WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY) — Start treading carefully again here: Writing categories are hard to predict. But Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is a smart, quirky, and much-loved movie that has not seen any return so far in these Oscar predictions, so I’ll give it the nod over Birdman and Boyhood . CHOICE : Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman PREDICTION: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY) — Oh, boy. My advice here is to toss the nominees into a hat and pick one out. Don’t bother putting Paul Thomas Anderson’s
Inherent Vice in the hat. The Theory of Everything has momentum coming out of the BAFTAs, and The Imitation Game has been riding some strong support. American Sniper may have to get recognition someplace, and this could be where. And Whiplash is a gritty, unusual, and powerfully written picture. CHOICE: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash PREDICTION: Jason Hall, American Sniper
BONUS ROUND — Foreign Language is a robust category, with the Russian Leviathan maybe edging out Poland’s Ida . The Best Documentary Feature, in cinematic terms, may not be Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour , but it should win on the basis of its powerful subject. Selma will get its moment with a win for Original Song ( “Glory ” ). Animated Feature seems to be headed for How to Train Your Dragon 2 , but keep an eye out for Ireland’s lovely Song of the Sea .
NO RESPECT — Mr. Turner , what happened? Timothy Spall, say it ain’t so! When Mike Leigh’s picture came out, critics had it down as a shoo-in for the Best Picture and Actor categories, but Oscar (and BAFTA) thought differently. David Oyelowo’s Martin Luther King Jr. did not march as expected to an acting nomination. In Animated Feature, The Lego Movie got some of the year’s best notices, but Oscar didn’t notice. Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken came in with a lot of hype but broke down. And Into the Woods got left out in the cold (but if you love musicals, see it anyway).
Best Original Screenplay nominee Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Adapted Screenplay nominee
Jason Hall, American Sniper