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These are the 2015 Oscar frontrunners

These are the 2015 Oscar frontrunners

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An earlier version of this post ran on January 15th. We've updated with our favorites for tonight's awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees in all 24 categories of the 2015 Oscars last month, and it all comes to a head tonight. A handful of films have a big presence on this list — in fact, just about every best picture nominee but Selma shows up in quite a few other categories. On the other hand, one of the year's most acclaimed films, Foxcatcher, receives a number of nominations but misses best picture.

There are a handful of other notable nominations (or lack thereof) here. While the incredibly charming Lego Movie isn't on the best animated film list, its incredibly addictive title song does get a nod. Disney's animated Marvel superhero film, Big Hero 6, makes it onto the animation list, as does Studio Ghibli's gorgeous Princess Kaguya. Netflix is represented on the list again, too, with Virunga in the documentary category. Laura Poitras' documentary on Snowden, Citizenfour, is also recognized. Finally, you'll notice that while Interstellar shows up in a few different categories, it and Christopher Nolan miss all the big ones.

The nominees are as follows. Be sure to catch our coverage of the show, with the biggest wins and craziest moments, starting tonight at 8:30PM ET:

Best picture

The race for Best Picture is widely considered to be the closest in years. Richard Linklater's Boyhood raked in a number of trophies throughout awards season, but fierce competition from the likes of Birdman as well as the incredible box office performance of American Sniper have kept it from being a clear favorite.

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


Actor in a leading role

This is a tough call, too. Michael Keaton has taken award after award for his performance in Birdman, and he'd normally be considered a shoe-in for the Oscar. However, Eddie Redmayne's affecting turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything did earn him a Screen Actor's Guild award, which has for years pointed directly toward a Best Actor Academy Award. We'll just have to see.

Steve Carell — Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper — American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch — The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton — Birdman

Eddie Redmayne — The Theory of Everything

Actress in a leading role

This award pretty much belongs to Julianne Moore. Apart from the fact that she plays a woman coping with early-onset Alzheimer's in Still Alice, she has the pedigree, having earned five nominations to date.

Marion Cotillard — Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones — The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore — Still Alice

Rosamund Pike — Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon — Wild

Actor in a supporting role

As great as Ethan Hawke and Edward Norton were in their respective roles, J.K. Simmons is on most critics' shortlist for Best Supporting Actor. His out-of-this-world fury in Whiplash just can't be denied.

Robert Duvall — The Judge

Ethan Hawke — Boyhood

Edward Norton — Birdman

Mark Ruffalo — Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons — Whiplash

Actress in a supporting role

Yet another unanimous favorite. Patricia Arquette's performance in Boyhood outshone most of the cast's, and she's considered the movie's only sure win. That said, Emma Stone might cause an upset.

Patricia Arquette — Boyhood

Laura Dern — Wild

Keira Knightley — The Imitation Game

Emma Stone — Birdman

Meryl Streep — Into the Woods

princess kaguya

Animated feature film

It still makes absolutely no sense that The Lego Movie wasn't nominated for this prize, but what can we do? With an obvious contender out of the running, it's largely anyone's race. How to Train Your Dragon 2 earned a Golden Globe, but Song of the Sea, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and Big Hero 6 all have a solid chance.

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya


Birdman. For the film called a technical achievement across the board, this is an obvious choice.

Birdman — Emmanuel Lubezki

The Grand Budapest Hotel — Robert Yeoman

Ida — Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner — Dick Pope

Unbroken — Roger Deakins

Costume Design

This could very easily go to Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel. Every inch of the movie was so unique. Still, you never know when a fantastical movie like Into the Woods is on the list of nominees.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods


Mr. Turner


Yet another incredibly close race between Birdman and Boyhood. Pundits have gone back and forth on who will take away the Best Director trophy for months. Those in Iñárritu's camp site the ambition behind his production. Those in Linklater's cite the story that took 12 years to tell. It's anyone's guess what direction the Academy will go in.

Birdman — Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood — Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher — Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel — Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game — Morten Tyldum

Documentary feature

Laura Poitras' Citizenfour is pretty much poised to win Best Documentary Feature, since the Snowden film has already won award after award all season. However, Netflix's Virunga is a strong contender.


Finding Vivian Maier

Last Days in Vietnam

The Salt of the Earth


Documentary short subject

HBO's Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 is getting bandied about by pundits as the likeliest choice, seeing as it follows the Veterans Affairs Office's many challenges.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1


Our Curse

The Reaper (La Parka)

White Earth

Boyhood promotional still (IFC FILMS)

Film editing

Here we have a race between Whiplash's beat-for-beat editing and the fact that Boyhood took 12 years to make. It will probably go to Boyhood for the sheer fact that it took dedication to make.

American Sniper


The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


Foreign language film

Ida is the traditional favorite given the subject matter — a black-and-white look at life and identity in Poland after World War II. If it wins, it'll be Poland's first Oscar in the category. However, Russia's Leviathan looks strong, especially since it took the Golden Globe.

Ida — Poland

Leviathan — Russia

Tangerines — Estonia

Timbuktu — Mauritania

Wild Tales — Argentina

Makeup and hairstyle

This will probably go to The Grand Budapest Hotel, because, once again, you cannot deny Wes Anderson's style.


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy

Music original score

It's a two-way race between The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything, and even though Alexandre Desplat is nominated twice, it makes sense he gets the prize on clout alone.

The Grand Budapest Hotel — Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game — Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar — Hans Zimmer

Mr. Turner — Gary Yershon

The Theory of Everything — Jóhann Jóhannsson

Music original song

"Glory" has the cultural relevance, but "Everything Is Awesome" has the fun factor. It probably belongs to "Glory."

"Everything is Awesome" — The Lego Movie

"Glory" — Selma

"Grateful" — Beyond the Lights

"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" — Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me

"Lost Stars" — Begin Again

Production design

Do we really need to keep saying Wes Anderson has style?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


Into the Woods

Mr. Turner


Short film animated

The Dam Keeper is the odds-on favorite for Best Animated Short, but Feast is too adorable not to root for.

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper


Me and My Moulton

A Single Life

Short film live action

Critics point to The Phone Call for the Oscar.


Boogaloo and Graham

Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)


The Phone Call

Sound editing

This is the first category where Interstellar is a serious contender — regardless of how it was received — but American Sniper uses sound to create such tension that it just can't be ignored.

American Sniper


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies



Sound mixing

For the same reasons as sound editing, this should likely go to American Sniper.

American Sniper





Visual effects

This should go to Interstellar, because it's obvious.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy


X-Men: Days of Future Past

Writing adapted screenplay

This award could go in so many directions. With Inherent Vice, you have Paul Thomas Anderson adapting Pynchon. The Imitation Game has been considered a frontrunner for some time, but The Theory of Everything earned some muscular awards this season. And then both Whiplash and American Sniper have both been such a powerhouses. If we had to guess, it might very well go to The Imitation Game, but don't be surprised if Whiplash walks away with an upset.

American Sniper — Jason Hall

The Imitation Game — Graham Moore

Inherent Vice — Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything — Anthony McCarten

Whiplash — Damien Chazelle

grand budapest hotel

Writing original screenplay

Even though Birdman and Boyhood are duking it out for Best Picture, The Grand Budapest Hotel has a chance to shine for Best Original Screenplay. And it really should.

Birdman — Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo

Boyhood — Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher — E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel — screenplay by Wes Anderson, story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler — Dan Gilroy

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