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2015 Academy Award Predictions — Acting Categories

2014 was a great year for movies. There were plenty of notable performances across all of this year’s acting categories. I will try to break down who I think will win, who I think deserves to win, and what surprises may occur.

 

Best Actor

The nominees:

  •             Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
  •             Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
  •             Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
  •             Michael Keaton – Birdman
  •             Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

michael-keaton-birdman-oscar-race-best-actor

 

This is the hardest acting category to call. Carell and Cumberbatch, although giving notable performances, seem like long shots at this point. Cooper, who I at one point dismissed completely (read my review of American Sniper here) may have the January box office push to give him an edge. The two frontrunners that have emerged are Keaton and Redmayne. Both actors won Golden Globes in their respective categories. Redmayne won the SAG Award. Keaton won the Critic’s Choice Award. Keaton seemed like the shoo-in at one point, but Redmayne had a truly great performance that is gaining a lot of acclaim. It’s a toss-up, but I have a feeling Keaton will pull this one out. He’s a Hollywood vet who hasn’t won the golden statue before. Redmayne is young and likely has many more Oscar campaigns in his future.

Will Win: Michael Keaton

Could Win: Eddie Redmayne

Dark Horse: Bradley Cooper

Should Win: Michael Keaton

 

Best Actress

The Nominees:

  •             Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
  •             Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  •             Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  •             Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  •             Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Julianne-Moore-Still-Alice-oscar-best-actress-race

 

Another stacked category. There was a lot of early buzz about Pike in Gone Girl. And I do agree that she is the best part about that movie. Cotillard has won before for La Vie en Rose, but Two Days, One Night is a rather unknown movie compared to the others in this category. Felicity Jones also doesn’t have a lot of traction, despite having a wonderfully multi-faceted performance alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Although I personally love Witherspoon’s turn in Wild, a movie that is dominated by her performance, I don’t think she will pull out the W. Julianne Moore has been racking up the awards this January, and she will likely be able to put the final nail in the coffin with a win on February 22.

Will Win: Julianne Moore

Could Win: Rosamund Pike

Dark Horse: Reese Witherspoon

Should Win: Reese Witherspoon

 

 

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees:

  •             Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  •             Laura Dern, Wild
  •             Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  •             Emma Stone, Birdman
  •             Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Patricia-Arquette-Boyhood-Linklater-best-actress-supporting-Oscar

 

I want to start by saying how pleasantly surprised I am to see Laura Dern’s name among the others in this category. Her role as Reese Witherspoon’s free-spirited mother in Wild was fantastic. That being said, she won’t win the Oscar. Streep, who is nominated essentially every year she’s in a movie, may appear to be a favorite based on name alone. However, Into the Woods wasn’t a strong enough movie to give her the statue. The true race here is between Arquette, Stone, and the dark horse Knightley. I think Arquette has the strongest performance among the three, and is in a film with enough traction to earn her the nod.

Will Win: Patricia Arquette

Could Win: Emma Stone

Dark Horse: Keira Knightley

Should Win: Patricia Arquette

 

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees:

  •             Robert Duvall, The Judge
  •             Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  •             Edward Norton, Birdman
  •             Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  •             J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

jk-simmons-whiplash-screaming-jazz-movie 

This is the easiest of the four acting categories to predict. Duvall is in a movie that wasn’t very popular. I didn’t see it. It hasn’t been getting a whole lot of buzz. Hawke has a good role in a great movie, but it isn’t quite up to the standards of the frontrunners Norton and Simmons. Ruffalo also had a strong performance, but it is really the whole ensemble of Steve Carell, Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum that makes Foxcatcher a worthwhile watch. Rufallo’s performance on its own isn’t a showstopper. This is undoubtedly a two horse race. And I think that it is finally time to give J.K. Simmons a much deserved nod. His role in Whiplash was phenomenal and he is an all-around great actor who hasn’t even been nominated before. This is his year.

Will Win: J.K. Simmons

Could Win: Edward Norton

Dark Horse: Mark Ruffalo

Should Win: J.K. Simmons

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Have you seen these movies? Who do you think will win in these categories? Let me know in the comments!

 

–Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

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