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FilmWeek Critics handicap your 2015 Oscar ballots at AirTalk's 13th Annual Egyptian Theatre event




Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
Bill Youngblood/KPCC
Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
Film critic Tim Cogshell talks Oscars buzz at AirTalk's FilmWeek at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on February 18, 2015.
Bill Youngblood/KPCC
Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
(L to R): Tim Cogshell, Wade Major, Amy Nicholson and Lael Lowenstein talk all things Oscars at AirTalk's FilmWeek at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on February 18, 2015.
Bill Youngblood/KPCC
Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
Film critic Claudia Puig talks Oscars buzz at AirTalk's FilmWeek at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on February 18, 2015.
Bill Youngblood/KPCC
Host Larry Mantle with critics (L to R): Tim Cogshell, Henry Sheehan, Lael Lowenstein, Amy Nicholson and Charles Solomon.
Film critics Henry Sheehan and Lael Lowenstein talk all things Oscars at AirTalk's FilmWeek at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on February 18, 2015.
Bill Youngblood/KPCC


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To help you shine at your Oscar viewing party, AirTalk presents its 13th annual FilmWeek at the Egyptian theatre.

What a rarity for the Academy Awards race to be wide open. From Best Picture to acting and script categories, there are few sure things. The biggies include: "Boyhood," a movie filmed over 12 years; “Selma,” the story of civil rights marchers; bio-pics about physicist Stephen Hawking and WWII hero and mathematician Alan Turing - among many other critically-acclaimed films.

Larry Mantle convened the critics of FilmWeek on AirTalk for a live event sizing up the Academy Awards hopefuls, plus overlooked gems of the year.

Critics Andy Klein, Lael Loewenstein, Wade Major, Amy Nicholson, Claudia Puig, Peter Rainer, Henry Sheehan, Charles Solomon, and Tim Cogshell talk about the best movies of the year and which ones should take home the gold.

Official Oscars Ballot link

Here are the critics' votes for the top categories:

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BIG HERO 6, THE BOXTROLLS, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, SONG OF THE SEA, THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA

“There’s one that’s a dud that Amy and I will go to the mat over.” –Charles

“Boxtrolls is the best film in this entire category.” – Amy 

“Oh geez.” 

Charles: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Tim: The Tale of Princess Kaguya or Song of the Sea
Henry: The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Amy: The Boxtrolls
Lael: Big Hero 6 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
PATRICIA ARQUETTE, LAURA DERN, KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, EMMA STONE, MERYL STREEP

"This is really much more of a lead performance than a supporting performance. It's too bad [Arquette] got stuck in this category because I think she carries the picture  a lot." - Lael

"And Ethan Hawke is in Best Supporting Actor, so this sounds very political to me." - Henry

Charles: Patricia Arquette
Tim: Patricia Arquette
Lael: Patricia Arquette
Henry: Patricia Arquette
Amy: Patricia Arquette

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BIRDMAN, BOYHOOD, FOXCATCHER, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, NIGHTCRAWLER

Henry: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Nightcrawler
Lael: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tim: Birdman
Amy: Nightcrawler

BEST ACTOR
STEVE CARELL, BRADLEY COOPER, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, MICHAEL KEATON, EDDIE REDMAYNE

“I think the best performance of the year is Ralph Fiennes… [but] if you do something that’s unfortunately called ‘lite comedy’ you don’t get nominated and you don’t get recognized.” – Henry Sheehan

Tim: Michael Keaton
Lael: Michael Keaton
Charles: Eddie Redmayne
Amy: Eddie Redmayne
Henry: Bradley Cooper 

BEST DIRECTOR
ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU, RICHARD LINKLATER, BENNETT MILLER, WES ANDERSON, MORTEN TYLDUM

“[N]ot nominated here is Ava DuVernay for her film, which is nominated, ‘Selma.’ This is another extraordinary achievement, what she has done. With less than half the money and half the time, she made a film that is just as good, if not better [than the nominees].” – Tim Cogshell

Charles: Richard Linklater
Lael: Richard Linklater
Amy: Wes Anderson
Henry: Wes Anderson
Tim: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

BEST DOCUMENTARY
CITIZENFOUR, FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, THE SALT OF THE EARTH, VIRUNGA

Peter: Citizenfour
Wade: Citizenfour
Andy: Finding Vivian Maier
Claudia: Virunga
Honorable Mention: Tales of the Grim Sleeper

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
ROBERT DUVALL, ETHAN HAWKE, EDWARD NORTON, MARK RUFFALO, J. K. SIMMONS
Claudia: J.K. Simmons
Andy: J.K. Simmons
Wade: J.K. Simmons
Peter: Mark Ruffalo

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
AMERICAN SNIPER, THE IMITATION GAME, INHERENT VICE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, WHIPLASH

“God bless somebody adapting a Thomas Pynchon book which is un-adaptable.... Admittedly, [Inherent Vice] is a film that it helps if you've read the book... I also just got so much pleasure out of that film, more than I got out of the book." - Andy

Peter: The Theory of Everything
Wade: The Theory of Everything or The Imitation Game
Andy: Inherent Vice
Claudia: Gone Girl (not nominated)

BEST ACTRESS
MARION COTILLARD, FELICITY JONES, JULIANNE MOORE, ROSAMUND PIKE, REESE WITHERSPOON

Peter: Marion Cotillard
Andy: Rosamund Pike
Claudia: Julianne Moore
Wade: Felicity Jones

BEST PICTURE
AMERICAN SNIPER, BIRDMAN, BOYHOOD, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, THE IMITATION GAME, SELMA, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, WHIPLASH

"If somebody says to me you have 12 years to make a movie, I will make you the greatest movie ever. But if somebody says to me you have 30 days to stage the march on Selma, Alabama. I'm gonna say No thank you, I don't think I can do that. Making a movie in pressure cooker is what making movies is all about - that's the mettle of a filmmaker." -Wade

Claudia: Boyhood
Peter: Boyhood
Charles: Boyhood
Henry: American Sniper
Amy: Birdman
Lael: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Birdman
Wade: The Theory of Everything
Tim: A Most Violent Year (not nominated)

Guests:
Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Box Office Magazine
Amy Nicholson, film critic for KPCC and the LA Weekly
Lael Loewenstein, film critic for KPCC
Andy Klein, film critic for KPCC and L.A. Times Community Paper Chain
Wade Major, film critic for KPCC and host for IGN’s DigiGods.com
Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and USA Today
Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and the Christian Science Monitor
Henry Sheehan, film critic for KPCC and CriticsAGoGo.com
Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC and Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

Read more in KPCC's Oscars 2015 awards tracker/predictor: