2014 is shaping up as one of the most diverse Oscar years on record.
Many complain that 'Selma' was overlooked but I have it on good authority that many in the Academy (whose average age is 63 and mostly white) voted for '12 Years a Slave' out of guilt that they should (whether they had seen it or not) Hence it's highly unlikely that a black themed movie will be nominated for a while!
BEST FILM will probably be 'Birdman' as the Academy likes films about their business and 'Boyhood' besides the gimmick of all four cast members ageing 12 years had no story at all which is why it will not win the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Let me say upfront that by far my favorite film of the year was 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Wes Anderson's wonderful bit of whimsy in wartime Europe.
I voted for it in every category for the British Academy Awards and it won 7!
In the Oscars Wes Anderson will definitely win BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY for it and Graham Moore & Andrew Hodges will win BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY for 'The Imitation Game'
'The Grand Budapest Hotel' will also win BEST MAKE UP, BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN, and my friend Milena Canonero will win her 4th Oscar for BEST COSTUME DESIGN (she previously won for 'Barry Lyndon', 'Chariots of Fire' and 'Marie Antoinette') It will probably also win for BEST MUSICAL SCORE.
'Birdman' will probably win BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY for Emmanuel Lubezki~~ he also won last year for 'Gravity' and BEST DIRECTOR~~Alejandro G. Inarritu.
BEST ACTRESS:-Julianne Moore who is much loved in the business and has done a body of great work will probably win for 'Still Alice' as the Academy loves actors with mental or physical disabilities which is also why Eddie Redmayne will probably win BEST ACTOR for 'The Theory of Everything' for portraying Stephen Hawking.
However Michael Keaton could easily have a surprise win for 'Birdman'
Rosamund Pike actually had a more difficult role in 'Gone Girl' ~~~ David Fincher like all great Directors saw that she had a neurotic side and brilliantly tapped into it for this role, as Elia Kazan did with a young James Dean in 'East of Eden' and also used Vivien Leigh's real life manic depression for her Oscar winning role as Blanche Dubois in 'Streetcar named Desire'
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR will almost certainly go to J.K.Simmons as the tough music coach in 'Whiplash' beating out Robert Duvall who was also excellent in 'The Judge'. Both roles incidentally were 'Leading' roles as both actors were on screen almost the whole film, as was my fellow Austrian Christof Waltz when he won last year for 'Django Unchained' but Producers like Harvey Weinstein use their influence to get such lead roles put in the supporting category!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS will almost certainly go to Patricia Arquette for her excellent performance as the Mother in 'Boyhood' (another lead role!) I will be attending quite a few pre-Oscar Parties next week and will try to keep you up to date via news and photographs when I can.