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Birdman (#110 of 22)

Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Picture: Birdman
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
Foreign Language: Ida
Documentary Feature: Virunga
Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Documentary Short: Our Curse
Animated Short: The Dam Keeper
Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Film Editing: Whiplash
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography: Birdman
Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Score: The Theory of Everything
Song: “Glory,” Selma
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Sound Mixing: Whiplash
Visual Effects: Interstellar

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture

Tempted though I might be to end an Oscar season I began so long ago quoting Into the Woods’s Witch by dropping another choice lyric from “Last Midnight” (namely the one that would allow me to blithely shrug off the Academy’s fickle tastes with the dismissal, “Oh, why bother? You’ll just do what you do!”), there’s a legitimate three-way race to call this year. Make it four if you naïvely believe the monstrous box-office success of American Sniper is enough to overcome the same partisan resistance that stymied Zero Dark Thirty two years ago. Which means that figuring out exactly what the Academy will do is an even trickier errand than collecting a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor

First, praise be to the brave Oscar pundits who have Bradley Cooper in their crosshairs. Indeed, given how close this race probably is between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton, it’s easy to see how Cooper could benefit from a vote split, not unlike, some have argued, Adrien Brody did back in 2003 when this award was anticipated to go to either Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis. But we don’t have the courage to rally behind Cooper, terrific as he is in American Sniper, as this and adapted screenplay seem like the two categories where the contentiousness surrounding the Clint Eastwood film’s ostensibly mythmaking depiction of Chris Kyle is most likely to hurt. Which is to say nothing of the fact that, unlike Brody, Cooper enters this race without SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Original Screenplay

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

In what’s become an annual tradition, last weekend’s Writers Guild Awards weren’t much of a trial heat for the Oscars. Membership requirements repeatedly keep out many of the higher-profile Academy Award contenders. And sometimes the two branches, even when they both love certain scripts, disagree on where to slot them. Behold the miraculously adapted-original screenplay for Whiplash, of which the shenanigans that led to its “exclusion” here at least excuse me from having to fantasize about how thrilling voters likely find Damien Chazelle’s 50 shades of gay panic. (Ed gets that honor of unpacking the whole gory mess, so stay tuned.) That glitch aside, this slate is still a four-for-five match with the guild’s.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Director

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Director
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Director

Even as Boyhood steamrolled the critics groups, even as it dominated the Golden Globes, we had our doubts about its frontrunner status here and in best picture. This little film that so deeply ponders matters of life and love struck such a universal nerve that it seemed as if it could actually buck the trend on Oscar night wherein the most self-congratulatory totem to Hollywood itself typically reigns supreme. After losing the PGA, then (more expectedly) the SAG ensemble, only to then persevere at the BAFTAs, Boyhood was following in all of The Social Network’s footsteps. And just as David Fincher lost the DGA award to Tom Hooper, solidifying The King’s Speech’s frontrunner status leading into Oscar night, the nail in Boyhood’s coffin seemed to come when Richard Linklater lost to Alejandro González Iñárritu. Boyhood, a bigger-hearted film than The Social Network, may still win best picture—that is, if the PGA, SAG, and DGA victories for Birdman can be understood to represent a passionless kind of respect for the means by which the film’s producers, actors, and director, working in perfect congress, realized the pyrotechnic wonder of their one-take stunt. But that’s Eric Henderson’s argument to make next week. In this category where formal bombast is so often rewarded, as conductor of Birdman brute-force razzle dazzle, González Iñárritu is your winner almost by default.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Sound Editing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

The debate surrounding the allegedly intentional inscrutability of Interstellar’s dialogue is unquestionably more of a liability in the sound mixing category, where clarity and precision is the whole point. Christopher Nolan himself has done his share of damage control since the movie’s release, explaining away all concerns by declaring his own ostensibly “adventurous” decision as though his command of the medium and penchant for difficult, potentially alienating formal choices rivals Tarkovsky’s. Nolan’s enough of a self-inflated prig that we actually buy his retroactive excuse. But the even more powerful element working in his favor is the otherwise eardrum-massaging, brown noise-flirting cacophony covering up that dialogue. Say what you will about the film’s philosophical shortcomings, it sets off a fusillade of fireworks that assertively level the playing field between Neil deGrasse Tyson and Katy Perry. Interstellar nominee Richard King is actually going for a record-breaking fourth competitive win in this category. (His previous wins came for two other Nolan films, Inception and The Dark Knight, and before those Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.) While on paper (well, on subwoofer and tweeter), King sounds like a frontrunner, sound editing is also a category that truly can’t deny its own membership in the NRA. The films of Katherine Bigelow, James Bond, and Jason Bourne have all cold-bloodedly picked off their competition, and the last time Clint Eastwood had a war movie in the hunt (well, two), Letters from Iwo Jima won handily. Now roaring its way toward $300 million and boasting as many bullets as you or Glenn Beck please, American Sniper definitely has King in its sights.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

If best animated film, best documentary feature, and best director begat the year’s most conspicuous snubs (for The Lego Movie, Life Itself, and Ana DuVerny, respectively), best sound mixing boasts the most controversial nomination: Interstellar. Personally, we’d like to thank the trio of Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten for doing all they could within their power to drown out the Nolan brothers’ pompous dialogue in favor of Hans Zimmer’s IMAX-sized music cues, but even we’d draw the line at giving them the actual trophy, and there’s little doubt that the Academy’s sizeable ear trumpet-hoisting constituency will too.