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8 predictions and surprises in store for the Oscars

Who should you put your money on?

EARLIER THIS YEAR, we rounded up several films, peeked into our crystal ball and attempted to predict how they would fare at the Oscars.

Over the past fortnight or so, several of the major awards bodies have announced their nominations and we are gaining a slightly clearer picture as to how they might fare, although it is still relatively up in the air.

Here’s what we know.

‘Oscar nominee’ Jennifer Aniston could be a thing

Horrible Bosses 2 Premiere - Los Angeles Source: © Chase Rollins/AFF-USA.COM

It’s not a term that you would typically associate with the woman who has starred in such light fare as The Bounty Hunter or Marley and Me, but Aniston’s performance in Cake as a woman addicted to painkillers has garnered both SAG and Golden Globe nominations.

The film itself has received decidedly mixed reviews, but if Aniston campaigns, an Oscar nomination could soon be on her horizon. (Also worth noting that Aniston completely foregoes make-up in this role, which Oscar voters love.)

As could ‘Oscar nominee Emma Stone’

Germany Spider Man Source: AP/Press Association Images

The  actress is picking up kudos left, right and centre for her supporting role in Birdman and an Oscar nomination is most certainly on the cards. Not bad for someone who got her start in Superbad, right?

Boyhood is the critics favourite

boyhood Source: IFC Films/YouTube

Every year, US film critics come together to vote on the best films of the year. From there, a consensus on the frontrunners is generally built and this year is no exception.

New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics and San Francisco Film Critics Circle all gave their highest honour to Boyhood, with Richard Linklater also being named Best Director by all four critics groups.

While Boyhood is very much at the forefront at the moment, it is not necessarily an indicator of Oscar glory. In 2010, The Social Network emerged as the critics’ favourite early on and was later beaten by The King’s Speech.

The acting races are still wide open

The Imitation Game Premiere - New York Source: Empics Entertainment

As is the case every year, Best Actor is jam-packed with contenders, although a pattern is beginning to form.

At this point, the main contenders seem to be Michael Keaton (Birdman), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler).

Those teetering on the edge include David Oyelowo (Selma) and early favourite Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner). As for who will win? Nobody knows.

2014 Governor's Awards - Los Angeles Source: AP/Press Association Images

Best Actress is similarly wide open.

Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) seem to be dead certs, while Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) and  Jennifer Aniston (Cake) are lagging just behind.

Moore, who has been nominated four times, picked up two nods at this year’s Golden Globes for Still Alice and Maps to the Stars and may be ever so slightly the favourite, with many believing it is her time.

Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken seems unlikely to feature in the race

Germany Movie Unbroken Source: Michael Sohn

Initially hailed as the unseen frontrunner, Unbroken debuted to tepid reviews and was completely omitted from the Golden Globe nominations – a surprise considering the Golden Globes’ penchant for sucking up to celebrities.

The Guardian described it as “stodgy” while The New Yorker called it “interminable” and “unneccessary”. Hardly quotes you can stick on posters, are they?

Soz, Angelina.

Ditto Interstellar

interstellar2 Source: Awards Daily

It may have made boatloads of money, but Christopher Nolan’s space epic doesn’t look as though it will replicate the success of either last year’s Gravity or Inception.

Selma and The Grand Budapest Hotel are the little underdogs that could

Source: MOVIECLIPS Trailers/YouTube

Selma tells the story of the historic Selma civil rights marches of 1965 and has been incredibly well-received by critics. It nabbed five Critics’ Choice Awards nominations and four Golden Globes nominations.

The recent marches protesting police treatment of African-Americans has lent the film a new thematic resonance – the cast and crew wore I Can’t Breathe t-shirts at a recent screening – meaning this could prove to be a dark horse come Oscar time.

grandbudapest Source: Awards Daily

Similarly, The Grand Budapest Hotel has made an impressive showing. And while it’s unlikely to actually win any of the big awards, the fact that this candy-coloured comedy may get nominated in some of the more prominent categories is a welcome surprise.

And what are the bookies saying?

Review of the Year 2014 Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

For Best Picture, Paddy Power has place Boyhood (2/9) as favourite to win followed by Birdman (5/1) and The Imitation Game (11/2).

In Best Actor, Michael Keaton has been installed as the frontrunner at 8/13, followed by Eddie Redmayne at 13/8. Benedict Cumberbatch, Steve Carell and David Oyelowo are just behind.

In Best Actress, Julianne Moore leads the pack at 1/6 with Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, Rosamund Pike and Jennifer Aniston rounding out the top five.

Both JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette lead the way in Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

You know what they say: the bookies are never wrong.

State of the race: how will these 9 Oscar contenders fare >

The Golden Globes nominations in one handy list >

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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