Will It Be 'Boyhood' or 'Birdman'?

Texas Tech film experts predict Oscar winners.

If there's one thing Oscar watchers can agree on, it's that no one will ever forgive the Academy for not nominating “The Lego Movie.”

Movie experts from Texas Tech University weighed in on who should win, who will win and what excitement may be coming from the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday evening.

 

  Robert Peaslee Dean Nolen Rob Weiner Paul Reinsch Tim Day
Best Picture "Boyhood" "Birdman" "American Sniper" "Birdman" "Boyhood"
Best Actor Michael Keaton Michael Keaton Bradley Cooper Michael Keaton Michael Keaton
Best Actress Julianne Moore Julianne Moore Rosamund Pike Julianne Moore Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons Mark Ruffalo J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons
Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette Patricia Arquette Emma Stone Patricia Arquette Patricia Arquette
Best Director Richard Linklater Alejandro González Iñárritu Richard Linklater Richard Linklater Richard Linklater
Best Animated Feature Film "Big Hero 6" "How to Train Your Dragon 2" "Big Hero 6" "How to Train Your Dragon 2" "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
Peaslee

Robert Peaslee

College of Media and Communication

Peaslee teaches visual communication and writing for feature film and “The Blockbuster.”

 

Best Picture

My sentimental choices are “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” both of which are cinematic high-wire acts, but in different ways. “American Sniper” has mass appeal and the Eastwood pedigree, so that might be the safe bet, but I'm going to take “Boyhood” by a nose.

Best Actor

Oscar loves a [mostly] true story, so Bradley Cooper may steal one here — but he also loves a comeback, and this is Michael Keaton's category to lose.

Best Actress

Meryl Streep! Oh wait, never mind. I like Julianne Moore here for degree of difficulty and an established presence on the red carpet.

Best Supporting Actor

Ed Norton does his best work in a while in “Birdman,” and Ethan Hawke is quietly masterful in “Boyhood.” Hawke's performance, however, is subtle enough to be overlooked, and Norton's is probably a bit too showy, leaving the door open for J.K. Simmons.

Best Supporting Actress

There's Meryl Streep! But not this year. This is the one slam dunk: Patricia Arquette's careful, stripped-down approach to the desperation and joy of single motherhood is simply a master class.

Best Director

Wes Anderson had his moment at the Golden Globes, but Alejandro Iñárritu and Richard Linklater will duke it out. The subject matter of “Birdman” may be just a little too unapproachable and esoteric for mainstream voters, but that is a director's (and an actor's) film frontward and backward. Linklater takes home the statue.

Best Animated Feature Film

The greatest travesty in recent Oscar history occurred when “The Lego Movie” was left off this list. I lean away from the sequel and look for either “Big Hero 6” or “The Box Trolls” to win. Edge to the former for its California-centric storyline.

Biggest upset of the night

Look for Damien Chazelle's “Whiplash” to take the Adapted Screenplay category. This is a film that film people adore.

Nolen

Dean Nolen

Department of Theatre & Dance

Nolen teaches acting, writes and edits "The Film Encyclopedia," member of the Screen Actors Guild.

 

Best Picture

“Birdman” will likely take it home, and it should. In terms of powerful, innovative filmmaking/storytelling, Iñárritu and company knocked it out of the park. Exquisite cinematography, editing, screenplay, art direction, performances and visionary direction is all there.

Best Actor

On one hand, there is a rallying cry of a performance from long-lost, one-time A-lister Michael Keaton, who likely will walk away with the statue. His is a gutsy performance with not one ounce of fear or hesitation. On the other hand, there's Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything;” the Academy does love a transformational performance, and Redmayne's is no exception.

Best Actress

Julianne Moore has turned in worthy performances for almost 20 years now, has been nominated five times without a win, and her work in “Still Alice” is as strong as anything she's done. It's time she took home the prize.

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons' performance in “Whiplash” is likely a lock. Simmons' performance, where he plays an abusive music teacher/conductor/jazz artist, is hard to watch and cringe-worthy. In terms of watching a craftsman at work, however, Simmons' performance is mesmerizing and impressive.

Best Supporting Actress

Emma Stone and Meryl Streep are the standouts in this category. However, the Oscar will go to Patricia Arquette. Arquette brings nuance and vulnerability. The role is OK as written, but her performance anchors the film. Overall, I would give a slight edge to Emma Stone's edgy, bitter daughter in “Birdman,” but I will be happy to see Arquette walk off with the statue.

Best Director

Iñárritu is a filmmaker's filmmaker, and “Birdman” represents a new level of creativity. Fresh in terms of its subject matter and imagery/tone, Iñárritu is successful as a risk-taker. Linklater is another accomplished and beloved filmmaker and has turned in a unique and admirable film with “Boyhood.” However, it can't compare to the spectacle of modern storytelling Iñárritu brings to bear with “Birdman.”

Best Animated Feature Film

“The Lego Movie,” which should win, isn't up for the award, so I will go with “How to Train Your Dragon 2” because it seems to have the most momentum going into Sunday. But if there were an upset Sunday night in this category, it could be “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” taking home the statue.

Biggest upset of the night

There could be a true upset if, say, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” were to take home the top prize, which is not entirely out of the question. “American Sniper” could also benefit from its hot box office run, but it's unlikely. Or maybe Duvall carries home a statue, besting favorite J.K. Simmons. Most likely upset is if Redmayne wins over Keaton, which would be disappointing but not undeserved.

Weiner

Rob Weiner

Texas Tech University Libraries

Weiner is an associate librarian and pop culture expert.

 

Best Picture

“American Sniper.” I just think this picture has struck a chord with the American public and will probably win the award. I would like to see “Birdman” win as I think it's a better movie.

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper is the favorite, but I hope Michael Keaton wins.

Best Actress

Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl.” She is so evil in the role, but does it perfectly.

Best Supporting Actor

Mark Ruffalo, as his performance is outstanding. I don't think people realize what a terrific actor he really is.

Best Supporting Actress

Emma Stone, who is just amazing as the daughter of the washed-up Michael Keaton in “Birdman.”

Best Director

I imagine Richard Linklater will win as “Boyhood” seems to be a favorite.

Best Animated Feature Film

“Big Hero 6,” which is a great film, but with “The Lego Movie” snubbed there is no justice in this world.

Biggest upset of the night

If something other than “Boyhood” or “American Sniper” wins Best Picture, I would love to see it. My favorite is “Birdman” or even “The Theory of Everything.”

Reinsch

Paul Reinsch

Department of Theatre & Dance

Reinsch teaches “Introduction to Film” and courses on adapted films.

 

Best Picture

“Birdman,” because the weighted voting system for Best Picture favors a movie some love but everyone thinks is at least admirable. Plus, actors love movies about how underappreciated they are.

Best Actor

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Best Supporting Actor

J. K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Best Director

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Animated Feature Film

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

Biggest upset of the night

“Everything is Awesome” winning best song

Day

Tim Day

College of Media and Communication

Day teaches film classes and writes the blog Day at the Movies.

 

Best Picture

“Boyhood”

Best Actor

Michael Keaton for “Birdman”

Best Actress

Julianne Moore

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons

Best Supporting Actress

Ugh, they are all are so bad here. Patricia Arquette?

Best Director

Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

Best Animated Feature Film

“How To Train Your Dragon 2”

Biggest upset of the night

No Ellen DeGeneres selfie to break the Internet or Kanye interrupting Keaton to say, “Imma let you finish but… Jake Gyllenhaal…my boy should have won for 'Nightcrawler,' yo…”

Predictions aside, read Day's breakup blog with the Oscars to find out what he really thinks.