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Tom Tangney’s Oscar predictions & who he thinks should win

Recently, the Academy Awards have become more like coronations than competitions. So many award shows have already taken place by the time the Oscars come around, that the winners are mostly foregone conclusions. But not this year! There are legitimate toss-ups in three of the biggest categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

For the longest time, there was NO frontrunner for Best Picture. Movies as varied as “The Imitation Game,” “Boyhood,” “Unbroken,” “Birdman,” “Selma,” and even “Interstellar” were all trumpeted as Oscar-worthy. Then about a month ago, after a string of high-profile awards, “Boyhood” emerged as the clear frontrunner – even trumpeted as such on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. But then “Birdman” swooped in to win top honors from both the Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. It’s now too close to call between “Boyhood” and “Birdman.”

Same goes for Best Actor. Micheal Keaton’s turn as a one-time movie star who’s trying to stage a big comeback in “Birdman” had been leading the pack for weeks. But then Eddie Redmayne – who plays Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” – surprised him with a win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which is the industry’s most reliable Best Actor predictor. Again, another toss-up.

Finally, Best Director. This award usually goes hand in hand with the Best Picture winner but recently, the last two years in fact, it has not. (Ang Lee won for “Life of Pi” when “Argo” won Best Pic, and Alfonso Cuaron won for “Gravity” when “Twelve Years a Slave” took Best Picture honors.) That could happen again this year, since the frontrunners, Richard Linklater and Alejandro Inaurritu, directed the two Best Picture favorites, “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” respectively. Linklater has won more of the awards, but Inaurritu won the big one, the Director’s Guild.

Best Picture

Will win: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Should win: “Boyhood” or “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Also nominated:
“American Sniper”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win: Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”
Should win: The not-even-nominated Ralph Fiennes in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Also nominated:
Steve Carell – “Foxcatcher”
Michael Keaton – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Bradley Cooper – “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game”

Actress in a Leading Role

Will win: Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”

Should win: Marion Cottillard in “Two Days, One Night”

Also nominated:
Felicity Jones – “The Theory of Everything”
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will win: J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”
Should win: Edward Norton in “Bridman” – only because J.K. Simmons should have been nominated as lead actor, not supporting actor.

Also nominated:
Robert Duvall – “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke – “Boyhood”
Mark Ruffalo – “Foxcatcher”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Will win: Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Should win: Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”

Also nominated:
Laura Dern – “Wild”
Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep – “Into the Woods”

Best Director

Will win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”
Should win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

Also nominated:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher”
Wed Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game”

Writing, Original Screenplay

Will win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” by Wes Anderson; story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Should win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” by Wes Anderson; story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Also nominated:
“Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“Nightcrawler” by Dan Gilroy

Writing, Adapted Screenplay

Will win: “The Imitation Game” by Graham Moore
Should win: “Inherent Vice” for screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Also nominated:
“American Sniper” by Jason Hall
“The Theory of Everything” by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” by Damien Chazelle

Music, Original Song

Will win: “Glory” from “Selma”; Music and Lyric by John Stephens & Lonnie Lynn

Should win: “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

Also nominated:
“Grateful” from “Boyond the Lights”; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbelle … I’ll Be Me”; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

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