2015 Oscar Predictions – Best Picture

2015 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST PICTURE

(UPDATED: JULY 1, 2014)

Officially half way through the year and I’m very excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.  The past two years, ESPECIALLY last year, were simply extraordinary.  Trailers that have dropped so far that include Birdman, Fury, Foxcatcher, and Gone Girl look promising.  From the first half of the year, we have The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Lego Movie are two films with a lot of fans.  I wonder how far those two can go.  There are some other films that can of course bubble to the top without us seeing it and I feel like that film could be True Story of Theory of Everything.  Also, Ava DuVarney’s Selma has been announced as a definite 2014 release and this could be a great bookend just one year after 12 Years a Slave won.  I’m holding off on it until a poster or trailer premieres.

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AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE

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1. Inherent Vice

Warner Bros.
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SYNOPSIS: Private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in Los Angeles.

FOR IT: Paul Thomas Anderson is beloved by writers and filmmakers out there. Oscar has cited him many times before.

AGAINST IT: People that have read the book say that its "weird" which the Oscars don't like. They also passed on the "The Master."

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2. Foxcatcher

Sony Pictures Classics
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SYNOPSIS: The story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John duPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz.

FOR IT: Terrific word out of Cannes.  Highly anticipated from fans of "Moneyball" and "Capote."  Miller is two for two with Oscar.

AGAINST IT: May be too dark for the Academy.

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3. Birdman

Fox Searchlight Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.

FOR IT: Innaritu was a near winner for "Babel" in 2006. There's always a lighter film in the lineup.

AGAINST IT: How different is this going to be? They haven't gone for Innaritu since.

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4. Unbroken

Universal Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

FOR IT: World War II film directed by Angelina Jolie. The lines will be around the block. The story is uplifting. It COULD be THE ONE.

AGAINST IT: Will voters be able to take Jolie seriously as a director?

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5. Big Eyes

The Weinstein Company
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SYNOPSIS: A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

FOR IT: Looks like something that will get the big push from Harvey Weinstein. Tim Burton is due for some Oscar love especially in Director. There will be many pushing for this.

AGAINST IT: We've believed in a Burton project before and have been disappointed. This is a potential bomb.

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6. Gone Girl

20th Century Fox
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SYNOPSIS: A woman mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary. Based on the novel, “Gone Girl.”

FOR IT: David Fincher is off a big loss for "The Social Network" and there are some bitter from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" omission.

AGAINST IT: Is it TOO commercial for the Academy? How will lovers of the book feel?

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7. A Most Violent Year

A24 Films
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SYNOPSIS: A thriller set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.

FOR IT: Chandor continues to show his skills a filmmaker with "All is Lost" and "Margin Call" under his belt. This seems to be his most accessible and ambitious.

AGAINST IT: Will it be too small for the Academy to embrace?

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8. Interstellar

Paramount Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

FOR IT: Christopher Nolan has been credited as the reason we went to ten (or sliding scale) nominees. There's always a popcorn/science fiction film in the mix.

AGAINST IT: One year after "Gravity," will it seem too familiar?

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9. Trash

Universal Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: Set in an unnamed Third World country, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from the cops and trying to right a terrible wrong.

FOR IT: Everytime we underestimated a Stephen Daldry film, it's made the cut. There's no need to start now.

AGAINST IT: Eventually luck runs out.

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IN CASE THERE’S TEN

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10. Into the Woods

Walt Disney Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children’s stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

FOR IT: Since "Chicago" won Best Picture, we've been getting musicals in contention nearly each time. This beloved musical was a hit on Broadway. Just might do the trick.

AGAINST IT: It is a darker story than what many may be used to.

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OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

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11. Fury

Sony Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: April, 1945. A battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Wardaddy and his men face odds in their attempts to strike at Nazi Germany.

FOR IT: World War II is the Academy's favorite time period. David Ayer produced an underrated gem in "End of Watch." Is this his chance for the mainstream?

AGAINST IT: There's another World War II film from a high-profile star in the mix.

