It’s Oscar Week! Each staff member will be revealing their final picks for the upcoming Academy Awards on February 22. Missed one? Click on Will Win/Should Win 2015. Make sure to make your picks in our Oscar Pool hosted by Fun Office Pools.

BEST MOTION PICTURE

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Whiplash, in a perfect world.
Should Have Been Nominated: (out of viable options) Mr. Turner, Nightcrawler, A Most Violent Year

And we thought last year was close. Guilds say Birdman, televised awards say Boyhood. Whatever way it turns, precedents will be broken. There’s a very good argument for both, and the same goes for their directors. Actually, yesterday I wrote this with Boyhood in mind and a whole argument about how it’s a juggernaut and sucked up all the #1 votes hence why we have 8 nominees instead of 9 or 10… However, losing all guilds and winning Best Picture at the Oscars hasn’t happened since Out Of Africa. That’s a big hurdle and arguably more important than Birdman’s editing snub and Globe loss. Both films are great, but Boyhood loses in a process of elimination. I’ll admit, the WGA loss is the sole reason I made the last minute change in Birdman’s favour, but I haven’t changed Original Screenplay or Director. It begs the question though – should we always bet on the best movie-related nominee from now on? (King’s Speech, Artist, Argo and now Birdman). Is this self-reflection good or bad? We’ll save that for another article.

BEST DIRECTOR


Will Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Could Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman
Should Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman
Should Have Been Nominated: Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner, J.C. Chandor for A Most Violent Year

Any other year we’d be saying the softer broader film would be Best Picture and the tougher technical showpiece would be Director. Again, it’s very close, and it’s terribly exciting that the announcement of this award doesn’t lock up anything (and that Birdman could win 3 awards within the final 4 announcements), but the 12 years commitment really gravitates to this category over the one shot wonder. The DGA is an outlier. A surprise wouldn’t be a shock, but I think they want to award Linklater with something big, and not for writing.

BEST LEADING ACTOR


Will Win: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Could Win: Michael Keaton for Birdman
Should Win: Michael Keaton for Birdman
Should Have Been Nominated: Timothy Spall for Mr. Turner, Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler, Miles Teller for Whiplash

It was indeed too good to be true. An unprecedented year with four acting winners not all over 45 but also all original characters. Instead, a young biopic has stolen the show. Not that Redmayne doesn’t deserve it, as baity and premature as it may be, there’s a lot to admire about his performance. We knew he’d win the Globe and the BAFTA but the SAG was a dealbreaker. Here’s hoping Keaton can still pull it off, we haven’t seen him on stage in a long time, though he’s campaigning as hard as Redmyane this week. The film’s momentum helps but that didn’t mean Ejiofor could beat McConaughey last year.

BEST LEADING ACTRESS

Will Win: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Could Win: Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, but she won’t.
Should Win: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Should Have Been Nominated (in my dreams): Anne Dorval for Mommy, Jessica Chastain for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Lea van Acken for Stations of the Cross

Finally. Upon reflection, the film doesn’t really do a lot for me and I think its biggest stumbles are in her hands but I do love her nuances. It’s nothing unusual for her. There are really no other contenders for this award, especially now that Pike’s critic steam has come to a halt. Moving on…

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Will Win: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
Could Win: Edward Norton for Birdman
Should Win: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
Should Have Been Nominated: Michael Fassbender for Frank, Josh Brolin for Inherent Vice, Tony Revolori for The Grand Budapest Hotel

I’m so happy for Whiplash. Can’t wait for his speech. I hope J.K. plays with the orchestra and tells them it isn’t his tempo. That’ll be the ‘alright alright alright’ of the year. Performance of the year.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Will Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Could Win: Emma Stone for Birdman
Should Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Should Have Been Nominated: Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, Franziska Weisz for Stations of the Cross, Elisabeth Moss for Listen Up Philip

It’s odd how she was kind of a default placeholder for half the year and now we’ve delegated her to being a sweeping winner. Would have been nice to see the precursors mix it up a notch, her performance isn’t perfect and neither is the film, but they have many shining shards of greatness. A surprise is hard to imagine in his category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Birdman
Should Have Been Nominated: A Most Violent Year, Frank, Locke

