By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 23, 2014 at 2:25PM
While no film has emerged as a full-on frontrunner, four films seem pretty locked in to potentially emerge as just that. First, there's Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" and Richard Linklater's "Boyhood," Both have the critics on their side, have proved commercially successful and have sustained -- or even continued to build -- Oscar buzz since they made their debuts. At the absolute very least, they are both getting nominations. It's hard to imagine Toronto Film Festival audience winner "The Imitation Game" not getting in as well (though it's also hard to imagine it winning). And then, of course, came "Selma." Ava DuVernay's civil rights film got exactly the kind of reaction from its AFI FEST premiere that very much locks it into this race, and likely gives us the first best picture nominee ever directed by a woman of color.
As for the remaining 1-6 potential nominees? It seems "Gone Girl," "The Theory of Everything," "Mr. Turner," "Whiplash," "Interstellar," "Foxcatcher," "A Most Violent Year" and "American Sniper" are all in the mix for now. But what will change in the new few weeks is our understanding of how "Unbroken" changes this race (and to a lesser extent "Into The Woods"). On paper, the film is the kind of true life story Oscar winners are made of: It follows World War II hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific only to spend 47 days drifting on a raft, and then more than two and a half years living in several Japanese prisoner of war camps. If Jolie can pull it off (and it doesn't hurt that the Coen brothers wrote the script), it could be a force to be reckoned with. But so could any of them, really. So let's enjoy the fun of all those question marks while they last, and take in these predicted nominees with the grains of salt that come with that uncertainty.
That all said, here are our current 2015 Oscar predictions for Best Picture. Check out our predictions in other categories here. And click on each film title for more information on that film and current critics scores.
We Haven't Seen It, But It Has What It Takes On Paper:
5. "Unbroken" (Angelina Jolie)
More Iffy, But All Have Solid Shots:
6. "The Theory of Everything" (James Marsh)
7. "Gone Girl" (David Fincher)
8. "Whiplash" (Damien Chazelle)
9. "Mr. Turner" (Mike Leigh)
10. "Foxcatcher" (Bennett Miller)
11. "American Sniper" (Clint Eastwood)
12. "Into The Woods" (Rob Marshall)
13. "A Most Violent Year" (JC Chandor)
Darker Horses That Could Rally:
14. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Wes Anderson)
15. "Interstellar" (Christopher Nolan)
16. "Wild" (Jean-Marc Vallée)
17. "Top Five" (Chris Rock)
18. "Inherent Vice" (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Sign up HERE for Indiewire's Awards Season newsletter and receive a twice-weekly email roundup of our awards stories, hand-picked by our editors from across the Indiewire Network, plus additional coverage in the final run up to the Oscars.