Academy Awards 2015 Ultimate Guide To Win Your Oscar Pool!!!!!!!


I have read a handful of Oscar lists over the last couple days that were nothing more than opinions about who certain critics think will win and should win. I guess that’s all fine and dandy (I have some opinions laced in here), but it’s not going to help you win your Oscar pool. In order to do that you need cold, hard facts.

Lucky for you, I just happened to have followed every step of the awards season and am a bit of a junky when it comes to who won what and how that helps us determine who might win the Oscar. So, I have dug through every bit of information from websites like Gold Derby and Awards Daily to every award given so far (guilds, critics, BAFTA, Globes, etc). Based on all those precursors, this is likely what things are going to look like at this years Academy Awards.

And the winner is………………..

Best Live Action Short

Nominees – The Phone Call, Boogaloo and Graham, Parvaneh, Aya, Butter Lamp

Who Will Win: The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short

Nominees – Joanna, Our Curse, White Earth, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, The Reaper

Who Will Win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short

Nominees – The Dam Keeper, The Bigger Picture, Feast, Me and My Moulton, A Single Life

Who Will Win: Feast

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees – Leviathan, Wild Tales, Ida, Timbuktu, Tangerines

Who Will Win: Ida
Should Win: Leviathan
Should Have Been Nominated: Force Majeure

Best Documentary Film

Nominees – The Last Days of Vietnam, Virunga, Citizenfour, The Salt of the Earth, Finding Vivian Mair

Who Will Win: Citizenfour
Who Should Win: Citizenfour
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Life Itself

I personally think that it’s a disheartening that Roger Ebert’s beautiful documentary Life Itself was ignored by the Academy, but Citizenfour has been the clear favorite here for some time.

Best Visual Effects

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

Who Will Win: Interstellar
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The Academy is known for trying to reward films that do something new with visual effects each year. The only films that broke new ground in 2014 were Dawn and Interstellar, but Dawn is likely to be seen as just an extension of previous work like King Kong or Rise. Interstellar is the safe bet here, but Dawn could potentially upset.

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees – American Sniper, Birdman, Whiplash, Interstellar, Unbroken

Who Will Win: Whiplash
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Could Win: American Sniper

Although Interstellar is the only film this year to break new ground with sound, most Academy members don’t understand how sound mixing works very well. So, the likelihood is they go for the movie with music in it like they have in the past. However, don’t be surprised with American Sniper’s recent popularity that it wins just simply because it’s the last film with dynamic sound that the Academy members watched.

Best Sound Editing

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

Who Will Win: American Sniper
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Could Win: Birdman

The safest bet in this category is American Sniper because of it being the most recent flick with great sound, but don’t discount Interstellar or Birdman. The Academy ignored Birdman’s score mostly because they saw it as part of the background sound and Interstellar was everyone’s pick until American Sniper surged in popularity.

Best Original Score

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

Who Will Win: Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Should Win: Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Could Win: Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

The conventional wisdom is that Johann Johannsson will win for The Theory of Everything because voters will be torn between the two Alexandre Desplat scores (Budapest and Imitation Game). There is certainly logic in that, but I would not be surprised if Desplat still pulled out a win for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Still, the safe money is on The Theory of Everything.


Best Original Song

Nominees – The Lego Movie, Selma, Begin Again, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Beyond the Lights

Who Will Win: “Glory”, Selma
Who Should Win: “Everything Is Awesome!”, The Lego Movie

I love “Glory” and will be perfectly happy when it becomes the only thing Selma wins for, but “Everything Is Awesome” was one of the most memorable song written for a movie in a decades. The song might not have the prowess of a “Let It Go”, but it’s certainly just as catchy.


Best Production Design

Nominees – The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Into The Woods, Mr. Turner, The Imitation Game

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Could Win: Into The Woods

This category should be a slam dunk. The Grand Budapest Hotel has some of the most memorable sets of any movie I have ever seen. As a matter of fact, the hotel itself is the most uniquely designed hotel anybody has seen since Danny Torrence rode through the hallways of the Overlook in The Shining.


Best Costume Design

Nominees – Maleficent, Into The Woods, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Mr. Turner

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Could Win: Into The Woods


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees – The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Foxcatcher

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Grand Budapest Hotel will win here because the Academy almost never chooses to award fantasy films and the love of this particular film is just too much to be overcome.

