Ok, y’all, Oscar Sunday is coming. Get your ballots out, your bets drawn, and let’s win (lose?) you some money!

Best Picture

Nominees: “American Sniper;” “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance);” “Boyhood;” “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “The Imitation Game;” “Selma;” “The Theory of Everything;” “Whiplash”

Will Win: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Should Win: “Selma”

This all comes down to “Boyhood” vs. “Birdman.” Will the Academy go for the former, the critics’ favorite, or the latter, a favorite of the industry? “Boyhood” won the Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, but “Birdman” won the Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild, and Directors Awards, suggesting widespread support.

I’m going to go with “Birdman,” but this is the closest of the major races.

Best Director

Nominees: Alejandro G. Inarrritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance);” Richard Linklater, “Boyhood;” Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher;” Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Will Win: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Should Win: Alejandro G. Inarrritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Despite Inarritu’s visionary style, Linklater’s massive accomplishment (filming over twelve consecutive years) will not go unnoticed. There has been divergence between Best Picture and Best Director for the last two years, and I expect this trend to continue.

Best Actor

Nominees: Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher;” Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper;” Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game;” Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance;” Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Will Win: Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Should Win: Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Eddie Redmayne’s been sweeping the awards for his transformative work, but I think that the Academy will go for Keaton, who, at 63, has never been nominated before and may never again. If Keaton does not win, look for “Boyhood” to take Best Picture over “Birdman.”

Best Actress

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, “Still Alice”

Should Win:  Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Julianne Moore is great as a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s, but the film surrounding her never rises to the same level; this is just an excuse to finally allow Moore, a four-time nominee, to win. There was a time when Rosamund Pike looked like a challenger, but, with “Gone Girl”’s near-shutout in nominations, that ship has sailed. Too bad, as Pike’s given one of the most complex performances I’ve ever seen: easily the best of the year.

Best Supporting Actor:

Nominees: Robert Duvall, “The Judge;” Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood;” Edward Norton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance);” Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher;” J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Will Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Should Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

J.K. Simmons, a veteran character actor, is finally getting his due with Damien Chazelle’s exquisite “Whiplash.” If there is a surprise, it’s Edward Norton for his hilarious portrayal of a narcissistic actor, but that isn’t happening. This is the easiest category to call of the night.

Best Supporting Actress: 

Nominees: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood;” Laura Dern, “Wild;” Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game;” Emma Stone, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance);” Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Will Win: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Should Win: Emma Stone, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Another win that’s as much for a career as it is for a performance, Patricia Arquette’s heartbreaking work in “Boyhood” (well, her last scene in “Boyhood,” at least), will add a deserved Oscar to her trophy mantle. Emma Stone has so many great moments in “Birdman,” though.

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: Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

Should Win: Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

I’m going out on a limb here: while “The Theory of Everything” took the BAFTA Award in this category last week, and “The Imitation Game”  (which, it should be noted, is a favorite film that many will want to win somewhere) won the Writers Guild Award, I’m thinking “Whiplash,” which should really be in the Original Screenplay category, takes it. “The Imitation Game” is the most obvious choice here, but its shocking BAFTA loss makes me wonder if the two British films (“Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything”) cancel each other out.

Best Original Screenplay:

Nominees: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance);” Richard Linklater, “Boyhood;” E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher;” Wes Anderson (screenplay) and story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

Will Win: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Should Win: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Wes Anderson’s wondrous, profoundly weird film has inexplicably struck a nerve this awards season, garnering nine Oscar nominations. Anderson, a three-time nominee in this category, is due for a win—it also helps that approximately half of the nearly 1,200 person Acting Branch of the Academy seem to appear in the film.

Abrams is a member of the class of 2017.



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