Which nominee will wind up with the most Oscar wins?

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With the Academy Awards creeping up on us and voting currently going on, I wanted to consider for a moment which one of the nominees is primed to do best on Oscar night. Usually, you can narrow it down to just one or two films that are in prime position to lead the way, in terms of wins, but this year isn’t that sort of a case. It makes sense too, considering how little of the season has gone by the book. Since just about anything can happen, that applies to Oscar night as well. The Academy could wind up going in numerous different directions here…

Basically, the way I narrowed down the list of movies that potentially could have the best Oscar night was to start with the Best Picture lineup. That gave me eight contenders to start with. From there, I eliminated Selma, of course, since it only had two nominations in total. Then, I opted to exclude American Sniper due to its controversies and decent probability of being totally shut out. That left me with six of the nominees, some of whom have a better shot at this honor than others. These are the most likely half dozen though, no doubt about that. It’ll be one of these when all is said and done. Ironically, most of the early contenders to really be heavily rewarded wound up snubbed, for the most part. Potential juggernauts like Gone Girl, Interstellar, Into the Woods, and Unbroken fell short in one way or another, so we only have some of the Best Picture nominees to cull from.

Here are the most likely films to lead the way in terms of Oscar night wins:

1. Birdman – Co-leading the field with nine nominations, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film has recently become the odds on favorite for some major awards, which could set it up to have the best total day of any contender. A slightly realistic perfect world evening for Birdman would see it take Best Picture, Best Director (for Iñárritu), Best Actor (for Michael Keaton), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and perhaps either Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing. That would give it a half dozen wins, and no other movie can contend with that, I don’t think. The awards will likely be split among many titles, but this one is in the pole position to wind up with the most overall.

2. Boyhood – The one time frontrunner in a number of categories, Richard Linklater’s movie is still right there for some big love. It scored six nominations and is in the unique situation of being in the mix to win all but one of them. Yes, out of those half dozen nods, the only nom it won’t be able to translate into a win is Best Supporting Actor. As such, if things broke in a big way for Boyhood, it could walk away with Best Picture, Best Director (for Linklater), Best Supporting Actress (for Patricia Arquette), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. That would give it a total of five, which could very well be enough to lead the way if my hunch is correct that things to wind up splitting in all sorts of directions.

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – The other co-leader here with nine nominations as well, Wes Anderson has finally been embraced by the Academy, so all bets are off. It’ll struggle somewhat to wind up with too many big wins, but it has a real chance to do very well with the precursors. My guess is that the best case scenario for The Grand Budapest Hotel is the following haul: Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, as well as Best Original Score. That would give it a total of five, which as we’ve seen above could be enough to wind up leading the way.

4. Whiplash – I’m not sure many people realize what a good situation Damien Chazelle’s film is in. Yes, Whiplash may only have five nominations under its belt, but outside of Best Picture, it’s got a chance to walk away with all of its other nods. In that basically perfect world, Chazelle and Whiplash would wind up with their Best Supporting Actor (for J.K. Simmons), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing noms turning into wins. They can already bank on Simmons in Supporting Actor, so there’s a definite chance that with a bit of luck the movie walks away with a quartet of wins. It might not be what happens, but there’s a shot here at least.

5. The Theory of Everything – The recent love of this film by BAFTA has sort of solidified that this could be the British biopic of choice this year. James Marsh’s movie was christened with five nominations, and it seems in line to take home two of them (Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne and Best Original Score). That’s more or less the maximum though, unless an upset of sorts is in the cards with Best Adapted Screenplay. The Theory of Everything could top out at three, which isn’t bad, but unless things really go nuts, it likely won’t be quite enough to come out on top this year, in terms of wins.

6. The Imitation Game – Here’s an interesting case. Despite having a huge total of eight nominations, there’s only one place currently where Morten Tyldum’s film is considered the frontrunner. That’s the Best Adapted Screenplay field, so while it could very well win there and perhaps one or two other places if a tech category upset occurs, there’s also the chance that it winds up shut out, if you can believe it. Honestly, I mostly included this one because of its high nomination total. If you took away the controversy that American Sniper is dealing with, that one has a slightly better chance at multiple wins. The top three on this list are the ones to focus on, as you can probably tell…

Stay tuned to see which movie does the best at the Academy Awards!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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