Actors Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane from the film Boyhood. Photo Contributed
Actors Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane from the film Boyhood. Photo Contributed Contributed

No clear favourites in this year's Oscar race

THIS year's Oscar's race is one of the most open in years with only a handful of categories with clear favourites.

Leading the nominations with nine is Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman and Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel.

They are among eight contenders for Best Picture alongside American Sniper, Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

But who will take home the golden statue?

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win: J.K. Simmons

Who should win: J.K. Simmons

One of the best character actors working today, Simmons gives one of the best performances of the year as the mentor/antagonist character in Whiplash.

He's a larger-than-life character in this role but it serves the film's purposes.

The challenge is from Edward Norton, who was wonderful in Birdman.

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win: Patricia Arquette

Who should win: Patricia Arquette

While Boyhood's focus is on Ellar Coltrane's Mason as he ages before our eyes, Patricia Arquette as his mother is flawless.

She provides the heart and emotional core of the film .

Best Lead Actor

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne

Who should win: Michael Keaton

Redmayne's transformation into Stephen Hawking goes well beyond the technical mastery he achieves in capturing the mannerisms of Hawking.

Beneath that veneer, Redmayne brings a real human quality to the role.

Keaton is the sentimental favourite. He gives a fun, manic performance and it's joyous to watch. Best Lead Actress

Who will win: Julianne Moore

Who should win: Marion Cotillard

Moore has been nominated five times before.

Her role in Still Alice, as a renowned linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, is perhaps not the best film she has been in, but the Academy may see fit to reward her for previous efforts.

She has picked up all the major awards leading up to the Oscars.

Best Director

Who will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Who should win: Richard Linklater

Iñárritu's impressive, single-take film Birdman is certainly a technical marvel and that in itself may be enough to woo voters.

Linklater's film, shot for a couple of weeks, every year, for 12 years is perhaps a less, visually striking film than Birdman but it more than makes up for it with its powerful story.

Best Picture

Who will win: Birdman

Who should win: Boyhood

Early on, Boyhood seemed to have all the momentum, picking up most awards including the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama.

However, in more recent months Birdman has won some of the other critics awards including the Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding cast performance.



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