Oscars 2015: Will Win/Should Win (Clayton Davis) – Official Final Predictions!

Oscars

oscars365 days of guessing, analyzing, over-analyzing, and just sheer obsessing with the movies all comes to an end this Sunday, February 22 at the Oscars.  The Academy Awards have been a staple of my life since I could form words and Awards Circuit continues to afford many of us the opportunity to not just watch and admire the ceremony but actually be somewhat a part of it.  We’ve championed these films for months, others have been actively panned or discredited for one reason or another.  Film preservation is at the core of the Academy and that’s what these nominees represent.

As always, I have to give some thanks before we go into the madness.  With a year as eventful as its been for film, there are people who stand behind me, and that allow me the opportunity to continue to do this.  I have to begin with my loving family.  My beautiful and wonderful wife Jessica, who stood by for so many years when I didn’t have a penny to my name, and waited patiently for the site to take off.  It finally paid off and I love you for it.  My children, Sophia and Noah, two of the best reasons to be the best person I can be.

My staff.  My wonderful, insightful, gracious staff.  Joey (a pillar of the site), Mark (a voice of reason when needed, probably because of all his “experience”), Kristen (a kind, spunky woman that continues to impress), Sam (an eye-opening focal point for the site’s direction), Joseph (more important to the future of journalism than he gives himself credit), Terence (funny, current, and very savvy in this age of film and TV talk), Cristina (the secret weapon that’s ready to be unleashed and one of the strongest minded individuals I know), Karen (probably my secret best friend and terrifically insightful), Michael Balderston (hungry and a go-getter like I’ve never seen by virtually anyone I know), Shane (culturally vibrant and lusciously real to modern cinema lovers), Jack (someone that this industry desperately needs in its corner), Michael Ward (one my of my dearest friends that always a spot on staff for as long as we’re online), and last but certainly not least Robert Hamer (deployed overseas, and someone who has mentored me in grasping a firm hand on the industry and its treasures).  If you don’t know any of these guys and gals yet, make sure you do so before the end of this article.  Look up their works and let it just wash over you.

The last person that needs to be thanked is YOU, the reader.  Truth be told, you’re probably the person I aim to please the most, each and every day.  I care about what you think, how you feel, and what you want from your movie talking destination.  I understand that many of you don’t have a place to express your love of movies and television.  Perhaps some of you are in smaller markets where you can’t get a foreign film for miles.  Perhaps you’re the only movie buff in your family and their ideas of going to the movies is catching the newest horror movie but then complain when its something shockingly insightful like “The Babadook.”  I’m happy you come here when you can.  I hope to get to know YOU even more this year.  Please drop a line, say hello, and let’s be better acquainted this year.

Quick shout outs to the film critics/bloggers/pundits that I read often and that continue to deliver stellar work and give me something to attain for in my career.  Scott Feinberg (The Hollywood Reporter), Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience), Guy Lodge (Variety), Joanna Langfield (The Movie Minute), Tomris Laffly (IndieWire), Jason Bailey (FlavorWire), Christopher Rosen (The Huffington Post), Edward Douglas (ComingSoon), Thelma Adams (formerly Yahoo!), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Jenelle Riley (Variety), and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).  Also, thanks to all the awards consultants, film studios, and PR representatives that advertised, gave information, and allowed AwardsCircuit.com to be a part of your movies this year, and every year.

Now, with all the sentimental stuff out-of-the-way…the FINAL Oscar Predictions.  It’s on.

birdman_imageBest Picture
Will Win:
Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics), A Most Violent Year (A24 Films), Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Thoughts: It seems written in the stars for “Birdman” to runaway with the top prize.  PGA, DGA, and SAG are hard to ignore.  I thoroughly believe that the preferential ballot pushes the film over the line.  If it was a one pick per voter, it may not be “the one” this year.  “Boyhood” is still a very real spoiler and with wins from the Globes and BAFTA, it’d be foolish to assume it’s not in the hunt.  If there’s a third horse that comes up the middle, in the most unlikely world, “American Sniper” or “The Imitation Game” would fill that spot.  Don’t count on it though.  

boyhood-richard-linklater2Best Director
Will Win:
Richard Linklater for Boyhood (IFC Films)

Should Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood (IFC Films)
Should Have Been Nominated: J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Damián Szifron (Wild Tales)
Thoughts:  Where preferential balloting helps “Birdman” in Best Picture, the one check per voter helps Richard Linklater who has won at the Globes, Critics Choice, and BAFTA awards.  Iñárritu has the DGA, which is huge for him and his film.  I’m usually one that hates to predict a split but with the way the chips seem to be falling into place, we could be in store for our third one in a row.  Iñárritu is the spoiler.

birdman_keatonBest Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win:
Michael Keaton for Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (Warner Bros.)
Should Have Been Nominated: David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year), Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher)
Thoughts:  I’ve spoken in depth about this in the Oscar Circuit for Lead Actor so you can check that out for the commentary.  In the end, I think Michael Keaton may cross the finish line just a mere few votes over spoiler Eddie Redmayne.

moore_stillaliceBest Actress in a Leading Role
Will Win:
Julianne Moore for Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics)

Should Win: Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
Should Have Been Nominated: Jennifer Aniston (Cake), Jenny Slate (Obvious Child), Robin Wright (The Congress)
Thoughts:  Signed, sealed, and delivered.  It’s about damn time too.  It would be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history if it happened.  Like Lauren Bacall losing to Juliette Binoche.  If you’re looking for the “spoiler,” I guess it would be Rosamund Pike.

