PA's film critic got six out of six
A week ago we asked Press Association film critic Damon Smith to say who would win the big prizes at the Oscars, and he did - predicting all six main awards correctly.
Here are the reasons behind his predictions:
Will win: Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
Critics' darling Boyhood has fallen by the wayside in recent weeks, allowing the giddy showbusiness satire Birdman to gallop to the front of the pack. It's an obvious choice - a back-slapping celebration of Hollywood, celebrity and the creative process - but if Oscar voters chose unparalleled quality over self-congratulation, they would check into Wes Anderson's visually stunning and hilarious murder mystery The Grand Budapest Hotel instead.
Will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance))
Richard Linklater's 12-year devotion to Boyhood is certainly admirable and Wes Anderson worked his magic behind the camera in The Grand Budapest Hotel but Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu should become the second Mexican director in succession to be ushered to the podium for his bravura direction of Birdman. Stitched together to resemble a single fluid take, the film is a technical masterclass with Inarritu at the helm.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Will win: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)
While Michael Keaton would be the sentimental choice as the comeback kid for his eye-catching work in Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), Redmayne's jaw-dropping, transformative performance as Stephen Hawking is in a league of its own, recalling Daniel Day-Lewis's deserved first Oscar win for My Left Foot. He was 32. Redmayne has recently turned 33. Destiny is surely calling.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Will win: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
With her fifth nomination, Moore will finally secure a shiny golden statuette for her mantelpiece. She is long overdue and really should have won in 2003 for Far From Heaven when Nicole Kidman stole her thunder. But on merit, Marion Cotillard's heart-breaking turn as a desperate woman threatened with redundancy, who must persuade work colleagues to reject a monetary bonus and keep her on instead, deserves the glittering prize.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Will win: JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Of all the marvels in Damien Chazelle's exhilarating second directorial feature Whiplash, JK Simmons's electrifying portrayal of monstrous teacher Terence Fletcher, who terrorises a 19-year-old drumming student, sears deepest into the memory. The cold, calculated manner in which Simmons verbally and physically abuses sweat-drenched co-stars who don't meet his character's warped idea of perfection is delicious.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Will win: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Strictly speaking, Arquette is the lead actress in Richard Linklater's long-gestated passion project, which should have been entitled Motherhood considering that her plucky matriarch is the emotional fulcrum for the 12 years of on-screen tears and tantrums. She has collected virtually every critic's award and plaudit for the role en route to the Oscars and will be unstoppable on the night.