Thursday, March 5, 2015

Third trailer for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' promises bigger, badder sequel

For most general audiences, there are two movies to really get excited for this year: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the latter until December 18. However, we're less than two months away from the release of the highly anticipated Age of Ultron and Marvel has premiered a third and presumably final trailer for the superhero extravaganza. The first trailer was a chilling introduction for the supervillain Ultron and featured a creepy and unnerving rendition of "I've Got No Strings" from Pinoccio. The second trailer debuted during the College Football National Championship game and continued the momentum with more stunning visuals. Could the final trailer find a new way to get fans excited? Check it out for yourself below:


In 2014, Marvel debuted two of their best films yet with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy and everyone is pumped to see what Marvel has in store for Age of Ultron. From the looks of the trailer, Marvel has outdone themselves again. This looks like a truly spectacular film and my excitement is at an all-time high. The dark tone is spot on and the villains and characters seem to have interesting arcs. Not to mention the stunning visual effects work and set pieces. This is shaping up to be another highly promising entry into the cinematic universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron is directed by Joss Whedon and stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Hayley Altwell and will hit theaters on May 1.


Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

Saturday, February 28, 2015

'Star Trek' star Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83

Some very sad news broke out of California yesterday, as it was confirmed that Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. His daughter reported on Twitter that the cause of death was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (commonly known as COPD) and Nimoy himself had confirmed that he had COPD in a January tweet. Nimoy was an acclaimed actor and director, with his most famous role being Spock on Star Trek. Nimoy played Spock in the original TV series, as well as six movie adaptations of the show, and both films in the rebooted J.J. Abrams Trek franchise. Nimoy also did some very successful voice work, including roles in Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Nimoy had success in his directorial efforts as well. He directed Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, before going on to direct films like The Good Mother and 3 Men and a Baby


For all fans of sci-fi and movies, this is a very sad day indeed. Nimoy was a pioneer on Star Trek and the show was a major science fiction breakthrough. As a kid growing up, I was always more partial to Star Wars. I was only introduced to Star Trek later through J.J. Abrams' franchise, but one of the actors who always stuck out to me was Nimoy. He was consistently brilliant as Spock and carried that through the original series and the new versions. Nimoy was one of the most integral parts of the franchise and he will be sorely missed. 



Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Image Credits: Death and Taxes, NY Daily News

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winners of the annual Movie Guru's Blog Awards

I kinda forget about this, but the awards season is pretty much over so let's find out who won the awards during my third annual competition.

BEST PICTURE


Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
The LEGO Movie
Neighbors
Nightcrawler
Snowpiercer
Whiplash

Winner: INTERSTELLAR

BEST DIRECTOR


Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The LEGO Movie
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

WINNER: Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

BEST ACTOR


Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Brendan Gleeson, Calvary
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
James McAvoy, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher

Winner: Tie- Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler and Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher

BEST ACTRESS


Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars

Winner: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Zac Efron, Neighbors
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Winner: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Carrie Coon, Gone Girl
Sienna Miller, American Sniper
Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
Katharine Waterston, Inherent Vice

Winner: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


Calvary
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
Whiplash

Winner: INTERESTELLAR

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The LEGO Movie
Snowpiercer

Winner: GONE GIRL

BEST ANIMATED FILM


Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
The LEGO Movie

Winner: THE LEGO MOVIE

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Interstellar
Nightcrawler

Winner: NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Big Eyes
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice

Winner: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

BEST FILM EDITING

Edge of Tomorrow
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
Whiplash

Winner: WHIPLASH

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice

Winner: FOXCATCHER

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Interstellar
Nightcrawler

Winner: INTERSTELLAR

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Godzilla
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Winner: INTERSTELLAR

BEST SOUND

American Sniper
Fury
Gone Girl
Interstellar
Whiplash

Winner: WHIPLASH

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Interstellar
Neighbors

Winner: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

BEST ACTION FILM

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Fury
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Winner: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