J.K. Simmons WhiplashBest Actor in a Supporting Role
Will Win:
J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)

Should Win: Edward Norton for Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice), Elyes Gabel (A Most Violent Year), John Lithgow (Love is Strange)
Thoughts: People argue about which acting category is more “locked” up, Best Actress for Julianne Moore or Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons.  In the end, Sony Pictures Classics could care less.  They’re getting two Oscar wins for their ponies.  The spoiler, and we’ll use that word loosely, is Edward Norton.

boyhood_hires_3Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Will Win:
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (IFC Films)

Should Win: Emma Stone for Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year), Erica Rivas (Wild Tales)
Thoughts:  Another locked up category.  Sadly, Patricia Arquette has the potential to be the Octavia Spencer for her film, and be the sole representation.  Sad world if that happens but Arquette should carry the torch nicely.

birdman_cinematographyBest Original Screenplay
Will Win:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacabone, Alexander Dinelaris – Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should WinBirdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Paul Webb (Selma), Ira Sachs (Love is Strange), Damián Szifron (Wild Tales)
Thoughts:  This was a tough one.  “Birdman” has the Globe and Critics Choice while “Budapest” has the BAFTA and the WGA (where “Birdman” wasn’t eligible).  In the last 14 years, the winner of the Golden Globe Screenplay award has NOT gone on to win the Oscar only three times.  “About Schmidt” wasn’t nominated at the Oscars, “The Queen” lost to “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Up in the Air” lost out to “Precious” in a very public and bitter writer controversy.  I like those odds.  I’m sticking with it.

imitationgame_imageBest Adapted Screenplay
Will Win:
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)

Should Win: Graham Moore – The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Should Have Been Nominated: Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Andrew Bovell (A Most Wanted Man), Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Thoughts: Writers Guild gave Graham Moore his credit this year but the film lost out to “The Theory of Everything” at the BAFTA awards.  Harvey is still hurting after “Philomena” went home with nothing last year.  I’m sure he doesn’t want that to happen again.  His campaign was very present in Phase 2.  “Whiplash” also has the juice to spoil.

how-to-train-your-dragon-trailer-2Best Animated Feature
Will Win:
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation)

Should Win: Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros.), The Congress (Drafthouse)
Thoughts: The BAFTA snub was ringing in my ears all week.  It’s the only thing I could hold against “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” plus it has the Globe power.  Then, I looked around my house and saw all the Dragon figurines, DVD set, score, and countless other things that were sent over the season and realized, “I guess its winning.”  “Big Hero 6” has the power to spoil, probably even “The Boxtrolls.”

hero_GrandBudapestHotel-2014-1Best Production Design
Will Win:
Adam Stockhausen; Anna Pinnock – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Into the Woods (Walt Disney Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Snowpiercer (Radius-TWC), The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Thoughts: This seems made for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and a real opportunity to win something in the category that speaks to the director behind it.  Wes Anderson should have had this years ago.

birdman_bts_a_lBest Cinematography
Will Win:
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Bradford Young (A Most Violent Year), Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler), Javier Julia (Wild Tales)
Thoughts: Something tells me that this category isn’t as locked up as everyone thinks.  Call it just one of those sinking, bad feelings that surround a category.  The story of “Birdman” is the Cinematography, so wouldn’t just be bonkers for it to lose?  If he lost to Roger Deakins, would any of us REALLY complain?  I’m just blowing smoke though for the most part, this is Lubezki’s to lose.

ralphfiennes_budapestBest Costume Design
Will Win:
Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Into the Woods (Walt Disney Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Big Eyes (The Weinstein Company), The Immigrant (The Weinstein Company), Selma (Paramount Pictures)
Thoughts: This category is very friendly to fantasy pieces and traditionally Best Picture nominees don’t win this category too often.  However, “Budapest” has done so well with the guild wins, that its sure to pick up a couple along the way.

boyhood_imageBest Film Editing
Will Win:
Sandra Adair – Boyhood (IFC Films)

Should Win: Whiplash
Should Have Been Nominated: Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures), Gone Girl (20th Century Fox), Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics)
Thoughts: The 12 years of footage has to hold water in the mind of a voter.  “Boyhood” is impeccably cut for a three hour venture.  “Whiplash” winning the BAFTA has held up a lot but “Boyhood” wasn’t nominated there.  I think this belongs to Sandra Adair, and about time for that.

