Oscars experts: Jennifer Aniston (‘Cake’) looking like lock for Best Actress nomination

Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“) still enjoys a commanding lead in the Best Actress race for her portrayal of an academic suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. However, Jennifer Aniston is coming on strong for her dramatic turn in “Cake” as a grieving mother coming to terms with the death of her son in a car crash that has left her both emotionally and physically scarred. Both women reaped bids for three key precursor prizes — the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards — and both have been working the circuit touting their indie films. 

They have faced off once before, back in 2002 at the Independent Spirit Awards. Moore won for her leading role in the period picture “Far From Heaven” over, among others, Aniston for her low-key work in the comedy-drama “The Good Girl.” Moore then contended at the Oscars but lost to Nicole Kidman, her co-star from “The Hours.” She was also up for the supporting award that night for “The Hours” but was bested by Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”). She also lost her two other Oscar bids: for her 1997 supporting turn in “Boogie Nights” to Kim Basinger (“L.A. Confidential”) and her 1999  starring role in “The End of the Affair” to Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry”). 

Moore, with the the support of 22 of our 25 Oscarologists, has odds of 13 to 8 to finally win an Oscar.  Her closest rival remains Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“) who has the votes of three of our Experts for her change-of-pace role as a woman in a downward spiral who embarks on a 1000-mile hike in hopes of a fresh start. This one-time Oscar champ (“Walk the Line,” 2005) now has odds of 7/2 to pick up a bookend.  

Witherspoon also contends for those three early awards as do the other two actresses in the top five — Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl“) and Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything“) — who are now at 13/2 and 15/2 respectively.

In the Best Picture race, “Boyhood” (odds of 7/2) remains far out front with the support of 18 of our 25 pundits (up by one vote).  “Birdman” — which led SAG, Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations — has three boosters and odds of 6/1. “Selma” also has the backing of three Oscarologists and odds of 13/2 (it is ranked lower than “Birdman” by more pundits overall, hence the lower odds). And “The Imitation Game” has one vote and odds of 8/1. 

Click here to see charts revealing how all of our Experts rank the contenders in all top categories according to likelihood of winning. And click on each underlined category below to see the individual Experts predictions for that race. Then make your own predictions here. Be the best and win bragging rights AND $1,000. 

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Our 25 Experts are predicting “Boyhood” to win five Academy Awards in all: Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Original Screenplay and Editing. 

Interstellar” is expected to take home three Oscars: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. 

Birdman” will claim two Academy Awards — Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Cinematography.

Still Alice” is predicted to win Best Actress for Julianne Moore while Whiplash” should net an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, and “The Imitation Game” is forecast to claim Adapted Screenplay.

Foxcatcher” is first for Makeup & Hairstyle, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” leads for Production Design, ‘Gone Girl” is ahead for Score and “Into the Woods” is predicted to take Costume Design.

Click here to see how our Experts rank contenders in top Oscar races. Click here to see the rankings and odds generated by combining their predictions.

Below: The Experts’ latest collective rankings and odds for the top six categories (click on each category to see more detailed results). 

Best Picture
1.  “Boyhood” – 7/2
2.  “Birdman” – 6/1
3.  “Selma” – 13/2
4.  “The Imitation Game” – 15/2
5.  “The Theory of Everything” – 8/1
6.  “Whiplash” – 16/1
7.  “The Grand Budapest Hotel”  – 16/1
8.  “Gone Girl” – 20/1
9.  “Unbroken” – 20/1
10. “Foxcatcher” – 20/1

Change from last week: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Unbroken” have switched places and odds.   

Best Director
1. Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” – 9/5
2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman” – 3/1
3. Ava DuVernay, “Selma”– 11/2
4. David Fincher, “Gone Girl” – 16/1
5. Morten Tyldum, “The  Imitation Game” – 20/1

Change from last week: None; the standings and odds remain the same. 

Best Actor
1. Michael Keaton, “Birdman” – 9/4
2. Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” – 12/5
3. Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game” – 6/1
4. David Oyelowo, “Selma” – 6/1
5. Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher” – 14/1

Change from last week: The standings remain the same but Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”) has seen his odds lengthen again. 

