The 2015 Oscar Nominees: Winning Predictions


Cary, NC — It’s here! It’s finally here! The time for Oscar has come! 2014 was a pretty terrific year at the movies, and it’s always exciting (and sometimes frustrating) to see how the Academy’s tastes line up with your own.

2015 Oscar Predictions

Even though a lot of great films were rightfully nominated this year, I think Oscar got a lot more wrong than he did right this time. Like last year, I’ll do a brief overview of the major categories and give my thoughts on who or what might win. I’ll also give some thoughts on what I think should have been nominated as well.

This is all in good fun, of course. Not every movie you love can get the recognition you think it deserves. And, like I said last year, the only true test of a great film is time.

Anyway, on to the fun part!

Best Actress

And the nominees are…

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alive

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

This is one of the few categories, this year, where there really isn’t one particular favorite–yet. Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon have both captured quite a few critic’s awards for their performances, and rightfully so. Pike is my favorite in this category, but it seems the film itself has lost a lot of steam since it premiered in October.

Moore won a Golden Globe just a few weeks ago for her performance, and she seems poised to be the front-runner in this category, if only barely. Granted, if she does win, it seems it’s because she is overdue more than anything. Nominated five times with zero wins, she is more than deserving of the Oscar, but it’s always a little disappointing when somebody wins for what is regarded not to be their best work.

Predicted Winner: Julianne Moore

Best Actor

And the nominees are…

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Unlike the “Best Actress” category, this one has a clear favorite. It’s Michael Keaton all the way. Keaton has won just about every award there is to give to lead male actors this awards season and, unless something truly drastic happens, I don’t suspect anything should change here.

Now, I’m glad that we might soon live in a world where the phrase “Academy Award Winner Michael Keaton” could exist and he, most certainly, is great in Birdman. But, my goodness, how is Ralph Fiennes not in the race for his delightfully brilliant comic performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel?

That is easily the biggest oversight the Academy made this year, and I believe if Fiennes had been nominated, he would have been the biggest threat to Keaton. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal’s completely unhinged performance in Nightcrawler was severely overlooked as well. Not to mention David Oyelowo’s incredible take on Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. Still, Keaton rules, and I’ll be happy to see him win.

Predicted Winner: Michael Keaton

Best Supporting Actress

And the nominees are…

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightly – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

First off, I have to say how surprised and pleased I was to see Dern sneak into this category. She is so incredible and heartbreaking in Wild, and her nomination is well deserved. However, I think the nomination is the win for her. If I had to choose (and I do), I’m going to say that Arquette will pull the win here.

Mainly because she’s great in the movie and partly because, despite numerous nominations, I don’t think Boyhood is going to win too many awards. The Academy will surely want to reward such a unique film in some way or form. Knightly could pull an upset, though. Like Julianne Moore, she has been nominated numerous times and never won.

Also, Birdman is a favorite this year, and Stone has a lot of supporters. Still, I say this is Arquette’s year. I would have taken out Streep’s performance (sorry, but not sorry) and put in Rene Russo’s from Nightcrawler. Can you tell I loved that movie?

Predicted Winner: Patricia Arquette

Best Supporting Actor

And the nominees are…

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Well, just like in the “Best Actor” category, only one of these nominees has won every award there is this season, and that’s Simmons. Simmons is a character actor who has been around for years now and who has a lot of love from just about everyone in the industry.

He might not be the most well-known actor, but I guarantee if you Google him you will immediately go, “Oh! That guy!” It doesn’t hurt that his performance is one of the most intense and electrifying of the year. Also, I’m so glad Hawke was nominated for his work in Boyhood.

His co-star Arquette has been getting most of the love, but his performance is just as wonderful. As for Robert Duvall’s nomination, I have to admit that I’m a little baffled. He was easily the best part about The Judge, but that’s not saying much. I would have taken him out and put in Andy Serkis’s incredible work as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

It sounds silly, I know, but watch that film and tell me he didn’t put his heart and soul into that performance. I dare you!

Predicted Winner: J.K. Simmons

Best Director

And the nominees are…

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

This is one category where I think the Academy really got it wrong. No David Fincher for Gone Girl? No Ava DuVernay for Selma? Bennett Miller did such a great job directing Foxcatcher, but not good enough for a Best Picture nomination?

Granted, the new rules that allow the “Best Picture” category to have anywhere from five to ten nominations means that someone in this category is going to get the shaft but, still, weird. Anyway, someone has to win. Personally, I’m pulling for Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel is his most emotionally satisfying film to date, and his meticulous eye for detail makes future viewings a delight. However, Linklater could pull an upset.

Filming Boyhood over a period of twelve years is certainly unique and, to keep control and focus over that time on one film, is remarkable. But I say Iñárritu will be the winner come Oscar night. Birdman is the clear front-runner this year, and I don’t think much is going to change here.

Predicted Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Best Picture

And the nominees are…

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


Again, I’m personally pulling for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I think the real dark horse of the race is going to be Boyhood. Like I said before, I think the Academy will definitely want to reward it in some way, it also made a strong enough impression to possible sneak ahead of favorite Birdman and pull an upset.

But, as I just mentioned, this is most likely Birdman’s night. Which I would be fine with, of course. If I had my way, I would also have Gone Girl in the mix here and completely take out American Sniper, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game.

Predicted Winner: Birdman

So there you have it! I think Birdman is going to be the big winner, but man it would be great to see The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood get some love! What movies do you think weren’t nominated that should have been? Write your thoughts in the comments and let us know!

The Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards air February 22, 2015 at 7 pm on the ABC television network.


Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Photo from Davidlohr Bueso.
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2 replies
  1. Cynthia P. Barnett
    Cynthia P. Barnett says:

    Good insights, Jordan. I didn’t see all these films but like your takes on the ones I did. A great year for films.

    Except Boyhood: Fine performances, yes, but to me a rather boring, sad tale. Also too long. Only the original concept behind it made it noteworthy.

    I’ve tweeted your piece—want you to have a wide audience.

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