Will Win - Birdman
Could Win - Boyhood
Should Win - Selma
Commentary - This one has come down to the wire. There are some outside contenders like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, and American Sniper that should not be counted out, but all have some pretty big blocks that will most likely prevent them from taking the podium: either too quirky (Grand Budapest Hotel), passionate support but too small (Whiplash), or too controversial (American Sniper). But in the end this comes down to two. It is interesting to note that at the Indie Spirts, they gave Best Picture to Birdman and Director to Linklater, clearly to spread the love. I don't know if the Academy will be as generous. Boyhood is a masterpiece, and its 12 year process is one of a kind. But Birdman, despite not getting an editing nod, has the most broad and deep industry support of any film this year. It features a subject that Oscar voters love: themselves. And it not only won the PGA, SAG, and the DGA. But also won the top award at the CAS and ASC, as well as at least one award from the VES, M&HS, ADG, MPSE, and CDG. That is kind of unprecedented in terms of industry support. They love Birdman, and I think it is going to win. So why isn't it a slam dunk? First, BAFTA proved to me that a big group with a lot of crossover voters can practically snub Birdman. It also proved that there is still a lot of love out there for Boyhood. It is going to be a tight race, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.
Will Win - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Could Win - Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
Should Win - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman", Richard Linklater "Boyhood" or Wes Anderson "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Commentary - Just like Best Picture, this one is far from over. A lot of folks are predicting a split. But after Inarritu won the DGA, I am sticking with him to win. It might be the safe choice, but it is as good as any other. Of course Linklater is the wild card, and his wins at BAFTA, the Globes, and the Indie Spirits prove he is a force to be reckoned with. If they are going to split, I feel like Boyhood winning Best Picture makes more sense, with Inarritu, doing the big visual movie of the year, winning here, and Linklater winning as a producer, like of like McQueen and Cuaron last year. But once again, I think that broad industry support for Birdman will end up in it taking both top prizes. As always, we'll have to wait and see...