Lito’s Final 2014 Oscar Predictions!

oscars101LITO’S FINAL 2014 OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Here’s who I think will win, should win, and why! Better late than never!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Patricia Arquette- Boyhood
Laura Dern- Wild
Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game
Emma Stone- Birdman
Meryl Streep- Into the Woods

WILL WIN: Patricia Arquette
SHOULD WIN: Patricia Arquette

THOUGHTS: This race has been pretty sewn up since the critics’ awards began showering Patricia Arquette with accolades and I also agree she deserves it. Her relatable mom is a solid anchor in Boyhood. Wins from BFCA, GG, SAG and BAFTA pretty much make her a lock. If anyone surprised, it would be Emma Stone due to Birdman’s momentum. On that note, if Birdman steals Boyhood’s thunder, then Arquette’s win here will no a no-brainer as it may be the only major award the film wins.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Robert Duvall- The Judge
Ethan Hawke- Boyhood
Edward Norton- Birdman
Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

WILL WIN: J.K. Simmons
SHOULD WIN: J.K. Simmons

THOUGHTS: Like Supporting Actress, this race is another done deal with J.K. Simmons’s tyrannical music professor going home with gold. He has hogged every major award in sight for this role, which is an undeniable favorite. Should anyone surprise, (which isn’t gonna happen), it’d be Edward Norton. J.K. Simmons has more than earned his incumbent moment.

BEST ACTRESS

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

WILL WIN: Julianne Moore
SHOULD WIN: Marion Cotillard

THOUGHTS: Julianne Moore is basically another done deal for the acting awards, which is mostly proving to be rather unsurprising. This marks Moore’s fifth career nomination and she’s unanimously agreed upon to be overdue for the win. She has all the necessary precursor awards (BFCA, GG, SAG, and BAFTA) to make her a no-brainer shoo-in. If I had things my way, I would award Marion Cotillard’s raw, vulnerable, and nuanced performance of a clinically depressed woman fighting for her job and soul on one life-changing weekend. That left a more indelible impression on me. Moore performs admirably and shines, as you would expect. But, apart from a deserved nomination, I feel this Moore’s win has more to do with being overdue. There really won’t be a surprise win here.

BEST ACTOR

Steve Carell- Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper- American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton- Birdman
Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything

WILL WIN: Michael Keaton
SHOULD WIN: Michael Keaton

THOUGHTS: In the one true acting race with any suspense in it, we have two candidates running neck and neck for the win. They are: Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne. Keaton has been the early front-runner, winning the slew of critics’ prizes including big wins from BFCA and Globes. However, Redmayne’s acclaimed turn as Stephen Hawking won him a Globe, SAG, and BAFTA award indicating strong support from the acting branch. Redmayne’s recent win trajectory would suggest as he’s currently running in 1st place. On paper, it seems a given. However, there’s a reason why I still Keaton may just narrowly prevail: Birdman is now poised to take top honors as Best Picture. Actors form the largest branch in the Academy. Birdman is flat out an actor’s picture. I’d find it odd that the potential Best Picture winner would fail to honor any of its three nominated performances. This is Keaton’s film and he owns it. Best Actor is the likeliest place for Birdman to be honored in acting.

However, SAG chose Redmayne over Keaton suggesting that Keaton’s quieter performance may not have caused as many waves as Redmayne’s physically challenged genius. Plus, it’s an underdog story that’s true to boot, which has traditionally been catnip to Oscar voters. In the end, a surprise third party candidate could sneak in if Keaton and Redmayne split their own vote. This happened in 2002 when Adrien Brody won for The Pianist breaking the intense race between Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson. Bradley Cooper, now a three-time (consecutive) nominee could just be that person. His film insanely popular at the moment. But, my heart tells me to stick with Keaton and no, its not just because I think he deserves it!

BEST DIRECTOR

Wes Anderson- The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- Birdman
Richard Linklater- Boyhood
Bennett Miller- Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum- The Imitation Game

WILL WIN: Richard Linklater
SHOULD WIN: Richard Linklater

THOUGHTS: This was once a done deal with early frontrunner Richard Linklater, whose innovative twelve-year journey making Boyhood the critical favorite that it was seemed a done deal. He racked up the majority of the major awards and critics’ prizes including BFCA, Globe, and BAFTA. However, once Birdman began its massive sweep with the industry guild prizes causing Linklater to lose the very important DGA award to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman, it seems Linklater’s momentum has lessened. With Boyhood no longer in the prime place to take Best Picture, the Academy may just go with Inarritu’s technical and inventive wizardry over Linklater’s quiet, yet poignant minimalism. Wes Anderson is safely in 3rd place, but really this is a two-man race. My final thought is that the Academy may choose to make a compromise by awarding Linklater the Directing award and letting Birdman soar to Best Picture. This is a ballsy prediction, but I personally hope it happens!

BEST PICTURE

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

WILL WIN: Birdman
SHOULD WIN: Boyhood

THOUGHTS: Another toughie to call. On a positive note, it’s wonderful that the final award of the evening will be a nail-biter. From early on, Boyhood was the undeniable favorite and front-runner. It took home the BFCA, Globe, and BAFTA for Best Picture. Then as tends to happen in the Oscar politicking season, backlash rose against Selma, a film thought to contend with Boyhood and ultimately Boyhood itself. People griped that the film was nothing but an unspectacular film laced with a clever storytelling gimmick. Then suddenly, the safe choice became Birdman, a film that satirizes the industry and in a normal year would likely never be considered a threat for the win. Birdman lost the Globe to The Grand Budapest Hotel, but the swept the SAG (Ensemble), DGA and PGA awards proving that it has very strong industry support. Awarding Birdman would give Oscar voters something to pat themselves on the back about: they thinking “outside the box” and awarding a independent, technically innovative black comedy the industry’s top honor.

Safer choices like The Grand Budapest Hotel (which ties Birdman’s lead of 9 nominations) might be a threat in weaker years. Likewise, most of the American public is probably rooting for and thinking American Sniper, a $300 million dollar grossing blockbuster will take the big prize. However, what these folks don’t know is that a film without a Best Director nomination virtually does NOT win Best Picture. Argo, two years ago was a huge exception as it was a front-runner whose director’s (Ben Affleck) snub was considered a huge offense. So… I’m going with Birdman. I will do a backflip if Boyhood pulls it off as I think personally it’s the better film. Let the nail biting commence!

OTHER CATEGORIES

BEST FILM EDITING

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

WILL WIN: Birdman
SHOULD WIN: Mr. Turner

THOUGHTS: Emmanuel Lubezki’s seeming one take camerawork has been a front-runner for so long anyone else being called would be a shocker. Overdue vet Roger Deakins will get his one day, but Unbroken is just not the film to do it with. Expect the Birdman to fly here. As much as I loved Birdman’s cinematography, those stunning art-like shots in Mr. Turner stayed with me the most.

BEST FILM EDITING

American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

WILL WIN: Boyhood
SHOULD WIN: Whiplash

THOUGHTS: Here’s the thing… everyone in the hearts knows that Whiplash really should be winning this. It has some major prizes to its credit, but compared to a critical gargantuan like Boyhood which has the innovation of having 12 years of footage to put together, it seems Whiplash may take 2nd place. I seriously hope I get this one wrong. But bet on those 12 years to pay off. Don’t be too shocked either if American Sniper pulls an upset. War and combat pictures, especially popular ones fare well in this category.

BEST SOUND MIXING

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

WILL WIN: American Sniper
SHOULD WIN: Whiplash

THOUGHTS: This is a tough category to call. Birdman won the Audio Guild award, which indicates strong industry support. However, American Sniper is a showier, safer bet. Aurally, its bullet should make it to the podium. Since the film is not winning “the big one”, it may have to settle for the sound categories. However, we all know how important the soundtrack was for Whiplash, the film I think deserves it. But… that just sadly won’t happen.

BEST SOUND EDITING

American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

WILL WIN: American Sniper
SHOULD WIN: American Sniper

THOUGHTS: This is one category where the Sniper should feel secure and frankly, I think deserves it. Birdman or Interstellar could be spoilers, but I doubt it.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

WILL WIN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
SHOULD WIN: The Grand Budapest Hotel

THOUGHTS: As much as it pains me to know that a great achievement like Snowpiercer didn’t even get recognized in this category, I still think the best achievement in this category for 2014 has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel. Those vivid colors and elegant recreation of a fictional Eastern European country will stick with you even if you weren’t too crazy about the film itself. Into the Woods might be a 2nd place spoiler, but expect Budapest to enjoy an honor here.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

WILL WIN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
SHOULD WIN: The Grand Budapest Hotel

THOUGHTS: This is actually a tight race. The Grand Budapest Hotel is running against Into the Woods, which is providing a strong case for a win for its lush and lavish design. Milena Canonero, the costumer of Grand Budapest is a legend in her art form and though she’s won a few times before, the momentum of Budapest’s 9 nominations is kind of hard to ignore. But on legends of the non fairy-tale variety to win the gold this year.