I’m Wes Anderson’s biggest fan and yet for some reason I don’t see him winning his Oscar this year. I would be delighted if he does. Instead, I see Budapest staying with techs and Original Screenplay boosting Birdman’s Picture momentum instead of winning Actor and Director. Globe screenplay winners have won eight times in the past ten years with the Best Picture winners picking up Screenplay in the years with the two outliers (The Queen and Up In The Air). Birdman would thoroughly deserve it too, while Budapest holds back in many ways with its writing. That said, it does fit the lighter sensibility they love in this category, but Birdman is funny in its own right. Could go 50/50 but whichever wins will affect Birdman’s chances unless it spoils Actor and Director. This category is win-win though, every option is so strong.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Will Win: The Imitation Game
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Whiplash
Should Have Been Nominated: Gone Girl, Winter Sleep, The Double

I’d been saying this since I saw The Imitation Game but it just wasn’t picking up anything. All the prizes kept going to Gone Girl. I stand by my choice though, as this category loves to celebrate form over originality, and Imitation Game has that in spades. Doubters should look to last night’s WGA win, the Weinstein factor will mean it gets a consolation prize at the very least. Whiplash seems to be coming up fast as an alternate, and while I adore its screenplay, it’s yet to win anything to prove that it could do it and even fans point the script out as a weakness (not me though).

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Will Win: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Could Win: Big Hero 6
Should Win: Song of the Sea
Should Have Been Nominated: Some might say The Lego Movie…

Tricky one with The Lego Movie snub. They usually go for a big film here and Big Hero 6 had a warm reception but not an icy hot one like Frozen. How To Train Your Dragon 2’s Globe is a very convincing argument that they want to award the franchise, but can a sequel do it? Tough call, there’s drawbacks with both films. However, since the Globes’ inception of the category, they’ve only been wrong twice going for Cars instead of Happy Feet and TinTin instead of Rango, bigger films over relative underdogs. The other underdogs in this category are too under the radar.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods, or any others could surprise if we’re unlucky.
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Have Been Nominated: Belle, Birdman, Force Majeure

A Wes Anderson film winning this award will just make my year. I hope it becomes a regular thing. Please don’t derail this train AMPAS.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Mr. Turner
Should Win: Mr. Turner
Should Have Been Nominated: Blue Ruin, Nightcrawler, The Rover

As locked and deserved as Chivo was last year. Alternates are tough. I went for Dick Poop. A man can dream.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Have Been Nominated: Belle, A Most Violent Year, Guardians of the Galaxy

Ditto Production Design. I’m so happy it went from underdog to easy choice.

BEST FILM EDITING

Will Win: Boyhood
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Whiplash
Should Have Been Nominated: Birdman! Winter Sleep, The Double

12 years of seamless editing or 19 days of ferocious cutting? I hope that they’ll give it to Whiplash and it’s crazy to me that its getting buzz for anything outside of Simmons but I feel that this will go to the Picture frontrunner of the 5 choices. The 12 year commitment goes to the editor as much as the director.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Have Been Nominated: Birdman, The Rover, Mr. Turner

I love it when categories are not only difficult but total win-wins. On one hand, Budapest has incredible showy and deliciously indulgent makeup for all of Tilda Swinton’s 5 minutes then it’s a standard deal. Guardians puts a fine fight with Star Trek with the all body makeup. And Foxcatcher has immaculate lifelike detail, changing not only Carell’s nose, but Ruffalo and Tatum as well. It could go any way but Budapest’s momentum and guilds pushes it in its direction.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Birdman
Should Have Been Nominated: Under the Skin, Guardians of the Galaxy, Edge of Tomorrow

War movies + action = sound gold. If they want to award the blockbuster phenomenon, it’ll be here. Whiplash has a convincing argument, but I think its Sound Editing is more impressive than the mix. Birdman is also an option as it’s really underrated the way the sound department had to capture everything and if they bumped into a table or hit a wall or missed a line they’d have to start all over, let alone any actor flubs. I’d love to see either Whiplash or Birdman win here and add to their tallies.

