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January 2015

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Page 17 of 51 16 POST JANUARY 2015 n 2014, we saw the usual release pattern in terms of Oscar-worthy fi lms — the fi rst eight or nine months of the year were a handful of potential con- tenders, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Belle, Boyhood, and some block- busters such as Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that could be recognized for technical achievements in visual eff ects, editing and sound. But it's in the fall and the fi nal win- ter stretch where the studios stack up such serious, prestige projects (along with some crowd-pleasers) as Exodus: Gods and Kings, Foxcatcher, Mr. Turner, Birdman, Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, Selma, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1, Unbroken, Fury, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, Into the Woods, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, Interstellar and Wild. At press time, a few Oscar hopefuls look to be way ahead of the pack — in- cluding Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Horrible Bosses 2, and Dumb and Dumber To. No, we're joking! A little humor to balance out the intense anxiety surrounding most other releases. So will Oscar, as usual, turn a blind eye to earlier releases in favor of the year-end releases? Impossible to tell, but with all that in mind, we now look into our crystal ball and present our annual top picks list of likely nominees. BEST PICTURE/BEST DIRECTOR/ EDITING & SOUND The crowded fi eld includes such A-listers as Ridley Scott with Exodus: Gods and Kings, David Fincher with Gone Girl, Rob Marshall with Into the Woods, and Mike Leigh with Mr. Turner, as well as such THE OSCARS: POST'S TOP PICKS I BY IAIN BLAIR The Grand Budapest Hotel Birdman Wild Foxcatcher

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