by Madison Mathews// Contributing Writer
Hollywood will honor its own this Sunday, during the 87th Academy Awards. Before the little golden men are given out and the wrong movie is awarded to this year’s prestigious title of Best Picture, I thought it would be a good time to make my predictions for how this year’s Oscars are going to go down.
Rather than go through the entire list, I’m just going to focus on the “Big 8,” which are the categories that focus on the actors, the movies, and the writers.
Nominees: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash.”
Will Win: “Birdman”
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s commentary on the world of entertainment will be given the award. It’s just the type of movie Hollywood typically likes to give the Best Picture title to. On the surface it looks deep, but once you dig deeper, you realize it’s a pretty empty film which fumbles its way to satire.
Should Win: “Boyhood”
I love “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Selma,” but “Boyhood” is a masterpiece that deserves the true title of Best Picture. It’s a three-hour epic that focuses on the quiet moments life is made of. It has the potential to be a dark horse in the race, but I think the reflective beauty of “Boyhood” will be overshadowed by “Birdman’s” artistic artifice.
Nominees: Wes Anderson — “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu — “Birdman,” Richard Linklater — “Boyhood,” Bennett Miller — “Foxcatcher, Morten Tyldum — “The Imitation Game”
Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Iñárritu took home Best Director at the Directors Guild awards, which is typically a shoe-in for the Oscar. His win will just be another bizarre step in “Birdman’s” journey to the top prize.
Should Win: Richard Linklater
Ava DuVernay, who directed “Selma,” should really be getting the award. Not only did she deserve it, but it would set a historical precedent as she would be the first black woman to ever win Best Director. Since that scenario isn’t in the cards, Linklater should win, but he won’t. He did win at the Golden Globes, but Iñárritu will it steal it away from him.
Nominees: Steve Carell — “Foxcatcher,” Bradley Cooper — “American Sniper,” Benedict Cumberbatch — “The Imitation Game,” Michael Keaton — “Birdman,” Eddie Redmayne — “The Theory of Everything”
Should and Will Win: Michael Keaton
Redmayne was an early contender for his work as Stephen Hawking, but it’ll be Keaton taking home that little gold man. If “Birdman” deserves any accolades its Keaton’s performance. He’s electric in the role of a washed-up actor trying to find his place in the current landscape of Hollywood.
Nominees: 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
I haven’t seen all of the movies these fine actresses were nominated for. That said, Moore has won Best Actress at both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards, which pretty guarantees her a lock on her first win. She’s been nominated four times before, so fifth time’s the charm.
Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Where was she in the nominee list, you may ask? She’s not in the list above, which brings me to the next category.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Patricia Arquette — “Boyhood,” Laura Dern — “Wild,” Keira Knightley — “The Imitation Game,” Emma Stone — “Birdman,” Meryl Streep — “Into the Woods”
Should and Will Win: Patricia Arquette
OK, this is where I get a little angry at the Oscars. Anyone who has seen “Boyhood” knows Arquette’s performance as the mom is the true lead performance of the film. While the boy is one we see grow from a little kid into a young man, Arquette’s journey in the film has a true arc. The movie could’ve easily been called “Motherhood.” Anyway, there’s no other competition in this category. The statue pretty much already belongs to Arquette.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Robert Duvall — “The Judge,” Ethan Hawke — “Boyhood,” Edward Norton — “Birdman,” Mark Ruffalo — “Foxcatcher,” J.K. Simmons — “Whiplash”
Should and Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Much like Arquette, Simmons has this category locked down. The 60-year-old character actor’s brilliant performance in the indie smash “Whiplash” in which he plays a sadistic music instructor is the stuff of legend. He’s on fire throughout the entire film, working magically off of co-star Miles Teller. You’ve likely already seen Simmons in plenty of movies and TV shows before, but get ready to a lot more of him.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo — “Birdman,” Richard Linklater — “Boyhood,” E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman — “Foxcatcher,” Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness — “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Dan Gilroy — “Nightcrawler”
Should and Will Win: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness — “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
While this category could come down to a battle between “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” Wes Anderson will win his first Oscar for the best film of his quirky career. The decades-long comedy set in an Eastern European country in between two wars took home the Golden Globe and the British Academy of Film and Television award, which makes it pretty clear Anderson will finally have an Oscar.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Jason Hall — “American Sniper,” Graham Moore — “The Imitation Game,” Paul Thomas Anderson — “Inherent Vice,” Anthony McCarten — “The Theory of Everything,” Damien Chazelle — “Whiplash”
Will Win: Graham Moore — “The Imitation Game”
The biopic about the life of Alan Turing was a critical darling and early contender for some of the top prizes, but it’s lost a lot of steam over the course of awards season. Moore’s script has been recognized with many accolades, however, which put him in a good position to win the award.
Should Win: Damien Chazelle — “Whiplash”
The fact that Chazelle’s script is considered an adaptation is as confounding as all the critical love for “Birdman.” It’s a smart script written by one of the most talented Hollywood newcomers. If this is Chazelle at the start of his career, then I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.