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    Oscar Picks

    garyNow, with marriage equality thankfully a reality here February 22 is the date of the 87th Academy Awards. There are several clear winners, but also some real wild cards. Here’s an educated guess as to what will win in the major categories at this year’s Oscars ceremony.


    Best Picture:

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

    What Will Win: Boyhood was the favorite going into the nominations, but Birdman seems to have the momentum in the homestretch. Expect Birdman to win by a beak.


    Best Director:

    Nominees: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher; Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

    movieWho Will Win: Richard Linklater (Boyhood) should be recognized for his magnificent achievement. However, Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman has been generating more attention closer to the ceremony. It’s 50/50, but deserving for whomever wins.


    Best Actor:

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

    Who Will Win: Michael Keaton should get the Oscar for his comeback performance in Birdman, but it’s more likely that Eddie Redmayne will sneak in and steal the prize. Remember, it’s not the best acting, but the most acting that generally wins the award.


    Best Actress:

    Nominees: Marion Cottilard, Two Days, One Night; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Juliane Moore, Still Alice; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Reese Witherspoon, Wild

    Who Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice, if not for her miraculous performance then for her years of being nominated.


    Best Supporting Actor:

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

    Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash. He is the odds-on favorite here and is sure to win.


    Best Supporting Actress:

    boyhoodNominees: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Laura Dern, Wild; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

    Who Will Win: Dern, Knightley and Stone were all fantastic, and it would be a close call if it weren’t for Arquette, who has this category locked down. Arquette gave a truly moving performance.


    Best Documentary:

    Nominees: Citizenfour; Finding Vivian Maier; Last Days in Vietnam; The Salt of the Earth; Virunga

    What Will Win: Citizenfour for sure. It’s a stunning film about a hot-button subject.


    Best Foreign Language Film:
    Nominees: Ida (Poland); Leviathan (Russia); Tangerines (Estonia); Timbuktu (Mauritania); Wild Tales (Argentina)

    What Will Win: Ida has been the favorite, so far, and likely will take home the prize. Don’t, however, discount Leviathan, which has been generating attention. That said, Wild Tales is an incredibly fun film, and might provide an upset. The smart money is on Ida, though.


    Best Animated Feature:

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

    What Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2 has the popular support, but Big Hero 6 could take the prize in an upset.


    Best Original Screenplay:

    Nominees: Birdman; Boyhood; Foxcatcher; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Nightcrawler

    What Will Win: If considered the “booby prize” for the film that misses Best Picture or Best Director, Boyhood or Birdman could take this category, but for that very same reason, expect The Grand Budapest Hotel to get this prize.


    Best Adapted Screenplay:

    Nominees: American Sniper; The Imitation Game; Inherent Vice; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash

    What Will Win: With the “booby prize” theory above, The Imitation Game could take this prize, given that it will be an also-ran in every other category. However, American Sniper has been a phenomenon, and this could be one of its rewards for prompting such a heated debate. If there is a surprise upset here, expect Whiplash to sneak in.


    Best Animated Short Film:
    Nominees: The Bigger Picture; The Dam Keeper; Feast; Me and My Moulton; A Single Life

    What Will Win: Feast is a charming Disney short about a dog. Practically a lock.


    Best Live Action Short Film:

    Nominees: Aya; Boogaloo and Graham; Butter Lamp; Parvaneh; The Phone Call

    What Will Win: If the Oscars really awarded the statue to the best film, it would be Butter Lamp. Alas, the lesser short, The Phone Call, will take home this prize, in part because it has name actors in it.


    Best Cinematography:
    Nominees: Birdman; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Ida; Mr. Turner; Unbroken

    What Will Win: Birdman, for its dazzling “single” shot.


    Best Editing:

    Nominees: American Sniper; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Whiplash

    What Will Win: Boyhood, for seamlessly weaving together 12 years of filming, though American Sniper or even Whiplash could prove a spoiler.

    © 2015 Gary M. Kramer

    Gary M. Kramer is the author of “Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews,” and the co-editor of “Directory of World Cinema: Argentina.” Follow him on Twitter @garymkramer