SAG nominations today, Golden Globes nominations tomorrow. This is me (kidding). The Globes are famously hard to predict but wonderfully entertaining, loving to throw crazily left-field and celebrity oriented nominations in there, hence my lack of predicting. Instead of trying to spitball the nominations that are going to be known in a number of hours, I’ve decided that right now is the perfect time to take a look at the state of the Oscar race (which has, so far, been pretty much devoid of large shake-ups, which is why I haven’t done this in so long), with my predictions for most categories (barring Sound Mixing, Score, Song, Visual Effects, Makeup, Animated Short, Live Action Short, and Documentary Short) under the cut. Rather than ramble on for much too long here, which is beside the point, I know you’re all more interested in the predictions, lets jump right in, shall we? I hope tomorrow morning isn’t filled with too much frustration (actually, the only event that would make me frustrated is Tatiana Maslany not getting nominated, but that’s for another post), and stay tuned for SAG and Golden Globe nominations discussion!
Taking out the top prize at nearly every critic’s awards these past 2 weeks, Boyhood is, more than ever, the frontrunner to win. Odd, because pretty much ANY OTHER year it wouldn’t even be in conversation. A tiny, undramatic, personal Richard Linklater film made for $4 million, distributed by a company who’s only ever had Foreign Language and Screenplay nominations? This year is the stuff dreams are made of. Wish it was like this last year, where Before Midnight was probably just on the edge of a nomination… Also helping is the fact that this is going to end up being a career award. It’s like 2007/8 with the Coen Brothers – long career + very financially successful + amazing reviews = “We’re honouring them for their whole amazing career that we’ve overlooked until now!” So, outside of that clear frontrunner, there’s only really one film right now that I could see stepping up and taking it, and that’s Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which got an incredible coming-out party at AFI. Given the media attention ongoing racial inequality has been given this year, DuVernay’s film couldn’t be coming at a better/worse time. It’s topical, and some see the events of 2014 as repetition of the 1960s.
Birdman is still a strong #3, with its biggest weakness being that it’s possibly too quirky for the Oscars, but the key to Best Picture is resonating with the actors, the biggest voting body of The Academy. Birdman is all about actors, so it’s logical, really.
Having seen The Imitation Game now, something that I’ve been thinking about for a while has been confirmed somewhat – it’s similar to a lot of things. It feels like The King’s Speech all over again (it made nearly HALF A BILLION dollars worldwide and Weinstein pushed it to a Best Picture win), like TWC is trying to replicate the mind-blowing success of that film from only 4 years ago. So far, it’s doing incredibly well at the box office, but will people really want to award pretty much the same film only 4 years later? My guess is no. Add that in with the fact that voters may feel that, thematically, it’s too close to The Theory of Everything, and one of the two may be shut out all together. At the moment, I’d say The Theory of Everything, if only because of the fact that Imitation Game has Weinstein behind it.
The remaining spots could go any way, really. Foxcatcher is faring well in very limited release, but is dropping from the conversation slightly and doesn’t have unanimous raves. Gone Girl continues to dominate the box office, nearing $400 million worldwide, making it Fincher’s most successful film, but may prove to be too genre-y, and hasn’t picked up many critic’s awards yet. Unbroken has been getting tepid reviews, its year-long ‘unbeatable’ buzz making it drop relatively fast, but Angelina Jolie’s involvement as director will keep it in the line-up. Interstellar has disappointed financially and critically, which mean that its spot could be taken over by a number of films – A Most Violent Year (which has fared well in precursors, and, if it keeps getting pushed, could definitely make it in), Wild (The Academy responded well to Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, which very quickly got a nomination), Mr. Turner (would be another ‘career award’), or The Grand Budapest Hotel (‘career award’ for the yet-to-be Best Picture nominated Wes Anderson). Sadly dropping is Damien Chazelle’s electrifying Whiplash, which didn’t become a hoped-for breakout hit.
- The Imitation Game
- The Theory of Everything
- Gone Girl
- A Most Violent Year
Runners up: Wild, Mr Turner, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler, American Sniper
Unseen by critics: Into the Woods
Here, it’s a no-brainer. At this point, Linklater’s the clear frontrunner, with possibly spoilers in the form of Inarritu and DuVernay. The former has been in The Academy’s circle for some time, and a nomination for DuVernay would be history-making. Leigh would be another career nomination, and the final spot could go to Fincher, Miller, or Eastwood. Tyldum, Marsh, Chandor, and Vallee are probably too ‘new’ to make it in.
- Richard Linklater, Boyhood
- Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
- Ava DuVernay, Selma
- Mike Leigh, Mr Turner
- David Fincher, Gone Girl
Runners up: Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Clint Eastwood (American Sniper), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Jean-Marc Vallee (Wild), Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Angelina Jolie (Unbroken)
In an incredibly stacked category that is sure to leave a few big contenders going home empty-handed come nominations day, Redmayne, whose been tirelessly campaigning and has approval from Stephen Hawking himself, is the frontrunner. Keaton, the comeback story of the year, could sneak in; or Oyelowo, depending on how much he gets into the conversation. Cumberbatch is also a definite possibility, but given The Imitation Game‘s perceived similarity to The Theory of Everything, voters could favour the much more physically demanding performance from Redmayne in terms of a nomination instead. Regardless, it looks like this category is going to be a rare occurrence – filled with newbies.
- Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
- Michael Keaton, Birdman
- David Oyelowo, Selma
- Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
- Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Runners up: Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year), Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Jack O’Connell (Unbroken), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood)
In contrast to the recent past, this category is depressingly empty. Unless something large happens, Moore (who is insanely overdue for an Oscar) can start preparing that speech right now. Still Alice only emerged, distribution-less, at TIFF in September, an unusual occurrence. If you can get people to vote for you without even watching the film (which people have been doing), you’ve won.
- Julianne Moore, Still Alice
- Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
- Reese Witherspoon, Wild
- Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
- Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Runners up: Hilary Swank (The Homesman), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars), Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Anne Dorval (Mommy), Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
Best Supporting Actor
Despite the financial disappointment of Whiplash, Simmons has this one locked up. Norton could possibly spoil, or perhaps Hawke.
- J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
- Edward Norton, Birdman
- Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
- Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
- Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Runners up: Tyler Perry (Gone Girl)
Best Supporting Actress
This is an insane category. In any, literally any other year, Patricia Arquette, who gives an excellent performance in Boyhood, would barely get a word in. Why? Because her performance is so quiet and unshowy. It’s simple, she just lets the character breathe. She’s picked up nearly every award she’s been nominated for so far, so, unless A Most Violent Year starts making a big impression, or Keira Knightley, whose character is sadly pushed to the back in The Imitation Game, starts getting some chatter, Arquette is taking it home.
- Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
- Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
- Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
- Emma Stone, Birdman
- Meryl Streep, Into the Woods (unseen by critics)
Runners up: Laura Dern (Wild), Carrie Coon (Gone Girl), Kristen Stewart (Still Alice), Suzanne Clement (Mommy)
Dream nominee: Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Alison Pill (Snowpiercer)
Best Original Screenplay
Linklater has made an appearance in the Adapted category twice before, for Before Sunset and Midnight with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, so this seems like another ‘career award’ opportunity. Mike Leigh is a bit of a mainstay in this category, so expect him to make an appearance too. Look out for The Lego Movie, surprisingly, which is gaining a bit of traction at critic’s awards.
- Richard Linklater, Boyhood
- Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Alejandro G. Inarritu et al, Birdman
- E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
- Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
Runners up: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Chris Rock (Top Five), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie), Paul Webb (Selma), Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias (Love is Strange), Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child), Justin Simien (Dear White People), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Christopher and Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Gillian Flynn is the clear frontrunner here. A (sadly) rare female in a writing category, Flynn’s celebrity, the film’s box office success, and the book’s wild popularity is sure to propel her to a win.
- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
- Unbroken, Joel and Ethan Coen et al
- Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
- Nick Hornby, Wild
- Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Runners up: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice), Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)
Best Film Editing
Editing is, unless on rare occasions, made up of Best Picture nominees. It’s even more rare to win Best Picture without an Editing nomination. Long time Linklater collaborator Adair is the frontrunner, with Baxter, who famously cut Gone Girl on Adobe Premiere Pro, a possible spoiler. My dream nominee, who has a chance? Jean-Marc Vallee and Martin Pensa, who got in at the last minute last year with Dallas Buyers Club. Vallee has one of the most excellent, unique editing styles, and while DBC was slightly more restrained, reviews have made it sound like Wild is a step towards his work in Cafe de Flore and C.R.A.Z.Y.. Yes please.
- Sandra Adair, Boyhood
- Kirk Baxter, Gone Girl
- John Mac McMurphy (Jean-Marc Vallee) and Martin Pensa, Wild
- Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione, Birdman
- William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game
Runners up: A Most Violent Year, Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Selma, Interstellar
Lubezki is tipped to take out the prize again, only a year after his much deserved gong for his work on Gravity. Much of the conversation surrounding Birdman has been about the photography, which will probably continue through awards season. Possible spoiler is Deakins, who has been nominated 11 times but has never won.
- Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
- Roger Deakins, Unbroken
- Jeff Cronoweth, Gone Girl
- Hoyte van Hoytema, Interstellar
- Bradford Young, A Most Violent Year
Runners up: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, Mr Turner, The Theory of Everything, Wild, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Whiplash, Foxcatcher
Unseen: Into the Woods
Best Production Design
- Adam Stockhausen, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Ondrej Nekvasil, Snowpiercer
- Maria Djurkovic, The Imitation Game
- Kevin Thompson, Birdman
- Suzie Davies, Mr Turner
Runners up: Interstellar, Into the Woods, Unbroken, Selma, The Theory of Everything
Best Costume Design
A Most Violent Year has been getting a sizeable amount of attention in the costume department due to Giorgio Armani’s involvement. Celebrity always fares here, placing it in the top place for now.
- A Most Violent Year
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Into the Woods
- The Imitation Game
Runners up: Belle, Mr Turner, Selma, Get On Up, Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Foreign Language Film
- Xavier Dolan, Mommy
- Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Two Days One Night
- Ruben Osterlund, Force Majeure
- Pawel Pawzilowski, Ida
- Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan
Runners up: Winter Sleep, Wild Tales
Best Documentary Feature
- Laura Poitras, Citizenfour
- Steve James, Life Itself
- Last Days in Vietnam
- Finding Vivian Maier
- The Salt of the Earth
Runners up: Keep On Keepin’ On, The Overnighters, Art and Craft, The Internet’s Own Boy, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Virunga, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, The Kill Team
Best Animated Feature
- The Lego Movie
- Big Hero 6
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- The Boxtrolls
Runner up: The Book of Life