Oscar awards are due to be aired on February 22nd, so it’s time to make predictions in the major categories. Last year I did fair, but not as good as previous years. I made accurate calls about the Best Picture (12 Years A Slave), Best Actor, (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Supporting Actor, (Jared Leto). I was also happy to see the young woman from Kenya, Lupita Nyongo, win for Best Supporting Actress for her stunning performance in 12 Years a Slave.

     This year’s contenders should be happy that Daniel Day Lewis didn’t release any movies, as he’s a sure bet for nominations every time he stars.  And, of course, Meryl Streep can’t miss, she’s a regular on the nomination list now with a record 19 Oscar nominations to her credits.

     I must confess. Of the eight nominated movies for Best Picture, I have seen only seven. Therefore, I cannot include Whiplash within my prediction list.  But from what I’ve read, it’s not a front runner.  Here we go:

Best Supporting Actor

     I see this as a toss-up between Robert Duvall (The Judge) and Ed Norton (Birdman), both of whom gave us wonderful performances.  Both are solid actors with a slate of movies that would be worthy of many Oscars.  But in this case, I think the journeyman, Duvall will take it away for his powerful performance as The Judge.  Duvall is one of the great actors of all time, with 85 films to his credit and 48 television picture.  In his break-out role in The Godfather, 1972, Duvall earned a paltry $36,000.

     Who should win:  Robert Duvall

     Who will win:        Robert Duvall


Best Supporting Actress

Meryl Streep has been nominated 19 times for an Academy Award, a record by any actor in history, having won just four years ago for her portrayal in The Iron Lady. Thus I doubt she will win again so soon. While Keira Knightly is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood, and she was stunning in The Imitation Game, I see this as a shoe-in for young Emma Stone, who played the wacky washed-up actor’s daughter in Birdman to perfection. 

     Who should win:   Emma Stone

     Who will win:         Emma Stone


 Best Actor:

      This is the tightest field of all the categories this year, because all the male actors are deserving of an Oscar.  I’m sure the voting scores will be very close between them.  Michael Keaton was superb in Birdman, and could be a sentimental favorite among academy voters. But we cannot ignore the utterly outstanding performances by Eddie Redmayne, in The Theory of Everything, Benedict Cumberbatch, in The Imitation Game, and Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. One is as good as the other, but I would put my money on the relatively unknown Benedict Cumberbatch, though my personal pick would be Cooper.

      Who should win:   Bradley Cooper

     Who will win:         Benedict Cumberbatch


Best Actress:

    Good actresses in this field, though I don’t think the Reese Witherspoon, of Wild, was that deserving of a nomination.  Julianne Moore is a journeyman actress who has paid her dues, and put on a superb and heart-wrenching performance in Still Alice.  I think this will be a runaway.

     Who should win:   Julianne Moore

     Who will win:          Julianne Moore


Best Director:

      Classic snubbery. The true best director of the year was not even nominated. That’ll teach Clint Eastwood to keep his political views in line with Hollywood ideology. American Sniper, which will probably win Best Movie, could not have been the superb production without the genius of Eastwood, and most people know that. So, for 2nd Best Director award, I would pick Morten Tyldum, Imitation Game.  But he will not likely win, because the award will go to Richard Linklater, who directed Boyhood, a boring picture that took a span of twelve years to shoot in varying segments.

     Who should win:  Clint Eastwood

     Who should win among nominees:  Morten Tyldum

     Who will win:    Richard Linklater


Best Motion Picture:

     Selma received surprisingly few nominations this year, but was deserving for Best Picture. Also deserving was The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. But it’s nearly impossible to suggest American Sniper belongs anywhere else but the very top, which is supported by the blockbuster record audiences around the country. This was not only a story of heroism, but of struggle within the conscience and the family of a dedicated soldier primary objective in the SEALs was to save the lives of his fellow military.  This was among the best wartime movies ever made.

      Who should win:   American Sniper

     Who will win:         American Sniper

 Academy awards will be aired on February 22nd.  Let’s see how we fair. 

 Your contradictions and/or selections are welcome.