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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oscar Predictions 2014: Round 3 (Final Nomination Predictions)

Best Picture:
1. Boyhood (Previous Ranking: 2)
        There's literally nothing against this movie getting in for Picture. Just try and find a scenario where it misses out on the big one. I'll be waiting...
2. Birdman (Previous Ranking: 1)
        Ditto everything above, only for a movie I don't really expect to win Best Picture.
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Previous Ranking: 17)
        I can't remember ever being as surprised by a late season groundswell of affection as I am here. Game and Theory have been virtual locks for as long as I can remember, but with SAG, DGA, PGA, WGA, and BAFTA all going nuts over this movie, you'd be silly to think it ranks anywhere below the five spot. For my money, it's even a little higher than that.
4. The Imitation Game (Previous Ranking: 3)
        The only thing that could stop this from happening is a certain type of laziness from the voters who might assume it's a lock, and steer their support toward a less likely film. In other words, this is happening.
5. The Theory of Everything (Previous Ranking: 4)
        I'm so sick of this and Game always being lumped together, but here it is again. Everything you read above applies here as well.
6. American Sniper (Previous Ranking: 19)
        Ug... so this is probably happening. AS has its detractors, but with PGA, WGA, and (somewhat stunningly) DGA behind it, Clint Eastwood's eight-year absence from nomination morning is likely over.
7. Selma (Previous Ranking: 5)
        And to think this might have had a shot at winning the whole thing... Selma has come on ridiculously late, a lack of screeners costing it guild nominations across the board. It was a no-show at PGA, DGA, WGA, SAG, and BAFTA (even typing that was brutal), but the fact that so few had even seen the film seems like a valid excuse, and that 99% on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't exactly hurt either.
8. Gone Girl (Previous Ranking: 9)
        The biggest hit of David Fincher's career also cleaned up at the guilds. The salacious nature of the product gives me pause, but literally NOTHING else does.
9. Nightcrawler (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        If you'd have told me this could happen a month ago, I would have laughed in your face. After seeing it pop up at PGA, WGA, and SAG, it's a hell of a lot tougher to ignore. Even with its many certifications, it's still tough to ACTUALLY see this one sliding into the big race.
By no means am I confident that we'll have 9 nominees (as of 2012, Oscar nominates anywhere between five and ten films for Best Picture of the year), but seeing as we've literally only seen this exact number every year since the rule change, predicting 9 just feels safe.
10. Whiplash (Previous Ranking: 14)
        But it's so liiittle. Critics love it, the guilds showed Whiplash some love, and J.K. Simmons' position atop the Supporting Actor race means just about ever academy member will be checking this one out. I just can't help but think it's too tiny.
11. Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: 6)
        Bennett Miller has directed three movies, and his first two both competed for Best Picture. His track record is obviously stainless, and that PGA nod keeps this one alive. Too bad it has next to nothing else going for it.
12. Unbroken (Previous Ranking: 7)
        Sure, critics didn't exactly gush over Unbroken, but audiences did, and Academy members are rumored to side more with the latter group. The whole 'rewarding Angelina Jolie' subplot could also be a factor.
13. A Most Violent Year (Previous Ranking: 10)
        J.C. Chandor's first couple films both competed for Oscars, and Year is said to be his most ambitious yet. Similar to Selma (though on a MUCH more modest level), I'd have more faith if it'd came out a little bit sooner. 
14. Mr. Turner (Previous Ranking: 18)
        98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and you STILL can't convince anybody to come out and see your movie? I'm still imagining Philomena Part 2, wherein the british voting block is powerful enough to force what looks like a goner into the BP race, though with Game and Theory both still on the table, they'll likely find another way to celebrate their countrymen.
15. Into the Woods (Previous Ranking: 8)
        It didn't land with a whole lot of force, but if they want a musical, this is their only choice.
16. Interstellar (Previous Ranking: 12)
        Same as above, only scratch off 'musical,' and replace it with 'big effects-driven blockbuster.'
17. Inherent Vice (Previous Ranking: 15)
        If this didn't have Paul Thomas Anderson's name attached, it wouldn't even sniff the top 20. As is, you have to keep it on your radar incase there's some serious PTA love amongst the Academy.
18. Fury (Previous Ranking: 16)
        If they want war, but don't want Unbroken, the road ends here.
19. Still Alice (Previous Ranking: 13)
        For some of the season's lesser players, getting your movie seen is half the battle. Julianne Moore's frontrunner status in the Best Actress race ensures this one will at least have a chance.
20. Big Eyes (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        How much do we love Burton, Adams, and period aesthetic?