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Best Editing

Nominees – Whiplash, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper

Who Will Win: Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Who Should Win: Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Could Win: Tom Cross, Whiplash

The truth of the matter is that Boyhood was filmed over 12 years and compiled into one movie. This will be what most are thinking about when they vote, but is not necessarily what they should be thinking about. The editing in a movie is about flow and how every piece is brought together (music, image, pacing, sound). The movies that exemplify that the most are clearly The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Still, Boyhood is the best bet and a worthy winner.


Best Cinematography

Nominees – Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida, Unbroken, Mr. Turner

Who Will Win: Emanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Who Should Win: Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Hoyte Van Hoytema, Interstellar

I personally feel like this category is a bit of a disappointment considering Interstellar was left out when it was properly included in just about every precursor award. Still, there was a lot of great work this year and The use of multiple aspect ratios in The Grand Budapest Hotel was absolutely brilliant. However, it is highly unlikely that anyone defeats Emanuel Lubezki for his one shot work in Birdman


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees – American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Whiplash, Inherent Vice

Who Will Win: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Who Should Win: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Who Could Win: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Graham Moore did an incredible job of taking a very dense tale and using it to completely encapsulate one of the most important unsung heroes of the 20th Century. That alone is reason enough to win this award. However, Damien Chazelle’s mostly original work was certainly something worth singing home about. If he wins it won’t be a bad thing at all, but the safe money is on The Imitation Game.


Best Original Screenplay

Nominees – Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher

Who Will Win: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Could Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Birdman

Don’t be surprised too much if Birdman wins this one, but almost every precursor points towards The Grand Budapest Hotel taking this one. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also the most original film of the bunch (next to Nightcrawler) and it has some of the most clever dialogue. Screenplay is largely seen by the Academy as a dialogue based award.


Best Animated Feature

Nominees – How To Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Boxtrolls, Song of the Sea

Who Will Win: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Who Should Win: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Who Could Win: Big Hero 6

This category has pretty much been a slam dunk all year. The Lego Movie was a little to strange for the Academy’s older point of view, but How To Train Your Dragon is a classic Hollywood epic. The same can be said in a slightly less powerful degree about Big Hero 6, but I doubt it comes across as the winner. It would be nice to see Studio Ghibli win for The Tale of Princess Kaguya, but if they could only win for one of Miyazaki’s masterpieces then this movie hardly stands a chance.


Best Supporting Actress

Nominees – Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Emma Stone (Birdman), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Laura Dern (Wild), Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)

Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

All the women in this category give great performances, but it’s not really even close. This is Arquette in a landslide.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees – Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), J. K. Simmons (Whiplash), Robert Duvall (The Judge)

Who Will Win: J. K. Simmons, Whiplash
Who Should Win: J. K. Simmons, Whiplash

No competition here either. It’s all locked up.

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Best Actress

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

Who Will Win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Who Should Win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Most all of the acting competitions are pretty much locks and this is no different. Plus, Moore really deserves this.

Best Actor

Nominees – Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Who Should Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Who Could Win: Michael Keaton, Birdman
Who Should Have Been Nominated: David Oyelowo, Selma

This is the only acting category that is a challenge, but it shouldn’t be. Michael Keaton did a wonderful job in Birdman, but Eddie Redmayne absolutely captured the physical deterioration of one of the most brilliant men on earth and he made it look easy. This is a part that required intense discipline and complete physical transformation through over a half dozen stages of an illness. It’s a remarkable performance hat deserves the win and should get it.


Best Director
Nominees – Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Birdman), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

Who Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Birdman
Who Should Win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Ava Duvernay, Selma

This is a hard category to predict. Linklater won the Globe, but Innaritu won the DGA and that is the most accurate predictor of the Oscar. You also have to take into account that 71% of Oscar experts are predicting an Innaritu victory. So, I hope I’m wrong, but he is the best bet to walk away with the win.


Best Picture

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

Who Will a Win: Birdman/Boyhood
Who Should Win: Boyhood
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Interstellar

This is the one category that I just can’t give you a definitive either way. The odds just aren’t enough in favor one way or another. Birdman swept the guilds, but Boyhood won the BAFTA. The combined odds give Boyhood a slight advantage, but most experts have their money on Birdman by about 14% margin. That’s so slight that it’s hardly anything. Then when you look at Gold Derby.s combined tally you find that both movies are tied at 46% of the vote. Wow! I’d say Birdman has the slight edge, but it’s certainly not set in stone.

That’s it folks. I hope I’ve helped you win your Oscar pools and I hope you have a wonderful evening celebrating the best of 2014!

Nathan Ligon

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