In fact, the only changes he’s made in the lead races since last September have been for Best Director (dropping Richard Linklater for “Birdman‘s” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) and Actor (ditching Michael Keaton for Eddie Redmayne). But, with only days to go before the Oscar ceremony, he’s not locking in his picks quite yet. It’s a crazy year, we both concede, and “Birdman” is coming on strong in the home stretch.
“The one compelling reason I may switch over is the Hollywood aspect of ‘Birdman,'” Simanton says, noting that it’s a film about “people putting on a show.” That story line — so irresistible to showbiz insiders — helped to spark that legendary Best Picture upset of 1998. “It happened with ‘Shakespeare in Love’ over ‘Saving Private Ryan,'” he notes.