Best Director:
1. Richard Linklater---Boyhood (Previous Ranking: 2)
        This is the kind of treatment you get when you're film is supposed to win Best Picture.
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu---Birdman (Previous Ranking: 1)
        A previous nominee whom Oscar will be excited to welcome back for this splashy showbiz tale.
3. Wes Anderson---The Grand Budapest Hotel (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        It's likely finally upon us; Wes Anderson's first appearance in the Best Director race. If they really like Grand Budapest as much as it seems, a huge reason has to be Anderson's loud direction.
4. Morten Tyldum---The Imitation Game (Previous Ranking: 3)
        Tyldum has been hanging on for dear life for what seems like months now, but that DGA nomination should be enough to get it.
5. Clint Eastwood---American Sniper (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        I hate myself for doing this, but if the DGA has him in their five, I fear the Academy will follow suit.
6. Ava DuVernay---Selma (Previous Ranking: 5)
        I still think she's got an excellent shot, but with Selma getting skunked all through guild season, I'll play it safe, and stick with the DGA's five.
7. James Marsh---The Theory of Everything (Previous Ranking: 4)
        When your film is almost assured to fight for Best Picture, your name stays on this list.
8. David Fincher---Gone Girl (Previous Ranking: 9)
        They certainly love Fincher enough to do this, but do they love Gone Girl?
9. Bennett Miller---Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: 6)
        Miller has directed two feature films before this one, and they were both Best Picture nominees. They might just really respond to his stuff.
10. Damien Chazelle---Whiplash (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        Your token 'hip young filmmaker' aspirant, I don't like Whiplash's chances as much as some, and by extension, can't get too bullish about Chazelle.

Best Actor:
1. Michael Keaton---Birdman (Previous Ranking: 1)
        Respected industry veteran who finally got a big juicy roll, and sunk his teeth into it. Keaton is a lock.
2. Eddie Redmayne---The Theory of Everything (Previous Ranking: 2)
        How to get an Oscar nomination; play a legendary genius suffering through physical decay in a movie that's in the hunt for Picture. How could he miss?
3. Benedict Cumberbatch---The Imitation Game (Previous Ranking: 3)
        No physical decay, but otherwise this is pretty much Redmayne 2.0.
4. David Oyelowo---Selma (Previous Ranking: 4)
        I'm awfully tempted to leave him off, but even a SAG snub isn't as powerful as playing Martin Luther frickin' King in a widely beloved film.
5. Jake Gyllenhaal---Nightcrawler (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        The surprise run of awards season love for Nightcrawler simply wouldn't have happened if not for Gyllenhaal. He's the best part of a movie that's picking up steam, and I think they'll reward him for it.
6. Steve Carell---Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: 5)
        He got SAG, but if I'm sticking with Oyelowo, I have to drop somebody, and his reported lack of screen time makes him the most likely victim.
7. Ralph Fiennes---The Grand Budapest Hotel (Previous Ranking: 10)
        This feels sooo likely, Fiennes riding in on the Budapest love fest that has been sweeping the guilds. He's been a virtual no-show all precursor season, so we'll keep him down here, but don't sleep on Ralph.
8. Bradley Cooper---American Sniper (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        Oscar obviously has some fondness for B-Coops, and this would mark his third nomination in as many years. It's a crowded field, but if American Sniper shows up in a big way, watch out.
9. Timothy Spall---Mr. Turner (Previous Ranking: 8)
        This is the 'how much does the British voting block really matter?' slot, plain and simple. If Mr. Turner can shock in picture, then this could happen too.
10. Ellar Coltrane---Boyhood (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        If I'm taking a flyer on someone, give me the face of the Best Picture frontrunner, giving a performance that's largely incomparable to any other in the history of film.

Best Actress:
1. Julianne Moore---Still Alice (Previous Ranking: 1)
        I expected Still Alice to pick up a little more heat by now, but this is such a dull race that Moore hardly needs her film to be loved. She's one of the most overdue thespians in the industry, here playing a woman suffering from dementia; will someone just hand her the statue already?
2. Rosamund Pike---Gone Girl (Previous Ranking: 4)
        Moore is our only lock here, but if I'm stepping into uncharted territory, I'm doing it with the actress with the meatiest role.
3. Felicity Jones---The Theory of Everything (Previous Ranking: 2)
        It's been common knowledge that she's getting in for so long, one wonders if she could be omitted out of sheer boredom. Still, she's the only actress here from a film likely to compete in other major categories, and Oscar does love his supportive wives.
4. Jennifer Aniston---Cake (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        You CANNOT tell me that the Academy wouldn't love to see a dolled-up Jen Aniston sauntering around on Oscar sunday. No one even likes her movie, but with a SAG nomination and some weak competition, this could almost get in on concept alone.
5. Resse Witherspoon---Wild (Previous Ranking: 3)
        Why is Reese stuck down here? Because I have specific reasons to like the odds of everyone listed above her, and as a former winner, she's be the easiest omission.
6. Amy Adams---Big Eyes (Previous Ranking: 6)
        She's Amy Adams, Oscar's golden child, recipient of five nominations in the last nine years (including four in the last six). Who cares if no one saw her movie?
7. Emily Blunt---Into the Woods (Previous Ranking: 5)
        Blunt's been an up-and-comer for the last million years. Will a musical do the trick?
8. Hilary Swank---The Homesman (Previous Ranking: 7)
        Word is she's been campaigning like hell, which, sadly, is something that actually matters. With two golden men already in her trophy case at home, there's little question as to how Oscar feels about Swank.
9. Marion Cotillard---Two Days, One Night (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        Truth be told, this is an eight-horse race. Cotillard gives another lauded performance in a foreign film; how has that worked out for her since La Vie En Rose?
10. Scarlett Johansson---Under the Skin (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        Pretty much just wishful thinking, but I'll justify my inclusion by arguing that few performances are likely to inspire as passionate a response as this one.

