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Which film will lead the nomination totals for Oscar this year?

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As we move closer to the Academy Awards announcing their nominations, it bears mentioning that we don’t yet know which movie will lead the nomination totals when all is said and done. Most years, there’s one obvious contender that you can presume will hit double digits (or close to it) and lead the field, if not more than one, but this year is as wide open in that regard as ever. There are at least a half dozen films that could conceivably fall into this category, so I figured I’d run them down for you, with a few extra thrown in for good measure. Consider that an early Christmas present.

Here now are the ten most likely films to lead the field in terms of nominations when oscar makes its announcement:

1. Birdman – If you had to place a wager on which big Oscar contender would lead the nomination totals, this one has to be the odds on favorite. Honestly, I’d be a bit surprised if Birdman wasn’t the overall leader, but there’s a chance it could come up just short. Still, no other player has a better chance to wind up with double digit citations than this one from Alejandro González Iñárritu. This is the flick that the odds favor to lead the field, though it’s hardly a foregone conclusion.

2. Interstellar – Once the likely frontrunner for this honor, it’s now very much become a dark horse of sorts. Interstellar should make a great showing in the technical categories, perhaps even getting at least a half dozen nominations there alone. As such, it’ll come down to if Christopher Nolan’s epic can remain in the Best Picture hunt, along with other places like Best Original Screenplay. If it can, then a ten spot could still be realistic. Stay tuned…

3. Selma – For a moment, it appeared as though this powerful biopic of sorts was headed straight to the top. Then, a few issues cropped up with its late year release, but still…Selma is set to do very well with the Academy. If it can get into Best Original Screenplay alongside its probable Best Picture and Best Director categories, that’ll help the cause for Ava DuVernay and company.

4. The Theory of Everything – Slowly but surely, this biopic is making a play to really dominate nomination morning. The Theory of Everything could score in the seven to eight nomination range, which will require some help in order to be at the top, but still…that’s pretty great for a small film like this one. We shall see what happens in the end for this one from James Marsh.

5. Gone Girl – Never count out a David Fincher film in this sort of conversation. The below the line citations will likely be there, so it’ll just come down to how much love Gone Girl gets in the big categories. I could see eight or nine nominations almost as much as I could see just three or four. If Fincher gets in for Best Director, that’ll be a sign that this could be a bigger contender than some are currently expecting.

6. The Imitation Game – No longer the potential Best Picture frontrunner that it once was, The Imitation Game will have to do a bit better than expected to actually have a chance at leading the field. Mainly, it’ll come down to if Morten Tyldum scores a Best Director nomination. Much like the film above, that’ll be a sign from above that this is one to really reckon with. If not, it’ll be a cap of about five or six nominations.

7. Boyhood – Normally, if you’re the frontrunner to win Best Picture and Best Director (as well as probably Best Original Screenplay too), that sets you up to have a high nomination total. In the case of Boyhood though, its tech category love might be limited, which could keep it closer to a half dozen nominations than double digit citations. There’s definitely a chance that Richard Linklater sees his film just show up everywhere in advance of a near sweep, but that remains to be seen.

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel – The late breaking addition to the party, Wes Anderson’s quirk-fest could show up all over the place. The Grand Budapest Hotel seems locked into a Best Picture nomination as well as one for Best Original Screenplay, so it’ll come down to how strong it does with the techs. I don’t think it’ll crack about five citations, but this one has exceeded expectations all season long.

9. Into the Woods – The tech fields will probably be very kind to this musical, but unless it shocks me with a strong showing overall, it likely won’t really contend for a real high nomination total. Into the Woods isn’t going to come close to the totals that Rob Marshall saw for Chicago, that much is certain. In fact, outside of Meryl Streep in Best Supporting Actress, it could potentially only wind up with a few tech nods.

10. Unbroken – Similarly, Angelina Jolie’s passion project should have a few places to get in, but not nearly as many as were once predicted. Unbroken should have at least a Best Cinematography nom assured, but outside of that, it’s all guesswork. Best Picture is still possible, but I have my doubts there. It’ll be interesting to see how this one winds up turning out.

Stay tuned to see which film leads the nominations!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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