BEST COMEDY

22 Jump Street
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Interview
Neighbors
Stretch

Winner: NEIGHBORS

BEST RISING STAR

Ansel Elgort
Mackenzie Foy
Jillian Bell
Katharine Waterston
Tony Revolori

Winner: Tony Revolori

BEST TRAILER

American Sniper
Interstellar
Inherent Vice
Gone Girl
Whiplash

Winner: INHERENT VICE

MOST ANTICIPATED OF 2015

Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens
Spectre
The Hateful Eight
Furious 7
Mad Max: Fury Road

Winner: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII- THE FORCE AWAKENS

Those are the winners for the Movie Guru awards. It was a great year, but I'm ready to move on and explore everything that 2015 has to offer.

Image Credits: Wired, Screen Rant, The Guardian, NY Post, Indiewire, Indiewire, Huffington Post, NY Post, EW, 

Jupiter Ascending review

Andy and Lana Wachowski have long been known as two of the most innovative filmmakers in Hollywood, constantly dreaming up new films and concepts. The Matrix was considered to be an instant sci-fi classic, before The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions quickly brought the trilogy down. Speed Racer eventually became a cult classic, but was a major bomb back in the day. And the duo's Cloud Atlas was divisive, splitting fans and critics right down the middle (I personally could not get through it). That brings us to Jupiter Ascending, the latest sci-fi epic from the Wachowksis. After three weeks at the box office, it's clear that Jupiter Ascending will go down as their biggest failure- a $175 million megabudget picture that will probably lose over $100 million. But does that mean it's a total waste? Not exactly.


Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is an Earthbound maid, who is always wishing for something more in life. However, Jupiter is actually a direct reincarnation of the Queen of the universe, and the all-powerful Abrasax family is out to kill her. After almost being killed during a medical procedure, Jupiter is rescued by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), the half-man, half-wolf warrior who is out to protect Jupiter for Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth), who wants Jupiter for possibly nefarious purposes. Jupiter and Caine shack up with Stinger Abini (Sean Bean), a hunter with a secret history with Caine.

After being pursued off of Earth, Jupiter finds herself on an intergalactic planet, facing off against the tricky family dynamics of the Abrasax dynasty. Titus wants to marry her (sorta bizarre considering she's the reincarnation of his mother), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) might want to help her, and Balem (Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne in a thanklessly over-the-top part) wants to straight-up kill her. Jupiter's life is in constant peril and it will take a big fight to get out alive.

Jupiter Ascending received some of the most miserable reviews of the year so far. It finished with 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics called it "baffling", "muddled" and "misguided" and said that the film was a misfire. All of this is true. Jupiter Ascending is a mess. It's convoluted, with a bounty of plot details and some completely weird stuff that just doesn't make sense. However, Jupiter Ascending is an engaging, fascinating and wholly entertaining fiasco that works through its shortcomings to become a solidly compelling flick.

First off, Jupiter Ascending is a weird, weird movie. Seriously, there's some bizarre stuff in this flick. Channing Tatum plays an albino wolf/man hybrid who is able to smell fear. Eddie Redmayne's Balem speaks in soft whispers before screaming orders at his army. And speaking of his henchmen, Balem's warriors are giant dragon/lizard combinations who fly around chasing our heroes. A large group of bees surround Jupiter because bees are able to sense royalty (apparently). The Abrasax family members are able to dip into a pool of water and instantly become young again. Gugu Mbatha-Raw's character has some of the biggest ears I've ever seen in my life. The Wachowskis have done weird stuff before, but this takes it all to a whole new level.

But if you're able to get past the weirdness and buy into this film, there's quite a bit here to like. For one, the action is absolutely breathtaking and the visual effects work is astounding. Each action scene carried a level of excitement that couldn't be matched during the rest of the film. An aerial battle through the streets of Chicago is very cool and the final war on the Abrasax planet is a compelling setpiece. The Wachowskis may not be smart plotters or intriguing storytellers, but they know how to create a visually incredible film and Jupiter Ascending might just be their most wonderfully designed film yet.

