Parker Layman’s 2015 Oscar Picks

Courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Image Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

It’s that time of year again! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has officially released the nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars. This year’s lineup is rather meaty, so let’s kick it off with the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Best Adapted Screenplay


My pick: I would love to see P.T. Anderson win in this category for “Inherent Vice”. He’s been nominated three times previously for writing, and a few other times in other categories. Honestly he’s way overdue for his own Oscar; films like “There Will Be Blood” and “Magnolia” are among some of my favorite films. I think Anderson deserves the award far more than any of the relative newcomers in this category.

Who Will Probably Win: Damien Chazelle. “Whiplash” is gathering some enormous buzz, mainly for its powerful performances from J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller and its well calculated slow-burning tension. The Academy loves structure above all else when it comes to screenwriting, and as the most experienced scribe in the lineup besides P.T. Anderson, he’s likely to snatch the gold.

Who Got Snubbed: Gillian Flynn for “Gone Girl”. This was one of the most organic and well-rounded scripts to come along in a while. “Gone Girl” honestly got snubbed in a plethora of categories (but we’ll get to that later).

Best Original Screenplay


My Pick: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was one of the most fun movies of last year. It was the only one (besides maybe “The Interview”) that made me laugh out loud in the theater. It’s also got plenty of heart, emotion, and most of all– structure. Plus Wes Anderson desperately needs a little golden man at this point.

Who Will Probably Win: “Birdman.” Critics seem to be in love with this film, and with a massive cast of uniquely written characters and an intriguing plot, it’s easy to see why. This script was clearly a complex collaborative effort, which may persuade Academy voters.

Who Got Snubbed: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan for Interstellar. Self explanatory.

Best Director


  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “Birdman or (I’m Getting Real Tired of Typing This Title)”

  • Richard Linklater for “Boyhood”

  • Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher”

  • Wes Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

  • Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game”

My Pick: Bennett Miller. Reading up on his directing style and the emotional environment of his shoots, it’s easy to see why he is able to coax such powerful and transformative performances from his actors. Visually, Foxcatcher is a meticulously calculated masterpiece, and Miller is undoubtedly the most uniquely talented filmmaker in this category.

Who Will Probably Win: Richard Linklater. He stayed committed to this film for 12 years, filming the same actors every year as they aged. That sheer amount of dedication alone will probably win over the Academy.

Who Got Snubbed: David Fincher for his Kubrickian masterpiece “Gone Girl.”

Best Actor in a Leading Role


  • Steve Carell for “Foxcatcher”

  • Bradley Cooper for “American Sniper”

  • Benedict Cumberbatch for “The Imitation Game”

  • Michael Keaton for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

  • Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything”

My pick: In terms of losing yourself in a role, Steve Carell wins this one hands down. His performance in “Foxcatcher” is reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight;” he’s totally unrecognizable. If he doesn’t win, The Oscars will lose credibility in my eyes.

Who Will Probably Win: Carell. Or anyone but Eddie Redmayne.

Who Got Snubbed: David Oyleowo for Selma and Jake Gyllenhall for Nightcrawler. Both transformative performances that deserve accolades.

Best Actress


  • Felicity Jones for “The Theory of Everything”

  • Marion Cotillard for “Two Days, One Night

  • Reese Witherspoon for “Wild

  • Julianne Moore for “Still Alice

  • Rosamund Pike for “Gone Girl”

My Pick: Rosamund Pike gave a deliciously deranged performance in Gone Girl as well as gaining and losing thirteen pounds three times during filming. She deserves it more than anyone.

Who Will Probably Win: Reese Witherspoon is a darling among the Academy. She will probably win because her performance in this film, which is directed by “Dallas Buyer’s Club’s” Jean-Marc Vaille, has been hyped as an Oscar shoe-in since the first trailer dropped.

Who Got Snubbed: Jennifer Aniston for “Cake.” The buzz around her performance in this film is enormous, and many think that it is far and away her best one as a serious actress.

Best Picture


  • “Birdman”

  • “American Sniper”

  • “Whiplash”

  • “Boyhood”

  • “Selma”

  • “The Theory of Everything”

  • “The Imitation Game”

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

My Pick: Boyhood. No movie represents the purpose of cinema and the beauty of life better than this one. It will fit on the Best Picture pedestal flawlessly next to 12 Years a Slave and Argo.

Who Will Probably Win: American Sniper and Selma are the clear favorites. Selma’s presence here is a bit of a mystery, as it is only nominated in one other category for Best Original Song. How is it good enough for Best Picture if none of its individual components are good enough for nominations?

Who Got Snubbed: “Gone Girl,” “Foxcatcher,” and “Interstellar.” These were my three favorites of the year and should have been given the nod instead of films like “Selma” and “The Theory of Everything” which were both good, but not near as great, and they were major “Oscar bait.”

Who Got Snubbed in Other Categories: In the Best Animated Feature category neither Hayao Miyazaki’s final film “The Wind Rises” nor “The Lego Movie” were given nods. Both deserve the award more than any of the films that were nominated. “The Raid 2” also deserved recognition for Best Foreign Language film. Heck, it probably deserves the win.

Who do YOU think should win Best Picture?

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