Axelrod's Oscar Predictions

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Josh Axelrod

The Academy Awards are this Sunday, and it’s turning out to be one of the most unpredictable Oscar seasons since the battle between Braveheart and Apollo 13, twenty years ago. Critics have been changing their minds on major categories down to the last second. Only one thing is certain: this will not be a lackluster ceremony. Here’s a breakdown of the major awards and who will win.
 
Best Picture: Boyhood had been ahead to win the big prize for months, claiming top awards from critics and receiving Best Drama Film at the Golden Globes. However with significant recent wins at the Director’s Guild and Producers Guild Awards Birdman has thrown a wrench in what seemed like a clear-cut Best Picture race and emerged as a very real contender. I believe Boyhood will still claim the top prize because of its sentimentality and scope, but do not be surprised if Birdman swoops in and wins Best Picture.
 
Best Director: Again, the battle between Boyhood and Birdman rages on. The award either goes to Richard Linklater, whose dedication to a twelve-year project was realized in Boyhood’s beauty and simplicity, or Alejandro Inarritu, whose stylish direction and crazy-camera work earned plaudits worldwide. I choose Inarritu because the Directors Guild honored him as the year’s best director and his camerawork is recognizably impressive compared to Linklater’s more subtle job. Then again, Linklater could overcome Inarritu if Boyhood gained enough momentum among voters.
 
Best Actor: Michael Keaton was the frontrunner to win for quite some time, but Eddie Redmayne has slipped into first place recently and rightfully so. Redmayne will probably collect the Oscar because of his physical transformation and real-life portrayal of Stephen Hawking. However, the Academy does love a comeback and this would be an opportunity to witness Keaton grace the stage and winning gold after a near two-decade hiatus from the limelight. This could be Keaton’s first Oscar and will probably be his last chance to win one so affection might win out, but I think Redmayne will be following Daniel Day-Lewis’ career path after he portrayed the disabled Christy Brown in My Left Foot by winning his first Academy Award.
 
Best Actress: Julianne Moore is a lock for Still Alice. Nobody else matters in this category. Reese Witherspoon is Wild if she thinks she is stealing this award from Moore.
 
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons will deservedly win the Oscar for the best performance of his career. If Birdman is really killing it Sunday night, Ed Norton has a chance to slip in and win, but it is extremely doubtful.
 
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette will surely win, but just like Norton, Emma Stone has a miniscule possibility of winning if Birdman is on fire, and collecting awards left and right.
 
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game will probably earn this prize, but Whiplash was the little film that could this year. Voters may want to honor the drumming drama, but my guess is Simmons’ sure win for Best Supporting Actor will be enough and the Alan Turing biopic will receive the screenwriting prize.
 
Best Original Screenplay: Many are predicting The Grand Budapest Hotel will win this award, but I think Birdman can easily take it. Its endless layers and symbolism should be recognized over Wes Anderson’s delightfully intelligent comedy. Either nominee deserves the prize but I think Birdman gets the edge with its literary depth.
 
Best Score: Everybody thinks Johann Johannsson’s got the composing award in the bag for The Theory of Everything but I think Hans Zimmer is being seriously under-considered. The 8-time Oscar nominee and 1995 winner did extensive research and labor to invent a unique sound for Interstellar that was the film’s best attributes. Zimmer’s work is well-known and this is a great way to honor the space epic that should’ve received many more nominations than it did.
 
Best Original Song: John Legend and Common will clearly win for their song “Glory” from Selma. However, it’s shameful that this is the only award Selma will win Sunday night.
 
Neil Patrick Harris will host the Oscars this Sunday night, February 22, and all debates and queries will be quelled then. Until then, try to catch up on some of this year’s nominees. 2015 represented an excellent year for filmmaking and features some movies that will surely be celebrated in years to come.Untitled Banner