Some of the acting races seem like sure things, but it’s the question of what movie will take Best Picture on Oscar night that has many stumped.
The Best Picture race, in which the movies “Boyhood” and “Birdman” have emerged as the leading contenders, echoes last year’s ceremony, in which the struggle between space-based film “Gravity” and historical drama “12 Years a Slave” was looked at as almost too close to call. (“Slave” ended up taking the prize, though the Best Director award went to “Gravity” helmer Alfonso Cuaron. We may see a split like that again, with the movie that wins Best Picture not matching the director who wins.)
The Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards can be clues as to what names will be read when the envelopes are opened on Oscars night. At the Golden Globes, “Boyhood” and “Birdman” were nominated in separate categories, so they didn’t compete against one another. “Boyhood” took the Best Drama Golden Globe. (Interestingly, “Birdman” didn’t win its category of Best Comedy or Musical – that went to the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Could there be an upset?) However, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards when the two films faced off in the race for the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award, “Birdman” won. Look for the movie to take the prize on Oscar night, too.
Another interesting race is that for the Best Actor award. Both “Birdman” actor Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne of “The Theory of Everything” are regarded as strong contenders, with Keaton winning the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe and Redmayne winning the Best Actor in a Drama Golden Globe. However, when the two faced off at the SAG Awards, Redmayne won the Best Actor award. He’ll most likely be going up on stage at the Oscars, too.
The rest of the acting races seem like sure things. Actress Julianne Moore won both the Best Actress in a Drama and the SAG Best Actress award for her work in “Still Alice,” while J.K. Simmons of “Whiplash” picked up the Best Supporting Actor award at the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes. Similarly, "Boyhood" actress Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress prize at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards.
The Oscars will be held on Feb. 22.