The 87th Academy Awards is now upon us, with multi-hyphenate talent Neil Patrick Harris taking over hosting duties for the Oscars airing on Sunday, February 22.

Even though this is Harris’ first time hosting the Oscars, he’s hosted pretty much everything else before, including the Tonys and Emmys, so we all know he’s going to be fantastic.

2015 Oscar Nominations: Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel Lead All Films >>>

As for the nominees, there seem to be a handful of categories where it’s a toss-up between two people/movies — which could be bad news for my predictions if I go with the eventual loser.

Whenever I make award show predictions, the results usually end up being a mixed bag for me. Some years, I do pretty well, and other times it’s a dud. When I made my predictions for the 2014 Oscars, I had no idea the kind of fortune teller I would become by the end of the night. I got every single category correct except one (I still can’t believe the Mickey Mouse animated short lost).

It’s unlikely I can ever match that 95% bar I reached last year. But with some of these toss-up categories (like Best Picture between Birdman and Boyhood), you never know what might happen.

So which films will walk away as the big winners of the night? Here are my 2015 Oscar predictions:

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Prediction: Birdman. This year’s Best Picture category comes down to Birdman and Boyhood. Both can claim award victory leading up to the Oscars. Birdman has won Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild awards. Boyhood is matching up quite well, having won Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes, along with BAFTA and Critics’ Choice awards. For the top prize of the night, I wouldn’t be surprised if either one of these films wins, and while I personally would side with Boyhood, Birdman has the momentum right now.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Prediction: Eddie Redmayne. Here’s another category where it comes down to two. Michael Keaton has received praise for his role as a washed-up actor looking for a comeback. In our 15 Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2014 slideshow, I posed the question, “Could we be seeing Michael Keaton at the Oscars next year?” That is definitely happening, but the question now is, will he win? I actually believe Best Actor will instead go to Eddie Redmayne. His portrayal of Stephen Hawking is mesmerizing; he transforms himself into a completely different person. And that transformation, as the character, plays out over the course of the movie as the effects of Hawking’s disease overtake him.

Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Prediction: Julianne Moore. Sometimes, you just know there’s only one person who could possibly win. For this year’s Best Actress, that goes to Julianne Moore, who has already won BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe awards. After four previous Oscar nominations, this is her time to shine.

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Prediction: J.K. Simmons. J.K. Simmons is one of the actors this year that people can’t stop praising. We’ve seen him in all sorts of projects over the years, whether it’s TV, movies and even commercials, but it’s his role in Whiplash as an abusive jazz teacher that is raising him up to new heights.

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Prediction: Patricia Arquette. At this point, Boyhood has about a 50-50 chance of winning Best Picture, but Patricia Arquette’s odds of winning Best Supporting Actress are much, much higher than that. It’s nothing against her competition because Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone and Meryl Streep are all fantastic talents (with Stone receiving particular praise). If she does win on Sunday night, I wouldn’t put it past CBS to make sure the words ‘Oscar Winner’ are featured in commercials for the new CSI: Cyber show; it’s perfect timing, actually.

Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Prediction: Richard Linklater. Just because a movie wins Best Picture doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to win Best Director as well. Many times, voting members split the bill — that’s likely to happen this year. With Birdman taking the top prize in my predictions, I’m giving Best Director to Boyhood‘s Richard Linklater. He definitely deserves it, after directing a movie with quite the background to it — they filmed it over the course of 12 years. I wouldn’t count out Birdman‘s Alejandro G. Inarritu, though, especially if Boyhood wins Best Picture instead.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m sure the case could be made for many of these films to win. But as I’ve mentioned before, momentum is key, and right now the wind is heading in the direction of The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s already won the BAFTA and Writers Guild Awards. Add Oscar(s) to the list and that’s quite an impressive outcome for this movie season.

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

Prediction: The Imitation Game. I had a hard time making a prediction here. This category isn’t quite so clear on which film will win. It could be The Imitation Game. Maybe The Theory of Everything. And even American Sniper‘s screenplay is being lauded by moviegoers. I’m ultimately going with the WGA-winning movie The Imitation Game.

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Prediction: How to Train Your Dragon 2. When award show nominations are announced, we all do the usual complaining about which movies have been snubbed. Virtually everyone agrees that the most deserving movie to win Best Animated Feature (The Lego Movie) wasn’t even nominated. I’m in that camp as well. How did this happen? Since Lego‘s out of the mix, I guess I’ll side with How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is a good movie, but still. If Dragon loses, then I’m betting it goes to Big Hero 6.

