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Tom Shone’s Oscars predictions

In all 24 categories, from Best Film to Best Documentary Short

Tom Shone | February 21st 2015

To start with, the most hotly contested categories. Best Picture is as close a race as can be between “Birdman” (above) and “Boyhood”, two Davids in a field with no Goliaths. “Birdman” won all the guild awards; “Boyhood” the BAFTAs. The Academy’s preferential ballot would seem to favour Linklater’s more mild-mannered “Boyhood”, but its slightly fey, gentle spirit has always struck me as unlikely to close the deal with the steak-eaters—the set-builders and effects guys—who vote for films like “Braveheart”. Gun to head, I’m going to go with “Birdman” riding the same you-don’t-have-to-be-mad-to-work-here spirit that helped Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” to its wins, making this the third Best Picture winner in a row set in the world of show business, after “Argo” and “The Artist”. “Birdman” is out there for the Academy, no question, but in the absence of any film addressing the state of the nation or the way we live now, maybe they’ll settle for a baring of the showbiz soul.

Best Editing is usually a handmaiden of Best Picture but “Birdman” doesn't have a nomination—all those long, continuous takes were judged to have assembled themselves—so I expect it to go to “Boyhood” (and if it goes to the much-admired “Whiplash” instead, you can definitely count “Boyhood” out of the running for Best Picture). Alejandro González Iñárritu will probably pick up the Best Director Oscar for “Birdman”, clearly a bravura directorial feat, as “Gravity” was last year. The Mexicans seem to be owning this award at the moment, as they do cinematography: expect another win for Emmanuel Lubezki for “Birdman”. And while one would normally favour Michael Keaton, too, for Best Actor—the Academy has a habit of siding with American veterans in any run-off with outsiders—Eddie Redmayne’s mixture of craft and emotion in “The Theory of Everything” gives him the edge. Just. This category is giving me a headache. Both should watch out for Bradley Cooper: if “American Sniper” is going to take out anybody, it’s here.

Best Adapted Screenplay has been plaguing me all season, because I don’t much like the frontrunner, “The Imitation Game”—too big a fudge made of Turing’s sexuality, too much trumped-up conflict. But Harvey Weinstein has his shoulder behind it, so I’m capitulating, even as I wish “Whiplash” the best of luck. It’s one of the biggest dark horses of the night, almost certain to pick up Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons, but dangerous in the areas of sound and editing as well. I have Eastwood’s “American Sniper” picking off what technical awards it canSound Editing and Sound Mixing—but again, if there are upsets they will most likely involve this film, a huge money-maker for Warner Brothers, and the only studio film in a field of indies. The Academy will want to be seen to have Clint’s back.

Strange to say but the biggest winner of the evening, in terms of swag count, is probably going to be Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, which could win as many as five—for original screenplay, score, production design, costume and make-up. As close to a sweep as this strange, capricious Oscar season will get. Who could have guessed that, in this most divided of years, it would fall to Wes Anderson, the crown prince of quirk, to bind us together in common cause?

THE FULL LIST OF PREDICTIONS

(—” indicates a lock, meaning a win for someone else would constitute that rarest and loveliest of creatures: an Oscar Upset.)

BEST FILM
Will Win
Birdman
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Birdman

BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Could Win: Richard Linklater
Should Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu

BEST ACTRESS
Will Win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Could Win: —
Should Win: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Could Win: Michael Keaton
Should Win: Eddie Redmayne

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Could Win: —
Should Win: J.K. Simmons

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Could Win: —
Should Win: Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

BEST EDITING
Will Win: Boyhood
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: —
Should Win: Birdman

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Will Win: The Imitation Game
Could Win: American Sniper
Should Win: Whiplash

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST SCORE
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: The Theory of Everything
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST SONG
Will Win: Glory (Selma)
Could Win: —
Should Win: Glory (Selma)

BEST SOUND EDITING
Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Interstellar
Should Win: Interstellar

BEST SOUND MIXING
Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Whiplash

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Will Win: Citizenfour
Could Win: Virunga
Should Win: Last Days in Vietnam

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Leviathan
Should Win: Leviathan

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Could Win: Big Hero Six
Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Will Win: Interstellar
Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Interstellar

BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIR
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Could WinGuardians of the Galaxy
Should Win: Foxcatcher

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Our Curse
Should Win: Our Curse

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Will WinFeast
Could Win: The Dam Keeper 
Should Win: The Dam Keeper

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Will Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Could Win: Joanna
Should Win: Our Curse

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