Riley Chow (Top 24 User) warns of Oscar upsets for ‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘American Sniper,’ …

Attention Oscar fans: Meet one of the guys who kicked your butts last year at predicting the nominations. Riley Chow (who’s also one of our editorial contributors) did so well at predicting Oscar noms last year that his current forecasts are now featured as part of Gold Derby’s Top 24 Users. View Riley’s current Oscar predictions here just in time for Thursday’s announcement of the nominations.

In our chat, this Vancouver native reveals what he’s betting on this time around and explains how he did so well at predicting last year’s noms. Read our entire Q&A below.

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What are your major Oscar nomination predictions for this year?

People are really sleeping on “Nightcrawler” and “American Sniper.” And I am not buying this Eddie Redmayne thing, hee hee.

What might be some of the biggest surprises on Oscar nominations morning?

I am really curious what happens with the fifth supporting actor slot. I would love to see Riz Ahmed for “Nightcrawler” in there. I also cannot wait to see what happens with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Unbroken” and “Into the Woods” — Meryl Streep is vulnerable!

Do you usually listen to Oscar pundits or do go your own way?

I like to listen to them because they provide food for thought, but they are ultimately working with the same set of information, so I went my own way this year. The guy who won the contest last year logged his predictions the night before, which was infuriating, but I can also see how that could happen because he had not been listening to months of people telling him what the frontrunners were. I hate hearing that there is “no room” for a late-surging contender. That would make sense if Oscar voters marked their ballots initially in September and then altered them throughout the season as we do in the predictions center, but that is not the case. They mark their ballots once. There is no hesitation about removing a contender that they were high on earlier in the season because they never had them on their ballot in the first place.

Favorite film performance of 2014?

Performance is no contest for Benedict Cumberbatch. He would be an easy win for the spectrum of emotions that “The Imitation Game” calls of him if this were the Emmys.

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How did you do so well last year at predicting the nominations?

People must be tired of me saying it, but the technical categories matter! I scored the same total acting predictions correct last year as the Gold Derby aggregate (fifteen out of twenty), but I got eight out of ten in the sound categories, while the Gold Derby collective predicted just five. It is not like a sound prediction impacts your score less than an acting one, so that put me ahead.

Was there one particular Oscar nomination prediction you called that you were most proud of?

Everyone was predicting “Stories We Tell” because it was sweeping the critics, but I correctly called that it was too “small.” The academy does not care about a Canadian woman tracing her family tree! I was also happy to call both “surprise” nominations for “The Lone Ranger.” People ignored it because it got bad reviews, but again, the critics are not the academy. There is however a membership overlap with the guilds and I noted how well “The Lone Ranger” did there.

What is your favorite Oscar win of all time?

The sweep of its three nominations by “The Bourne Ultimatum” was pretty sweet. It should have won Best Picture! To be fair, I have not seen “No Country for Old Men” or… “There Will Be Blood.”

Thanks Riley!

Make your Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Picture winner 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.

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