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12. Mr. Turner

Sony Pictures Classics
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SYNOPSIS: An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

FOR IT: Cannes praise was very loud with Timothy Spall winning Best Actor. Leigh is beloved in the Academy.

AGAINST IT: Mike Leigh is surefire in screenplay but in Picture, he usually comes up short.

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13. Kill the Messenger

Focus Features
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SYNOPSIS: A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.

FOR IT: The trailer looked very promising and the anticipation on this film has been huge. Good cast with Jeremy Renner helming the ship.

AGAINST IT: Is it too cool for the Academy to go for? Michael Cuesta has done a lot of TV with some films that haven't been exactly accessible ("L.I.E.")

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14. Boyhood

IFC Films
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SYNOPSIS: The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18.

FOR IT: A passion project from Richard Linklater whose films have garnered many accolades and fans over the years. Is it finally his time?

AGAINST IT: May be TOO experimental and/or small for the Academy.

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15. Wild

Fox Searchlight Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.

FOR IT: "Dallas Buyers Club" made quite an impression on the Academy last year from Jean-Marc Vallee, winning three Oscars. This follow-up seems to be another powerful story.

AGAINST IT: When's the last time that Witherspoon was Oscar bound? Will it feel too much in the vein of "127 Hours" and produce a been there/done that attitude?

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16. Suite française

The Weinstein Company
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SYNOPSIS: During the early years of German occupation of France, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier, a French villager and Bruno von Falk, a German soldier.

FOR IT: Another war film with an all-star cast pushed by Harvey Weinstein. Has prestige and Oscar written all over it.

AGAINST IT: It's from an unfinished novel. May not translate well for American audiences.

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17. Rosewater

Open Road Films
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SYNOPSIS: A journalist is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.

FOR IT: The early buzz is big for Jon Stewart's debut. An intriguing story that feels in the realm of past winners like "Argo." Also pushed by Megan Ellison who is fresh off two Best Picture nominations.

AGAINST IT: Will they be able to take Stewart seriously? How will they fair with this first time director?

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18. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

The Weinstein Company
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SYNOPSIS: A New York couple’s relationship.

FOR IT: An intriguing and fresh look at American relationships. Cannes and Toronto seemed to like it quite a bit.

AGAINST IT: With it first set up as two films, now one, with two other versions lurking, an Academy member may not know which one to embrace.

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19. Men, Women, & Children

Paramount Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A look at the sexual frustrations that young teenagers and adults face in today’s world.

FOR IT: Jason Reitman continues to be a force in the filmmaking world. When it comes to the Academy, they either go all-in or nothing at all. This acclaimed novel sounds baity.

AGAINST IT: After "Labor Day," has he lost his touch with the Academy? Family-surrounded drama starring Adam Sandler doesn't sound like the Academy's forte.

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20. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Fox Searchlight Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

FOR IT: Wes Anderson barely missed out on a Best Picture nomination with "Moonrise Kingdom." This first quarter film has its vocal lovers.

AGAINST IT: Will they remember it by year's end?

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21 Selma (Paramount Pictures)

22 The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)

23 Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)

24 Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox)

25 The Homesman (No U.S. Distribution)

26 Child 44 (Lionsgate)

27 Theory of Everything (Focus Features)

28 Pawn Sacrifice (No U.S. Distribution)

29 True Story (20th Century Fox)

30 The Judge (Warner Bros.)

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

31 Calvary (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

32 The Cobbler (No U.S. Distribution)

33 St. Vincent (The Weinstein Company)

34 A Little Chaos (No U.S. Distribution)

35 The Hundred-Foot Journey (Walt Disney Pictures)

36 Untitled Cameron Crowe Project (20th Century Fox)

37 Magic in the Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics)

38 Map to the Stars (eOne Entertainment)

39 The Search (No U.S Distribution)

40 The Drop (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

GO AND CHECK OUT OTHER CATEGORIES:

PICTURE | DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT

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Clayton Davis

Editor-in-Chief & Owner at The Awards Circuit
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, TheWrap.com, AceShowbiz.com, SlashFilm.com, ScottFeinberg.com) and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.