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Oscars 2015: Will Win/Should Win (Sam Coffey)

More top races are 50/50 than in recent memory..

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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.

A year can go by quickly.  Very quickly.  Shortly over 365 days ago, Clayton sent me a message on Twitter, telling me he “wanted to talk to me about an opportunity on the site.”  Little did I know that 13 months later, I not only would somehow find a cooler head writing from “inside” the Oscar game, but that I would also find friends.  Whether it’s the middle of July or Thursdays at 6pm on the way home from work, Clayton’s there to listen to my foolish ramblings and to remember all the times I said “Patricia Arquette is not going to happen!”

So thanks for a fun year and the great opportunity, Clayton!

Anyway, on a less sappy note, it’s time for Oscar predictions.  Never in my memory have I been less confident in any set of Oscar predictions than I am how.  So many top races are coin flips, be it Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, etc.  We Oscar prognosticators take for granted how enjoyable it can actually be to have categories that are “locks.”  Instead of forcing Faction A and Faction B to declare war on each other (Bob’s masterpiece is Ted’s utter filth despite Ted’s 4 star review from October), we get everyone enjoying Julianne Moore, JK Simmons, and Patricia Arquette‘s Olympian march to the Oscar podium.  No cruel or crass bashing, just quiet enjoyment.  Locks bring out the good in people, while undetermined races bring out the worse.

Nevertheless.  After stats kicked me in the face last year, I’ve decided to use them like everyone else does–sparingly and entirely dependent on the narrative I choose to craft.  Unlike most years, the 2014 stats seems to have created a narrative running contrary to buzz and support, while other batches of stats are too vague and disjointed to craft a clear frontrunner (see: screenplay del originale).

Without further ado, here are Sam’s definitive and *winkwink* final *winkwink* Oscar Predictions.  Additionally, I also have a COULD WIN which reflects who I perceive to be #2 in the race, a SHOULD WIN which reflects my favorite of the Oscar nominees, and a SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED wherein I throw some flavor and flourish, showcasing my personal nominees in said category.

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BEST MOTION PICTURE
Who Will Win: Birdman

Who Could Win: Boyhood
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Gone Girl, Into the Woods, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Obvious Child, The Skeleton Twins, Nightcrawler, alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman.

Man this race is crazy.  While some are gleefully predicting Richard Linklater’s Boyhood for Best Picture, I find it impossible to predicted against a film that won SAG Ensemble, PGA, and DGA.  The only film to lose Best Picture with this coveted triumvirate is Apollo 13.  And even back in 1995, Braveheart won WGA on its way to Oscar…Boyhood couldn’t even manage a WGA win.  To date, no film has LOST the top prize at the 4 major guilds and won Best Picture.  A month ago, I had Boyhood pegged here…but the industry has spoken, and they’re letting us know that ignorance is an unexpected virtue.

Iñárritu

BEST DIRECTOR
Who Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

Who Could Win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Who Should Win: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Have Been Nominated: David Fincher, Gone Girl and Christopher Nolan, Interstellar alongside Anderson, Linklater, and Inarritu.

Man this race is crazy, too!  A month ago, I would have told you Richard Linklater, easy.  Heck, even after Birdman won PGA and SAG Ensemble, I figured that Linklater was still a shoo-in for Best Director.  But then Alejandro G. Inarritu won DGA.  While DGA isn’t always a perfect forecaster of Best Picture, it almost always is an accurate tea-leaf for Best Director.  The last DGA champion who was an Oscar nominee to lose Best Director was Rob Marshall in 2002 (12 years ago), and then Ang Lee in 2000.  That’s it in the last 40 years. (Obviously, Spielberg, Howard, and Affleck have won DGA in those 40 years without winning Best Director–but they weren’t Oscar nominated).  The DGA stats alone is why I go with Inarritu.  I’m not 100% convinced Birdman will win both, but I’m positive it will win at least one.  So if I pick it for both, I’ll be guaranteed to be right in at least one race!

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BEST ACTOR
Who Will Win: Michael Keaton, Birdman

Who Could Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Who Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Who Should Have Been Nominated: None of the nominees, in my opinion.  I would have done cartwheels to see Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Ben Affleck, Gone Girl; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar; Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins; and David Oyeleowo, Selma.

Man this race is crazy, tooooooooo!  This is the one race where I ignore stats.  The stats, CLEARLY, point toward Eddie Redmayne winning for his great performance in The Theory of Everything.  The Globe, SAG, and BAFTA combo in nigh-unstoppable.  But then I look at the FILM in which Michael Keaton stars.  It’s the film that has been nothing but on the rise the entire season.  I don’t see Birdman winning Best Picture without Birdman also winning Best Actor.  Further, it’s incredibly rare for a film with 3 or more acting nomination to win Best Picture without taking at least one of those acting races.  Just makes sense from a macro level.

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BEST ACTRESS
Who Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Who Could Win: No one.
Who Should Win: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Who Should Have Been NominatedJenny SlateObvious ChildKristen Wiig, The Skeleton TwinsShailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars alongside Pike and Reese Witherspoon.

Next.

WHIPLASH

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Who Will Win: JK Simmons, Whiplash

Who Could Win: No one.
Who Should Win: Edward Norton, Birdman
Who Should Have Been NominatedChris Pine, Into the Woods; Bradley Cooper, Guardians of the Galaxy; and Scott Adsit, Big Hero 6 alongside Norton and Simmons.

If you get this race right, good job! #SeeWhatIDidThere?

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Who Could Win: No one.
Who Should Win: Emma Stone, Birdman
Who Should Have Been NominatedEmily Blunt, Into the Woods; Anna Kendrick, Into the Woods; and Carmen Ejogo, Selma alongside Stone, Meryl Streep, and Keira Knightley.

Next.

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Who Will WinBirdman

Who Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Who Should Have Been NominatedThe Lego Movie, The Skeleton Twins, Interstellar, and Selma alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nightcrawler.

Man this race is crazy!  See a trend?  Again, this is a coin flip.  Birdman could easily lose to the wonderful The Grand Budapest Hotel.  However, while I’ve been picking Wes Anderson to win his first Oscar in this category since the Golden Globe nominations, I can’t bring myself to give my hopes up anymore.  Why on earth would I predict a film winning PGA, DGA, SAG Ensemble to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and then not ALSO predict it to win Best Original Screenplay?  Seems like it’s gonna win at least one, and Birdman has the Globe win here to boot.

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Who Will WinThe Imitation Game

Who Could Win: Whiplash
Who Should Win: The Imitation Game
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Gone Girl, clearly.  But also Obvious Child, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Into the Woods alongside The Imitation Game.

The WGA win helps.  This might be the least interesting above-the-line race, if only because so few care about the winner of this race.  Many bloggers despise The Imitation Game while just as many who love Whiplash can’t exactly claim that its screenplay is a highlight.  Makes me wish/wonder what would have been had Grand Budapest or Gone Girl been campaigned or nominated in Best Adapted Screenplay.

Tilda-Swinton-Grand-Budapest-Hotel

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Who Will WinThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Who Could WinThe Theory of Everything
Who Should WinInterstellar
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Birdman should have ben eligible, but also Gone Girl and Nightcrawler alongside Interstellar and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Desplat’s first Oscar?  I think so, though watch out for worthy Globe winner Jóhann Jóhannsson.

carmenejogo_selma

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Who Will Win: “Glory” from Selma

Who Could Win: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Who Should Win: “Everything Is Awesome!!!” from The Lego Movie
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Meh.

I’m thiiiiis close to picking Glen Campbell, but I have a feeling Selma stans will show up legion here.

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BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Who Will WinBig Hero 6

Who Could WinHow to Train Your Dragon 2
Who Should WinThe Lego Move, er Big Hero 6
Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Lego Movie.

I think this is a two horse race, and I’m betting on the film who’s not a sequel to film that didn’t win this race 4 years ago.

boyhood_image

BEST FILM EDITING
Who Will WinBoyhood

Who Could Win: Whiplash
Who Should Win: Boyhood
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Interstellar and Wild alongside Boyhood, Whiplash, and The Imitation Game.

ACE champ Boyhood looked really solid in this race until Boyhood started losing every other Guild and the BAFTA Best Film Editing despite winning Best Film, Director, and Supporting Actress.  It’s not flashy editing, but it is deserving.

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Who Will WinThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Who Could WinInto the Woods
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Selma, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Foxcatcher alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel and Into the Woods.

