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2015 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 7, 2014 at 9:23PM

Here's our very early best picture Oscar predictions.

Indiewire will provide updates of our predictions for the 87th Academy Award nominations through January 2015, when the nominations are announced.

It's only summer, but let's take an ignorant stab at the Oscar nominations anyway, shall we?  There are a few possibilities from what we've seen.  Like  Sundance, Berlin and Cannes premieres like "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner," "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the latter two -- given their glowing reviews and strong box office -- could very well make for Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson's first best picture nominations, respectively. Long time coming.

But there's certainly plenty more coming out to choose from, including many folks who have had dates with Oscar in the recent past. Two-time best director nominee David Fincher ("The Social Network" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") has his adaptation of Gillian Flynn's extremely popular novel "Gone Girl" -- starring recent best director winner Ben Affleck. Paul Thomas Anderson (who has yet to win an Oscar after four nominations) has his seventh feature film "Inherent Vice," which reunites him with his Oscar-nominated "The Master" star Joaquin Phoenix (notably both "Girl" and "Vice" will premiere at the New York Film Festival).  "Chicago" director Rob Marshall has another big budget musical en route for Christmas with "Into The Woods." We don't know if its more "Nine" than "Chicago" but a cast including Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt can't hurt. And Stephen Daldry has "Trash," which follows follows three boys in a third world country who find a leather bag in trash -- the contents of which plunge them into an adventure. Based on the book by Andy Mulligan (and co-starring Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen), "Trash" should not be discounted solely due to Daldry, who has directed four films in his career ("Billy Elliot," "The Hours," "The Reader" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"), every single one of which has been nominated for best picture or best director (or both).

There are also a few filmmakers oft (or always) ignored by Oscar that could make their way into derby. Tim Burton has seen his animated features get nominated, but his live-action work has yet to receive a best picture nod. That could change with "Big Eyes," a biopic of painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams -- more than overdue at this point) and the legal difficulties she had with her husband (Christoph Waltz), who claimed credit for her popular work. There's as JC Chandor, who was snubbed this past year for "All Is Lost." His 1980s-set family crime saga "A Most Violent Year" stars two more recent Oscar snubbees -- Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks -- alongside Jessica Chastain. The Academy could make up for quite a bit if this gets nominated across the board.

They could also make a little progress regarding the criticism surrounding the lack of women nominated time and time again with Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette," a film about the early feminist movement in the UK that is written and directed by women (Gavron and writer Abi Morgan) and starring an almost all-female cast including the likes of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep (though will it be released). Another female-directed film that could be a major player comes via a woman that has two Oscars -- one for acting and one for her humanitarian efforts. Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" -- written by the Coen Brothers, no less -- could be a major player with its chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini (played by Jack O'Connell), an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. The film genuinely feels the frontrunner, at least on paper...

And this list doesn't even mention new films from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Birdman," which could offer a comeback-making performance from Michael Keaton), Christopher Nolan ("Interstellar," with recent Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway), and Jean-Marc Vallée (following up "Dallas Buyers Club" with an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild", starring Reese Witherspoon). Not to mention some films that are not likely on anybody's radar just yet. So with that in mind, here's out 2015 Oscar predictions for best picture, clearly not to be taken seriously until at least September.

Check out predictions in other categories here.

It's Early, But They Seem Like Pretty Safe Bets:
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

More Iffy, But Both Good Shots Too:
Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

Strong Contenders (At Least On Paper):
Unbroken (Angelina Jolie)
Fury (David Ayer)
The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)
Gone Girl (David Fincher)
Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Interstellar (Christopher Nolan)
Theory of Everything (James Marsh)
A Most Violent Year (JC Chandor)

Other Possibilities (Though At This Point, Anything Is):
Big Eyes (Tim Burton)
Into The Woods (Rob Marshall)
Trash (Stephen Daldry)
Rosewater (Jon Stewart)
Selma (Ava DuVernay)
Suite Francaise (Saul Dibb)
While We're Young (Noah Baumbach)
Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée)

Dark Horses From What We've Seen:
The Fault In Our Stars (Josh Boone)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
Love Is Strange (Ira Sachs)
The Homesman
(Tommy Lee Jones)
Map To The Stars (David Cronenberg)