Oscars news: ‘American Sniper’ in Best Picture battle, Oprah and ‘Selma’ cast march

Sasha Stone wonders, “How will ‘American Sniper‘ do at the Oscars? Very well. Had Clint Eastwood gotten a Best Director nomination, ‘Sniper’ would be on target to upset ‘Boyhood’ in a big big way. Eastwood would win his third Oscar, joining the ranks of the only three directors in Academy history to win more than two – William Wyler, Frank Capra (each with three) and John Ford (with four). Eastwood could have done that this year but the directors said no. Remember, though, Eastwood could still win the DGA if this ‘Sniper’ thing gets bigger than expected, and he could Affleck the thing all the way home. You could be looking at a potential split possibly with ‘Sniper’ winning Best Picture and Linklater winning Best Director. It looked like the split could have happened with ‘Birdman’ but with ‘Sniper’’s surge at the box office, the public support and the love for Eastwood in his 80s, watch out.” Awards Daily

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

The London film critics named ‘Boyhood‘ as Film of the Year on Sunday. The Oscar frontrunner also claimed Best Director (Richard Linklater) and Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette). The other three acting awards also went to those favored to prevail at the Academy Awards: Michael Keaton (“Birdman“), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“) and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash“). “Under the Skin” won Best British Film and Score. LFCC

Anita Bennett reports, “Oprah Winfrey and the team behind the film ‘Selma‘ took their star power to Alabama Sunday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Winfrey, the film’s director Ava DuVernay, its castmembers David Oyelowo and Common, and the producers behind the movie joined local residents in the city of Selma for a massive march … The hours-long event, ahead of MLK Day, started around 4:30 p.m. CT with a Q&A with the cast and filmmakers at Selma High School. After that, Selma mayor George Evans was to join the ‘Selma’ team in a march across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge.” The Wrap

See early Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Nancy Tartaglion reports, “‘The Imitation Game,” which garnered eight Oscar nominations on Thursday, has reached a global box office cume north of $102.3M. That includes an estimated $50.8M in North America through today, and an international estimate of $51.5M, per FilmNation. The current international frame was worth $6.6M with five new territories added including Belgium and Sweden. Among the key markets still to bow are Germany, France, Brazil and Russia.” Deadline

Bill Desowitz delves into the Visual Effects category: It’s a battle between extraordinary apes, the most physics-based outer space adventure ever made and three very different Marvel-based superhero actioners. It’s a tight race between ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes‘ and ‘Interstellar,’ yet all five contenders demonstrate how tech has freed artists to create captivating performances and believable environments. IndieWire


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