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Oscar nomination predictions: Lots of contenders from ‘Birdman,’ ‘Boyhood’

This thing called buzz, I just can’t fathom it.

I’ve seen thousands of movies and I’ve covered dozens of awards shows. At least a few times every year, I’ll emerge from the cocoon of the screening room convinced I’ve just seen a nomination-worthy performance or film.

And then a month later the movie is already disappearing from theaters, having created not even the slightest hint of a buzz.

To be sure, some films and performances ARE sure things. I don’t know anyone in the business who saw “Birdman” and DIDN’T think Michael Keaton would get a best actor nomination. You’d be hard-pressed to find any industry analyst who doesn’t believe “Boyhood” will get a best picture nomination.

The nominees for the 87th annual Academy Awards will be announced Thursday morning. Here are my predictions for the most popular categories, with a few runners-up in the Big Five.

Best Picture

“Boyhood”

“Birdman”

“Foxcatcher”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”’

“Gone Girl”

“The Imitation Game”

“Selma”

“The Theory of Everything”

“Whiplash”

Just missing the cut: “Nightcrawler,” “Interstellar,” “American Sniper”

Best Actress

Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”

Marion Cotillard, “Two Days/One Night”

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Just missing the cut: Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything,” Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”

Best Actor

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

David Oyelowo, “Selma”

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Just missing the cut: Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper,” Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler,” Oscar Isaac, “A Most Violent Year”

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”

Laura Dern, “Wild”

Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”

Emma Stone, “Birdman”

Just missing the cut: Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods,” Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

Best Supporting Actor

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”

Robert Duvall, “The Judge’

Edward Norton, “Birdman”

Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”

J.K Simmons, “Whiplash”

Just missing the cut: Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice,” Tom Wilkinson, “Selma,” Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”

Best Director

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Ava DuVernay, “Selma”

David Fincher, “Gone Girl”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Animated Film

“Big Hero 6”

“The Book of Life”

“The Boxtrolls”

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

“The Lego Movie”