Who will win Oscar, and who should win

An in-depth look at who will win the big prizes at tomorrow night’s Oscars ceremony and, more importantly, who should win:

Who will win Oscar, and who should win

BEST PICTURE

Will win: Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Critics’ darling Boyhood has fallen by the wayside in recent weeks, allowing the giddy showbusiness satire Birdman to gallop to the front of the pack. It’s an obvious choice — a back-slapping celebration of Hollywood, celebrity, and the creative process — but if Oscar voters chose unparalleled quality over self-congratulation, they would check into Wes Anderson’s visually stunning and hilarious murder mystery The Grand Budapest Hotel instead.

BEST DIRECTOR

Will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)

Should win: As above

Richard Linklater’s 12-year devotion to Boyhood is certainly admirable and Wes Anderson certainly worked his magic behind the camera in The Grand Budapest Hotel but Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu should become the second Mexican director in succession to be ushered to the podium for his bravura direction of Birdman. Stitched together to resemble a single fluid take, the film is a technical masterclass.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Will win: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)

Should win: As above

While Michael Keaton would be the sentimental choice as the comeback kid for his eye-catching work in Birdman, Redmayne’s jaw-dropping, transformative performance as Stephen Hawking is in a league of its own.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Will win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Should win: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

With her fifth nomination, Moore will finally secure a shiny golden statuette for her mantelpiece. She is long overdue and really should have won in 2003 for Far From Heaven when Nicole Kidman stole her thunder. On merit, Cotillard’s heart-breaking turn as a desperate woman threatened with redundancy, who must persuade work colleagues to reject a monetary bonus and keep her on instead, deserves the glittering prize.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Will win: JK Simmons (Whiplash)

Should win: As above

Of all the marvels in Damien Chazelle’s exhilarating second directorial feature Whiplash, JK Simmons’s electrifying portrayal of teacher Terence Fletcher, who terrorises a 19-year-old drumming student, sears deepest into the memory.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Will win: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Should win: As above

Strictly speaking, Arquette is the lead actress in Richard Linklater’s long-gestated passion project, which should have been entitled Motherhood considering that her plucky matriarch is the emotional fulcrum for the 12 years of on-screen tears and tantrums. She has collected virtually every critics’ award and plaudit for the role en route to the Oscars and will be unstoppable on the night.

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