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Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2015 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2014)

Okay, we might as well just face facts. I have been doing these annual “predictions” for 17(!) years now, and it has become painfully obvious that what I am mainly at here each year is not so much the business of predicting as just having an excuse to do some typing in January. So here I am typing again.

The good thing about doing this for so many years is that, by now, I could do this in my sleep. In fact, this time around that is precisely what I did. Yes, it’s true. I came up with these predictions in my sleep. Let’s see if that works any better than my usual method, which is to compose my table of likely, deserving and overlooked contenders in a drunken stupor. But enough about me.

The fact is that the business of predicting the Academy Award winners has gotten so, well, predictable. The people who worry about this (I mean, people who worry way more than I do) have it all down to a fine science. As the nominations—and, later, the awards themselves—approach, there are all kinds of metrics to indicate which way things are heading. It’s a bit like U.S. presidential elections. The bean counters all know where all the votes for everyone are. It’s just a matter of sussing out who will fail to turn up the day of the balloting.

The other predictable thing is that certain groups of people will feel snubbed or, perhaps more accurately, certain groups of people will feel offended at slights toward certain other groups of people. This year such groups include everyone from people who like Jennifer Aniston to people on watch for slights to the African-American community. Personally, more disturbing to me is the high number of categories in which I agreed that the most likely winners were probably also the most deserving ones. If this keeps up, I may have to eliminate an entire column from my annual table.

Some may have expected me to engage in a rant about how the finale of the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, should have gotten a bunch of nominations. Of course it should have, but I am not so out-of-touch that I am going to go on about it when discussing something as serious and important as the Academy Awards. But I have still indulged my inner geek by putting in some shout-outs for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar which, while not a perfect film (and which ones are?), was of more than sufficient quality to compete with the usual clutch of Oscar-bait flicks that again populate the nominations. In particular, Mackenzie Foy was well deserving of a Supporting Actress nod. I also strove to include my beloved Emma Thompson somewhere on my listed of snubbed actors, but it turns out that her only on-screen role for the year was in Effie Gray (which she also wrote). Oops.

If I break my pattern and actually guess, I mean predict, too many of these correctly, I promise to immediately go back to my old method of just getting stinking drunk before I start typing. Let’s face it, I had no business coming up with this list in my sleep at a time when I should have been wide awake. Just as I will be watching the Academy Awards ceremony on February 22 (actually the early hours of February 23, in my time zone), trying to stay awake at a time when I should be sound asleep.


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win

Should Have Been Nominated But Wasn’t

Best Picture




Best Actor

Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Best Actress

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Stacy Keach (If I Stay)

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)

Best Director

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Christopher Nolan (Interstellar)

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo (Birdman)

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Boxtrolls

The Lego Movie

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida (Poland)

Ida (Poland)

Force Majeure (Sweden)