The Oscar Race: Picking Best Picture

Which film is going to walk away with the gold statue for 2015?

Which nominated films are likely to take home the gold? We break down the competition at this year’s Academy Awards

The race is on! For the 87th time, the Academy Awards will be handed out for the best achievements in film and this year the ceremony is hosted by multi-hyphenate Neil Patrick Harris.

“I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show,” said Harris, who has already conquered the Emmys and the Tonys. “To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket-list dream come true.”

Broadway vet Harris is not the only one expected to break into song during the show either – the most glamourous event of the year promises performances from John Legend and Common, Adam Levine, Tim McGraw and Rita Ora. But the biggest question remains: What will be the best movie of 2014? We take a look at the eight nominees for Best Picture.  

Watch The Oscars Sunday, February 22nd on CTV.

Credit: Warner Bros.

American Sniper

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, the biopic of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history has become both a box-office hit and a divider of critics’ opinions. The controversy surrounding the accuracy of the film, and what kind of toll violence truly takes on a man, may work in Sniper’s favour, as it has been pegged as a serious contender for the trophy.

Credit: IFC Films


The 12-year experiment from director Richard Linklater about a divorced couple (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) raising their two kids (Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater) is virtually a shoo-in for Best Picture after winning at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards. As the single mother who overcomes a decade of obstacles — ranging from financial stress to domestic abuse – Arquette’s win for Best Supporting Actress is also practically guaranteed.

Credit: Fox Searchlight


Giving Boyhood a run for its money is Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (illusion of a) one-take film that depicts a washed-up movie star (Michael Keaton) who once played an iconic superhero as he prepares to head up a Broadway play in order to reclaim his past glory. If Birdman can’t snag the big win, Keaton has an excellent chance of coming out a victor in the Best Actor race.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

The Grand Budapest Hotel

That The Grand Budapest Hotel nabbed the award for Best Comedy or Musical at the Globes should perhaps not have been a surprise because the stylized whodunit, starring Ralph Fiennes as the hotel concierge who is accused of murder, is Wes Anderson at his best. But the Oscars may prove an uphill climb for the quirky film and its director.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch portrays mathematician and war hero Alan Turing, who is credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s Second World War Enigma machine. The real struggle for Turing, however, came post-war when he was arrested on charges of “gross indecency” and convicted for being homosexual. The powerful film is nominated in every major category, including Morten Tyldum for directing, and Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley for acting.

Credit: Paramount Pictures


In the first Hollywood production that puts Dr. Martin Luther King front and centre, David Oyelowo portrays the civil rights leader during the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when he led a campaign, in the face of extreme violence, to secure equal voting rights. Director Ava DuVernay tells the story of how a movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Credit: Focus Features

The Theory of Everything

For his portrayal of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, Eddie Redmayne should have the trophy for Best Actor in the bag. Redmayne and his Oscar-nominated costar Felicity Jones (as Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde) depict the couple’s struggle through the progression of Hawking’s debilitating illness and skyrocketing research career in a movie that likely has prompted more tissue sales than any other Best Pic candidate this year.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics


A promising 19-year-old drummer at a cutthroat Manhattan music conservatory gets a real taste of the pressure of success when he is picked to join the school band led by a sadistic music instructor. J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of every student’s living nightmare will likely nab him his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.