Donald Clarke's crystal ball: What should win and what will win the Oscars

Last year The Irish Times called every award correctly. Fingers crossed for 2015

 

It wasn’t always this way. But predicting the Oscars is now a little like anticipating the results of a presidential election. We already know the winners in most constituencies. What remains of interest is the behaviour of a few volatile voters in a few swing states. Ponder this. Last year 100 per cent of this writer’s predictions proved correct. Either The Irish Times is infallible or this game is getting a lot easier.

BEST PICTURE

Nominees

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Will win

Birdman. After a slow start, most of the precursor awards have gone its way.

Should win

The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson’s best film. Could easily take the most Oscars.

E_J_WEB

BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees

Wes Anderson, for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alejandro González Iñárritu, for Birdman

Richard Linklater, for Boyhood

Bennett Miller, for Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum, for The Imitation Game

Will win

Alejandro Iñárritu. This year, as the two main competitors are “directorial achievements”, expect picture and director to tally as they used to.

Should win

Bennett Miller. Or Anderson. Or Linklater. All made fine films. Sadly, Foxcatcher never caught on with awards juries.

H_J_WEB

BEST ACTOR

Nominees

Steve Carell, for Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, for American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, for The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, for Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, for The Theory of Everything

Will win

Eddie Redmayne. Has everything the Oscar requires (although Redmayne is younger than most winners): real person, debilitating disease. If Birdman fails to win best picture he’s utterly safe.

Should win

Steve Carell. Carrell’s turn as a psychotic billionaire is by far the most original of the nominated performances. As a result, he doesn’t stand a chance.

WKOSCARSFOXCATCHER_WEB

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees

Marion Cotillard, for Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, for The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, for Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, for Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, for Wild

Will win

Julianne Moore. She’s been nominated five times. She plays somebody with a “condition”. Even invasion by North Korea wouldn’t stop her.

Should win

Julianne Moore. Oh why not? The film is a humble affair, but Moore’s portrayal of a person succumbing to Alzheimer’s is properly touching.

WKOSCARSMOORE_WEB

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees

Robert Duvall, for The Judge

Ethan Hawke, for Boyhood

Edward Norton, for Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, for Foxcatcher

JK Simmons, for Whiplash

Will win

JK Simmons. He gets to tear up the set with full-on bravura madness. He’s a veteran. Safe as sausages.

Should win

JK Simmons. It is both the biggest and the best of the performances.

WKOSCARSJKSIMMONS_WEB

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees

Patricia Arquette, for Boyhood

Laura Dern, for Wild

Keira Knightley, for The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, for Birdman

Meryl Streep, for Into the Woods

Will win

Patricia Arquette. More than a few critics noted that Linklater’s film could (perhaps should) have been called ‘Motherhood’.

Should win

Patricia Arquette. Maintaining and developing a character over 12 years is no mean feat. For mums everywhere.

WKOSCARSARQUETTE_WEB

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