Our Critics’ Choice contest winner says Michael Keaton will beat Eddie Redmayne at Oscars

“I’m not saying that Eddie Redmayne‘s role isn’t challenging, he is amazing,” says Gold Derby’s latest contest champ Gary Garla, who scored the best while predicting the 2014 Critics’ Choice Awards. “But I believe that Michael Keaton‘s role in ‘Birdman‘ is more challenging given the fact that his is an original character and he had to portray emotional and psychological issues without being able to watch tape or talk to the person.”

Garla, a 21-year-old IT worker/student from Chicago, earned the #1 position on our Critics’ Choice Awards leadeboard thanks to his 95% accuracy and 6,688 point score. His prize is a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a spot on Gold Derby’s winners list. (See all of Garla’s predictions here. To see how you scored, click here.) Below, read our entire Q&A with Garla.

Watch: Keaton reenacts stage fall in Critics’ Choice Awards press room

Of the 18 questions we asked, you only got one wrong. You predicted “Boyhood” would win Best Editing instead of “Birdman.” Are you still kicking yourself over that prediction?

Yes, I was kicking myself a bit. I honestly don’t know why I picked “Boyhood.” Out of the editing, my favorite was “Whiplash.”

Any special tips for predicting that you’d like to share with us?

I usually choose the acting categories by my favorite performances. This year Michael Keaton gave my favorite of the year, so I went with it. Plus, the whole long take situation.

Are you waning on any of the other three acting winners for the Oscars: Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette or J.K. Simmons?

In the Best Actress race there are definitely other performance I think are better then Julianne’s (like Rosamund Pike), but I believe she is a lock considering she has won everything in her sight basically and it’s her time giving the fact she hasn’t won with so many brilliant performances. As for the supporting races, those are locked. I don’t think there is a chance anyone else takes the Oscar. None of those will change for me.

Critics’ Choice Awards: Complete list of winners

Do you usually do so well at making predictions at Gold Derby, or were the Critics’ Choice Awards just a fluke?

I usually do good in all my predictions except for TV stuff. The film awards I pretty much always get above 70%. For Critics’ Choice, I just went with my favorites in each category, except for Best Actress. I do the same for the Oscars if there is a close race. For example, I will be picking Michael Keaton for Best Actor.

Where do you stand on the Best Picture race at the Oscars? Who’s gonna win there?

I’m going with “Boyhood” for Best Picture. I loved this film so much and it brought back a lot of memories of growing up. I think it has a connection to everyone and that’s why I believe it will win. Plus, it has won pretty much everything and I think Richard Linklater can’t be beat.

Thanks Gary!

Make your own Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Actor 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 this 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 BAFTAs, Grammys, “The Walking Dead,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and more.

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