Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars 2015: Nominee Predictions

oscarsThe Academy Award nominations will be announced Thursday, January 15 at 5:38 AM PT by Chris Pine (last year it was Thor, now it’s Captain Kirk.), so I thought it high time I offer my predictions of how it’s all going to go down. Because my friend Aaron aka ACT (of Tea to Pour), loves the Oscars more than me (and inevitably we argue about nearly everything), his predictions are listed as well, along with a little commentary from the both of us, just for kicks.

Aaron = ACT
Critical Confab = CC

Note: We each determined our predictions before sharing them, so neither of us influenced the other.

Best Picture

CC Predicts:

  1. American Sniper 
  2. Birdman
  3. Boyhood
  4. Gone Girl
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. The Imitation Game
  7. Selma
  8. The Theory of Everything
  9. Whiplash

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Birdman
  2. Boyhood
  3. Foxcatcher
  4. Gone Girl
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. The Imitation Game
  7. Selma
  8. The Theory of Everything
  9. Whiplash

CC: Since 2009, ten films can be nominated here, but that’s only happened twice; otherwise, it’s been lucky number 9. Boyhood, Birdman, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything are locked and loaded. The rest are pretty solid (because there aren’t that many other options – to the Academy’s mind), and the only one I’m not including is Foxcatcher, and that’s because I have zero interest in that film. A Most Violent Year has super dark horse potential. For the record: I’m only including American Sniper here because Clint can’t get a directing nod (that category’s too tight), so I think they’ll throw the movie a bone here.

ACT: I’m probably being a little crazy with Budapest and Whiplash, but they’re gonna be a lot of people’s favorites, even if sentimentality will win the day in the end.

CC: You are crazy, but just about that Foxcatcher. (I hope.)

Best Director

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
  3. David Fincher, Gone Girl
  4. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
  3. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  4. Ava DuVernay, Selma
  5. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

CC: Top two are duking it out for the win. The rest of ’em? Who knows. I might be shooting myself in the foot for not predicting Ava DuVernay (Selma), who would be the first black woman to ever be nominated for this category (she is the first black woman to ever receive a Golden Globe nom here). But let’s be honest: Oscar isn’t super-friendly to women outside the gender-specific acting categories, and Selma isn’t oh-my-god-good enough to make DuVernay the first. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Chazelle is a long shot, to be sure, but why not? He’d deserve it.

ACT: Whiplash is so good! Obviously, I am leaving off Morten Tyldum here, and Fincher should probably be on here instead of Miller. I think you’re nuts about Anderson. No way.

CC: I don’t even know who Morten Tyldum is.

ACT: Be wise and keep it that way.

Best Actor

CC & ACT PREDICT:

  1. Michael Keaton, Birdman
  2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  3. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
  4. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  5. David Oyelowo, Selma

CC: We agree! The top four are happening. The fifth spot could be taken by Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), but that seems unlikely despite his SAG nomination. Another possible spoiler is Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), who received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

ACT: I don’t think Steve Carell can pull this one. Ralph Fiennes sort of deserves to be here. Are we underestimating GBH’s popularity?

CC: But who would he replace? Jake or David? I can’t imagine that.

Best Actress

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
  3. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  5. Jennifer Aniston, Cake

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
  3. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  5. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

CC: This is pretty solid, but you’re right: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night; winner of the NYFCC Award) might have a chance to spoil, knocking out either Aniston or Jones. I would prefer the latter.

ACT: I just can’t see Aniston. I am skeptical of Jones here, too. But there really are no other options at this point, are there?

CC: Amy Adams (Big Eyes) was nominated for a BAFTA, but that’s just plain crazy talk. (Sorry, girl.)

Best Supporting Actor

CC & ACT PREDICT:

  1. Edward Norton, Birdman
  2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  3. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
  4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  5. Robert Duvall, The Judge

CC: People are saying the above are it, but Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice) is buzzing…

ACT: This Judge nomination makes me insane, but I guess it’s going to happen…? The critics all went unanimously with Simmons, which made for a small category here. If there’s going to be a surprise, perhaps it could be a coattails nomination. Riz Ahmed in Nightcrawler? I know this is impossible. Just throwing out a name. More possible would be Josh Brolin in Inherent Vice.

CC: I’d love Riz Ahmed to show up here à la Barkhad Abdi last year.

Best Supporting Actress

CC Predicts:

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  3. Emma Stone, Birdman
  4. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  5. Renee Russo, Nightcrawler

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  3. Emma Stone, Birdman
  4. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  5. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

CC: The top three are sure things, and while the other two are not, I’m bored with this category, to be honest (Knightley? Seriously?), so, for shits and giggles (and because I’m obviously crazy), I’m gonna oust Meryl Streep (Into the Woods), who didn’t receive a BAFTA nom, for Chastain (who seems like a good bet). As for the last spot, well, without Streep in the mix, it could also go to Naomi Watts (St. Vincent) or Laura Dern (Wild). Get it, Renee!