BEST MAKEUP/HAIR DESIGN

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

WILL WIN: Guardians of the Galaxy
SHOULD WIN: Guardians of the Galaxy

THOUGHTS: This another tight race with The Grand Budapest Hotel being a serious contender given its high nomination total and being a Best Picture nominee. However as compared to Guardians of the Galaxy, whose achievement in makeup shows significantly more complexity in its work should triumph. Apart from the aging of Tilda Swinton in Budapest, there really wasn’t much to make a fuss over. Likewise, the heinous schnozz and teeth Steve Carell wore are what has Foxactcher in the mix at all.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

WILL WIN: Ida
SHOULD WIN: Ida

THOUGHTS: Ida seems a likely bet. It’s a Holocaust themed drama, the subgenre of which tends to have especially high resonance with the Academy. Ida has been a critical darling throughout the season, but Leviathan ended up winning the Golden Globe and could easily pull an upset. I hope Ida prevails, however.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

WILL WIN: How to Train Your Dragon 2
SHOULD WIN: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

THOUGHTS: This may be one of the races where my stomach will churn with utter dissatisfaction. How to Train Your Dragon 2 won the Golden Globe (over The Lego Movie, which is disgustingly not nominated here!!!). I feel that this gives it a strong edge to take the top prize. Big Hero 6 hasn’t been winning the traction it needs to take it all the way. The Studio Ghibli entry, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a critical darling, but has honestly probably not been widely seen and may be a bit too offbeat to take the Oscar, a pity indeed.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

WILL WIN: The Theory of Everything
SHOULD WIN: The Imitation Game

THOUGHTS: First off, it’s absolute horse puckey that the subtly effective score for Gone Girl failed to earn a nomination. Gone Girl’s Oscar meltdown is a whole can of worms in and of itself that can be discussed later, but for what’s here, it looks like the score for The Theory of Everything should be a popular favorite. It also took home the Golden Globe. However, composer Alexandre Desplat who has been nominated a bunch of times has never managed to win an Oscar. Here, he has two scores nominated. Of the two, I suspect The Grand Budapest Hotel has the stronger chance of winning. In fact, it may just pull an upset win. This category is a toss up this year.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Everything Is Awesome”- The Lego Movie
“Glory”- Selma
“Grateful”- Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You”- Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars”- Begin Again

WILL WIN: “Glory”
SHOULD WIN: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

THOUGHTS: There seem to be two songs vying for the win. The one with the most momentum and likelihood of winning is “Glory” from Selma. Honoring the song would also give a bone to Selma, which suffered a horrendous political backlash and only came away with 2 measly nominations. The John Legend and Common duo, which recently won the Golden Globe should take top honors. However, those incensed with the cruel and unjustifiable omission of The Lego Movie in Best Animated Film may, in spite, vote for the memorable “Everything Is Awesome”. Glen Campbell’s recent battle with Alzheimer’s could inspire sympathy with the Academy as this is, in reality, the only shot he has for an Oscar. Plus, it’s a fine song. I will hope for that, but know it’s not gonna happen.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

WILL WIN: Interstellar
SHOULD WIN: Interstellar

THOUGHTS: This race is a big toss up! Three films could easily take this. In recent weeks, Oscar pundits have suggested the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be a shoo-in for a win largely due to the fact that the film’s predecessor was snubbed. Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge favorite and has enough flash and pizzazz to warrant a victory here. Then, there’s Interstellar, a film with five nominations and early on was considered a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination. This could be the only place to throw the sci-fi epic a bone. Frankly, its effects are stellar (no pun intended) and hope and believe it makes at least one victory.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

WILL WIN: The Imitation Game
SHOULD WIN: The Imitation Game

THOUGHTS: It seems The Imitation Game should win at least something, no? It’s the type of film that’s usually typical Oscar fodder with all the right ingredients and Weinsteins behind it. However, this year the film was called out on all of its politicking gimmicks and the public refused to swoon over its manufactured charm. This is unfortunate only because, in my opinion, the film is quite good and worthy of being a Best Picture nominee. The shock in race was the omission of Gillian Flynn who adapted her novel, Gone Girl. She was widely thought to be a shoo-in. I find this to be such a bummer. Had she been here, she may have been a threat and is my personal choice for the adapted screenplay of the year. That said, The Imitation Game is the next best choice. That said, the script, despite winning the WGA for adapted screenplay is not a total shoo-in. There could be competition from The Theory of Everything or even American Sniper. Both films have a solid fan base and may feel a screenplay category is a place to throw a bone for a film that won’t win “the big one”. Whiplash has its ardent followers, but is climbing an uphill battle with the “prestige pictures”. Theory could surprise, but that’s likely not how Oscar will play the Game.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

WILL WIN: Birdman
SHOULD WIN: Birdman

THOUGHTS: Usually, the Academy isn’t keen on awarding Screenplay Oscars to films that have multiple writers. There may be an exception for the tight, sharp, zeitgeist, meta, and mystical script for Birdman. Films that satirize the industry tend to score well here such as All About Eve, Sunset Blvd., or Network. The Grand Budapest Hotel won the WGA in Original Screenplay and could conceivably pull an upset. Birdman won the Golden Globe and since it has front-runner status for Best Picture, expect it to prevail here. Boyhood is admittedly seen as less an achievement of writing than in other areas and will likely be sitting this one out.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

I PREDICT: CitizenFour

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

I PREDICT: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

I PREDICT: The Phone Call

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

I PREDICT: Feast

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