Oscar Predictions: Here's Who Will Win (and Who the Night's Biggest Surprise Might Be)

by John Boone 3:46 PM PST, February 20, 2015
Photo: Fox Searchlight

The movies have been screened. The votes have been cast. And now everyone in Hollywood is sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, and waiting for Sunday night’s Oscars to find out whose “Academy Award Nominee” title will officially become “Academy Award Winner.”

Here are our predictions for the night’s biggest awards:

Best Picture

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The tightest race of the year, Best Picture is basically a toss-up between Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and Boyhood.

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: Consulting Oscar predictions from trades like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline, as well as Buzzfeed, IndieWire, and The L.A. Times, the overwhelming consensus is that Birdman will win.

Who We Think Will Win: But we’re still going with Boyhood. Both films are true feats of cinema and, as such, have pretty much split awards season down the middle, but we favor heart to spectacle in the end.

The Dark Horse: Making a last minute push for the title, American Sniper has a swell of support from Middle America and box office success to bolster its chances, but it will almost certainly prove too controversial of a choice.

Best Actor

Photo: Focus Features

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: Three of the six outlets predict The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne (with two picking Michael Keaton for Birdman). “Let’s face it, [Redmayne] has the role and he does Stephen Hawking proud,” Deadline writes.

Who We Think Will Win: We agree. The Academy love actors channeling real-life people, and Eddie Redmayne does that and then some in this film. Keaton’s Oscar win might be a long time coming, but it will have to wait at least one more year.

The Dark Horse: Everyone says Bradley Cooper is really good in American Sniper...

Best Actress

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: All but one outlet say this is Julianne Moore’s to lose. “Moore has pretty much had this locked down since September,” Indiewire writes. “And there's really no conceivable scenario that could change that."

Who We Think Will Win: This is a no brainer. Julianne Moore in Still Alice wasn’t just the best acting from an actress this year; it was some of the best acting from any actor ever. If, for some reason, she loses, it will be one of the Academy’s biggest f*ck-ups.

The Dark Horse: Somewhat surprisingly, the only alternative to Moore that occasionally arises is Marion Cotillard, for her understated performance in Two Days, One Night. Then again, she was a dark horse to get nominated over Jennifer Aniston and we know how that turned out.

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Best Supporting Actor

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: The unanimous favorite is J.K. Simmons for Whiplash. “Boy does he own it: From his closely shaved head to the tips of his constantly moving fingers...it’s exhilarating to watch Simmons burn up the screen,” Variety explains.

Who We Think Will Win: It’s about time J.K. Simmons got recognized.

The Dark Horse: This category is basically a sure thing at this point, but there’s always room on Oscar night for an upset. Edward Norton’s perfect balance of comic relief and narcissistic antagonism in Birdman might -- but not really -- have a shot at usurping Simmons.

Best Supporting Actress

Photo: IFC Films

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: Again, across the board, Patricia Arquette is picked for Boyhood. “Arquette has been collecting just about every trophy she can earn for her 12-year-long performance,” Buzzfeed writes. “There is no reason for her to stop at the Oscars.”

Who We Think Will Win: There’s no way Patricia Arquette wins every single award leading up to the Oscars then goes home empty handed. Especially for such a thoughtful, vulnerable role that she dedicated herself to for over a decade.

The Dark Horse: Arquette will win. But never underestimate Meryl Streep.

Best Director

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: Three to two say Birdman’s Alejandro G. Iñárritu will take this over Boyhood’s Richard Linklater. “Tight race goes to the Directors Guild of America winner,” the L.A. Times points out.

Who We Think Will Win: Again, we’re backing Boyhood over Birdman. Iñárritu crafted a technical marvel with truly winning performances, but Richard Linklater dedicated over 10 years of his life to this work and the Academy will reward him for that.

The Dark Horse: Like Best Picture, this category is really a toss-up between Iñárritu and Linklater. But should someone else come out on top, perhaps it would be Wes Anderson, who made a truly enjoyable, memorable and undeniably Wes Anderson-y movie.

NEWS: Here’s your cheat sheet to all of 2015’s Oscar nominated movies

Best Original Song

Photo: Getty Images

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: The favorite going into Oscar night is “Glory” by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma. “The only realistic way Selma can be called an Academy Award winner is if ‘Glory’ wins...and after all the bad feelings about its lack of nominations this year, that is what is going to happen,” Buzzfeed says.

Who We Think Will Win: Selma was such a good -- and important -- movie that it will be criminal if it doesn’t manage to clinch one victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nominated for much, so it’ll have to make do with “Glory.”

The Dark Horse: Sigh. It still boggles our mind and makes us question everything we know to be true that The LEGO Movie wasn’t nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. So we wouldn’t mind seeing its instantly infectious theme song, “Everything Is Awesome” by Shawn Patterson, somewhat rights that wrong.

Best Original Screenplay

Photo: The Weinstein Company

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: Most have their money on Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness for The Grand Budapest Hotel. “This is finally a perfect opportunity to go a little quirkier and give it to WGA and BAFTA winner Wes Anderson for being reliably original,” Deadline argues.

Who We Think Will Win: Birdman and Boyhood, the night’s obvious juggernauts, both compete once again in this category, but if the Original Screenplay category truly wants to honor originality, the award will (finally) go to Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Dark Horse: It’s a shame Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler didn’t get nominated for more this year (especially for Gyllenhaal’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink performance), but arguably the entire movie hinged on its dark, funny, completely insane, but flawlessly written script. We’d be shocked -- not in a bad way either -- if Gilroy won.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Photo: The Weinstein Company

Who Everyone Thinks Will Win: The guesses are all over the place, but the one most often mentioned is Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game. “Imitation Game remains a beautiful piece of writing, blending a classical gift for language with an intricate nonlinear structure,” Variety says.

Who We Think Will Win: If you’ve followed the drama circling it, you’ll know Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash doesn’t belong among the Adapted nominees. But it could come as a blessing, because Chazelle’s script easily creates the most dynamic characters and memorable story of this bunch.

The Dark Horse: Maybe American Sniper? Gosh, we hope not.

The Oscars will be handed out live this Sunday at 8:30p.m. ET/5:30p.m. PST on ABC and Entertainment Tonight will be live from the red carpet! Find out where to tune in to watch ET interview all of your favorite stars: