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2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

February 20th, 2015

Birdman poster

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at the biggest prize, Best Picture. Like with Best Director, this is a two-horse race with the same two films at the top of the list.

Best Picture

American Sniper
Tomatometer Score: 73% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: None
Golden Globe Wins: None
BAFTA Nominations: Two
BAFTA Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: None
Notes: American Sniper isn't an Award-worthy movie; its reviews should confirm that. It has done as well as it has with Awards Season voters only because its director, Clint Eastwood, is Hollywood royalty.

Birdman
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Nine
Golden Globe Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Wins: Two
BAFTA Nominations: Ten
BAFTA Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Three
Notes: This film has earned amazing reviews and has been at the top or near the top of nominations during the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the overall Guild nominations. It appears to be the favorite for the Best Picture Oscar. It is not the overwhelming favorite and if it loses it likely won't be the biggest shock of the night.

Boyhood
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: Three
BAFTA Nominations: Five
BAFTA Wins: Three
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: One
Notes: For a while, it looked like Boyhood was the favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar; however, that seems to have changed. There seems to be a backlash against the film with many people seeing the 12-year filming schedule as a gimmick and not something that created a great movie. That said, its reviews and Awards Season success so far means that if it does win, it won't be a real shock.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Nine
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
BAFTA Nominations: Eleven
BAFTA Wins: Five
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy and therefore it won't win. For some reason, comedies are underrated by Awards Season votes and while I would be happy if it won, the odds are very slim.

The Imitation Game
Tomatometer Score: 89% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: None
BAFTA Nominations: Nine
BAFTA Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film is the prototypical Oscar-bait movie. The only film on this list that is more Oscar-bait is The Theory of Everything. This film does have better reviews and better chance to win, but it is still a long shot. It doesn't do enough to stand out against the flood of Oscar-bait movies that come out every year.

Selma
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Two
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
BAFTA Nominations: None
BAFTA Wins: None
Guild Nominations: None
Guild Wins: None
Notes: Selma earned some of the best reviews of the year, but never gained any traction with Awards Season voters. If it won, it would be a shock, but given its near perfect reviews, but it wouldn't be an undeserved win.

The Theory of Everything
Tomatometer Score: 79% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: Two
BAFTA Nominations: Ten
BAFTA Wins: Three
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film is the most Oscar-bait film on this list. Unfortunately, its reviews are only 79% positive. That would be great for a popular wide release, but it isn't enough for me to think it will win the Oscar for Best Picture. In fact, it shouldn't have been enough to earn as many nominations and wins as it has so far this Awards Season.

Whiplash
Tomatometer Score: 95% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: One
Golden Globe Wins: One
BAFTA Nominations: Five
BAFTA Wins: Three
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: One
Notes: So far, J.K. Simmons is responsible for three of this film's previous five major Awards Season wins. He will very likely pick up the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but it is unlikely that the film will earn the Best Picture Oscar.

Conclusion: Birdman is a favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar over Boyhood. It isn't a two-to-one favorite, but close enough that I wouldn't be willing to put money on an upset. The rest are so far behind those two that I don't think it is even worth looking at their odds.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Clint Eastwood, J.K. Simmons