I am a movie fan — pure and simple. I have even been known to take movie vacations, where I catch up on movies and see one every day. One of my favorite things is predicting who will win at the Academy Awards. It is not just about whether a performance was better than others, but you have to factor in such things as have they won before, are they or the movie too popular, have they been overlooked before, and so on. This is one of the most open fields in years. Here are my picks for the Top Six Awards.
Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman [or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
All are Oscar virgins in this category, but it really comes down to 2 people here: Eddie Redmayne and Bradley Cooper. In Eddie Redmayne, you get a good-looking guy to play a disfigured nerd with a debilitating illness; whereas with Cooper, it’s his 3rd straight nomination in 3 years. Winner: Eddie Redmayne
Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Two former Oscar winners here — Cotillard and Witherspoon. Of those left, 2 are new — Felicity and Rosamund. Julianne is a previous nominee, and has yet to win. She has proven she can do small parts in studio blockbusters like The Hunger Games, and nice independent movies like Still Alice. But after seeing Wild, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reese win again. Winner: Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman [or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Meryl Streep was great as always, but she has won or been nominated so many times, she is not winning again! Emma Stone’s role in Birdman didn’t do much for me, she’s been better in other movies. But as the mother in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette has proved she is the one to beat. Winner: Patricia Arquette
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman [or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Robert Duvall has won before, so he’s out. If there is a sweep for Boyhood, it could pull along Ethan Hawke. But smart money says it is going to go to the role of music instructor J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. He’s been around for years, bit parts in many TV shows and movies. It’s his time. Winner: J.K. Simmons
Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman [or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
Inarritu has been here before with Babel. And Miller with Capote. Neither of them has won before. But for shepherding his passion project though 12 years, I think Linklater is the one to beat. Winner: Richard Linklater
American Sniper, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash
American Sniper and Selma have both taken heat for their portrayal of real events. American Sniper for being a limited view of a contentious war, and celebrating a somewhat crazy soldier with PTSD. Selma for it’s portrayal of President LBJ. Grand Budapest Hotel is too quirky and flimsy for a best picture. The race is coming down to either Birdman or Boyhood. Birdman reminded me a little of Black Swan with it’s behind the scenes look at a show. And that movie didn’t win. But for a movie that is so small, and yet so universal — I think it going to be Boyhood. Winner: Boyhood
Those are my picks. If you think differently, then please sound off in the comments. And if you win big in an Oscar pool, please let me know too.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.