Oscars 2015: The State Of The Race

LemonWade’s Oscar savant Rex Okpodu has sifted through the clues of the early autumn and issued forth with this assessment for the coming Academy Awards race:

Best Picture
While “Boyhood” is the critics’ darling of 2014 so far, “The Imitation Game,” “Foxcatcher,” “Birdman” and The Theory of Everything” have come blazing from the Cannes, Toronto and Telluride film festivals. “Gone Girl” opened to stellar reviews plus box office and has a very good chance of being included in this category. However, it might turn out to be this year’s “Michael Clayton” (07) or “Up in the Air” (09), films starring another handsome Hollywood liberal (George Clooney) which garnered a host of nominations but few or no wins. These six films will possibly make the shortlist in January:
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Gone Girl
Still to come:
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
American Sniper

Best Director
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
Morten Tydum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
David Fincher, Gone Girl
For the past two years, Oscar has split best director from best picture. Linklater looks like a shoo-in for best director but can “Boyhood” make it all the way to best picture as well? Fincher is very overdue but despite the box office and critical acclaim for “Gone Girl,” it is very much a genre thriller. The last time that kind of film won best picture was way back in 1992 with “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Still to come:
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar
Angelina Jolie, Unbroken
Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
Ava DuVernay, Selma

Best Actor:
Given the catch-all title here at LW as “The Imitation Theory of Birdman,” this race is looking increasingly like a three-way battle between:
Michael Keaton (Birdman),
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything).
Other possibilities include Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher) and Timothy Spall (Mr Turner). Also in play is the director of 2012’s best picture winner, Ben Affleck, who is impressing audiences and critics in “Gone Girl.”

Best Actress:
Possible nominees include;
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
The frontrunner for now is the long-overdue Moore with Witherspoon is in the hunt for Oscar number 2. Jones and Pike will be amply rewarded with first-time nominations which leaves Chastain who is also due but not as overdue as Moore and who stars in an even smaller film than “Still Alice” — “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.”

Best Supporting Actor:
Possible nominees are:
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher
Edward Norton, Birdman
Neil Patrick Harris, Gone Girl
This category has mostly been reserved for veterans and J.K. Simmons is the current frontrunner for his performance in the well-received Sundance feature, “Whiplash.”

Best Supporting Actress:
Possible nominees are:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Emma Stone, Birdman
Kristen Stewart, Still Alice
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Arquette is another veteran seemingly assured of a nomination here and so is Dern. The former is in a much stronger position as “Boyhood” seems destined to win more than a screenplay Oscar assuming it fails to be crowned the year’s best picture and/or director. Oscar’s all time nomination champ, Streep is being campaigned for in this category with Stewart and Knightly likely to round up the list with nominations only.

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