Best Supporting Actor:
1. Edward Norton---Birdman (Previous Ranking: 1)
        Remember, these are nomination predictions. Assuming the five listed below is more or less correct, I'll move Norton down first thing tomorrow, but there is some crazy world where I could see Simmons, Hawke or Ruffalo each missing. No such world exists for Norton; he's in.
2. J.K. Simmons---Whiplash (Previous Ranking: 2)
        Our presumptive frontrunner in the category, Simmons will probably win in the end, but the tiny nature of his film leaves the door slightly ajar for something shocking to happen tomorrow morning.
3. Ethan Hawke---Boyhood (Previous Ranking: 4)
        He gives a touchingly earnest performance in a movie that took 12 years to make, and will probably win Best Picture. This seems pretty safe.
4. Mark Ruffalo---Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: 3)
        This race is so damn thin this year that, even with Foxcatcher's strength potentially waining as the season goes on, Ruffalo's name NEVER left this list. The top four feel fairly untouchable.
5. Steve Carell---Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        All right, time to get crazy. SAG went with Duvall here, as did the Globes, but with an early release, mixed reviews, and a track record of falling short at the last second, I just can't do it. I know Carell is being pushed as a lead actor, but with BAFTA slotting him in the supporting race, we already know for a fact that certain Academy members are willing to vote this way. There's little evidence that such a drastic change-up could happen at the last possible second, but outside of Duvall, this race is dead as a doornail. I'll give it a shot!
6. Robert Duvall---The Judge (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        See above.
7. Josh Brolin---Inherent Vice (Previous Ranking: 6)
        Time to grasp at straws! Brolin's supposedly the best part of IV, and if there's an unexpected PTA fest tomorrow morning, this could conceivably happen.
8. Christoph Waltz---Big Eyes (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        He's already a two time winner with only two nominations to his name. This guy is Oscar catnap.
9. Tom Wilkinson---Selma (Previous Ranking: 5)
        In case Selma goes off tomorrow morning.
10. Riz Ahmed---Nightcrawler (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        In case they REALLY love Nightcrawler.

Best Supporting Actress:
1. Patricia Arquette---Boyhood (Previous Ranking: 1)
        Supportive and ever-suffering single mother played by a respected, overdue actress who spent 12 years working on the biggest film in the contest. Let's bet the house on Arquette.
2. Emma Stone---Birdman (Previous Ranking: 3)
        She's been cited by every precursor known to man, and is a big reason why Birdman takes flight. Why wouldn't she end up on the shortlist?
3. Meryl Streep---Into the Woods (Previous Ranking: 6)
        Dude... it's Meryl Streep. She could get in for eating a sandwich, and here she's singing?!? When Streep wants in, she gets in.
4. Kiera Knightly---The Imitation Game (Previous Ranking: 5)
        I don't feel as good about her as the three listed above, but she's shown up just as often, and appears in a probable Best Picture nominee.
5. Jessica Chastain---A Most Violent Year (Previous Ranking: 2)
        Simple logic would dictate that if they're ignoring Year literally everywhere else, it might not have the juice to get a major nomination. Problem is, they love Chastain, and I have next to no faith in anyone listed below.
6. Rene Russo---Nightcrawler (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        As with all things Nightcrawler, this is a game of wait and see. That BAFTA nomination sure helps.
7. Naomi Watts---St. Vincent (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        I would be pretty stunned to see this happen, but I was pretty stunned when I saw her pop up at SAG, so what else is new?
8. Carmen Ejogo---Selma (Previous Ranking: 4)
        I'd love to put the actress who's being praised for her performance as Coretta Scott King a little higher up, but where has she been all season? No love from virtually any of the precursors.
9. Carrie Coon---Gone Girl (Previous Ranking: 9)
        Some say she's the single best part of Gone Girl. There's always at least one left field thespian who hears their name called on nomination morning; why not Coon?
10. Laura Dern---Wild (Previous Ranking: 8)
        We haven't heard much from this camp in a little while, but when in doubt, opt for the actress who plays a loving mother dying of cancer. Man, Oscar has some strange attitudes toward women...

