We’ve been compiling our Contender Tracker pages slowly but we’ve narrowed down the list so far of what contenders might be showing up at this year’s Oscar race.  Thanks to Kevin for the help on this.  I have ordered them in terms of importance or prestige. Not all Oscar contenders are measured equally. Stars tend to have the advantage over unknowns and repeat nominees and winners also can sometimes have an advantage. More than that, the Oscar contenders are usually earmarked from the beginning of the year and have their place in line. Surprise hits or nominees always find their way into the race and can’t really be predicted but many of them can be.  So far, this is how we see it.  But it is going to be fluid, not static, and always changing month to month, week to week, day to day.

Best Picture Contenders

AwardsDaily’s Most Likely (by date)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (March 7)
Boyhood (7/11)
Gone Girl (10/3)
Birdman (10/17)
Interstellar (Nov 7)
Foxcatcher (Nov 14)
A Most Violent Year (11/12)
Inherent Vice (12/12)
Mr. Turner (12/19)
Unbroken (12/25)
Big Eyes (12/25)
Selma (12/25)
The Homesman

Second tier of most likely:
Mood Indigo (7/18)
Very Good Girls (7/25)
The Judge (10/10)
Trash (October, 2014)
The Imitation Game (11/14)
Fury (11/14)
Wild (12/5)
Into the Woods (12/25)
Men, Women & Children (2014)

Question Marks:
MacBeth (?)
Lucy (7/25)
And So It Goes (7/11)
Calvary (8/1)
The One I Love (8/15)
The Drop (9/12)

Best Director

Top Tier

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar
Angelina Jolie, Unbroken
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
David Ayer, Fury
Ava DuVernay, Selma

Next

Jean-Marc Vallee, Wild
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ridley Scott, Exodus
Steven Daldry, Trash
Tim Burton, Big Eyes

Best Actor

Michael Keaton, Birdman
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Jack O’Connell, Unbroken
Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year
Ben Affleck, Gone Girl
Alfred Molina, Love Is Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Brad Pitt, Fury
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
James McAvoy, Eleanor Rigby
Chadwick Boseman, Get on Up
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything

John Lithgow, Love Is Strange
Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar

Best Actress

Top tier

Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Hilary Swank, The Homesman
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Jessica Chastain, Eleanor Rigby
Jessica Chastain, Miss Julie
Mia Wasikowska, Tracks
Anna Kendrick, The Last Five Years
Carey Mulligan, Suffragette
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Next

Reese Witherspoon, The Good Lie
Emma Stone, Untitled Cameron Crowe Project
Helen Mirren, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars
Angelina Jolie, Maleficent
Keira Knightley, Begin Again
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Michelle Williams, Suite francaise
Nicole Kidman, Queen of the Desert

Best Supporting Actor

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Neil Patrick Harris, Gone Girl
Albert Brooks, A Most Violent Year
Tom Wilkinson, Selma
David Oyelowo, Selma
Takamasa Ishihara, Unbroken
Benicio Del Toro, Inherent Vice
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Matthew Goode, The Imitation Game
Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Begin Again
Robert Duvall, The Judge

Best Supporting Actress

Carrie Coon, Gone Girl
Viola Davis, Get on Up
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Jessica Chastain, Interstellar
Reese Witherspoon, Inherent Vice
Marcia Gay Harden, Magic in the Moonlight
Emma Stone, Birdman
Naomi Watts, St. Vincent

Next

Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosewater
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Helena Bonham Carter, Suffragette
Jena Malone, Inherent Vice
Laura Dern, Wild
Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything
Anna Kendrick, Into the Woods
Kristin Scott Thomas, Suite francaise
Marisa Tomei, Love Is Strange
Naomi Watts, Birdman
Jacki Weaver, Magic in the Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay

Bruce Wagner, Map to the Stars
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Ned Benson, Eleanor Rigby
Armando Bo, Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giabone and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, Interstellar
Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, Love Is Strange
Abi Morgan, Suffragette
Cameron Crowe, Untitled Cameron Crowe Project
David Ayer, Fury
John Carney, Begin Again
Scott Alexander and Larry Karazewski, Big Eyes
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

Top Tier

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, Foxcatcher
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson, Unbroken
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Nick Hornby, Wild
Richard Curtis, Trash

Next

Anthony McCarten, Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Reitman and Erin Cressida Wilson, Men, Women & Children
Jon Stewart, Rosewater
Liv Ullmann, Miss Julie
Matt Charman and Saul Dibb, Suite francaise

Best Cinematography

Top Tier

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Greg Fraser, Foxcatcher
Roger Deakins, Unbroken
Hoyt Van Hoytema, Interstellar
Robert Elswit, Inherent Vice
Jeff Croneweth, Gone Girl
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Rodrigo Prieto, The Homesman
Bradford Young, A Most Violent Year
Bruno Delbonnel, Big Eyes

 

Next

Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
Darius Wolski, Exodus
Dion Beebe, Into the Woods
Oscar Faura, The Imitation Game
Seamus McGarvey, Godzilla
Yves Belanger, Wild

Best Score

Top Tier

Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, Gone Girl
A.R. Rahman, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, Unbroken
Danny Elfman, Big Eyes
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Jonny Greenwood, Inherent Vice
Steven Price, Fury
Thomas Newman, Get on Up
Thomas Newman, The Judge

Next

Christopher Spielman, The Immigrant
James Newton Howard, Maleficent
John Powell, Birdman
Mychael Danna, Foxcatcher