BEST SOUND EDITING

Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Birdman
Should Win: Birdman
Should Have Been Nominated: Guardians of the Galaxy, The Guest, Edge of Tomorrow

Ditto the above but swap Whiplash for Birdman, which has really understated work to match the perfect timing of the actors and cinematography. Sniper is more in your face though. Works everytime.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: Interstellar
Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Should Have Been Nominated: Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman

Remember when we thought Interstellar would sweep? Oh naive times. We still thought that it would come away with the most awards even if it missed the big one. Anyway, I still think the relative juggernaut will win, especially off the back of its BAFTA. Since Benjamin Button, they haven’t really gone for franchises despite the guild win for Dawn.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Have Been Nominated: Birdman, Frank, Gone Girl

I used to think this was Desplat’s year. Looks like it still could but with The Grand Budapest Hotel as a different pony. He won the BAFTA, but I feel like the sentimental Globe winner The Theory of Everything will beat the playful alternate. Johannsson’s score works better outside of the film as well and is the highlight outside of Redmayne.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Will Win: “Glory” in Selma
Could Win: “I’m Not Going To Miss You” in Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Should Win: “Lost Stars” in Begin Again
Should Have Been Nominated: “Where No One Goes” in How To Train Your Dragon 2, “No Fate Awaits Me” in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, “American For Me” in A Most Violent Year

This year will forever feel unsatisfying without being able to see Selma contend fairly like all the rest. Its consolation prize awaits but it could be spoiled by Glen Campbell, Begin Again or The Lego Movie, though their Globe snubs blunt their case. If the Selma buzz continues to fall it’s difficult to see where this will land. Will be a hell of a slap in the face if it does lose.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Wild Tales?
Should Win: I prefer Ida slightly over Leviathan, but I’m desperate to see Wild Tales.
Should Have Been Nominated: 10.000 Km, Winter Sleep, Stations of the Cross

You know, every single person who’s seen Wild Tales says it’ll win but everyone else says Ida (sans a couple of wild card options). Maybe Wild Tales has been seen enough to let that passion shine through but Ida feels like the obvious answer with its digestible length and awards momentum. Then again, love outside of the tech categories can be a kiss of death to popular films (Pan’s Labyrinth, The White Ribbon, Biutiful). I’ll be surprised but not shocked if Ida is spoiled and infuriated if I still haven’t seen Wild Tales by next week and all its fans say ‘I told you so.’

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Will Win: Citizenfour
Could Win: Finding Vivian Maier
Should Win: Finding Vivian Maier
Should Have Been Nominated: The Dog, Life Itself, The Internet’s Own Boy

This has been locked since its festival run, especially with Life Itself out of the running, though its snub isn’t that surprising. Citizenfour could be skipped over but it’s difficult to see a strong enough alternate from the options.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Will Win: Feast
Could Win: n/a
Should Win: Me and My Moulton!

I just got excited about a film with my name in it.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Will Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Could Win: n/a
Should Win: n/a

Bookies favorite.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: n/a
Should Win: n/a

It has some stars in it I guess.

OSCAR PREDICTION WIN TALLY

Birdman – 3 (Picture, Original Screenplay, Cinematography)
Boyhood – 3 (Director, Supporting Actress, Editing)
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 3 (Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling)
American Sniper – 2 (Sound Mixing, Sound Editing)
The Theory of Everything – 2 (Lead Actor, Original Score)
Citizenfour – 1 (Documentary Feature)
How To Train Your Dragon 2 – 
1 (Animated Feature)
Ida – 1 (Foreign Language Film)
The Imitation Game –
1 (Adapted Screenplay)
Interstellar – 1 (Visual Effects)
Selma – 1 (Original Song)
Still Alice – 1 (Lead Actress)
Whiplash – 1 (Supporting Actor)

Every Picture nominee a winner!