Final 2015 Oscar Predictions from Experts and Users

  • Publish Date: February 19, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 3 user comments

Updated 2/21

The birds and the boys


While most of the races heading into this weekend's Oscar ceremony appear to be locked up, there may be just enough uncertainty in the major categories to keep things interesting. Then again, that might be wishful thinking, but we'll know for sure when the 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, hosted for the first time by Neil Patrick Harris, airs Sunday at 8:30pm ET (5:30pm PT) on ABC.

If the experts are mostly correct in their Oscar predictions (as always, a big if), Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel will take home more trophies than any other film this year. But not best picture. That category—as well as best director—appears to be a head-to-head match between Birdman and Boyhood.

Below, we've aggregated predictions from over 60 entertainment writers, critics, and awards experts, and compared them to the votes cast by over 3,000 Metacritic visitors who voted in our 6th annual Oscar poll. Also listed are the latest betting odds in each category as published by Bovada (as of Wednesday, February 18). Check our site Monday morning for the final results as we reveal which users and experts had the most accurate predictions. We'll also collect reviews of the broadcast from TV critics

Best picture and director

While the best director Oscar usually goes to the same film that wins best picture, the awards have been split 23 times in Academy Awards history, including in each of the past two years. And it could happen again this year, with each category basically a two-film race between Birdman and Boyhood. Metacritic users went with the latter, but experts (and oddsmakers) have been trending toward Birdman, thanks to that film's recent PGA win (among other momentum-building honors). And remember that Boyhood's 100 Metascore is no guarantee of the Oscar; the Academy frequently opts for films with lesser reviews.

Best Picture   Odds   Experts   Users
Birdman   1:2   64% bar   22% bar
Boyhood   7:5   36% bar   62% bar
American Sniper   12:1   0%     4% bar
The Imitation Game   33:1   0%     2% bar
Selma   40:1   0%     1% bar
The Grand Budapest Hotel   50:1   0%     4% bar
The Theory of Everything   66:1   0%     1% bar
Whiplash   66:1   0%     3% bar
Best Director   Odds   Experts   Users
Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman   4:9   69% bar   26% bar
Richard Linklater Boyhood   5:4   31% bar   65% bar
Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel   33:1   0%     7% bar
Bennett Miller Foxcatcher   50:1   0%     1% bar
Morten Tyldum The Imitation Game   50:1   0%     1% bar


Only one of the four acting categories is even remotely competitive: lead actor, where Eddie Redmayne has a sizable lead with the experts over Birdman's Michael Keaton (who was the choice of our users). A few experts think that Redmayne and Keaton will divide the vote, leaving Bradley Cooper an opportunity to sneak in for the win for his performance in the only one of those five movies that was a box office hit: American Sniper.

Lead Actress   Odds   Experts   Users
Julianne Moore Still Alice   1:50   100% bar   65% bar
Reese Witherspoon Wild   12:1   0%     5% bar
Rosamund Pike Gone Girl   25:1   0%     21% bar
Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything   40:1   0%     5% bar
Marion Cotillard Two Days, One Night   50:1   0%     3% bar
Lead Actor   Odds   Experts   Users
Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything   1:4   74% bar   28% bar
Michael Keaton Birdman   5:2   21% bar   58% bar
Bradley Cooper American Sniper   12:1   5% bar   6% bar
Benedict Cumberbatch The Imitation Game   28:1   0%     5% bar
Steve Carell Foxcatcher   50:1   0%     3% bar
Supporting Actress   Odds   Experts   Users
Patricia Arquette Boyhood   1:50   100% bar   75% bar
Emma Stone Birdman   14:1   0%     13% bar
Keira Knightley The Imitation Game   25:1   0%     6% bar
Laura Dern Wild   25:1   0%     2% bar
Meryl Streep Into the Woods   25:1   0%     4% bar
Supporting Actor   Odds   Experts   Users
J.K. Simmons Whiplash   1:50   100% bar   79% bar
Edward Norton Birdman   12:1   0%     10% bar
Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher   16:1   0%     3% bar
Ethan Hawke Boyhood   33:1   0%     6% bar
Robert Duvall The Judge   33:1   0%     2% bar


It looks like Wes Anderson will pick up his first Oscar win for his Grand Budapest Hotel screenplay, but the adapted category is a bit harder to predict. Remember, all other awards organizations treated Whiplash as an original screenplay, so it has yet to be in direct competition with the likes of The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything.

