2015 Oscar Predictions – Best Picture

2015 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST PICTURE

(UPDATED: OCTOBER 27, 2014)

Interstellar” has seemed to live up to the hype and then some.  “Birdman” is making a serious play with its impressive box office.  “Boyhood” is still beloved by so many while “The Imitation Game” is about to pounce with Harvey Weinstein.  We await the word on “American Sniper,” “Into the Woods,” “Selma,” and “A Most Violent Year.”  Any of which can shake up the race considerably..

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AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE

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1. The Imitation Game

The Weinstein Company
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COMMENTARY:

SYNOPSIS: English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.

FOR IT: Pushed by the Weinstein Company. Has a lot of support. People's choice winner from TIFF. Conventional Oscar-bait. Could be just what the doctor ordered.

AGAINST IT: The homosexual cloud could be a put off to the conservative members.

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2. 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. Closer for NYFF. Outstanding notices. Would be a different type of winner that many would champion.

AGAINST IT: This is something that Oscar has never embraced before. New territory. Will they find it "too weird."

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3. 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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4. 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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5. The Theory of Everything

Focus Features
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SYNOPSIS: A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.

FOR IT: Focus Features is on a roll following "Dallas Buyers Club." This biopic has many excited and could be more of sure thing than many think.

AGAINST IT: In a year of many biopics, will this one stand out? Could be just an acting embrace.

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6. Interstellar

Paramount Pictures
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COMMENTARY:

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. This does offer more than usual in that spot.

AGAINST IT: One year after "Gravity," are they all spaced out? They have passed on Nolan before. May not be their cup of tea.

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7. American Sniper

Warner Bros.
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COMMENTARY:

SYNOPSIS: A Navy SEAL recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.

FOR IT: Seems to be pulling the same game plan that worked for "Million Dollar Baby" with a last minute release scheduled. Could be a big hit.

AGAINST IT: Eastwood is not as consistent as he used to be. He already has a mixed film under his belt with "Jersey Boys."

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8. Into the Woods

Walt Disney Pictures
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COMMENTARY:

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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9. Whiplash

Sony Pictures Classics
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COMMENTARY:

SYNOPSIS: A young musician struggles to make it as a top jazz drummer.

FOR IT: Won a prize out of Sundance and has received outstanding reviews. Also played NYFF and Toronto. People are in love.

AGAINST IT: It looks like it skews a bit young. Could be just acting and screenplay.

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IN CASE THERE’S TEN

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10. Selma

Paramount Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: Martin Luther King, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America.

FOR IT: Late entry and a biopic that everyone will be paying attention to. Ava DuVarnay is becoming a force in Hollywood. Could she be our next Kathryn Bigelow?

AGAINST IT: She just finished filming. Will it be ready in time?

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OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

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11. Foxcatcher

Sony Pictures Classics
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COMMENTARY:

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

FOR IT: Great reviews from Cannes, TIFF, and NYFF. Is a dark but detailed tale that some may fall under its spell.

AGAINST IT: May be too dark for the Academy.

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12. Gone Girl

20th Century Fox
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COMMENTARY:

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. Over $124 million at the box office and counting. Could be a crowd favorite.

AGAINST IT: Is it TOO commercial for the Academy? This would be something new for them.

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13. 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." Has a lot of the Oscar check marks.

AGAINST IT: Reviews weren't as positive as Sony may have hoped. This would need all the major precursors to come through for it..

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14. A Most Violent Year

A24 Films
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COMMENTARY:

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: Late into the race with a New Year's eve release but the buzz surrounding it seems to be high. This could be a last minute entry that takes it all.

AGAINST IT: Think of films like "Blue Valentine" with a similar release date and didn't crack too much. By that point, AMPAS could have their minds made up.

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15. 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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16. Wild

Fox Searchlight Pictures
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COMMENTARY:

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

FOR IT: Jean Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyers Club" was well-received. Telluride word was positive.

AGAINST IT: The reviews were good, not great.

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17. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Fox Searchlight Pictures
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COMMENTARY:

SYNOPSIS: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

FOR IT: One of the best reviewed films from the first half of the year. If AMPAS wants to right the wrong from the "Moonrise Kingdom" omission, this could be a surprise entry.

AGAINST IT: March was a long time ago. It needs the critic's prizes to bring it back into the conversation.

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18. Inherent Vice

Paramount Pictures
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COMMENTARY:

SYNOPSIS: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

FOR IT: NYFF centerpiece directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Will have lots of respect from the actors since there are so many in it.

AGAINST IT: It's weird and VERY strange. Not sure many will "get it."

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19. Still Alice

Sony Pictures Classics
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SYNOPSIS: Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.

FOR IT: An Alzheimer's drama, which may hit close to home with Academy members. If Julianne Moore is a sure thing, then they may jump for the film as well.

AGAINST IT: Also opening at the end of the year, it will be crowded by many other bigger films in the field.

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20. Top Five

Paramount Pictures
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SYNOPSIS: A literature professor with a gambling problem runs afoul of gangsters.

FOR IT: Late entry into the race. Could mix things up.

AGAINST IT: Paramount Pictures has a lot on their plate. Is it just a commercial play?

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ALSO IN CONTENTION

21 The Gambler (Paramount Pictures)

22 Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)

23 Rosewater (Open Road Films)

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

25 St. Vincent (The Weinstein Company)

26 Pride (CBS Films)

27 Big Eyes (The Weinstein Company)

28 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)

29 Begin Again (The Weinstein Company)

30 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Warner Bros.)

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

31 The Homesman (Saban Films)

32 Get on Up (Universal Pictures)

33 Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)

34 Love is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics)

35 Citizenfour (Radius-TWC)

36 Calvary (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

37 A Most Wanted Man (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions)

38 The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions)

39 Noah (Paramount Pictures)

40 The Judge (Warner Bros.)

**=could be pushed 2015

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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.