Oscars 2015: Who Will Be Nominated?

osc-banner_statuetteIt’s finally here!  We are mere hours away from finding out the nominees of the 87th Academy Awards and officially beginning the Oscar Season.  Who of the Hollywood elite will be chosen?  Below are my predictions of the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture of the Year.

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Robert Duvall, The Judge

The first four actors listed are a lock for nominations.  Throughout the award season each has been continuously nominated for their performances in their respective films.  The real dark horse is Robert Duvall.  The Judge was a film that had great expectations, but failed to perform with both critics and audiences.  It is surprising to me that Duvall received a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes.  However, Oscar loves to recognize career movie stars with nominations late in life.  At 84 years old, this may be his last chance for a nomination.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Keira Knightly, The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

After her win at the Golden Globes on Sunday, Arquette is basically guaranteed a nomination, and has also become the frontrunner in this race.  Knightley’s turn as female code breaker Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game has continued to garner rave reviews, so she will most likely earn her second career nomination.  Of the three likely nominees from Birdman, Stone’s performance is the one most likely to be forgotten.  However, the touching scenes between her and Michael Keaton brought much needed heart to the film.  This will probably be rewarded with a nomination.  The last two spots are tricky.  While Chastain’s performance is being touted by critics, the late release of A Most Violent Year may hurt her chances at gaining a nomination.  She was nominated for a Golden Globe, but failed to secure nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy Awards (BAFTA).  A last minute publicity push may garner her one of the open spots in this category.  Lastly, Oscar favorite, Meryl Streep.  The perennial nominee will most likely secure her record breaking 19th nomination come Thursday morning for her role at the Witch in Into the Woods.

Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

David Oyelowo, Selma

I am actually going to put out the statement that if any of the first four actors listed do not hear their name called on Thursday morning, I will fall off of my chair, curl up in the fetal position, and cry.  Each of these performances was profound and moving.  In a lesser year, any of these four could be the front runner.  This leaves the fifth spot.  I am vacillating between David Oyelowo’s performance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal’s creepy, unblinking performance in Nightcrawler.  While Gyllenhaal has received Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG nominations, I am going to have to give the edge to Oyelowo.  Every year Oscar throws a bit of a curve ball and I really think that it will be in this race.  The Academy also has a penchant for nominating actors who portray real people.  This should give Oyelowo the push he needs.

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Rosamond Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Jennifer Aniston, Cake

Once again, the first four actresses listed can rest easy, as their name will be announced on Thursday.  These ladies can feel free to not set their alarms for 5:30 am and simply awake to many congratulations.  It is the last spot that is tricky.  Jennifer Aniston’s performance in Cake has been touted as the best of her career.  The fact that the film has not been released may very well work against her.  Cake is not scheduled to open until January 23, and even then, it will be a limited release.  It is possible that she may lose this opportunity due to bad timing.  If she does not grab this spot, it will probably be taken by five time Oscar nominee, Amy Adams for her role in Big Eyes.  While the film has received middling reviews, Adams’s performance has been praised.  While Adams has been nominated for the past two years, the films she was nominated for were much stronger than Big Eyes.  Expect Aniston to get the nod.

Best Picture

Boyhood

Birdman

The Theory of Everything

The Imitation Game

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Selma

Whiplash

Nightcrawler

American Sniper

Since the Academy implemented the rule that there can be up to ten nominees for Best Picture, it is difficult to choose how many actually will be nominated.  Based on the films this year and what has been nominated by various groups, I will give a list of ten possibilities.  The first six films will definitely be deemed worthy for Oscar contention.  Selma has been losing momentum in the past few weeks, most notably by being completely snubbed by the BAFTAs.  While Whiplash will be assured a nomination for J.K. Simmons in the Supporting Actor category, it might be too small a film to break into the Best Picture category.  Nightcrawler has garnered nominations from AFI and the Producers Guild, it may be forgotten due to its early release date.  American Sniper has the pedigree of Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper behind it, but it was snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the BAFTAs.  However, it has recently regained some ground by receiving a Producers Guild nomination. 

The 87th Academy Award Nominations will be announced, live, beginning at 8:30 am EST on Thursday, January 15. 

—Ariadne Ansbro

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