Last year I got 23 out of 24 categories right in my Oscar predictions. I am going to do much worse this year.
  1. BEST PICTURE: Birdman
    Boyhood seemed like it was going to run away with this one but then Birdman won the SAG, PGA, and DGA. Boyhood still has a shot, but I can't in good conscience ignore all the guilds, which are the best predictors.
  2. BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
    I really think Michael Keaton could still pull this off if Birdman has a big night, but Redmayne has pretty much swept all the precursor awards. The Academy creams its jeans over actors who play real-life historical figures.
  3. BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
    It's about damn time. This is a 100% lock. I wish she were winning for Maps to the Stars, in which she has an extended farting scene, but I'll take this. (Personally, I think Marion Cotillard was the best in this category by a mile, but she already has an Oscar, so she can chill)
  4. BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
    This is the closest race in all the major awards. Part of me thinks they'll reward Richard Linklater here for pulling off the amazing feat of a 12-year movie. But Iñarritu won the DGA, and I would need more evidence to predict a Picture-Director split.
  5. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: JK Simmons, Whiplash
    100% lock. Sort of a career award for this and his work as the yellow M&M.
  6. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
    100% lock. Congrats Patricia! Looking forward to CSI: Cyber!
    I'm going against the consensus here, which is predicting Grand Budapest Hotel. I think Birdman really has the most "look at this writing!" screenplay, which usually translates to a win. But this is also the category where HER won, so I am probably wrong.
  8. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Imitation Game
    The Academy really loved this movie but this is probably their only chance to reward it. This category is weirder than people are giving it credit for. Whiplash has competed as an original at most other awards but is adapted here, and could pull off the upset.
    A lot of other movies had more beautiful cinematography (Ida, Mr. Turner) but the whole one-shot trick of Birdman seems the trickiest and showiest, which means it will probably win. Grand Budapest could also win here.
  10. BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    A good rule of thumb at the Oscars is that "best" usually translates to "most," and no movie had more conspicuous costumes than The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  11. BEST FILM EDITING: Boyhood
    Birdman is weirdly not nominated here so I expect Boyhood to walk away with this one for seamlessly editing together 12 years of footage.
  12. BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    I mean, come on, the movie looked like a beautiful cake. Best = Most
  13. BEST SCORE: The Theory of Everything
    I am very bad at this category but I think this movie had the most "this sounds like a movie score" score. Grand Budapest could also win this one.
  14. BEST SONG: Glory - Selma
    Topical. Actually good. Performed by famous people. The Academy rightfully feels bad about snubbing SELMA everywhere else. Only possible spoiler here is Glen Campbell.
  15. BEST SOUND EDITING: American Sniper
    Best = Most. BOOM! BANG! BANG!
  16. BEST SOUND MIXING: Whiplash
    This could be American Sniper too, but I'm predicting Whiplash, which isn't nominated in editing, because apparently musical movies seem more impressive in this category.
  17. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Interstellar
    Looked fantastic and is the classiest seeming nominee in the category.
  18. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: How To Train Your Dragon 2
    The other nominees are better but this has won every other award.
    TOPICAL! And the highest grossing documentary almost always wins.
    Leviathan could win here, but Ida is way shorter and easier to digest. It's also tangentially about the Holocaust (great track record for the Holocaust at the Oscars) and was nominated in another major category (Cinematography).
    Disney. Cute. Emotional. Everyone I watched it with cried.
  22. BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
    I'm hearing this is the best one, but Joanna is also supposed to be a tearjerker.
  23. BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: The Phone Call
    I always see all of these and have correctly predicted it the last two years. The Phone Call is the one that made me cry, which is how I predicted Helium would win last year (it also has famous movie stars in it). The people I watched with preferred Boogaloo and Graham though.