Oscars mystery: Will ‘Whiplash’ win four of five nominations but lose Best Picture?

Whiplash” is a 100/1 underdog for Best Picture according to our racetrack odds, and that’s not surprising. We’ve seen most top awards groups this season opt for “Birdman” or “Boyhood,” with a smattering left over for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” None for “Whiplash.”

But what is surprising is that while it’s a distant long shot for the top prize, it’s starting to look like it could win all four of its other nominations.

Why ‘Whiplash,’ not ‘Boyhood’ will win the Oscar for Best Film Editing

Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons has been on an unstoppable winning streak. He has taken home the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA, SAG and just about every other Supporting Actor award this season for his performance as a violent, bullying music teacher. He has overwhelming 1/10 odds to win the Oscar as well. So ,if “Whiplash” leaves with nothing else, it seems pretty sure to take this one.

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Best Adapted Screenplay
Here’s a tough one. Damien Chazelle‘s script hasn’t had much luck winning awards in recent months, but that’s because it has almost always competed as an original screenplay. There, it has been pitted against this year’s most dominant awards contenders: “Birdman,” “Boyhood” and “Grand Budapest.”

But the academy ruled it an adaptation, which puts it in a less formidable field of competitors. The logical frontrunner is “The Imitation Game,” which has more nominations (eight) than any other film in the category and is the only one of the bunch with a Best Director bid. There’s clearly a lot of academy support for it, and it leads our predictions with 2/3 odds.

But “Imitation” has also consistently underperformed, earning multiple bids but coming up short at the Golden Globes, SAG, and Critics’ Choice Awards. The British film was even shut out on its home turf, going 0-for-9 at the BAFTAs, where it lost Adapted Screenplay to the other British-genius biopic, “The Theory of Everything.”

The Oscars will be the first and only time we’ll see “Imitation” and “Whiplash” go head-to-head for a screenwriting award, and our predictors think “Whiplash” has a strong chance to upset, ranking it second with 12/5 odds.

Best Editing
“Whiplash” also ranks a close second in this category, getting 7/2 odds. Leading the way with 4/11 odds is “Boyhood,” which recently beat “Whiplash” for the Best Drama Editing prize at the ACE Eddie Awards.

But “Whiplash” just won Best Editing at the BAFTAs, where “Boyhood” wasn’t even nominated. Could that signal an upset here?

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Best Sound Mixing
This award usually goes to a film with lots of action or lots of music. When the two genres compete,  musicals usually have the edge: “Les Miserables” prevailed in 2012, “Dreamgirls” in 2006, and “Ray” in 2004.

However, there are exceptions to that rule: “Inside Llewyn Davis” lost to “Gravity” in 2013, and “Walk the Line” to “King Kong” in 2005.

Our predictors are betting on “Whiplash” to prevail this year, giving it 6/5 odds ahead of action-packed challengers “Interstellar” (14/5 odds) and “American Sniper” (7/2 odds). There’s recent evidence to support this prediction: “Whiplash” just won the BAFTA Award for Best Sound, besting “Birdman” and “American Sniper” (“Interstellar” wasn’t even nominated).

Watch: J.K. Simmons (‘Whiplash’) backstage in Golden Globes press room

Do you think “Whiplash” could pull off an impressive four wins from five nominations? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Adapted Screenplay, or click here to make your picks in all of this year’s hotly contested races.

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