Best Actress
1. Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” – 13/8
2. Reese Witherspoon, “Wild” – 10/3
3. Rosamund PIke, “Gone Girl” – 13/2
4. Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything” – 15/2
5. Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”  – 9/1

Change from last week: Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”) has bettered her odds again. 

Best Supporting Actor
1. J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” – 8/5
2. Edward Norton, “Birdman” – 10/3
3. Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood” – 11/2
4. Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher” – 6/1
5.Robert Duvall, “The Judge” – 20/1

Change from last week: Robert Duvall (“The Judge”) has improved his odds. 

Best Supporting Actress
1. Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” – 13/8
2. Emma Stone, “Birdman” – 5/1
3. Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods” – 11/2
4. Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game” – 15/2
5. Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year” – 10/1 

Change from last week: Jessica Chastain (“A Most Violent Year”) has improved her odds. 

What are your Oscar predictions? Make your picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Actress champ using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Golden Globes, Grammys, “The Walking Dead,” “AHS: Freak Show” and more.

14 thoughts on “Oscars experts: Jennifer Aniston (‘Cake’) looking like lock for Best Actress nomination

  1. Jen Aniston should be a lock by now not just almost because truthfully she is fantastic, and believable in cake and am so proud of her even though am not much of a fan but I guess I will be now

  2. For a front runner, Julianne Moore has had a tepid showing with the critics awards. It’s Rosamund Pike who has been emerging as the critics darling. But Jennifer Aniston could be this year’s Sandra Bullock.

  3. Nah, Moore, Witherspoon and Pike are the only locks for now. The last two slots can go to any of the top ten, but, yes, Aniston and Jones are the closest.
    And people who compare Aniston to Bullock are delusional. Bullock did’t compete with Moore and her film was a box office success, while Cake is a very small film with a very limited release.
    Face it, Julianne Moore is winning the Oscar.

  4. Aniston doesn’t need BAFTA nomination to get into OSCAR race. last year both Jared Leto and Mathew mcconaughey missed out on bafta nods but got into Oscars and won. she really deserves this nomination and am rooting for her

  5. @leon375 you are very delusional, you are going to be VERY MAD all you want but Jennifer deserves this nomination because she worked hard in her role and she nailed her performance too. there is nothing you can do about It if AMPAS votes for her and I believe she will get the nomination anyways

  6. Whoever doesn’t like Aniston’s potential nomination simply because she used to be a TV belle is letting prejudice get the better of them. I myself was never an Aniston fan since her TV days but was curious about her performance. Although I can’t say I’ll be absolutely fair even after seeing it, at least I think I need that first-hand experience before passing any judgment.

  7. I believe that Julianne Moore should feel threatened by Jennifer Aniston. The race isn’t over just yet. Still Alice isn’t THAT good of a movie. Aniston will probably win the Globes as the Globes alwas love the stars (for example last year Jennifer Lawrence won over Lupita, just by the name). If Aniston picks up the Globe, she can also manage to build up a momentum at SAG. Then the Oscar is her’s. Mark my words.

  8. I honestly don’t see Aniston as an Oscar nominee yet. I feel the movie is too small and her profile has been a mess since her Friends days. I still think Amy Adams will get the final spot at the Oscars. She’s a loved actress with a higher profile, even if her movie hasn’t been received well yet.

  9. I love how Jennifer’s PR is posting the same comments/articles hyping up her average performance. She has given one crappy performance after another in rom-coms over the years and the first decent performance she gives, you want her to get nominated for an Oscar?? That’s not fair to other hard-working actresses who have actual talent and give original, amazing performances that don’t get recognized because they are great in every movie they do and we are used to them being great. Jennifer shouldn’t get a nomination just because everyone knows this will be her first and last chance to get one. Anyways, the Oscars will lose a lot of credibility if they nominate her based on the hype her PR is trying to bait them into (see the reviews of the movie, they are not very good). Julianne, Reese, and Rosamund are locks. I hope they last 2 spots go to either Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard or Hilary Swank.

  10. Julianne Moore is Awesome, but Jennifer performance is also good. I think she have a good shot at winning. People don’t assume she cant be nominated or win if you haven’t seem the movie. I saw it and it was incredible, her performance was very intense and extraordinary.

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