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87th Academy Awards Predictions: Who Will Win at the Oscars 2015?

Another year, another hectic Oscar season. Honestly, this is the first year in a long, long time (I want to say since 2006) that I’ve honestly not been 100% certain which film was going to win Best Picture. Normally, the race is all sewn up by now, and the fact that it isn’t speaks volumes of how close this race has been, considering that Best Director is still very much up in the air as well. In short, this could end up being my dirt-worst year for predictions yet. But dammit, I’m still going to make them!

So which films and performances will win big at the Oscars 2015?

Check out my final predictions for the 87th Academy Awards below. And don’t forget to vote in our official Oscar pool! Make your predictions known as Oscar Sunday approaches!

87th Academy Awards Predictions Who Will Win at the Oscars 2015

Credit: AMPAS

OSCARS 2015: FINAL PREDICTIONS FOR THE 87TH ACADEMY AWARDS

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

Until Birdman shocked the industry by sweeping the major guilds (PGA, SAG, DGA), this race seemed all locked up for Boyhood to win. In a lot of ways, I still feel weird even predicting Birdman to win, since it just doesn’t feel like a Best Picture winner to me, despite satisfying the Academy’s penchant for honoring films about showbiz types. But those guild awards are virtually impossible to ignore. Sure, Brokeback Mountain still lost after a strong guilds showing, but the circumstances behind its loss to Crash were far different. Really, you’d have to go back twenty years to Apollo 13 in 1995 to find a film that dominated the guilds, but lost the Oscar (Braveheart won Best Picture that year). On the other hand, if it does win Best Picture, Birdman would be the first film since Ordinary People in 1980 to win Best Picture without an Editing nomination. Hell, it’d be one of the few to ever win without an editing nod. So Birdman does have statistics both for and against its victory.

And yet, I feel as though negative statistics mean less now than ever before. Judging by precedent, Argo probably shouldn’t have won Best Picture without a directing nomination for Ben Affleck, considering it hadn’t happened since Driving Miss Daisy in 1989. But the Academy liked the film, and if they just plain like something, historical precedent doesn’t matter. The Social Network swept the critics awards in 2010, only for The King’s Speech to come out of nowhere and sweep the guilds. That implies a wider range of industry support than the critics awards do, since Academy membership overlaps with many of the guilds. That’s why I feel it’s the same case here. Sure, Boyhood might have the Globe and the BAFTA, but it’s hard to top the hat trick Birdman pulled off with the guilds. Of course, it’s not impossible that American Sniper might ride its incredible box office run to a Best Picture win, since audiences REALLY like it, and Oscar rarely misses the chance to back a movie that grips the cultural moment like this has. An added bonus is that it’s peaking at just the right time. Had it come out a week earlier or a week later, it might not have been so fresh in the minds of voters. If nothing else, it’s going to be a close race. But I’m sticking with the guild favorite.

Prediction: Birdman

Best Director
Alejandro G Inarritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

This is one of the tougher races to judge. Inarritu has the DGA, but Linklater has the BAFTA. Both their achievements are utterly staggering and impressive, with Inarritu crafting a film that is essentially a series of single, long takes, while Linklater spent over a decade piecing together a real-time coming of age story. Both men took huge risks and reaped bigger rewards with their final product. It’s just a matter of which achievement the Academy judges as the more impressive. While Inarritu probably should win, if I’m predicting Birdman for Picture, I think they’ll reward Inarritu in the Screenplay and Best Picture categories, so it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Linklater honored here.

Prediction: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

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

Okay, so the races are getting exponentially harder to predict. While smart money says Eddie Redmayne has this in the bag (with wins at the Globes, SAG, BAFTA and countless critics organizations), the rising wave of sentiment for Birdman might be enough to carry Keaton along for the ride, in much the same way Jean Dujardin got carried to a Best Actor Oscar for The Artist. And then there’s Bradley Cooper, whom the Academy obviously loves, since this is his THIRD consecutive acting nomination. How many more nominations must he get before he’s regarded as being overdue? The overwhelming public popularity of American Sniper, plus the overall likability of Cooper on the campaign circuit, could carry him to the win. Then again, Redmayne has been every bit as charming while on the campaign trail, and his acting is the kind of physical transformation Oscar loves. I’m going to stick with Redmayne.

Prediction: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

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

Julianne Moore is winning this one. I just can’t see a path that leads to her losing this. The only way it might be possible is if the Academy is suddenly seized by the urge to give The Theory of Everything…well, everything. But I don’t even think a last-minute surge for that film would carry Felicity Jones along with it. So Moore it is.

Prediction: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
JK Simmons – Whiplash

I would be absolutely stunned if JK Simmons didn’t win this, considering he’s won virtually every supporting actor prize he’s been up for this season. That said, a Best Picture winner does tend to pick up at least one acting award, and if Birdman is going to pull it off, Edward Norton might be the guy who gets a trophy. Unless…(see Best Supporting Actress)

Prediction: JK Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Okay, so let’s assume that Boyhood is winning Best Picture, then obviously Patricia Arquette will be that film’s acting winner, right? She’s won a ton of awards this season, and is the clear frontrunner to win here. However, if we’re operating under the assumption that Birdman is winning Best Picture, and that it’s being carried to the win largely on the backs of its status as an actor’s movie, then the acting branch of the Academy (the largest branch, by the way) will want to give it something. Granted, they could easily decide to give Michael Keaton the prize, but I just don’t feel like Eddie Redmayne is losing that category. Nor do I feel as though JK Simmons will lose his category. So if Birdman is going to pull off an acting win…could Emma Stone be the one? Or will Birdman simply win its awards in the tech categories and go 0-3 in the acting categories? It’d be strange for such an actor-driven movie, but it wouldn’t exactly be unheard of. With all that having been said, while Best Supporting Actress does tend to be where acting upsets occur (Marcia Gay Harden in Pollock, for example), I think Arquette is way too far out in front for any of the other nominees to catch her.

Prediction: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best Cinematography
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr Turner
Unbroken

Although The Grand Budapest Hotel is a major threat in the tech categories, I think Birdman takes this one for last year’s winner and ASC champ, Emmanuel Lubezki.

Prediction: Birdman

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr Turner

As the only Best Picture nominee in the group, I think The Grand Budapest Hotel takes this one, although watch out for the legendary Colleen Atwood, who could easily win her fourth Oscar for Into the Woods.

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Foreign Language Film
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

The cinematography nomination for Ida seems to imply a broader base of support for the movie than just the Foreign Language Film category.

Prediction: Ida

Best Make-up and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

The Academy loves minimalist makeup, and Foxcatcher does a great job of transforming Steve Carrell. Guardians of the Galaxy has flashier makeup, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is a Best Picture nominee, which should probably give it an edge.

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr Turner
The Theory of Everything

Alexandre Desplat deserves to win for one of his two nominations in this category (The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel), but he just might end up splitting votes. And if that happens, Johan Johansson is the likely winner for The Theory of Everything. My head and heart says Desplat, but my gut says Johansson since I’m not sure which score Desplat would win for.

Prediction: The Theory of Everything

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Another really stacked category. I could easily see the case for any of these movies winning. I don’t know why, but I’m sensing a win for Whiplash, which had one of the most underrated scripts of the year. That would be kind of an upset, considering both The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are much more up Oscar’s alley.

Prediction: Whiplash

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

This is a monster of a lineup. I think Birdman is a real threat to take this category, since its script is one of its big strengths. But if the Academy sees it as a largely actor/director-driven film, then the script might be ignored, leaving room for another film to step up to the plate. I think it’d be weird if Boyhood didn’t win any awards after being such a frontrunner. Then again, I find it just as weird if Wes Anderson went home empty-handed.

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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

With The LEGO Movie snubbed, this is How To Train Your Dragon 2‘s to lose.

Prediction: How To Train Your Dragon 2

Best Documentary Feature
Citizen Four
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Citizen Four has been the one to beat all season.

Prediction: Citizen Four

Best Documentary Short Subject
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 just sounds like the type of film the Academy would go for in this category.

Prediction: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Film Editing
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

While you could argue that the achievement of Boyhood is too grand to be ignored, I think Whiplash simply had the better editing. Granted, this isn’t always about what’s best, but I think Whiplash is being seriously underestimated.

Prediction: Boyhood

Best Original Song
“Everything is Awesome” – The Lego Movie
“Glory” – Selma
“Grateful” – Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” – Begin Again

This could be their chance to go all sentimental and give it to Glen Campbell for his last song ever, since it would be their opportunity to award a living legend who might not be around much longer. But I feel that Globe winner “Glory” is the best chance Selma has for an Oscar, so I’m picking John Legend and Common to win.

Prediction: “Glory” from Selma

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr Turner

The Grand Budapest Hotel has just got to take this one.

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Animated Short Film
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

It’s got long odds, but once again, I’m feeling an upset…

Prediction: Me and My Moulton

Best Live Action Short Film
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Sally Hawkins delivers one of her best performances in a short I found unexpectedly gripping. So…

Prediction: The Phone Call

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

Prediction: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Prediction: American Sniper

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

And that’s a wrap! What do you think? Which films and performances will win at the Oscars? Remember to vote in our official Oscar pool, and don’t forget to join us Sunday night, as we’ll have full coverage of the entire night, from a live blog and recap, to videos from the big show! See you then!

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