ACT: These people are out of control with their Meryl Streep, and you are a brave soul for ousting her. She gets buzz every single year no matter how bad the film. And the fact that Laura Dern isn’t on here for Wild even though everyone has seen Wild is crazy.

Best Original Screenplay

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo; Birdman
  2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
  5. J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo; Birdman
  2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  3. Dan Futterman & E. Max Frye, Foxcatcher
  4. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year

CC: Let it be known that the the Writers Guild is cracked – it didn’t nominate Birdman. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s getting a nomination here. If I was smart, I’d replace A Most Violent Year with Foxcatcher, but I’m against that film (despite having not seen it), and the Academy has liked Chandor in the past (Margin Call). And though Nightcrawler doesn’t deserve a spot, it seems pretty likely. I suppose Paul Webb (Selma) has a small shot too.

ACT: I suppose Nightcrawler could happen. You are giving that way too much love. But I think Dan Gilroy is an FSU alum, so I guess I’m onboard, too.

CC: As stated above, I’m decidedly not onboard with a Nightcrawler nom here. I do not think that screenplay is very good.

Best Adapted Screenplay

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
  2. Nick Hornby, Wild
  3. Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
  4. Jason Hall, American Sniper
  5. Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
  2. Nick Hornby, Wild
  3. Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
  4. Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
  5. Jason Hall, American Sniper

CC: BAFTA and WGA correctly nominated Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) for original screenplay, but the Academy, as usual, fucks everything up. AMPAS has declared the film adapted (the reasoning for this is ludicrous), but because no one else considers this even remotely adapted, folks aren’t able to vote for it because they’re not finding it on their ballot under original screenplay. It has caused so much confusion in the industry that AMPAS has quite literally screwed Chazelle out of a nomination even though everyone wants to vote for him. If he does receive the nom, it will actually be a miracle, proving just how much this film is beloved. If not, it leaves room for American Sniper to sneak in. Or, as you predict, Inherent Vice, because the Academy worships at the altar of PTA for some reason.

ACT: Inherent Vice is an excellent adaptation! I am really, really sad about the Chazelle thing, but I am almost positive you’re right.

Best Animated Feature

CC PREDICTS:

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

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Big Hero 6
  2. The Boxtrolls
  3. The LEGO Movie
  4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  5. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

CC: I’ve not seen any of these, nor have I even heard of The Book of Life. All were nominated for Annies and the Golden Globe, so they seem pretty solid. This category is always the worst.

ACT: I’ve seen all of these except for The LEGO thing. I just can’t do it. I really liked The Book of Life – more, in fact, than I liked The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – but the Animation branch likes Japanese stuff. It’s in.

Best Foreign Language Film

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Ida (Poland)
  2. Force Majeure (Sweden)
  3. Leviathan (Russia)
  4. Tangerines (Estonia)
  5. Wild Tales (Argentina)

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Ida (Poland)
  2. Force Majeure (Sweden)
  3. Leviathan (Russia)
  4. Timbuktu (Mauritania)
  5. Wild Tales (Argentina)

ACT: A smart vote would assume they’ll go with Timbuktu, just to counteract the whiteness toward which this category tends. As usual there are no East Asian finalists. Does the single African finalist get in? Or do they go with the Netherlands, Estonia, or Georgia instead?

CC: I guess I’m not smart. All white, all the time, is my prediction. The top three seem like pretty sure bets, and Tangerines was nominated for a Globe. As for Wild Tales, it’s gotten lots and lots of awards from the AMPAS of Argentina and Pedro Almodóvar is one of its producers, so that should help. Leftover on the shortlist are: The Liberator (Venezuela), Accused (Netherlands), and Corn Island (Georgia).

Best Documentary Feature

CC PREDICTS:

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

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Finding Vivian Maier
  2. CitizenFour
  3. Life Itself
  4. Art and Craft
  5. The Kill Team

ACT: I know what only two of these are. I’m hopeless.

CC: My top two have both been nominated for two other major awards, so that’s as good of a reason as any to predict them. The Roger Ebert doc (Life Itself) is going to be here for sure, CitizenFour seems as likely as any, and since there’s always at least one war-related doc, why not Last Days in Vietnam? Go here for a full list of the shortlisted docs.

Best Film Editing

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Douglas Crise & Stephen Mirrione, Birdman
  2. Sandra Adair, Boyhood
  3. Kirk Baxter, Gone Girl
  4. Tom Cross, Whiplash
  5. William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Douglas Crise & Stephen Mirrione, Birdman
  2. Sandra Adair, Boyhood
  3. Kirk Baxter, Gone Girl
  4. Tom Cross, Whiplash
  5. Lee Smith, Interstellar

ACT: Do they love The Imitation Game enough that it shows up here instead of Gone Girl?

CC: They definitely love it enough. (I haven’t heard any buzz about Interstellar here.) If something above were to be bumped, it’d probably be Gone Girl.Other distinct possibilities: Nightcrawler, Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Theory of Everything.

ACT: Whiplash’s editing is so good I can’t even talk about it.