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Prediction: The Dam Keeper. This category has been haunting me since last year’s Oscars. Okay, I’m being overly dramatic here, but what I mean is that I got every single one of my predictions correct for the 2014 telecast except one — Best Animated Short. Get a Horse! was robbed, and I still stick by that statement. If that Mickey Mouse short couldn’t even win, I doubt this year’s Disney short, Feast, will either. Maybe it’ll go to the BAFTA-winning The Bigger Picture, but there’s a lot of talk surrounding The Dam Keeper. Two of the big messages and themes in this short involve bullying and friendship. Even if you haven’t seen it yet, just watch the trailer here and you’ll want to afterwards.

Ida, Poland
Leviathan, Russia
Tangerines, Estonia
Timbuktu, Mauritania
Wild Tales, Argentina

Prediction: Ida. It’s not always easy to predict categories like this one. But Ida, which is set during World War II, seems to be the only one in this group that people are talking about. It’s won awards around the world, including the BAFTA.

Finding Vivien Maier
Last Days of Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

Prediction: Citizenfour. This is a film that is very relevant to today and the past few years since it centers on Edward Snowden. And not only that, but it’s already won a handful of awards and has received nothing but praise (with a 98% approval on Rotten Tomatoes from critics). This documentary is certainly resonating with people.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Prediction: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. Best Documentary — Short could go to either Crisis or Joanna, but Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 is one to keep an eye on. Helping our troops and veterans when they come back home from war is an issue that’s talked about all over the country, and this doc centers on many of the counselors who work at the Veterans’ Crisis Line, the hotline that veterans can call when dealing with physical, emotional and financial issues. I’m not sure if there’s a full-length documentary on this topic, but if there’s isn’t, there should be.

Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
The Phone Call

Prediction: Boogaloo and Graham. Even though people don’t talk about these smaller categories all that often, there are some interesting stories being featured here. Boogaloo and Graham has already won the BAFTA, and it seems fitting for it to win the Oscar as well.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner, Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything, Johann Johannsson

Prediction: The Theory of Everything. Best Original Score is likely to come down to The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything. Alexandre Desplat is nominated twice this year, for Budapest and The Imitation Game. Could they cancel each other out if Academy members split the vote? Possibly. If so, expect Theory to win.

“Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Prediction: “Glory.” I’ve listened to all five songs, and I can say with confidence that there’s one song in this mix that’s most deserving of the Oscar above all the others — and that’s “Glory.” John Legend’s vocals intertwined with Common’s rapping create a powerful message with these lyrics. I get chills every time I listen to it. “Everything is Awesome” is a fun song, but it pales in comparison. “Grateful” and “Lost Stars” are not bad, but they don’t really stand out either. If the Selma tune loses, though, it’ll be to Glen Campbell’s song.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr. Turner

Prediction: Birdman. There are certain movies that really create an amazing visual experience through the cinematography. That’s the case with Birdman, which was filmed and edited in a way to look like one continuous shot.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Last year, The Great Gatsby won both Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. I bet that happens again this year. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the kind of movie that’s perfect for awards like this one.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Adding to what I just said above, The Grand Budapest Hotel has already won a bunch of production and costume design awards.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Prediction: Foxcatcher. You could make the case for any of these films to win for Makeup and Hairstyling. For me, I’d go with either Foxcatcher or Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m ultimately siding with Foxcatcher because, well, have you seen Steve Carell’s transformation?

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Prediction: Boyhood. Film Editing might go to Whiplash, but Boyhood deserves it — imagine taking this footage from over the course of 12 years and editing it into a coherent storyline and movie.

American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Prediction: American Sniper. I’ve heard people say that voting members tend to reward war movies in these sound categories. Just look at The Hurt Locker at the 2010 Oscars. That’s likely to happen again, but this time with American Sniper.

American Sniper

Prediction: American Sniper. If American Sniper loses one of the sound awards, it’ll probably be this one, to Whiplash. Gravity won in both of these categories last year, so I wouldn’t give up on Interstellar just yet.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Prediction: Interstellar. This one’s tough because you could make the case for pretty much any of these movies. I would love to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes win, but its predecessor (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) lost this category back in 2012. Then again, Dawn has won Critics’ Choice and visual effects awards already, so it’s in a good position. But so is Interstellar, which won a Visual Effects BAFTA.

What are your predictions? Do you think Birdman will win over Boyhood? And are you still confused over The Lego Movie not even being nominated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The 2015 Academy Awards airs Sunday, February 22 at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT on ABC.

(Images courtesy of Fox Searchlight and IFC Films)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.