I’ve put off predicting the winners of this past year’s (2014) Academy Awards till the last moment, so that I could take in as many of the nominated films as possible, and I’m happy to report that I’ve seen ALL the Best Picture nominees: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.”

The race is between “Boyhood” and “Birdman.” I’m taking “Boyhood.”

Does that mean that I think “Boyhood” was the Best Picture of the Year 2014. No. Of the list above, I prefer wither “The Imitation Game” or “American Sniper,” and I’m disappointed that fine films like “Gone Girl” didn’t make the list. I’m just predicting now, not recommending. For that, see an earlier post about the most ENJOYABLE films of the year.

Best Director: Richard Linklater (He directed “Boyhood”).

Other nominees for Best Director are Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”); Alejandro G. Inarritu (“Birdman”); Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher”); and Morten Tyldum(“The Imitation Game”).

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne
(“The Theory of Everything”). The race is between Redmayne and sentimental favorite Michael Keaton, but momentum seems to be in Redmayne’s corner for his spot-on turn as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” This one could go either way. I picked Redmayne because I legitimately feel his task was much more difficult than Keaton’s, sentiment aside. Other nominees were Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”); Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”); Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”).

Best Actress: Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”)
. She has been around a long time, and it seems it is her turn this year. I haven’t seen “Still Alice,” so I’m taking the word of other critics that she is as good in it as everyone says. She has been good in many films for many years. Let’s face it, Marion Cotillard in the French language film “Two Days, One Night” doesn’t have a prayer and Reese Witherspoon, who has already won once, walks across the desert in “Wild,” which is about as interesting as that sounds like it would be—which is not interesting. Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones were both great, but haven’t paid their dues, while Moore has.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”).

There seems to be little doubt that Arquette will take home Oscar for her supporting performance as the mother in “Boyhood.” She, too, has earned her stripes. Other nominees are Laura Dern (“Wild”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”) and Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods.”) Meryl has won enough, already. Keira and Emma were good, but haven’t been at it as long (or as well) as Arquette. [Remember her turn opposite James Gandolfini in “True Romance”?]

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”).

Other nominees are Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”), Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”), Edward Norton (“Birdman”), and 84-year-old Robert Duvall (“The Judge”). Nobody picks Duvall, but I loved his performance in that critically panned film. Ruffalo has had a great year, too, since he also starred in television’s AIDS drama “The Normal Heart.” I would not be upset to have Edward Norton (“Birdman”) upset the overwhelming odds-on favorite, J.K. Simmons, but I’ve seen all of these performances and, aside from the meandering role Hawke drew in the meandering movie “Boyhood,” all turned in great performances in difficult roles. I look for the actor categories to provide the surprises—if there are any.

OTHER AWARDS: I sat through beaucoup foreign films that were supposed to be nominated. None were. I’m glad, since I didn’t like the 2 I saw that were touted as “sure things” at the Chicago Film Festival.” They were okay, but not my idea(s) of “Best Films.” The nominees for Best Foreign Language Film are “Ida” (Poland); “Leviathon” (Russia); “Tangerines” (Estonia); “Timbuktu” (Mauritania) and “Wild Tales” from Argentina. Did not see a single one, although I HAVE seen “Force Majeure” and “The Gett” and a bunch of other foreign films (“Black Ice” was particularly bad, from China) that took up a lot of my viewing day. I’m going with “Ida” from Poland, because there were a lot of good films from that part of the world, and I’m not sure that Estonia and Mauritania can compete on equal footing.

I’m listing the rest of the categories with the nominees and boldfacing my picks::
Original Screenplay:
“Birdman;” “Boyhood;” “Foxcatcher;” “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “Nightcrawler.” (I’d love to see “Nightcrawler” win and, yes, I’ve seen them all.)

Adapted Screenplay: “American Sniper;” “The Imitation Game;” “Inherent Vice;” “The Theory of Everything;” “Whiplash.”

Film Editing: “American Sniper;” “Boyhood;” “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “The Imitation Game;” and “Whiplash.”

Cinematography: “Birdman;” “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “Ida;” “Mr. Turner;” and “Unbroken.”

Production Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “The Imitation Game;” “Interstellar;” “Into the Woods;” “Mr. Turner.”

Animated Feature: “Big Hero 6;”
“The Boxtrolls;” “How to Train Your Dragon 2;” “Song of the Sea;” “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”

Animated Short Film
: “The Bigger Picture;” “The Dam Keeper;” “Feast;” “Me and My Moulton;” “A Single Life.”

Documentary Feature: “Citizenfour;”
“Finding Vivian Maier;” “Last Days in Vietnam;” “The Salt of the Earth;” “Virunga.” (I’ve actually seen the first 2 of these and know that RFK’s youngest daughter is responsible for “Last Days in Vietnam.”)

Documentary Short: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1;” “Joanna;” “Our Curse;” “The Reaper (La Parka)”; “White Earth”

Live Action Short Film: “Aya;” “Boogaloo and Graham;” “Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)”; “Parvaneh;” “The Phone Call.”

Costume Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel;
” “Inherent Vice;” “Into the Woods;” “Maleficent;” “Mr. Turner.”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Foxcatcher;” “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Visual Effects: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier;” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes;” “Guardians of the Galaxy;” “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Sound Mixing: “American Sniper;” “Birdman;” “Interstellar;” “Unbroken;” “Whiplash.”

Sound Editing: “American Sniper;” “Birdman;” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies;” “Interstellar;” “Unbroken.” (If “Birdman” starts a sweep, it could take this and both of the final 2 nominees listed are also strong contenders.)

Original Score: “The Grand Budapest Hotel;” “The Imitation Game;” “Interstellar;” “Mr. Turner;” “The Theory of Everything.” (I loved the Alexandre Desplat score for “The Imitation Game,” so I’d not complain if it were to win.)

Original Song: “Everything is Awesome;” “Glory;” “Grateful;” “I’m Not Gonna Miss You;” “Lost Stars.” (Everybody knows the Best Song of the Year 2014 from a movie should be “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” so any of these are not the best songs of the year. “Glory” was from “Selma” and I’d like to see it win something.)