Best Cinematography

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Roger Deakins, Unbroken
  2. Jeff Cronenweth, Gone Girl
  3. Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
  4. Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
  5. Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Oscar Faura, The Imitation Game
  2. Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
  3. Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
  4. Hoyte Van Hoytema, Interstellar
  5. Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

ACT: I originally wrote The Theory of Everything. These movies are hard to tell apart. How are people managing?

CC: Yeah, I had The Imitation Game originally, but this is a super-crowded category this year. Any of mine above (all nominated for ASC awards) – except for Birdman, let’s be honest – could be knocked out in favor of American Sniper or even, as you say, Interstellar. (I am not feeling the love for the latter.) Or, frankly, a bunch of other films as well.

Best Production Design

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Adam Stockhausen & Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Suzie Davies & Charlotte Watts, Mr. Turner
  3. Nathan Crowley & Gary Fettis, Interstellar
  4. Kevin Thompson & George DeTitta Jr., Birdman
  5. Ondrej Nekvasil & Beata Brendtnerova, Snowpiercer

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Adam Stockhausen & Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Nathan Crowley & Gary Fettis, Interstellar
  3. Kevin Thompson & George DeTitta Jr., Birdman
  4. Maria Djurkovic, The Imitation Game
  5. Dennis Gassner & Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods

ACT: Into the Woods? Seriously, Aaron?

CC: You’re probably right; I just refuse to believe it. (Hence Snowpiercer, haha.)

ACT: I am super jealous of your Snowpiercer idea. It is totally merited.

CC: And I haven’t even seen it (sshhh).

Best Costume Design

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Colleen Atwood, Into The Woods
  2. Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
  4. Sammy Sheldon Differ, The Imitation Game
  5. Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Colleen Atwood, Into The Woods
  2. Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
  4. Sammy Sheldon Differ, The Imitation Game
  5. Ruth E. Carter, Selma

CC: I can’t believe Atwood is receiving her billionth nomination for those chintzy Into the Woods‘s costumes either, but receive it, she shall. While I have no reason to believe Inherent Vice should be up there other than its CDGA nom, it is a period piece, but with that reasoning, A Most Violent Year or, as you predict, Selma, could just as easily get it. Who bloody knows.

Best Original Score

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
  2. Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
  3. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
  4. Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
  5. Marco Beltrami, The Homesman

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
  2. Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
  3. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
  4. Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
  5. Mica Levi, Under the Skin

ACT: Desplat and Zimmer are in. The others, I’m on the fence about. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score is pretty and so that makes sense to me. The Ross/Reznor collaboration is, as usual, awesome. And I loved Mica Levi’s score. It keeps winning early awards, so maybe it can actually show up here? I am skeptical, in fact. Perhaps Marco Beltrami for The Homesman (a superb score) or Howard Shore for Rosewater?

CC: Who cares what is nominated here when the real winner isn’t even eligible: Birdman. Fuck you, Academy. Fuck. You.

ACT: I mean, I still think Birdman relies too heavily on Mahler to really deserve a nomination. But this category usually sucks.

Best Original Song

CC PREDICTS:

  1. “Lost Stars,” Begin Again
  2. “Glory,” Selma
  3. “Everything Is Awesome,” The Lego Movie
  4. “Yellow Flicker Beat,” The Hunger Games
  5. “Mercy Is,” Noah

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. “Glory,” Selma
  2. “Everything Is Awesome,” The LEGO Movie
  3. “Yellow Flicker Beat,” The Hunger Games
  4. “The Apology Song,” The Book of Life
  5. “Shine,” Paddington

ACT: Why does this category still exist?

CC: Seriously.

Sound Mixing

CC PREDICTS:

  1. American Sniper
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  4. Interstellar
  5. Birdman

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. American Sniper
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Interstellar
  4. Gone Girl
  5. Whiplash

CC: No idea. I just really want to watch another Transformers movie.

ACT: Me too. I almost put it here as well.

Best Sound Editing

CC PREDICTS:

  1. American Sniper
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  4. Interstellar
  5. Birdman

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. American Sniper
  2. Whiplash
  3. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  4. Interstellar
  5. Birdman

CC: I still don’t really understand the difference between editing and mixing, and usually the nominees are basically the same anyway, so I’m just doubling down. You’re probs right about the Whiplash though.

ACT: I can’t believe you’re leaving it off.

CC: I told you I don’t know anything about sound!

Best Visual Effects

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Interstellar
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  4. Godzilla
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Interstellar
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. The Hobbit 3

CC: I refuse to subject myself to another Hobbit movie, so I’m not putting it, even though it’s likely. And: Transformers 4eva.

ACT: Godzilla??? Julie. (P.S. I’ve seen it.)

CC: Anything other than hobbits. Anything.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

CC PREDICTS:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Foxcatcher
  3. Maleficent

ACT PREDICTS:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. The Theory of Everything
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

CC: I’m doing it. I’m saying Maleficent.

ACT: Who are you?

CC: She who has no idea what’s going on this year.

Happy Nominations Day!

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2015 by in Award Predictions, Film, Oscar-Nominated and tagged , , .

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