BudapestBest Makeup & Hairstyling
Will Win:
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulierht – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel)
Should Have Been Nominated: Into the Woods (Walt Disney Pictures), Unbroken (Universal Pictures), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lionsgate)
Thoughts:  Throw a dart and hit a film and there’s a good reason why it could win.  When in doubt, choose the Best Picture nominee that led in nominations.  “Guardians” has the chops to come on top though.

Birdman-Movie-Visual-EffectsBest Sound Mixing
Will Win:
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga – Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Should Win: American Sniper (Warner Bros.)
Should Have Been Nominated: Godzilla (Warner Bros.), Fury (Sony Pictures), Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount Pictures)
Thoughts: The CAS win tipped me this way but “American Sniper” is right there and they love their war films in this category.

americansniper_imageBest Sound Editing
Will Win:
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman – American Sniper (Warner Bros.)

Should Win: American Sniper (Warner Bros.)
Should Have Been Nominated: Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.), Fury (Sony Pictures), Under the Skin (A24 Films)
Thoughts: This is where I think “American Sniper” should go home with something but “Birdman” could start running the gauntlet on the tech categories.

interstellarBest Visual Effects
Will Win:
Interstellar (Paramount Pictures)

Should Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)
Should Have Been Nominated: Godzilla (Warner Bros.), Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount Pictures)
Thoughts: I wanted to say that this is the year of the sequels that lost big the first time around (with “How to Train Your Dragon 2” in the running in its own category).  “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is some of the best visual effects seen this decade.  With the multiple nominations for “Interstellar,” I think they’ll just default to it.

Theory-of-Everything-bannerBest Original Score
Will Win:
Johann Johansson for The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)

Should Win: Hans Zimmer for Interstellar (Paramount Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: Henry Jackman (Big Hero 6), Antonio Sanchez (Birdman), James Newton Howard (Nightcrawler)
Thoughts: The Golden Globe win started the train for “The Theory of Everything” but Alexandre Desplat won the BAFTA and a Grammy for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”  I think Johansson just edges out Desplat in the end.

selma_avaduvernayBest Original Song
Will Win:
“Glory” from Selma (Paramount Pictures)

Should Win: “Glory” from Selma (Paramount Pictures)
Should Have Been Nominated: “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lionsgate), “Immortals” from Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Pictures), “The Boxtrolls Song” from The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
Thoughts: My heart says this will go to “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” but with all the controversy surrounding the lack of “Selma” love in the Academy, wouldn’t they feel inclined to throw it a bone?  Maybe not.  And who knows what “The LEGO Movie’s” snub in Animated Feature did for the song’s chances.  

2_citizenfourBest Documentary Feature
Will Win:
Citizenfour (Radius-TWC)

Should Win: Citizenfour (Radius-TWC)
Should Have Been Nominated: The Case of Against 8 (HBO Films), The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Schwartz (Participant Media), Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
Thoughts: It looks like a runaway but “Virunga” and “The Last Days in Vietnam” have their admirers.  “Finding Vivian Maier” has also been very present on the circuit.

Ida_PolandBest Foreign Language Film
Will Win:
Ida (Poland)

Should Win: Wild Tales (Argentina)
Should Have Been NominatedTwo Days, One Night (Belgium), Force Majeure (Sweden)
Thoughts: No obvious choices here but when your film is nominated in another category, with the entire membership voting for it now, “Ida” should sit nicely for the win.  “Wild Tales” is in the hunt but I actually think “Timbuktu” is the spoiler.

dam keeperBest Animated Short
Will Win:
The Dam Keeper

Should Win: Feast
Thoughts: Everyone seems to say Disney’s “Feast” is the favorite but everyone also says that “The Dam Keeper” SHOULD be winning but won’t.  I think the Academy may feel inclined to do the opposite.

crisis_hotlineBest Documentary Short
Will Win:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Should Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Thoughts: “Joanna” looks like a prime candidate to spoil but “Crisis Hotline” seems like a great companion piece for someone who is also voting for “American Sniper,” doesn’t it?

the-phone-call-short-film-by-mat-kirkby-1280.mov.still003-1Best Live Action Short
Will Win:
The Phone Call

Should Win: Butter Lamp
Thoughts:  “Hello recent Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins.  You’re in one of the shorts? Sure, we’ll vote for you.” -ignorant Academy Member that doesn’t watch all the shorts.

Final Predicted Tally:
Birdman – 5
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 3
Boyhood – 3
American Sniper – 1
The Imitation Game – 1
Interstellar – 1
Selma – 1
Still Alice – 1
The Theory of Everything – 1
Whiplash – 1