This is part 1 of my FINAL Oscar nominations predictions; where I’ll go through Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and the Screenplays.
The acting categories, animated/foreign, and remaining technical awards will come in part 2 very soon.
We have all the critical reception and precursor information we need to actually make concrete predictions for what will be nominated for Oscars this year. Seeing as nominations will be announced Thursday morning, it’s probably time I get going. Here are part one of my predictions.
Remember, this isn’t what I think SHOULD be nominated. It’s what I think WILL be nominated based on the info I have from the media, industry insiders, and precursor awards.
Lock ’em in for a nomination…
1. Boyhood: Has dominated the precursors, critics awards, and guilds. The scope of the project and the universal love for Richard Linklater are bonuses. It’s been the frontrunner for a couple of months now, but a few films are gaining fast. The Globe for Best Drama was just the latest trophy for Boyhood, however, and it has to be considered the favorite as of now.
2. The Imitation Game: Continues to have a great showing with the precursors, has done well at the box office, and will have the British vote on its side. The Weinsteins are pushing it hard, and we’ve seen them pull off surprise wins before (The Artist and The King’s Speech, anyone?) Read my review here.
3. Birdman: Came out early but has gotten all the helps from critics and precursors that it needed. Is a frontrunner in multiple other categories as well. Probably the greatest “artistic achievement” on the list and could easily walk home with the prize. Personally, it’s the best movie I saw in 2014.
Pretty safe bets…
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel: Came out sooooo early in the year but has been resurrected by nearly every precursor. Wes Anderson getting the Golden Globe nom as a director was huge, as was the film getting a BAFTA nom (Only other “American” films that did were Boyhood and Birdman). Both the NY and LA critics showed love as well. While none of the Globe voters are also Academy voters, the love for the film in evident by it winning Best Musical/Comedy at the Globes.
5. Selma: Missing the BAFTA hurt, and it was shut out by many guilds (but this has more to do with Paramount not sending out screeners). Still, it’s an acclaimed film coming out at the perfect time and should have a great box office showing in wide release (this weekend).
6. The Theory of Everything: BAFTA nom confirms the British support, and it’s done fine with American guilds and precursors. It will get a lot of votes from the actors branch. Eddie Redmayne’s emergence as a legit contender to win Best Actor only helps.
Toss-ups, but my final 3 spots go to…
7. Foxcatcher: The early love has been realized again thanks to support from the Globes and SAG. There will be a lot of actors pulling for this, as Foxcatcher is performance showcase for three movie stars (Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo). Oh, it was also just really damn good, read my review here.
8. American Sniper: Despite the mixed critical reception, the film has set records in limited release. Its star (Bradley Cooper) and director (Clint Eastwood) are in the hunt in their races as well. The National Board of Review, the editors, and the producers guild all have fallen for it. In a year with plenty of “war” movies, it appears to be the best.
9. Nightcrawler: The re-release helped it a lot. Many precursors and guilds have responded positively. It’s the “modern” choice and Jake Gyllenhaal has received so much acclaim that he alone can probably get the film a nomination.
Right in the thick of it, wouldn’t surprise me…
Gone Girl: The PGA nomination was big and it got nominated for pretty much every Golden Globe you can imagine. It’s the popular choice in the hunt this year and Rosamund Pike has kept it relevant with the acting branch. If I went with a 10th, this would be it.
Whiplash: Has surprised many by staying right in the hunt thanks to great showings at most precursors and guild awards. It’s the frontrunner for Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons) and looks more and more like a good bet in editing, which is a very telling category. Ultimately, I think other films are louder though.
Still (kind of) in the hunt…
Unbroken, A Most Violent Year, Mr. Turner, Into the Woods, Interstellar
While it’s had a nice box office showing, Unbroken just hasn’t gotten the acclaim or industry love necessary, same goes for Interstellar and Into the Woods. All three are likely to factor heavily into technical categories though, which keeps them in the hunt. A Most Violent Year and Mr. Turner have already developed cult followings which should get them a few first place votes, but ultimately, I think they’re just too small in a year where a lot of contenders have had surprisingly big showings.
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Best Director (updated after DGA)
1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood): He’s been snubbed many times in the past. Boyhood is the Best Picture frontrunner, and it really is his vision. He’s dominated precursors. Appears to be the heavy favorite.
2. Alejandro González Iñárittu (Birdman): There’s so much love for different elements of Birdman that he has to get nominated. Golden Globe nom confirmed that people recognize him. Unfortunately for Iñárittu, Linklater chose to make Boyhood a 12 year film instead of 11 or 13.
My finals three spots…
3. Clint Eastwood (American Sniper): Winning best director from The National Board of Review put him on the map and the film has gained a ton of steam in limited release. The Academy LOVES Eastwood. We’ve seen him get nominated for much worse before. DGA nom helps.
4. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game): The film figures to be such a huge player that many are considering Tyldum a shoe-in, but I’m not going to go that far. It could end up being more about the technical aspects and performances, and he’s simply not a big name compared to others in the mix. But he got the DGA nom over DuVernay, which is HUGE.
5. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel): He’s gotten a lot of love from precursors (the Globe nom was HUGE), and he’s somehow never been nominated in this category before. He’s certainly on the bubble, but I’m going with him. Obviously needs the film to get a Best Picture nom, but that shouldn’t be a problem. DGA nom helps
Very much in the hunt for those finals three spots…
Ava DuVernay (Selma): If they go heavy on Selma, which I think they will, she’s in the mix. DuVernay does a very nice job handling the key scenes in the film. She would be the first woman of color to ever receive a directing nomination. A lot of people are rooting for her. But she missed out on the DGA nom which is a killer and there have been lot of accusations of the film being inaccurate which she has responded to in a not-so-friendly manner.
