Oscars predictions update: Experts back ‘Boyhood,’ ‘Birdman’; ‘Imitation Game’ rising

With 22 weeks to go till Oscar Sunday (Feb. 22), our Experts now number 17 and they have updated their predictions based on what soared and sank at the Toronto filmfest. While many of the top contenders for this year’s Academy Awards have yet to screen, our Oscarologists have peered into their crystal balls and cast the following predictions.

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Our Experts are divided even more now than they were at the kick-off of the Oscar derby last month as they are predicting six different films (up from four) to take this top award. (See the predictions of the individual Experts here.)

The leading contender continues to be the summer release “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater‘s innovative look at the life of a child as told in real-time over a dozen years. It continues to have the backing of seven Experts: Michael Musto (Out.com), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo!), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).

RELATED: Is Patricia Arquette (‘Boyhood’) peaking too soon at Oscars just like Oprah did?

Birdman,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s sly satire on showbiz with Michael Keaton as a has-been actor hoping to stage a comeback, which wowed in Venice and screens at the upcoming New York film fest, remains in second place. It has the support of three Experts: Nicole Sperling (EW), Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) and me. 

While “Unbroken,” Angelina Jolie‘s adaptation of Olympian Louis Zamperini‘s inspirational memoir of keeping his spirit alive when held as a POW by the Japanese during WWII, has yet to screen, three of our Experts expect it to prevail: Ed Douglas (Comingsoon.net) Thom Geier (EW) and Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby).

RELATED: The British are coming! Eddie Redmayne & Benedict Cumberbatch up,
Steve Carell down in Oscar race

Coming on strong is “The Imitation Game,” Morten Tyldum‘s taut thriller about British codebreaker Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who helps win WWII but kills himself after being persecuted and prosecuted for being gay. The film won the audience award at TIFF, as did last year’s Best Picture champ “12 Years a Slave.” Two Experts see this winning: Thelma Adams (Yahoo!) and Christoper Rosen (Huffington Post).

“Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller‘s retelling of the true-story of a murderous millionaire (Steve Carell) and his hold on two Olympic wrestlers (Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo), has fallen to fifth place, with only one Expert now expecting it to go the distance: Tariq Khan (Fox News).

RELATED: 5 reasons why Steve Carell (‘Foxcatcher’) will win Best Actor at Oscars

Keep an eye on “Gone Girl,” David Finchers adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller about a wife (Rosamund Pike) who fakes her death and sets her husband (Ben Affleck) to take the fall.  Our newest addition to the Experts panel has cast his vote for this :Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair).

Take a look at the charts below to see how the race has shifted (click on the image to see more stats):

 

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