The actors do their best with the script, and nobody but Eddie Redmayne was truly terrible. Mila Kunis is okay, but I've never been truly comfortable with her as a major action star. Same goes for Channing Tatum. It's obvious that Tatum is a great actor now- 22 Jump Street, Foxcatcher and Magic Mike have proved that over the years. However, whenever Tatum takes a dip into the action world, he just doesn't manage to pull it off. He's serviceable, but doesn't bring a ton of depth to Caine. Sean Bean and Douglas Booth do decent work, and the cast is fine overall.

Despite all the positive aspects of Jupiter Ascending, there's no denying that this is a misguided film. The plot is all over the board, continually confusing itself to the point where you're just taking in the spectacle. The motivations of each character are hard to decipher and the family dynamics of the Abrasax clan are hard to get a finger on. The film is also overlong, at 2 hours and 7 minutes. The film should end in one place, but it keeps going and deals more with Balem and the total destruction on the Abrasax planet.

Obviously, Jupiter Ascending is not the instant classic sci-fi masterpiece that I had hoped for, but it's a good bit of fun. The lunacy of the film is never tamed and it's obvious that the material became too much for the Wachowskis at a point. However, it's also clear that the filmmakers put everything they had on screen and delivered a unique vision, accompanied by oddball characters, stunning action and a fresh sci-fi world that we've never seen before.

THE FINAL GRADE:  B-                                             (6.9/10)


Image Credits: Nerdist, Movie Pilot, Wired, Hollywood Reporter, Fat Movie Guy

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars wrap-up: 'Birdman' wins big, while 'Boyhood' falls flat as lengthy awards season comes to a close

The Academy Awards were last night and they were a long, drawn out affair. Neil Patrick Harris hosted with a theatrical charm for the first half of the show, but his corny jokes and all-around awkwardness dragged down the whole thing after a while. However, NPH will always get a little bit of credit from me, simply because of his truly exceptional opening musical number. It was a brilliant tribute to movies and I absolutely loved it.


Musical performances dominated much of the night, as each of the nominees for Best Original Song were performed. John Legend and Common's performance of "Glory" from the Best Picture-nominated Selma was poignant and powerful (highlighted by Common's energetic hand-wavivng), while Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island delivered a delightful performance of "Everything is Awesome" from the snubbed LEGO Movie. Rita Ora, Adam Levine and Tim McGraw also performed. Later in the night, Lady Gaga sang a rendition of several songs from The Sound of Music, which was actually pretty good.

Despite all of that fun, the movies dominated the night and everybody got in on the action. Big Hero 6 won Best Animated Film, while Citizenfour and Ida took Best Documentary and Foreign Language film, respectively. Julianne Moore unsurprisingly won the Best Actress award for Still Alice. Each of the eight Best Picture nominees won an award and several took home multiple awards. American Sniper won Best Sound Editing, Selma won Best Original Song and The Imitation Game won Best Adapted Screenplay (great speech by Graham Moore). The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne also took home the film's lone award for Best Actor for his terrific performance as acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking. Patricia Arquette won Boyhood's only award (Best Supporting Actress) for her nuanced and subtle performance.

Whiplash won three awards, including Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing and Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons' terrifying portrayal of jazz instructor Terence Fletcher. The Grand Budapest Hotel won big for Fox Searchlight, winning the awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Original Score. Finally, Fox Searchlight's Birdman was the big winner of the night, with victories in Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Picture.

All in all, the biggest surprise of the night was the total dominance of Birdman. Granted, the film's star, Michael Keaton, went home empty-handed. But the film still took four of the major categories, with many only expecting it to win Best Picture and Cinematography. The win in the Best Original Screenplay category came as a slight surprise and many were anticipating another Picture-Director split. In reality, that was not the case. Voter love shifted to Birdman late in the game and the film walked away with the victory.

For Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash, this should undoubtedly be looked at as a successful awards season. The Theory of Everything also went home with a big award, so I would count this season as a success for the Focus Features release. And American Sniper wins no matter what simply because it arrived late in the game, made a ton of money and walked away with a statue.

The unquestioned losers of the season are definitely The Imitation Game, Selma and Boyhood. The Imitation Game won a big award for Graham Moore's witty screenplay, but the film couldn't match up to Harvey Weinstein's previous successes. Selma was a total misfire by Paramount and the producers. What should have been a very big awards player ended up being a disappointing also-ran. And finally, Boyhood was destroyed after months of victories at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice. The ambitious project lost all momentum towards the end of the season, and that's just unfortunate. It's a fantastic film and I really wish that Richard Linklater would have gotten more attention.

This was a long awards season and I was relieved to see it end. However, I know that it will begin again very soon. But for now, let's look back at a great year of films and be happy that the Academy recognized some fantastic films and performances.


Image Credits: Variety, Forbes, Variety, Superhero Hype

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscars Live Blog!

The Oscars start in 2 minutes. After a very long awards season, I'm ready for this show. There's definitely a lot of tension tonight and many categories are very hotly contested.

-The Oscars have begun and Neil Patrick Harris has taken the stage!

-Cumberbatch drinking from a flask was a good first gag.

-Absolutely fantastic opening. Really, really good. I'm impressed.

-Neil Patrick Harris killed the opening song. That was fantastic.

-Great opening by Neil Patrick Harris. He's done a great job so far.

-First category is Best Supporting Actor. Should be an easy victory for J.K. Simmons.

-"And the Actor goes to....."

-J.K. Simmons wins Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. Truly a deserving victory. Fantastic performance.

-Doing the Farmers jingle after Simmons won was a stroke of genius.

-Liam Neeson is here to talk about The Grand Budapest Hotel and American Sniper.

-Dakota Johnson from Fifty Shades of Grey is introducing Maroon 5's performance of their song from Begin Again.

-Have to say, I hate the trend of performing every single song nominated for Best Original Song. It's kind of annoying.

-One award in 23 minutes. Wow.

-Chris Pine and J-Lo are here to present the second award of the night.

-Best Costume Design is our next category. Should be the first win of the night for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

-And Best Costume Design goes to The Grand Budapest Hotel!

-Cheesy way to introduce Reese Witherspoon, but whatever.

-Witherspoon is presenting the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. I have The Grand Budapest Hotel here.

-And it's another win for Wes Anderson and co. The Grand Budapest Hotel wins Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

-Channing Tatum is here to talk about the Team Oscar search. Young filmmakers make movies and six get to come present at the Oscars.

-It's been a good night for The Grand Budapest Hotel so far. Could the film end up winning some of the bigger awards?

-Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman will be presenting the award for Best Foreign Language film. Ida with the easy win here.

-Ida wins Best Foreign Language film. I'm 4/4 so far.

-That dude didn't care that they played the music. He was just going for it. That was great.

-Shirley MacLaine is up to talk about Birdman, Boyhood and The Theory of Everything.

-"Everything is Awesome!!!" is about to be performed. Very excited.

-Okay, so that was awesome. Batman, LEGO Oscar statues, celebrities, the Lonely Island. Nothing can be better than that all night.

-Kerry Washington and Jason Bateman will be presenting the award for Best Live Action Short film, one of the categories that I don't care about.

-The Phone Call wins Best Live Action Short Film. Where I had to make short films predictions, that's what I picked.

-Best Documentary Short is up next. Crisis Hotline will win.

-Once again, didn't predict Crisis Hotline on here, but in official polls, I did. No surprise here.

-Stop playing the music during the nominees' acceptance speeches. It's absurd.

-Nice David Oyelowo joke.

-Gwyneth Paltrow is up next to introduce the next song performance.

-Best Birdman tribute of all time. This is gold.

-Neil Patrick Harris onstage in his underwear. Miles Teller on the drums. Absolutely perfect.

-Miles Teller and Margot Robbie are talking about the Scientific and Technical Visualization awards.

-Sienna Miller and Chris Evans are here to present the Sound awards. Should go to American Sniper and Whiplash.

-Whiplash wins its second Oscar of the night with a win in the Sound Mixing category. I'm seven for seven so far.

-Sound Editing is up next. Should be an easy win for American Sniper.

-American Sniper gets its first win of the night for Sound Editing.

-Jared Leto is about to present the role for Best Supporting Actress. Easy victory for Arquette.

-Patricia Arquette wins Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood.

-Slightly stilted speech but a strong message overall.

-Another song performance. Can't wait to be done with all of this stuff.

-Visual Effects award is up next. Tough category, but I've got my money on Interstellar.

-And Interstellar wins! The film picks up its first win of the night.

-Kevin Hart and Anna Kendrick are here to present the award for Best Animated Short. Feast will probably be the winner.

-Feast wins Best Animated Short. Great short film. Not much of a surprise.

-Best Animated Feature Film is up next. Predicted How to Train Your Dragon 2, but I'm not sure about that pick.

-And I was right about that fear. Big Hero 6 with the win!

-Great speech by the Big Hero 6 filmmakers. Happy that it beat Dragon 2.

-The President of the.......Academy. This part is always boring.

-Chris Pratt and Felicity Jones will be presenting the next award for Best Production Design. The Grand Budapest Hotel should snag its third win here.

-I've seen The Grand Budapest Hotel many times and it never gets old. Perfect movie. I'm so glad that it won another award.

-It's Dick Poop time. Emmanuel Lubezki will win this category no question.

-Yup, Birdman with its first win of the night.

-I'm 13 for 14 on the awards so far tonight. Doing pretty good.

-It's time for the sad part. The In Memoriam segment.

-If Boyhood wins Best Film Editing, that would be a big deal.

-But alas, Whiplash has won. Could Whiplash play spoiler and win Best Picture?

-Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo are here to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. Citizenfour should win.

-Citizenfour picks up the win for Best Documentary Feature.

-Some of NPH's jokes have been truly cringe-worthy.

-Octavia Spencer is here to introduce the songwriters behind "Glory"

-Powerful and exceptional performance of "Glory". Didn't love the movie, but I loved the song.

-NPH killed John Travolta.

-Menzel and Travolta reunited. This is perfect.

-Okay, Travolta was kinda creepy there. Best Original Song is up next.

-"Glory" wins Best Original Song for Selma. Good song and good win.

-This show is dragging on and on. Really want to get to the big awards right now. There's still a lot left to hand out.

-Should be a win for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

-And it goes to The Grand Budapest Hotel! Fourth Oscar of the night for the terrific film.

-Eddie Murphy is presenting. Haven't seen much of him in recent years.

-First big upset of the night. Birdman wins Best Original Screenplay, solidifying it as a major front-runner for the big prize.

-The Grand Budapest Hotel was the heavy favorite here. Birdman pulled a big upset.

-Another category that I'm very unsure about. I'm hoping for Whiplash, but Imitation Game could definitely get it.

-Dang, was really hoping that Whiplash would get that one. But not truly surprised.

-The Imitation Game and Birdman won the Screenplay awards. It's crunch time. Moore will win Best Actress, but the rest are toss-ups.

-Best Director. This will decide the fate of the Best Picture award.

-Alejandro G. Inarritu wins Best Director for Birdman. This is a big win for Inarritu. Unless there's a shocking split, Birdman will win Best Director.

-Best Actor is up next. If Cooper pulls an upset, I'll be stunned. If Keaton wins, I think Birdman has this thing locked up.

-Redmayne wins Best Actor and the Best Picture race gets very interesting. Birdman or Boyhood? Or maybe a Whiplash or Grand Budapest surprise?

-Julianne Moore wins Best Actress for Still Alice. No surprise there. One award left- Best Picture.

-And the award goes to.......BIRDMAN.

-And that's it for the live blog! Thanks for following along with me.

Final Predictions for the 2015 Academy Awards

After one of the longest award seasons in history, the Hollywood parade is about to end on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre. The Oscars are the final destination after an endless barrage of guild shows, dinners and parties that the industry's best and brightest have to suffer through every year. I followed the Oscar season very closely in previous years, but I've become bored with the whole ordeal. I'm very excited for the show tomorrow, yet I'll also be glad to be done with awards season. So without further delay, here are my final predictions for the Academy Awards:

BEST PICTURE


Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash
Dark Horse: American Sniper, Whiplash

The tightest race in recent memory will come to a close today. Boyhood seemed to have this thing locked up, but after Birdman snagged wins at the Screen Actors, Producers and Directors Guild, the momentum shifted towards Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's black comedy. The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash and Selma continued to linger in the background, while Clint Eastwood's American Sniper made a late surge thanks to explosive box office results. What initially seemed like a done deal became one of the most competitive races ever.

Birdman will win because it has the historical precedence to back it up. The Directors and Producers Guild are absolutely critical awards shows, and Boyhood couldn't do anything at either. If the two films had split the awards, I would have definitely ruled in favor of Boyhood. But I think that there's too much in favor of Birdman right now. The Grand Budapest Hotel could surprise and American Sniper could come out of nowhere, but I think that the victory is safely in the hands of Birdman.

BEST DIRECTOR


Will Win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Should Win: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dark Horse: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

In 2012 and 2013, Best Picture and Director split. The awards went to Argo and Life of Pi's Ang Lee in 2012, while 12 Years A Slave and Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron took home the awards in the following year. Before that, it was rare for Picture and Director to split. Now, I think that it's something that will happen quite frequently. There's no denying Richard Linklater's directorial ambition and for that reason, he will take home the Oscar.

BEST ACTOR


Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Should Win: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler (not nominated- still an absolute travesty)
Dark Horse: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

While I would like to think that this race is completely finished, that is certainly not the case. Eddie Redmayne is in very good shape, but he has yet to face off against Bradley Cooper's powerhouse performance. Cooper came out of nowhere late in the year and could definitely use his Academy goodwill to pick up a victory. And Michael Keaton has a strong chance of pulling a slight upset. But in the end, I think that Redmayne takes the cake for his brilliant portrayal of Stephen Hawking that ticks all the right boxes.

BEST ACTRESS


Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Should Win: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Dark Horse: None

This race is over and done with. Nobody but Julianne Moore is going home with that trophy tomorrow night.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


Will Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Should Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Dark Horse: None

J.K. Simmons won this award all the way back at Sundance 2014. There's no way that he's losing for his monstrous, outstanding performance in Whiplash.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Should Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Dark Horse: Emma Stone, Birdman

Arquette is close to a sure thing, but I feel that there's some momentum shifting over to Emma Stone's corner. Not to say that she has any remote chance of winning, but I wouldn't say that this race is as finished as Supporting Actor or Best Actress. Still, Arquette should have no time walking away with the win tomorrow.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Will Win: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel/Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Dark Horse: Birdman

Wes Anderson's screenplay for The Grand Budapest Hotel is very witty and charming and he should take home an easy win here. The film won't get a ton of love in the other categories, but it should have a good shot of topping Birdman here. And although I adore the screenplay for Grand Budapest, part of me is hoping for a Nightcrawler win tomorrow. It's not likely, but after a few rewatches, I realized just how brilliant that film is.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


Will Win: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Should Win: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Dark Horse: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Best Adapted Screenplay is a complete toss-up. It could go to the traditional, smart and well-written period drama The Imitation Game. Or to the intensely focused screenplay for Whiplash. Word on the street is that the Academy adores Whiplash, so I definitely could see it pulling a slight upset here.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Will Win: Birdman
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dark Horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography in Birdman is pretty spectacular, so I definitely understand why it will win (even though I prefer Robert Yeoman's work on The Grand Budapest Hotel). Lubezki's sweeping camera work makes the film a unique experience and he will deservedly pick up his second straight Oscar.

BEST FILM EDITING


Will Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Whiplash
Dark Horse: Whiplash

Whiplash has fierce, intense editing and many quick cuts that give the film a sense of urgency. Boyhood, on the other hand, is a strong editing job that condensed a lot of material down to a couple of hours. Conventional wisdom says that Boyhood will win and I have to assume that will be the case. But don't count Whiplash out just yet.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Should Win: The LEGO Movie (stunningly not nominated)
Dark Horse: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

This race should have easily been won by The LEGO Movie, but instead, the Academy decided to snub the highly praised animated film and nominate a couple of artsy dramas that nobody saw. So, much to my disappointment, the Oscar tomorrow will likely go to How to Train Your Dragon 2. Big Hero 6 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya have an outside shot, but this is Dreamworks' race to lose.

BEST DOCUMENTARY


Will Win: Citizenfour
Dark Horse: Virunga

Citizenfour is a timely film and a movie that literally brought history to life. I haven't seen any of the nominated films, but I have to say that it's a massive disappointment that Life Itself was not nominated. A documentary about one of the most important men in the film industry and his love for life and movies should have received a nomination. Just saying.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Will Win: Ida
Dark Horse: Leviathan

Leviathan picked up a few awards, but Ida has steadily dominated all year. The Polish film should pick up its final award tomorrow night.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN


Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dark Horse: Maleficent

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a technically outstanding film and the costumes help to fully realize the brilliant world that Anderson has put on screen. The film should have no trouble picking up a win here.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Foxcatcher
Dark Horse: Guardians of the Galaxy

There are only three nominees in this category, so The Grand Budapest Hotel has a great shot of winning again here. I would love to see the subtle, interesting work on Foxcatcher get a win, and the love for Guardians of the Galaxy is there, so a victory is not out of the question. But in the end, I still think that The Grand Budapest Hotel will walk home with the trophy.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN


Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dark Horse: None

Even though my love for Interstellar is strong, The Grand Budapest Hotel's production values could not be matched. This was a beautifully designed film and it totally deserves a win here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should Win: Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Dark Horse: Johann Johannson, The Theory of Everything

This is one of the tightest races left, as The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything have fought it out all season. I personally believe that Desplat's work will come out on top, but I can't believe that Hans Zimmer's thundering score for Interstellar hasn't gotten more love. It's a memorable and emotional piece of cinematic music and I would love to see it shock everyone with a win tomorrow.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG


Will Win: "Glory" from Selma
Should Win: "Everything is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie
Dark Horse: "Everything is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie was infamously snubbed in the Best Animated Feature category, and this could be a way for the voters to make up for that loss. That being said, Selma has dominated this category all year and some also believe that Selma was snubbed by the voters. All in all, this will be a tough fight, but I think that Selma will come out on top with its only Oscar.

BEST SOUND EDITING

Will Win: American Sniper
Should Win: Interstellar
Dark Horse: Interstellar

To be honest, I don't know what Sound Editing is or what Sound Mixing is, but American Sniper was the favorite on Gold Derby so I just went with that.

BEST SOUND MIXING


Will Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Whiplash
Dark Horse: American Sniper

Whiplash had some spectacular sound, so I'm hoping that it picks up a win here.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: Interstellar
Should Win: Interstellar
Dark Horse: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This is the only category that Interstellar has a shot of winning and it had some astounding visuals. It should win over the equally impressive effects on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The final three categories are all short films, and I'm not even going to attempt to predict any of them. It should be a very interesting night and I'm hoping for a lot of surprise. Be sure to come back in an hour for my Oscars Live Blog!

Image Credits: New Yorker, Mashable, Indiewire, Hollywood Reporter, Mashable, Wordpress, The Dissolve, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, New Yorker, NY Post, Selma movie, Indiewire