Someone’s going to be left out in the cold. Several very talented and deserving people, in fact. There’s no avoiding it. There are simply too many talented actors vying for five Best Actor slots this year, so on the morning of the Oscar nominations, there could be as many as 10 worthy performers looking at the five nominees and wondering why they aren’t in that exclusive group. I discuss the crowded Best Actor race in the current Awards Blend podcast.

Shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, a number of professional groups started unveiling their year-end picks, giving slight momentum to hopeful projects. The National Board of Review honored J.C. Chandor’s moody American-dream drama A Most Violent Year with its top prize, while the New York Film Critics Circle chose Richard Linklater’s Boyhood as the year’s best film. Violent has been enjoying a nice push as it approaches theaters in the coming weeks. Boyhood, however, has been an Oscar favorite for weeks (almost months) now, and should continue to steamroll through several of the awards bellwethers as the season continues.

As of Friday, December 5, here’s where I think our major contenders stand:

oscar winner prediction

The Frontrunner

The Contenders

American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
A Most Violent Year
The Theory of Everything
The Dark Horses

Exodus: Gods and Kings
The Gambler
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Still Alice
The Longshots

Big Eyes
Mr. Turner

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