It's time again for my Oscar predictions! This year we have a good mix of tight races and sure things. Here's how I see it going:
Best Picture: Birdman
Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Best Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Best Original Screemplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Best Editing: Boyhood
Best Cinematography: Birdman
Best Score: The Theory of Everything
Best Song: "Glory" from Selma
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Costumes: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Makeup: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing: American Sniper
Best Sound Mixing: American Sniper
Best Visual Effects: Interstellar
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
Best Documentary Feature: Citizenfour
This year's sure things are Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Best Song. I'm most nervous about my pick for Best Actor - the Oscar always goes to whomever won the Screen Actors Guild award and this year it went to Eddie Redmayne. But I think the Academy will break the trend and give it to Keaton for his decades of solid work and a fantastic technical and emotional turn in Birdman.
Best Picture and Director have also been up in the air between Boyhood and Birdman and many predict that the categories will split, but I think the Academy will side with Birdman's flashier production and conceit over Boyhood's more low-key, cerebral tone. Besides, Hollywood people love stories about actors. That's largely why Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan back in 1998. Boyhood's major strengths are in its writing and editing.
If it goes as I predict, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel will each win four Oscars, Boyhood will earn three, American Sniper will take both Sound categories and the rest of the hardware will be distributed evenly among seven other movies. As usual, I don't pick short films.
My fingers are crossed, but I can only hope to match last year's 91.5% success rate. Be sure to tune in on Sunday, February 22nd at 7pm Eastern Time! I'm expecting a great show from Neil Patrick Harris (who could turn out to be the next Billy Crystal) and, even though she wasn't an official part of the ceremony, I hope to see at least one tribute to Joan Rivers.
Enjoy the show and I'll post here with the results after the Oscars!