, the same case cannot be made for the Actress categories since it was pretty weak all year. While all 5 of the nominees were great, there weren’t many others. This award has Julianne Moore’s name written all over it. Now with her 5th nomination overall, this will surely be the year Moore finally gets her first Academy Award.

Will Win: Julianne Moore
Could Win: Reese Witherspoon
Should Win: Julianne Moore

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall- The Judge
Ethan Hawke- Boyhood
Edward Norton- Birdman
Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

*This year, 3 of the acting categories, with the exception of Best Actor, have been pretty predictable. J.K. Simmons will take this one and rightfully so. He’s racked up every award out there and it won’t be any different with the Academy.

Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Could Win: Edward Norton
Should Win: J.K. Simmons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette- Boyhood
Laura Dern- Wild
Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game
Emma Stone- Birdman
Meryl Streep- Into the Woods

*Like Simmons, Patricia Arquette has won every award she can possibly get, and while Emma Stone’s “Sam” in Birdman was a career best, many have said her award was the nomination. I agree and think Arquette deserves this one too.

Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Could Win: Emma Stone
Should Win: Patricia Arquette

Best Achievement in Directing
Wes Anderson- The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Linklater- Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu- Birdman
Bennett Miller- Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum- The Imitation Game

*This race, like the Best Picture race, is between Boyhood and Birdman. This one is really tough, while my heart says Linklater, I think this one may go Iñárritu since he won the Directors Guild Award (59 of the 66 winners of that award have gone on to win the Oscar), but I’ll still root for Linklater.

Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Could Win: Richard Linklater
Should Win: Richard Linklater

Best Original Screenplay
Boyhood- Richard Linklater
Birdman- Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo
Foxcatcher- E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler- Dan Gilroy

*I think the Academy will reward Wes Anderson with his first Oscar in this category since he won’t win the Directing category and Anderson has been long overdue for Oscar for one of his many brilliant films.

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Birdman
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper- Jason Hall
Inherent Vice- Paul Thomas Anderson
The Imitation Game- Graham Moore
The Theory of Everything- Anthony McCarten
Whiplash- Damien Chazelle

*While I still think Gillian Flynn definitely deserved to be included in this list for Gone Girl, the Academy will give this one to Whiplash, but I wouldn’t be shocked if The Imitation Game or The Theory of Everything.

Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: The Imitation Game
Should Win: Whiplash

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
The Boxtrolls
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

*I’m (and the rest of America probably) still upset that the LEGO Movie was not included amongst these nominees, but I guess you can’t do anything about it.

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Could Win: Big Hero 6
Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Ida (Poland)- Pawel Pawlikowski
Leviathan (Russia)- Andrey Zvyagintsev
Tangerines (Georgia)- Zaza Urushadze
Timbuktu (France)- Abderrahmane Sissako
Wild Tales (Argentina)- Damián Szifrón

*I still think Two Days, One Night from Belgium was better than Timbuktu and Tangerines, but oh well.

Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Leviathan
Should Win: Ida

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Birdman- Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Robert D. Yeoman
Ida- Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner- Dick Pope
Unbroken- Roger Deakins

*Emmanuel Lubezki has this one in the bag as he made the one shot wonder of Birdman possible. This will be his second consecutive win.

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Mr. Turner
Should Win: Birdman

Best Achievement in Editing
American Sniper- Joel Cox & Gary Roach
Boyhood- Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game- William Goldenberg
Whiplash- Tom Cross

Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Boyhood

Best Achievement in Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Adam Stockhausen & Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game- Maria Djurkovic & Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar- Nathan Crowley & Gary Fettis
Into the Woods- Dennis Gassner & Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner- Suzie Davies & Charlotte Watts

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Achievement in 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

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

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher- Bill Corso & Dennis Liddiard
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Frances Hannon & Mark Coulier
Guardians of the Galaxy- Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou & David White

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Foxcatcher
Should Win Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game- Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar- Hans Zimmer
The Theory of Everything- Jóhann Jóhannsson
Mr. Turner- Gary Yershon

Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Interstellar

Best Original Song
Begin Again- Gregg Alexander & Danielle Brisebois (“Lost Stars”)
Beyond the Lights- Diane Warren (“Grateful”)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me- Glen Campbell & Julian Raymond (“I’m Not Gonna Miss You”)
The Lego Movie- Shawn Patterson (“Everything is Awesome”)
Selma- Common & John Legend (“Glory”)

*Given the controversy this year with #OscarsSoWhite, this one will likely go to Selma given its only 2 nominations and the fact that it won’t win Best Picture.

Will Win: Selma
Could Win: The LEGO Movie
Should Win: The LEGO Movie

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
American Sniper- John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin
Birdman- Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and Thomas Varga
Interstellar- Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten
Unbroken- Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and David Lee
Whiplash- Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley

Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: Interstellar
Should Win: Whiplash

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
American Sniper- Alan Robert Murray & Bub Asman
Birdman- Aaron Glascock & Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies- Brent Burge & Jason Canovas
Interstellar- Richard King
Unbroken- Becky Sullivan & Andrew DeCristofaro

Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Interstellar
Should win: American Sniper

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier- Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, and Daniel Sudick

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes- Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, and Erik Winquist

Guardians of the Galaxy- Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, and Paul Corbould

Interstellar- Paul J. Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, and Scott R. Fisher

X-Men: Days of Future Past- Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, and Cameron Waldbauer

Will Win: Interstellar
Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Interstellar

Best Documentary Feature
Citizenfour- Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier- John Maloof & Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam- Rory Kennedy & Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth- Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and David Rosier
Virunga- Orlando von Einsiedel & Joanna Natasegara

Will Win: Citizenfour
Could Win: Virunga
Should Win: Citizenfour

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1- Ellen Goosenberg Kent & Dana Perry
Joanna- Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse- Tomasz Sliwinski & Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper- Gabriel Serra
White Earth- Christian Jensen

Will Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Could Win: Joanna
Should Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short Film
The Bigger Picture- Daisy Jacobs & Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper- Robert Kondo & Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi
Feast- Patrick Osborne & Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton- Torill Kove
A Single Life- Joris Oprins

Will Win: Feast
Could Win: The Dam Keeper
Should Win: Feast

Best Live Action Short Film
Aya- Oded Binnun & Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham- Michael Lennox & Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp- Wei Hu & Julien Féret
Parvaneh- Talkhon Hamzavi & Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call- Mat Kirkby & James Lucas

Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Boongaloo and Graham
Should Win: The Phone Call

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