Oscar Predictions 2015–Dawn, Images on Sunday

The following article is published in Dawn, Images on Sunday on the 22nd of February of 2015 here and here.

Oscar Predictions 2015

Who May Win the Oscars Tomorrow

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

Democracy, it seems, will make the Oscar guessing game a challenging exercise this year. So far, apart from a select few categories, a significant number are in disarray because of eligibility regulations in guilds, individual interpretation of placements (especially in both screenplay categories), and shocking snubs.

The series of shudders keep getting bigger, even though by this late in the award season the more respected of the ceremonies are done and over with.

Boyhood, a power-house destined for Oscar greatness, is seriously butting-heads with Birdman, which popped-up to secure wins in all the prestigious guild awards. Richard Linklater, once a shoe-in for Best Director is against Alejandro González Iñárritu. Alternately in Best Picture, Birdman is set to beat Boyhood. But then again, it’s also highly likely that Iñárritu may win Director and Picture would go to Birdman.

Other messed-up awards fall in Adapted Screenplay, Score (probably the most ingenious and competitive of all categories), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Foreign Film nominations.

As far as top-tiered titles go, American Sniper – our least favored of the heavy-hitters – is still formidable in the race because of the geography, mindset and the genre it may represent (it is, by the way, director Clint Eastwood’s least persuasive movie). The Grand Budapest Hotel, with nine nominations, is perhaps the only title that proved its resilience with both critics and the award season time-frame. The film came out in early March of 2014, and will nab accolades in unexpected categories; in fact, by the end of the ceremony tomorrow, it may very well bag the most wins of the night. And Whiplash, our beloved of the bunch, is in a jam in multiple nominations; it’s only guaranteed win will be J.K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor.

New pundits often live in a grand delusion believing that the Academy Awards can be mapped by guesstimating wins from actors, producers and writer’s guilds or from far-flung award ceremonies like the BAFTA’s or the Golden Globes. That’s not the way it works.

In our ten year old experience of forecasting the Oscars, we rely on a mix of techniques to speculate where the Academy members will cast their ballots. The process includes, but is not limited to, a logical and systematic breakdown of award wins, industry influences, insights and the title’s campaign strengths and weaknesses. But before all this, we go through a rigorous cram-session of viewing every available nominated title in its entirety, regardless of its triviality or officiousness (out of 46 titles we’ve seen 41; the remaining are yet to be released on video or on-demand). This strenuous effort helps us decide on the quality of the nominated movies. After all, being nominated, and being a favorite, doesn’t really guarantee victories.

We believe gut plays a big part in guiding our decisions on what may happen (this particular instinct helped us score a perfect forecast at last year’s Oscars). Of course, we have our own individual preferences that may clash with the direction the Oscars are heading.

There is, however, one absolute prediction this year: surprises will spring up right through the Oscars presentation tomorrow.

PICTURE

Unanimous: Birdman

Upset: Boyhood

DIRECTOR

Will Win: Richard Linklater – Boyhood

MKJ/FJ: Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman

ACTOR

Unanimous: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

(Least Possible) Upset: Michael Keaton – Birdman

ACTRESS

Unanimous: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Unanimous: J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

(Least Possible) Upset: Edward Norton – Birdman

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Will Win: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

MKJ/FJ: Laura Dern – Wild

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Will Win/MKJ: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Upset/FJ: Birdman

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Will Win: The Imitation Game / Whiplash

MKJ/FJ: Whiplash

ANIMATED – FEATURE

Will Win/FJ: How to Train Your Dragon 2

MKJ: Song of the Sea

Upset: Big Hero 6

FOREIGN

Will Win: Ida

MKJ/FJ: Tangerines

Upset: Leviathan / Wild Tales

DOCUMENTARY – FEATURE

Unanimous: Citizenfour

Upset: Virunga

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Unanimous: Birdman

Upset: Ida / The Grand Budapest Hotel

EDITING

Will Win: Boyhood

MKJ/FJ: Whiplash

Upset: American Sniper

SOUND EDITING

Will Win: American Sniper

MKJ/FJ: Birdman

Upset: Interstellar

SOUND MIXING

Unanimous: Whiplash

Upset: American Sniper

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Unanimous: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Upset: Mr. Turner / Into the Woods

MAKE-UP AND HAIR STYLING

Will Win/FJ: The Grand Budapest Hotel

MKJ: Foxcatcher

FJ: The Guardians of the Galaxy

COSTUME

Unanimous: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Upset: Into the Woods

VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: Interstellar

MKJ/FJ: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

(Least Possible) Upset: The Guardians of the Galaxy

ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: The Theory of Everything

MKJ: The Theory of Everything / The Grand Budapest Hotel

FJ: The Imitation Game/ The Theory of Everything

Probable Upset: The Grand Budapest Hotel

SONG

Will Win: Glory – Selma

MKJ: Everything is Awesome – The Lego Movie / Glory – Selma

FJ: Glory – Selma / Lost Stars – Begin Again

Upset: Everything is Awesome – The Lego Movie

ANIMATED SHORT

Unanimous: Feast

Upset: The Dam Keeper

Oscar Awards - Images on Sunday

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