Oscars 2015 – Predicting the Academy Awards: Writing and Directing

The Popcorn Muncher's coverage of the Oscars 2015

We are now only a few days from hearing the results of the Oscars 2015, with Hollywood’s glitziest awards bash airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The year’s biggest and best films will hear whether they will be recognised with that beautiful golden statuette. This week, The Popcorn Muncher is predicting who will win in all of the major categories.

I’ve already predicted the acting prizes for the Oscars 2015, but now it’s time for writing and directing to take centre stage.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nightcrawler appears in the Best Original Screenplay category at Oscars 2015

Nominees: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr and Armando Bo (Birdman); Richard Linklater (Birdman); E Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher); Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel); Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)

The Best Original Screenplay category is often used as an opportunity for the opportunity to recognise one of the more offbeat films that is in awards contention. However, this year’s field has the two frontrunners for Best Picture – Birdman and Boyhood – competing in the category.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see a nomination for brilliantly twisted thriller Nightcrawler and there’s also a nod for icy drama Foxcatcher. Neither are likely to leave with gold, given their relative lack of nominations elsewhere.

That leaves a two horse race between the Best Picture big hitters and Wes Anderson quirkfest The Grand Budapest Hotel. Given that Boyhood and Birdman look set to trade victories elsewhere, and there’s plenty of good feeling for Budapest amongst awards bodies, this could be third time lucky for Anderson following his two previous near misses.

Prediction: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hey, whatever happened to… Paul Webb – Selma

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson has a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for knotty thriller Inherent Vice

Nominees: Jason Hall (American Sniper), Graham Moore (The Imitation Game), Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice), Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

Often, the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars is home to the Best Picture winner. This year, however, the winner of the big prize is almost certainly going to be an original property, leaving Oscars 2015 wide open for adaptations.

Negative publicity has more or less damned American Sniper and Inherent Vice is likely to be a little too much of a head rush for the conservative Academy voter pool. On top of that, the two prestige biopics – The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything – may well cancel each other out.

That just leaves young buck Damien Chazelle and his razor-sharp script for Whiplash, adapted from his own previous short. Whiplash is one of the best films at the Oscars 2015, in any category, and I am pleased that Chazelle might get his chance in the spotlight, along with JK Simmons’ likely win for Best Supporting Actor.

Prediction: Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Hey, whatever happened to… Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl

 

Best Director

The visionary direction in Birdman has won it a Best Director nomination at Oscars 2015

Nominees: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

The race to Best Director at the Oscars 2015 is an interesting one. For the last two years, Best Picture and Best Director have been awarded to different films – a feat that could be repeated this year.

Richard Linklater is seemingly the frontrunner, with Boyhood a near certainty for Best Picture at this stage. However, given the chance that Birdman could fail to convert any of its major nominations, it’s possible that the Academy could plump for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s innovative all-in-one-shot direction.

There’s little to distinguish many of the other nominees, with Bennett Miller’s work in Foxcatcher likely too cold for the Academy and Morten Tyldum painting by numbers in The Imitation Game. Wes Anderson is in with a chance, but the Academy is far more likely to pick one of the two more conventional efforts.

On balance, it’s Linklater, but more important is the glaring omission of Ava DuVernay, who is genuinely terrific at the helm of Selma. She perfectly conveys the contrast between the calm solemnity of Martin Luther King and the bitter, brutal bombast of his opponents. Apparently, in 2015, the world is still not progressive enough to nominate an African-American woman for an Oscar.

Prediction: Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Hey, whatever happened to… Ava DuVernay – Selma

  

Do you agree with my Oscars 2015 predictions? Who would you like to win the writing and directing prizes? Let me know in the comments section.

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