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher): A previous nominee who’s film should be a big player, but the real-life subject of his film has went on a social media tirade bashing Miller, which could hurt. If I was picking five based on personal preference, he’d make the cut.
David Fincher (Gone Girl): Has been snubbed before and he got the Globe nom. He needs Gone Girl to make an impact in picture. Being the biggest name in the hunt other than Eastwood certainly helps him.
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash): This appears to be the tiny indie that everyone loves this year. If it scores in picture, editing, and screenplay, he has a shot. But this is a category that prefers to award veterans.
James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner), Angelina Jolie (Unbroken), Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice).
Just because The Theory of Everything figures to get a Best Picture nom doesn’t mean its director will follow suit. Jolie and Marshall haven’t gotten the acclaim they needed despite their fame. Chandor and Gilroy are probably not big enough names yet. PTA and Mike Leigh garner much respect from the industry but their films don’t figure to make much of an Oscar impact.
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Best Film Editing
The predicted five…
1. Douglas Crise (Birdman): The editing certainly helps the film pull off it’s “one shot” gimmick. It’s also a Best Picture frontrunner.
2. William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game): The tight editing allows The Imitation Game to raise the tension up a notch and jump through timelines. Goldenberg is a huge name in the field.
3. Sandra Adair (Boyhood): Favorite to win Best Picture. Adair is receiving a lot of praise for cutting all of this footage together.
4. Spencer Averick (Selma): Some truly marvelous work during the actual march sequences. But he needs a ton of love for the film as a whole due to there being a plethora of contenders.
5. Tom Cross (Whiplash): After J.K. Simmons’ performance, the editing is what people talk about in Whiplash. If it gets a Best Picture nom, this one should be almost automatic.
Right in the hunt…
Kirk Baxter (Gone Girl), Joel Cox and Gary Roach (American Sniper), John Gilroy (Nightcrawler), William Goldenberg and Tim Squryes (Unbroken), Lee Smith (Interstellar), Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Kirk Baxter could easily get a nomination and possibly even win.
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The predicted five…
1. Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman): He won last year for Gravity and his work here is probably even more impressive. It’s one of the many things you notice about the film.
2. Roger Deakins (Unbroken): Possibly the biggest DP in the game and he’s never won before. Unbroken isn’t getting a ton of love, but the photography in it is.
3. Dick Pope (Mr. Turner): The film will be represented somewhere and this appears to be its best chance.
5. Óscar Faura (The Imitation Game): Personally, I think it was typical period piece photography that got annoying at times. But The Imitation Game is a threat in essentially every category.
Right in the hunt:
Bradford Young (Selma/A Most Violent Year), Benoit Delhomme (The Theory of Everything), Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler/Inherent Vice), Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar), Tom Stern (American Sniper)
Both Bradford Young and Robert Elswit might split votes with themselves. If I had to pick one dude in this group to crack the top five, it’d be Delhomme for The Theory of Everything.
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Best Original Screenplay
The predicted five…
1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood): The scope of the project alone makes is a safe bet for a nomination. It’s the Best Picture favorite.
2. Alejandro González Iñárittu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo (Birdman): The script, which is all over the internet, is an absolute marvel that lays the groundwork for the films unique visual story telling. It’s also very funny. It’s a shoe-in
3. Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel): Another shoe-in. Anderson has gotten love from the writers branch before and this is probably his most intricate story yet.
4. Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler): Gilroy has a MUCH better shot here than in director, due to name recognition. The script has been cited by critics, guilds, and precursors. It’s a modern idea.
5. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher): FAR from a lock, as Webb or Leigh could easily grab the last spot. Futterman was nominated before for Capote, another Bennett Miller movie.
Right in the hunt…
Paul Webb (Selma), Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie), Chris Rock (Top Five)
As a I mentioned, both Paul Webb and Mike Leigh could easily grab one of the last two spots. Selma figures to a major player an despite some of the alleged inaccuracies in the script, it could get swept in. Mike Leigh is a respected veteran. Lord & Miller actually won this award from the NBR, so I wouldn’t count them out. Animated films have made an impact in writing categories before.
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Best Adapted Screenplay
The predicted five…
1. Graham Moore (The Imitation Game): Sat on the “Black List” for a couple of years and has been the frontrunner here from the start.
2. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash): At the last minute, it was deemed adapted instead of original, which could cost it votes. But it’d be a frontrunner if it had be seen sitting in this category all year. Note: VERY weak year for Adapted Screenplay.
3. Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl): The fact that she also wrote the book only drives the narrative, and again, it’s a weak year. Would be a crowd-pleasing selection.
4. Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything): Probably a lock for a nomination in a weak year due to the overall expected impact of the film.
5. Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice): It’s be quite a story if a PTA movie got NO nominations, despite the almost nonexistent buzz surrounding Inherent Vice. But he adapted Pynchon, and won this from the NBR. I’ll give him the final spot.
Right in the hunt…
Jason Hall (American Sniper), Nick Hornby (Wild), James Lapine (Into the Woods), The Coen Bros/William Nicholson/Richard LaGravenese (Unbroken), James Gunn and Nicole Pearlman (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Hornby and Hall are both very much in the hunt despite heavy criticism of both their work. Guardians of the Galaxy is obviously a long-shot (and a pipe-dream for me), but not as much as you think. The WGA nominated it in hits category. It should have some support from the branch. I, however, don’t have the balls to throw it in the top five.
Check back tomorrow for my picks in the acting categories, foreign/animated, musical categories, and remaining technical categories.