They are finally in! Nominations for the Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, were announced on Jan. 15, and include films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, and Boyhood in a number of different categories.
Some clear snubs were blatantly obvious, and many fans of films such as Unbroken and Selma, which were not nominated for awards, have been outraged. However, there is a lot of competition to receive the Best Picture or Director title because only a certain number of actors and movies can be placed in each category. So, without further ado, let’s get into each of the main categories and the predicted winners on February 22.
A tight race is expected for the Best Picture title. The nominated films for Best Picture are American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash. Although it would be nice for a comedy such as Grand Budapest to receive the Best Picture award, critics have predicted otherwise. Boyhood, shot over a 10-year period, is predicted to win based on its moving, coming-of-age story. However, Sniper and Selma invoke real stories from the past. The audience will simply have to wait for how the Best Picture award turns out.
Boyhood also appears to be the frontrunner for Best Director. This is simply because the mastermind behind the film, Richard Linklater, took a risk to produce it based on young Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane’s) life. The other nominees include Birdman from Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Foxcatcher from Bennett Miller, The Grand Budapest Hotel from Wes Anderson, and The Imitation Game from Morten Tyldum. Many still predict Birdman will receive the Best Director because of how the film was shot. The goal was to mimic one continuous take, and actors such as Naomi Watts and Keaton felt the pressure to perform their best in each take.
Critics agree that Best Actor in a Leading Role is most likely going to Michael Keaton for Birdman. Considering he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture this year, it is likely the Academy will award him another title because of his filmography since the late 1970s in movies like Beetlejuice and Batman. Other nominees are Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Carrell has been earning some hype for his sudden switch from Michael Scott in the television show The Office to the wealthy, threatening John du Pont in Foxcatcher.
Redmayne is also a contender because of his portrayal as the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. The transformation he underwent to be true to Hawking’s motor neuron disease is noteworthy. He has already won Best Actor in a Drama at the Golden Globes this year.
Best Actress in a Leading Role will be a close race as well. Julianne Moore is the favorite to win based on her performance in Still Alice. The film focuses on a female linguistics professor living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Moore has been nominated five times in the Academy Awards and has yet to officially win one. This might just be her year to win.
Other nominees include Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night, Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, and Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Cotillard was the surprise in this category: she played a young mother struggling to keep her job after a leave of absence due to a nervous breakdown.
Best Animated Feature Film is going to be a difficult decision. The prospects are Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Fan favorites are Hero and Dragon but many are unsure which film will win. However, many say Sea, an Irish film which centers around the legend of the Selkies, will win. Fans are upset that the highly grossing The Lego Movie did not receive a nomination.