The Oscar race is shaking up! Three of the six categories we've been tracking on the Oscar Leaderboard have new front runners this week after the Director's Guild awards and the BAFTAs left us with a lot to consider. The other three races are pretty stale, but at least they'll be easy picks on your eventual Oscar ballot. Let's dive in.
Boyhood has been running in the lead since we started tracking this year's nominees, but now the Richard Linklater movie is locked in a tight race with Birdman for Best Picture. The edge goes to Birdman here after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was awarded top honors by the Director's Guild of America (DGA) earlier this week. That combined with the movie's win with the Producer's Guild of America (PGA) makes Birdman the clear front runner for now. This is definitely going to be the race of the year, which is appropriate since the Birdman vs Boyhood question is like a microcosm of this year's entire awards season.
Whoever wins the Director's Guild's top honors often wins this category, so Inarritu's DGA win definitely gives him the edge over Richard Linklater, who had been at the top of this list for months. Still, this race feels very much in flux, and it's too early to call it for Inarritu. What that DGA win does is polarize the race. We're guessing now that Birdman is so clearly a contender, many Oscar voters will put their support behind one of the two front runners and ignore the other three, which is bad news mainly for Wes Anderson. If Linklater had kept chugging along as front runner, it might have been easier for Anderson to rally Academy members to his side, but now we imagine many voters will want to weigh in on the category's real race.
Eddie Redmayne has won the Best Actor award at the SAGs, the BAFTAs, and the Golden Globes, so it's now officially crazy to think Michael Keaton is the front runner. But let's parse that a little. The BAFTA win probably doesn't mean much for the Oscars because the BAFTAs tend to skew British in borderline situations. The Globe is a wash because Keaton won a Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy. The award that really matters is the SAG. With the Screen Actors Guild behind him, Redmayne stands a very good chance of winning this award. But somehow it still kind of feels like Keaton's year, so we're not convinced he's lost this race.
Julianne Moore is a lock, and these rankings probably won't budge between now and Oscar night.
Patricia Arquette is even more of a lock than Julianne Moore. Moving on.
And J.K. Simmons? Also a lock. He's absolutely phenomenal in Whiplash. Watch it before the Oscars if you can.