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Feb 21, 2015
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The Academy Awards are here again, movie geeks!

Starlets will be donning their (hopefully cleavage-exposing) dresses, the actors will be pretending not to hate on their fellow nominees, and Neil Patrick Harris is set to trick the event out with his LOL-worthy animated hosting skills. Doling out that coveted golden statuette to the year’s most poignant, most compelling, most tear-jerking films–all in the name of moviemaking prestige of course–also marks the end of all this awards season madness.

And if there’s one thing audiences have learned about the Oscars throughout history, it’s that their chosen winners are pretty predictable. So in honor of the expected and unsurprising, we decided to go through the seven major categories and play fortuneteller/commentator as to what’s bound to unfold for seven of our favorite categories this February 22nd (February 23 here)!


BEST ACTOR

Nominees
Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

The real deal: Looking at the list of nominees in all four acting categories, it’s safe to say that it was clearly a good year for them white folks! In this particular set, bio-pics once again get all the praise, with real-life personas governing four of the five slots.

The competition: The Office alum Steve Carell turned in a haunting performance as eerie and wealthy John du Pont in wrestling drama Foxcatcher; while Benedict Cumberbatch–off-duty from solving mysteries as Sherlock–helped bring down the Nazis as the father of the modern computer and openly gay Alan Turing; and Bradley Cooper, he was just downright depressing as America’s most dangerous sniper.

Who should win: Michael Keaton (best known for playing Batman in the Tim Burton movies) for his portrayal of a faded actor once popular for playing a beloved superhero movie character. Not only is it the only role that isn’t drawn from an actual person, but Keaton’s grip on the thematic material–which deals with existential issues such as identity, relevance, and genuine artistry–reflects that of his own unique career.  

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Who will win: British youngin’ Eddie Redmayne, who tackles the emotionally gripping challenge of embodying the life and trials of ALS-stricken physicist Stephen Hawking. Redmayne is hypnotizing, carrying out even the slightest ticks of the famous scientist with flawless conviction. And since the Academy is a sucker for illness and disease, Redmayne is bound to go home to his motherland as one happy Brit.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Robert Duvall in The Judge
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Sympathy nod: Although Robert Duvall was a definite scene-stealer as a stern judge/father in the tissue-fest melodrama, it’s obvious that the nomination is more of a hearty salute to the acting veteran than an actual recognition of one of the year’s best. That’s alright though; he’s already got a Best Actor Oscar under his belt for 1984’s Tender Mercies.

The competition: Ethan Hawke’s semi-alcoholic absentee dad in Boyhood is J.K. Simmons' stiffest competition in this category. The naturalistic way he attacks the role (and how we witness the ageing process onscreen) shows that his nuanced style is capable of hitting straight through the heart.

Who should win: All signs point to Whiplash’s merciless antagonist, J.K. Simmons. He already conquered the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Who will win: Come Oscar night, J.K. Simmons will be able to say he swept the awards season by screaming and throwing shit at Miles Teller. 


BEST ACTRESS

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Diverse divas: With one psycho bitch, an Alzheimer’s-stricken communications professor, a heroin addict, a wife struggling because of a husband with ALS, and a French woman looking for a monetary break, this category is the most diverse (and gloomy) of the bunch.  

The competition: Newcomers Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike did well for earning recognition for roles that are essentially their breakthrough performances. Their other three fellow nominees are either Oscar winners themselves or have at least been nominated in the past.

Who should win: Rosamund’s Pike eerily disturbing turn as the vengeful and morally skewed Amy Dunne in director David Fincher’s and author Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is seriously getting overlooked. The character was polarizing and complex, and it would be amazing to see a villainess get the gold.  

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Who will win: Julianne Moore. This is her fifth Oscar nomination, and because the Academy falls head over heels for depressing tales of medical woe, her inspirational turn as Alzheimer’s victim Alice Howland will finally put an end to her Oscar losing streak.  


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Laura Dern in Wild
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Emma Stone in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

There’s just no stopping her: Meryl Streep again. Really? The woman can do no wrong. Her turn as the grimy witch in Disney’s subpar rendition of the classic musical earned the living legend her 19th (yes, 19th!) Oscar nod to date.  

The competition: As the newbie of the bunch, Emma Stone’s recovering addict in Birdman was simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. It’s a revelation to see the usually sunny comedienne channel her darker side.  

Who should win: Just like J.K. Simmons in the Best Supporting Actor category, Patricia Arquette has been raking in the awards from all other award-giving bodies.

Who will win: This is indubitably Arquette’s year. Her tragicomic ode to maternal figures the world-over is deserving of the highest praise.


BEST DIRECTOR

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood - Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher - Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game - Morten Tyldum

The competition: This category is a toss-up between the son of Mexican New Wave cinema Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu and the master of natural dialogue Richard Linklater.

Who should win: Iñarritu, for his mesmerizing filming style of editing the movie as if it was shot in one take. Part of what makes Birdman unique is this device, which gives the audience a voyeuristic point of view of the events that unfold in a fading actor’s career.

Who will win: Linklater’s experimental Boyhood, which was shot for 12 years in increments, imbues the flick with an organic sense of sincerity. Its all-American familial troubles untidily encapsulate the experience of growing up.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Big Hero 6 - Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls - Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea - Tomm Moore and Paul Young
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya - Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

The competition: Because the Academy tends to give recognition to wildcards when it comes to their cartoons, Big Hero 6 and The Tale of Princess Kaguya are dark horses people shouldn’t ignore. The former a mature, hyper-modern look at grief through technology, the latter a fantastical Japanese folk-tale animated in a traditional style that evokes a bevy of emotions.  

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Who should win: The Lego Movie, the awesome freak of family-friendly entertainment, which was unfortunately robbed of a Best Picture nod this year!

Who will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2 seems to be soaring to even more critical acclaim.


BEST PICTURE

American Sniper - Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan, Producers
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
Boyhood - Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
The Imitation Game - Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
Selma - Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
The Theory of Everything - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony McCarten, Producers
Whiplash - Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

The competition: With eight films nominated in the most prestigious category, it seems the competition is only between two movies: Birdman and Boyhood, the most talked about and experimental films to hit theaters this past year.

Who should win: Boyhood, for accomplishing a feat as never seen by any independent or commercial outing.

Who will win: Boyhood. We’re predicting that director Richard Linklater’s epic coming of age tale about the passage of time and how it affects an individual’s outlook in life tugged at the heartstrings of many. 

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