After months of speculation and debate concerning the best films of the past year, all our questions will be answered in a few hours. It’s safe to say some categories appear to be already locked up–it finally looks like five-time nominee Julianne Moore’s year, for instance. But there remains an awful lot of intrigue in several categories, particularly Best Picture. The consensus seems to point to a two-horse race between particularly inventive films: Richard Linklater’s intimate, 12-years-in-the-making “Boyhood” and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s virtuoso, brain-bending “Birdman.” Then again, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game” and “American Sniper” appear to have broad bases of support, as well. It’s hard to believe that one movie will sweep the major awards at this point.
Another intriguing contest: The Best Actor race, long considered to be “Birdman” star Michael Keaton’s for the taking, has shifted toward Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”) in recent weeks. Will it be comeback kid Keaton’s night, or will the Academy go with youth?