They typically go with the most gaudy costumes.  While Grand Budapest doesn’t have Elizabethan dresses, it has the most memorable costumes of any nominees in this category.

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Who Will WinThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Who Could WinInto the Woods
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Have Been NominatedThe Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Birdman alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel and Into the Woods.

#Blessed

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Who Will WinBirdman

Who Could WinMr. Turner
Who Should Win: Birdman
Who Should Have Been NominatedGone Girl, Selma, and Nightcrawler alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman.

Chivo goes from winless to back-to-back champ.  Looks great to me.

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BEST SOUND MIXING
Who Will Win: Birdman

Who Could Win: Whiplash, then American Sniper
Who Should Win: Whiplash
Who Should Have Been NominatedInto the Woods, Wild, and Guardians of the Galaxy alongside Interstellar and Whiplash.

Your guess is as good as mine.  Many had American Sniper pegged here post-nominations, but the evidence of its strength here is…what?  The theory of “let’s give an award to everything?”  Since when have they cared about that.  Last year, 3 of the 5 films nominated for Best Director and a whole 5 of the 9 Best Picture nominees failed to win a single Oscar.  Therefore, I don’t buy into the gold star theory.  Nevertheless, under the Hugo TheoryBirdman could easily win here–and the CAS win helps.  Further, Whiplash winning the BAFTA sound category gives a layvoter’s perspective of the sound in the drumming drama.

birdman_cast

BEST SOUND EDITING
Who Will WinBirdman

Who Could WinAmerican Sniper
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Should Have Been NominatedWild, The Lego MovieWhiplash, and Guardians of the Galaxy alongside Interstellar.

See above, but noting that American Sniper has great Sound Editing.  Notwithstanding, the Hugo Theory.

interstellar

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Who Will WinInterstellar

Who Could WinGuardians of the Galaxy
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Maleficent, and Into the Woods alongside Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy.

A lot of people are hoping against hope that the AMPAS finally comes around to the second ape movie, despite less buzz and a worse campaign.  Maybe it’ll happen…but I’m betting for the film with the most overall nominations and the only one which adheres to The Mark Johnson Theory–Interstellar and its Production Design nomination.

DnUKR

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Who Will WinGuardians of the Galaxy

Who Could WinThe Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Wild and Into the Woods alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Foxcatcher.

Make a strong argument for any of the three nominees in this category and I might be swayed.  Grand Budapest has the Best Picture buzz, Guardians has the most obvious work, and Foxcatcher has been the placeholder in this race for 18 months.  In the end, I think Blue Darryl’s Brother takes the cake.

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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Who Will Win: CitizenFour

Who Could Win: Finding Vivian Maier
Who Should Win: No comment
Who Should Have Been Nominated: No Comment.

Seems predestined.

agata_ida

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Who Will Win: Ida

Who Could Win: Wild Tales
Who Should Win: No comment
Who Should Have Been Nominated: No Comment.

Expanded voting = buzziest nominee.

feast

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Who Will WinFeast

Who Could Win: The Dam Keeper
Who Should Win: Feast
Who Should Have Been Nominated: No Comment.

Most seen nominee?

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BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Who Will WinCrisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Who Could Win: No Comment
Who Should Win: No Comment
Who Should Have Been Nominated: No Comment.

Been my frontrunner since the shortlist.  Too late to back down now.

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BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Who Will WinThe Phone Call 

Who Could Win: Boogaloo and Graham
Who Should Win: No Comment
Who Should Have Been Nominated: No Comment.

Most famous people?

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FINAL WINNER TOTALS:
Birdman: 7
The Grand Budapest Hotel: 3
Boyhood: 2
Still Alice: 1
Whiplash: 1
The Imitation Game: 1
Selma: 1
Guardians of the Galaxy: 1
Big Hero 6: 1
Interstellar: 1
The Theory of Everything: 0

What do you think?

Written by Sam Coffey

Attorney-at-law, Oscaroligist, coffee lover, Fantasy Football silver medalist, soccer fan (Orlando City SC), Geoffrey Rush enthusiast, and Time's 2006 Person of the Year.

Sam joined The Awards Circuit in January 2014, predicting all award shows with 100% accuracy ever since. A.K.A. "the stat guy."

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