Academy Award nomination predictions

14 01 2015

The Oscar frenzy reaches a fever pitch Thursday morning, when the nominations are revealed.
Nomination morning always seems to provide some surprises, both good or bad, and also tends to present a clearer picture of where most frontrunners stand.
This season seems to be one of the more predictable in recent memory, which could set up for a surprising morning.
Then again it might not, leading to a predictable Oscar night.
Here is where I think everything stands less than 24 hours until nominations are announced.

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

Also in running: Gone Girl, Into the Woods, Nightcrawler, Wild

I think there are six firmly locked in, with Selma, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Gone Girl, Into the Woods and perhaps Nightcrawler competing for the final three slots.
Selma’s backlash and lack of guild support is alarming, but I think it might slip in. Foxcatcher has some support so it might slide in too, along with Whiplash. I think Gone Girl is first one out.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
David Oyelowo (Selma)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Also in the running: Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Cooper and Oyelowo were omitted from the Screen Actors Guild nominations in favor of Carrel and Gyllenhaal. Cooper should ride the late momentum of American Sniper. Carrell and Gyllenhaal are both unlikable characters that might cancel each other out, opening the door for the very deserving Oyelowo. Fiennes is the true wild card, especially if Budapest gets universal love.

Best Actress
Jennifer Ansiton (Cake)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Also in the running: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Marion Cotillard (Two Days/One Night)

This looks to be the most locked in category. Maybe the Aniston train peaked too soon, which would allow Adams or Cotillard to sneak in. If the Academy really hates Gone Girl, as some pundits have suggested, then Pike could be in trouble. I will stick with the SAG five here.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Edward Norton (Birdman)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Also in the running: Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)

Like best actress, I think the SAG five remain in tact. Brolin is the only real threat to break in, but Inherent Vice doesn’t have much momentum.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Kiera Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Also in the running:
Laura Dern (Wild), Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel or Snowpiercer), Naomi Watts (St. Vincent)

Chastain didn’t get a SAG nod, but will likely crack the final five – perhaps bumping Watts. Dern would be my personal choice, but I think she gets snubbed. Swinton is a wildcard.

Best Director
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Clint Eastwood (American Sniper)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Also in the running: Ava DuVernay (Selma), David Fincher (Gone Girl)

I’ll take the Director’s Guild five here since directors represent a large part of the voting body. If that happens than a very deserving DuVernay gets left out along with the very talented Fincher.

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