Best Original Screenplay:
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo---Birdman (Previous Ranking: 1)
2. Richard Linklater---Boyhood (Previous Ranking: 3)
3. Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness---The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Paul Webb---Selma (Previous Ranking: 2)
5. Dan Gilroy---Nightcrawler (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
6. Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye---Foxcatcher (Previous Ranking: 4)
7. J.C. Chandor---A Most Violent Year (Previous Ranking: 5)
8. Mike Leigh---Mr. Turner (Previous Ranking: 9)
9. Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller---The LEGO Movie (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
10. Ira Sachs---Love Is Strange (Previous Ranking: Unranked)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
1. Graham Moore and Andrew Hodges---The Imitation Game (Previous Ranking: 1)
2. Anthony McCarten---The Theory of Everything (Previous Ranking: 2)
3. Jason Hall, Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and James Defelice---American Sniper (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
4. Gillian Flynn---Gone Girl (Previous Ranking: 2)
5. Damien Chazelle---Whiplash (Previous Ranking: 6)
6. Joel and Ethan Coen, William Nicholson, and Richard LaGravense---Unbroken (Previous Ranking: 3)
7. Nick Hornby and Cheryl Strayed---Wild (Previous Ranking: 6)
8. James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning---Guardians of the Galaxy (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
9. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland---Still Alice (Previous Ranking: 5)
10. Paul Thomas Anderson---Inherent Vice (Previous Ranking: 8)

Best Foreign Feature:
1. Ida
2. Leviathan
3. Force Majeure
4. Wild Tales
5. Tangerines

Best Documentary:
1. CitizenFour
2. Life Itself
3. Finding Vivian Maier
4. Virunga
5. Last Days in Vietnam

Best Animated Feature:
1. The LEGO Movie
2. The Boxtrolls
3. Big Hero 6
4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
5. The Book of Life

Best Editing:
1. Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione---Birdman
2. Sandra Adair---Boyhood
3. William Goldenberg---The Imitation Game
4. Kirk Baxter---Gone Girl
5. Joel Cox and Gary Roach---American Sniper

Best Cinematography:
1. Emmanuel Lubezki---Birdman
2. Robert Yeoman---The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Oscar Faura---The Imitation Game
4. Roger Deakins---Unbroken
5. Tom Stern---American Sniper

Best Score:
1. Jóhann Jóhannsson---The Theory of Everything
2. Alexandre Desplat---The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Alexandre Desplat---The Imitation Game
4. Hans Zimmer---Interstellar
5. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross---Gone Girl

Best Original Song:
1. Everything is Awesome---The LEGO Movie
2. Yellow Flicker Beat---The Hunger Games, Mockingjay: Part 1
3. Glory---Selma
4. Mercy Is---Noah
5. Lost Stars---Begin Again

Best Production Design:
1. Adam Stockhausen---The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Dennis Gassner---Into the Woods
3. Maria Djurkovic---The Imitation Game
4. John Paul Kelly---The Theory of Everything
5. Nathan Crowley---Interstellar

Best Costume Design:
1. Colleen Atwood---Into the Woods
2. Milena Canonero---The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Sammy Sheldon Differ---The Imitation Game
4. Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive---Maleficent
5. Steven Noble---The Theory of Everything

Best Make-up and Hairstyling:
1. Jan Sewell and Lesley Smith---The Theory of Everything
2. Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard---Foxcathcer
3. David White---Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Special Effects:
1. Joe Letteri, Ryan Stafford, Matt Kutcher, Dan Lemmon and Hannah Blanchini---Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2. Paul Franklin, Kevin Elam, Ann Podlozny, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher---Interstellar
3. Stephane Ceretti, Susan Pickett, Jonathan Fawkner, Nicolas Aithadi and Paul Corbould---Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Carey Villegas, Barrie Hemsley, Adam Valdez, Kelly Port and Michael Dawson---Maleficent
5. Joe Letteri, David Conley, Eric Saindon, Kevin Sherwood and Steve Ingram---The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Best Sound Editing:
1. Interstellar
2. American Sniper
3. Gone Girl
4. Godzilla
5. Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing:
1. Interstellar
2. American Sniper
3. Birdman
4. Into the Woods
5. Godzilla 

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