Who should take the Oscar home?


Jordan Murph

Construction outside of the Dolby Theatre in preparation for the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Official Facebook image.

Jennifer Manalili, Copy Editor

Even the most casual movie watcher can admit it’s kind of fun to place bets on who will win gold during the Oscars. We make our predictions for whose most likely to win in the show’s three biggest and most sought out categories, and also debate who should actually trump the odds.

Best Actor

Should win: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game.”

Will win: Michael Keaton for “Birdman” or Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything,” with Keaton having a slight edge.

Cumberbatch’s turn as genius mathematician Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game” is a revelation for an actor whose most famous for playing detective (“BBC’s “Sherlock”) or great secondary characters (Khan in “Star Trek: Into the Darkness,” and voicing Smaug in “The Hobbit” films). Tortured by his own demons and going against a ticking clock as he tries break the code behind Enigma, the Nazis’ communication machine which could give give the Allies an advantage and help end World War II. It’s an engaging and evocative tale even for those who aren’t history buffs, and Cumberbatch is the perfect leading man. But the category has been a toss up between the old and the new with awards season pointing at either Hollywood veteran Michael Keaton taking an award home for his role as a struggling former action star (a clear wink at his turn in the “Batman” movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s) or at British actor Eddie Redmayne in his role as physicist Stephen Hawking. The money is on Keaton, because Hollywood always likes a comeback and Keaton – who is undoubtedly talented but has lacked star power in recent years – is the perfect call to make.

Best Actress

Should win: Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl,” or Felicity Jones for “The Theory of Everything.”

Will win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice.”

Pike is absolutely mesmerizing as Amy Dunne in David Fincher’s tale of a marriage gone awry in one of last summer’s most entertaining revelations: “Gone Girl.” While Felicity Jones plays opposite Redmayne in a role that may actually outshine her onscreen husband in “Theory of Everything.” As Jane Hawking, she is tortured but relatable, equally sensitive and tough, her defiant face always hinting at something more vulnerable beneath, a true feat for someone who has to play opposite one of the world’s greatest minds. But neither women can get in Moore’s way, this is her game and after four other previous Academy Award nominations she seems poised to finally take one home for her role as a woman struggling with early onslaught Alzheimers in “Still Alice.”

Best Picture

Should win: “The Imitation Game.”

Will win: “Boyhood” or “Birdman.”

“Imitation Game” is ripe with touchingly heartbreaking performances that trump “Theory of Everything” and the kind of momentum that can rev up theatre goers and is usually saved for typical action movies or high powered dramas. But the Best Picture category this year looks like a contest between the old and the relatively new. “Birdman” pairs oldschool Keaton with the new age eyes of Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who previously won Oscars for his work on “Babel.” But it’s “Boyhood’s” 12 year trek to the Oscar stage that makes it stand apart from its fellow nominees. The Richard Linklater helmed film stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as divorced parents, and follows the coming age of their son Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) and took 12 years to make with the cast reuniting once or twice a year to film a week’s worth of scenes. For the cast and crew, the time they put into the film could prove to be a truly big pay off.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards air on ABC at 5:30 p.m. PST and 8:30 p.m EST on Feb. 22. with actor Neil Patrick Harris as host.