Original Screenplay   Odds   Experts   Users
Anderson/Guinness The Grand Budapest Hotel   1:2   77% bar   30% bar
Iñárritu/Giacobone/Dinelaris/Bo Birdman   5:4   23% bar   48% bar
Linklater Boyhood   10:1   0%     14% bar
Frye/Futterman Foxcatcher   50:1   0%     1% bar
Gilroy Nightcrawler   50:1   0%     7% bar
Adapted Screenplay   Odds   Experts   Users
Graham Moore The Imitation Game   2:5   70% bar   29% bar
Damien Chazelle Whiplash   5:2   25% bar   34% bar
Anthony McCarten The Theory of Everything   5:1   2% bar   17% bar
Jason Hall American Sniper   16:1   3% bar   12% bar
Paul Thomas Anderson Inherent Vice   33:1   0%     8% bar


The LEGO Movie's loss is How to Train Your Dragon 2's gain, with the latter widely expected to win for animated feature thanks to the former's unexpected exclusion from the field. The animated short category also appears to have an overwhelming favorite in Feast, which is a Disney production. But remember that just a year ago another Disney animated short, Get a Horse!, was also an overwhelming favorite to win an Oscar, only to be upset by a lesser known competitor.

Animated Feature   Odds   Experts   Users
How to Train Your Dragon 2   1:4   87% bar   55% bar
Big Hero 6   5:2   11% bar   27% bar
Song of the Sea   16:1   0%     3% bar
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya   16:1   0%     12% bar
The Boxtrolls   18:1   2% bar   4% bar
Animated Short   Odds   Experts   Users
Feast   2:7   70% bar   35% bar
The Bigger Picture   4:1   7% bar   20% bar
The Dam Keeper   5:1   20% bar   11% bar
A Single Life   16:1   0%     23% bar
Me and My Moulton   16:1   2% bar   11% bar


The two documentary categories also appear to be locked up, though the short film contests are always a bit tricky to predict accurately. The frontrunner there is the HBO production Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, which focuses on a suicide hotline for members of the military.

Documentary Feature   Odds   Experts   Users
Citizenfour   1:5   88% bar   61% bar
Virunga   3:1   5% bar   7% bar
Finding Vivian Maier   12:1   7% bar   6% bar
Last Days in Vietnam   20:1   0%     15% bar
The Salt of the Earth   20:1   0%     11% bar
Documentary Short       Experts   Users
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1       70% bar   19% bar
Joanna       24% bar   20% bar
Our Curse       6% bar   15% bar
White Earth       0%     27% bar
The Reaper       0%     19% bar

Other films

The foreign-language category is one where upsets can and do occur, though Poland's entry Ida, which deals in part with the Holocaust, would appear to be Academy-friendly material. The live-action short competition is another one that is always difficult to predict—it is the only category this year where all five nominees received support from at least one expert—so don't necessarily read The Phone Call's big lead with the experts as a sure thing. Still, that favorite features two well-known leads in Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent, which doesn't hurt its chances.

Foreign Language Film   Odds   Experts   Users
Ida Poland   4:9   83% bar   41% bar
Leviathan Russia   7:4   5% bar   40% bar
Wild Tales Argentina   7:1   8% bar   7% bar
Timbuktu Mauritania   20:1   3% bar   9% bar
Tangerines Estonia   33:1   0%     3% bar
Live-Action Short Film   Odds   Experts   Users
The Phone Call   4:9   76% bar   38% bar
Boogaloo and Graham   4:1   11% bar   16% bar
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)   11:2   2% bar   12% bar
Parvaneh   7:1   9% bar   10% bar
Aya   10:1   2% bar   24% bar


Original Score   Odds   Experts   Users
Johann Johannsson The Theory of Everything   5:8   58% bar   27% bar
Alexandre Desplat The Grand Budapest Hotel   5:4   32% bar   27% bar
Alexandre Desplat The Imitation Game   9:1   3% bar   8% bar
Hans Zimmer Interstellar   12:1   7% bar   36% bar
Gary Yershon Mr. Turner   50:1   0%     2% bar
Original Song   Odds   Experts   Users
"Glory" from Selma
by John Legend and Common
  1:5   93% bar   59% bar
"Everything Is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie
by Patterson/Bartholomew/Harriton/Lonely Island
  4:1   5% bar   30% bar
"Lost Stars" from Begin Again
by Alexander/Brisebois/Lashley/Southwood
  9:1   0%     6% bar
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell...
by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  10:1   2% bar   4% bar
"Grateful" from Beyond the Lights
by Diane Warren
  33:1   0%     2% bar

