So, the words have been spoken, the lists have been made and we finally know the long list of awards contenders for this year’s Oscars ceremony. Whilst I waxed lyrical a few months ago about the major failings of film awards such as this one, it is with strange guilt and passive aggression that I look forward to the awards season each year. As with most film enthusiasts, I distrust the major awards for their past behaviour and failure to see further back than the previous two months. Add on, of course, their preference for English language movies, cynical marketing tactics and refusal to give anyone the reward they ever deserve and you’ve got a whole mixed bag of emotions. There is, however, always a glimmer of hope and it is to this glimmer that we cling, year after year in the hope that maybe, possibly, this could be the time in which the Academy gets it right.

Every year, around the world, film fans look to the Academy as a way to be proved wrong and every year (more or less) they are proved wrong. But could 2015 be the year? This year’s nominations are hot off the press, released earlier this morning. Whilst its list of nominees is justly deserved, there’s no telling which way the Academy will go in their voting. What is more fun, though, is trawling through the list of nominations and making your own predictions. Who can tell what will happen on the night but for now, let’s make our own winners and crown them in all of their glory.

Best Film

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Will win: Boyhood     Should win: Boyhood

That’s right, in my mind, at least, the Academy Award have lined up pretty perfectly with viewer expectations. Linklater’s Boyhood is a great cinematic feat and deserves just recognition. Having cleaned up at the Golden Globes and looking set to do the same at the BAFTAs, it makes sense that the Academy Awards would follow suit. Nothing is guaranteed of course, and with emotionally potent nominations like Selma and The Theory of Everything on the list, it really is anyone’s game. Having worked for a period of 12 years, following the natural aging of his characters over real time, though, doesn’t Linklater deserve the award?

Best Director

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Richard Linklater

Bennett Miller

Wes Anderson

Morten Tyldum

Will win: Richard Linklater Should win: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Whilst Linklater’s work in Boyhood is cinematically outstanding, Iñárritu’s work as a director is somewhat more impressive. Filmed as if in one take, Birdman is a jerky, chatty, completely surprising film and really stands apart from Iñárritu’s other works. The director takes the concept of stress and completely runs with it, pushing his characters to the limit. Whilst there is talk that Anderson may be granted the award in a sort of late realisation of his past work, in my mind, Iñárritu should take the crown.

Best Actor

Steve Carell

Bradley Cooper

Benedict Cumberbatch

Michael Keaton

Eddie Redmayne

Will win: Eddie Redmayne Should win: Michael Keaton

Eddie Redmayne won the Golden Globe. Eddie Redmayne will probably win the BAFTA. And yet, whilst the actor’s performance is physically transformative, it lacks the emotional pungency and prowess of Keaton’s role. Much light has been focused on Redmayne’s depiction of a disabled man and the actor has come under scrutiny from some who claim that such a performance is in bad taste. Politics aside, Redmayne doesn’t achieve the same level of immersion as Keaton and it is because of that that he should not win the Oscar. Keaton is beyond top form, seeming to play a slighty frazzled version of himself. His performance is utterly believable and truly heart breaking.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard

Felicity Jones

Julianne Moore

Rosamund Pike

Reese Witherspoon

Will win: Julianne Moore   Should win: Marion Cotillard

Moore’s performance of a woman slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s has been tipped for awards success. Whilst her performance is no doubt completely transformative, it runs the risk of falling into the same category as Redmayne’s and whilst actors’ abilities to transform themselves physically and emotionally is without doubt commendable, we do often favour those who change the way their bodies act over those who deliver on emotion. Cotillard’s performance in Two Days, One Night was utterly painful, emotional and rage inducing. The actress altered her personality so completely that it was hard to remember that she is one of France’s biggest stars. For a different type of transformation, Cotillard takes the cake.

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Mr Turner

The Theory of Everything

Will win: Interstellar        Should win: Mr Turner

Whilst Best Original Score isn’t exactly high on everyone’s agendas, it is a category which is gaining increasing interest and should be granted a little more air time. Following in the anti-gravity footsteps of Steven Price’s score for Gravity last year, Hans Zimmer’s gargantuan score for Interstellar will probably take the title this year. Waiting patiently on the side lines, however, is the much more interesting work of Jóhann Jóhannsson for Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner (which outrageously didn’t receive any major nominations). Where Zimmer’s score is huge, Jóhannsson’s is agile; where Zimmer’s music makes sweeping statements, Jóhannsson’s picks apart its characters with incredible dexterity. In a single instrument, the music picks up all of the idiosyncrasies of it character; the music is intelligent and made utterly on purpose.

Where the prizes will fall is utterly anyone’s guess. And honestly, it could go to any of the nominees. The amount of historical, biographical and heart wrenching fare on screens at this time of year is truly alarming and from time to time, it would be nice if the governing bodies could look a little further back into the past year in order to find their nominees. Whilst 2014 looks set to be the year of the physical performance, perhaps next year will have a little more varied fare. Whatever the case, come Oscars night, all film enthusiasts will have their ears pricked very much towards Hollywood, despite their personal opinions. No matter what we think when alone, the Oscars are still the most definitive popular award and for the time being, not much is going to rattle the status quo.