Ten weeks after wowing the Toronto film festival and winning the audience award, “The Imitation Game” arrives in theaters Friday. Buoyed by strong reviews (scoring 85% at RottenTomatoes), this showcase for Emmy champ Benedict Cumberbatch” (“Sherlock”) should do well in limited release this weekend.
Collectively, our 26 Oscar Experts predict it will score six nominations: Best Picture, Actor (Cumberbatch), Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design and Production Design.
“The Imitation Game” is one of just five films to make the cut with all 26 of our Oscarologists in their lists of Best Picture nominees. The others are: “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Selma” and “The Theory of Everything.”
Right now, we’re not predicting that “The Imitation Game” will win any categories. However, as we know all too well from previous derbies, anything can happen when you have the king of Oscar campaigners — Harvey Weinstein — calling the shots. Remember, he produced two of the last four Best Picture champs: “The King’s Speech” (2010) and “The Artist” (2011).
As with “The King’s Speech,” the two most recent Best Picture winners — “Argo” (2012) and “12 Years a Slave” (2013) — were also based on true stories. So is “The Imitation Game.” However, unlike those three film, this one does not have a happy ending. Cumberbatch’s character — real-life codebreaker Alan Turing who cracked Germany’s Enigma code and shortened World War II — was persecuted by the British government for being gay and took his own life in 1954.
That tragic ending could give Cumberbatch an edge in the Best Actor race. Three past champs — William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” 1985), Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” 1993), Sean Penn (“Milk,” 2008) — all played gay men who lost their lives.
Currently, we have Cumberbatch in third place for Best Actor (with odds of 11/2), behind Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“) with odds of 9/4 and 13/5 respectively. But beware: he was way back in fourth place in our odds for Best TV Movie/Miniseries at the most recent Emmys when he won for playing Sherlock Holmes in a series of telefilms that are hugely popular.
Who do you think will win this competitive category? Click here to enter your own predictions for Best Actor and all of Oscar’s top races, or use our easy drag-and-drop menu at the bottom of this post to get started.
Your predictions determine our racetrack odds and you can keep editing them right up until the day Oscar nominations are announced. Top score wins $1,000. You score points based on how accurately you predict the nominees (you get more points if you correctly predict a long-shot candidate before anyone else does), and if you’re one of our most accurate predictors, you’ll be included next year among our elite Top 24 Users and have even greater influence over our odds.