4 last-minute changes to my Oscars predictions — Gulp!

“No guts, no glory!” I emailed to my fellow Gold Derby Editors when I made yet another change to my Oscar predictions. When predicting awards shows, it’s rarely a good idea to change your mind at the last minute or you risk the possibility of having a serious case of regret. Well, rules were meant to be broken.

Over the past few days, I’ve changed four of my 24 Oscar predictions in the hopes of bettering my final score. Last year I got 79% correct predicting 20 of the two dozen Oscar winners, in 2012 I again reaped 79% accuracy and in 2011 I scored 71% (17/24). Those numbers are good, but not good enough.

See, we Editors have come out on top as the best predictors of the Oscars for the past two years, and we desperately want that streak to continue. Last year, the Editors got a whopping 96% correct, compared to the 87.5% accuracy of the Experts, Top 24 Users and All Users. And in 2012, the Editors again came out victorious with 79% correct, while the Top 24 Users and All Users tied at 75% and the Experts came in last place with 71%.

Will these four last-minute changes help or hurt my overall score? We’ll find out Feb. 22 when the Oscars air on ABC, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. See all of my last-minute switches below.

Gold Derby Film Awards winners:
Boyhood’ takes top prize, wealth spread to ‘Birdman,’ ‘Gone Girl’ and …

New prediction: Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”)
Former prediction: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman”)
Why the change? Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that Inarritu won the DGA and that his was the directorial achievement of the year. But Linklater gave us the directorial achievement of the past 12 years. And don’t forget, Linklater won Best Director kudos at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs and now the Gold Derby Film Awards. So the precursor scorecard is Linklater at 4 wins and Inarritu at 1. Doesn’t it seem like Linklater is actually the safe bet here?

New prediction: “Whiplash
Former prediction: “Boyhood
Why the change? The editing in “Whiplash” is obvious, showy and masterful, but for a while there I was worried that the 12-year gimmick of “Boyhood” would help it cross the finish line. Even though the odds are against me (“Boyhood” leads Gold Derby’s overall racetrack predictions), I think “Whiplash” has enough passion behind it to overtake the frontrunner. That recent BAFTA prize for Best Editing also helps.

New prediction: “Virunga
Former prediction: “Citizenfour
Why the change? When I heard that Netflix had spent millions of dollars on “Virunga’s” Oscar campaign, I immediately switched my vote. At the Oscars, campaigns make all the difference in a close race, and this is one of the closest of the year. Also, Academy members love voting for docs about animals — like recent winners “The Cove” (2009) and “March of the Penguins” (2005) — and “Virunga” sets out to save the last remaining gorillas in Virunga National Park.

New prediction: “The Dam Keeper
Former prediction: “Feast
Why the change? As soon as I watched all five nominees back to back, it became apparent that “The Dam Keeper” was heads and shoulders (and snouts) above everything else. Despite being less than 20 minutes long, “The Dam Keeper” created an entire world with its own mythology and a cast full of interesting characters, with beautiful animation to boot. I won’t be surprised if “Feast” wins thanks to its popularity and cuteness, but “The Dam Keeper” should prevail because of its scope and originality.

Oscars predictions: Experts vs. Editors battle in three top races

Those are my last-minute Oscar changes. What are yours? Sound off in the comments section below.

Make your own 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 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 Walking Dead,” “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and more.

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