Technical categories

Cinematography   Odds   Experts   Users
Emmanuel Lubezki Birdman   1:6   97% bar   67% bar
Robert D. Yeoman The Grand Budapest Hotel   7:2   0%     24% bar
Roger Deakins Unbroken   12:1   0%     4% bar
Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal Ida   14:1   2% bar   3% bar
Dick Pope Mr. Turner   25:1   2% bar   3% bar
Costume Design   Odds   Experts   Users
The Grand Budapest Hotel   1:10   91% bar   65% bar
Into the Woods   9:2   7% bar   21% bar
Maleficent   12:1   0%     7% bar
Mr. Turner   20:1   2% bar   4% bar
Inherent Vice   25:1   0%     4% bar
Film Editing   Odds   Experts   Users
Sandra Adair Boyhood   1:2   83% bar   46% bar
Tom Cross Whiplash   2:1   14% bar   21% bar
Joel Cox & Gary Roach American Sniper   15:2   3% bar   11% bar
William Goldenberg The Imitation Game   12:1   0%     4% bar
Barney Pilling The Grand Budapest Hotel   14:1   0%     18% bar
Makeup & Hairstyling   Odds   Experts   Users
The Grand Budapest Hotel   1:7   70% bar   44% bar
Guardians of the Galaxy   7:2   16% bar   39% bar
Foxcatcher   8:1   14% bar   18% bar
Production Design   Odds   Experts   Users
The Grand Budapest Hotel   1:7   97% bar   59% bar
Into the Woods   4:1   2% bar   7% bar
Mr. Turner   10:1   0%     2% bar
Interstellar   20:1   2% bar   28% bar
The Imitation Game   25:1   0%     4% bar
Sound Editing       Experts   Users
American Sniper       78% bar   21% bar
Interstellar       16% bar   45% bar
Birdman       5% bar   23% bar
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies       2% bar   8% bar
Unbroken       0%     2% bar
Sound Mixing       Experts   Users
Whiplash       41% bar   28% bar
Interstellar       14% bar   36% bar
American Sniper       28% bar   17% bar
Birdman       17% bar   17% bar
Unbroken       0%     2% bar
Visual Effects   Odds   Experts   Users
Interstellar   1:3   69% bar   60% bar
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes   9:4   28% bar   19% bar
Guardians of the Galaxy   7:1   3% bar   16% bar
Captain America: The Winter Soldier   33:1   0%     2% bar
X-Men: Days of Future Past   33:1   0%     4% bar

List of experts

The expert predictions compiled above come from the following sources (note that not every expert made picks in every category):

* As reported at Gold Derby as of February 19, 2015
** As reported in Movie City News' Gurus O' Gold column

Comments (3)

  • Jrrmn13  

    Slight Rant re Some Oscar Wins:

    I'm wondering if the Academy ever watched JK Simmons act in other roles. The villainous prisoner from the HBO series, Oz; Peter Parker from Raimi's Spider-Man. Honestly, he seems to be typecast to play this particular role. The characters he's played are all so similar. Norton's ability to "act" like he was acting (or acting within acting) was worthy of recognition. I mean, Simmons did great, but it's a role we've seen time and again in his past projects. I've even seen him play this same type of character in TV series. They need a bad guy, they hire Simmons.

    As for Sound Mixing, did they pay close attention to the meticulous sound mixing in Birdman? I listened to this film in my Bose and it was a three-dimensional experience. As characters entered/exited scenes, the sound mixing followed them wherever position they were standing/walking. There were moments where I could hear as if they were behind me, then to my left/right (depending where they were), and to the front. It was amazing and a purposefully careful job of a genius. No other film in the categories used this idea. A. Sniper's audio was great, but doesn't beat the originality from Birdman's acoustic wonder. We get this fantastic audio experience throughout this entire artwork (Birdman) of Jon Taylor's (Sound Editing) and Martin Hernandez's (Sound Mixing).

  • Equality7-2521  

    Really surprised Whiplash gets sound mixing. Didn't think that movie would have a chance for multiple wins. Also think Redmayne over Keaton is stupid; and who would predict Bradley Cooper to win?

  • LamontRaymond  

    Citizen Four? Bored me to tears. Don't get me wrong, the Snowden chronicles are interesting as hell, but that movie didn't do it all all. Entirely overrated - jury nullification for Edward.

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