For family competition purposes, I omitted my choices in a few of the smaller categories, i.e. the "tie-breaker categories", like Best Animated Short Film and Best Documentary Short Subject. I also omitted those choices because I have no fucking clue or knowledge about any of those films, which is also why I shit-canned my choice for Best Foreign Film. Because I don't give a damn.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
*I have a feeling Birdman is going to be most on the radar to Academy voters. I originally gave the unfortunate edge to Boyhood, but I fucking hated that movie and betting odds have Birdman ahead of that piece of boring shit, so I'm sticking with the elaborate, ultra-creative and intriguing Michael Keaton-starring film.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Michael Keaton for Birdman (2014)
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (2014)
*Honestly, it's a toss-up between Redmayne and Keaton. Both were awesome in their parts, but my heart wants to see Keaton finally get some recognition for being such an entertaining, under-appreciated actor all these years. The only reason I might give the edge to Redmayne is because over the years, when an aging actor has a big role that seems to transcend his own life (Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, for example), the Academy mistakenly overlooks them and goes with the other favorite. I'm going to say the Academy chooses Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014)
*Considering the clusterfuck that was the Academy NOT nominating Gone Girl for ANYTHING, despite it being my choice for Best Picture of the fucking year, I'm going to say Rosamund Pike is no longer on anyone's mind. Sucks, because she legitimately creeped me the hell out in that movie. Julianne Moore is playing a role that was tailor-made for end-of-the-year awards, and the Academy loves a redhead, so I'll go with Julianne Moore in Still Alice.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (2014)
*Robert Duvall would be a sympathetic choice, and he was great. Any other year and Edward Norton has this award hands-down. But J.K. Simmons has won nearly every other award from every major award show for his part in Whiplash, so I'm going to stick with him on this one based on that.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (2014/I)
*Patricia Arquette in Boyhood because maybe the movie gods will give that stinking movie one award to appease what devils Linklater summoned in order to win awards. Maybe giving her the award will satisfy the demons' need for blood and therefore won't give the film Best Picture in the process. That being said, Patricia Arquette's performance WAS probably the only real decent thing in the movie.
Best Achievement in Directing
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman (2014)
*If Alejandro Gonzalex Inarritu doesn't win for Birdman, I'll shit my pants and speak in a Gollum voice for a week straight while running naked through the streets of Hollywood with balls in hand because THAT kind of recognition is what will be needed to get any name OTHER than Inarritu's recognized in this category.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
*This is one hell of a competitive category, but despite the plethora of quality here, I think Birdman is an easy win given how great the dialogue alone simply was.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
*Again, this is a very competitive field here, and I think it's going to be a toss-up between The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. My personal opinion would go to The Theory of Everything because The Imitation Game's "clever plotting" was a bit cliched for my tastes.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Birdman (2014): Emmanuel Lubezki
*Again, Emmanuel Lubezki is one of my favorite cinematographers working today, and has proven time and time again to be one of the (if not THE) most creative in Hollywood. Birdman was a true testament to his abilities, seamlessly moving from dolly shots to crane shots to close ups to wide shots. Like his work in Children of Men, he proves again that hard work, planning, rehearsing and blocking all make a simple movie more grand.
Best Achievement in Editing
American Sniper (2014): Joel Cox, Gary Roach
*Normally, the winner of this category usually goes on to win Best Picture, but later years have proven that true achievement in editing doesn't necessarily make a "best" picture. I pick Sniper because of its ability to go back and forth from the Middle-East to stateside with relative ease, and the tense moments while looking down the scope utilized timing at its best to envelop (as much as possible from a passive viewer's standpoint) what it must be like to make a split-second decision to take a life. Boyhood is an example of "least editing", in my opinion.
Best Achievement in Production Design
*Grand Budapest Hotel has what looks to be the more expansive range of looks and sets, so considering it's not going to get much love in the bigger categories, I can see voters choosing it here instead.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
*Same with the Production Design category, the winner of THAT category often wins in this one as well.
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
*This is a tough call. Over the years, the Academy voters have chosen the strangest movies to win the award (The Iron Lady over Harry Potter, anyone?), but usually they choose the "better" movies over the lesser ones, despite a higher quality of makeup in the lesser film. This year, all three films are good in their own right, and if the Academy has a sense for true quality in their mind rather than in their asses, they would choose Guardians of the Galaxy because it truly did have the coolest makeup (Drax the Destroyer himself should get the award).
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Mr. Turner (2014): Gary Yershon
*Interstellar had Zimmer's best music in years, but The Theory of Everything had the most beautiful and memorable score hands-down.
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Interstellar (2014): Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
*Chris Nolan films have won this award twice before (Inception and The Dark Knight), so I give it the edge despite the Academy being suckers for war films.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Interstellar (2014): Richard King
*Interstellar will probably resonate the most with viewers, especially with Nolan's choice for his editors and mixers to drown out some of the dialogue in the louder scenes to make it appear ore "realistic".
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
*Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was probably the most impressive in terms of visual effects, but Interstellar had the more "realistic" interpretation (much like Inception) in terms of its effects, which again shows a hand at physical, hands-on creativity rather than strictly digital creativity.