This one was tough. I sit down every year around this time and slave over (sit down for like 12 minutes and throw together) my Best Picture predictions list. The catch is that I have yet to see the vast majority of the films predicted. I like to consider it a little experiment (albeit sometimes a sadly predictable one) to guess what the Academy will like.
This year is different though. In the first 8 months of the year, there has only been one shoo-in for a nomination thus far: Pixar's Inside Out. Last year, for example, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel were obvious nominees as early as June. My honorable mentions is a bit long this time around due to some well-received/shockingly successful releases, but I don't think they will get the nod when it's all said and done.
One dark horse that I do not mention is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It will most-likely be the highest grossing film released in 2015, although it has a tough hill to climb with the unreal box-office performance of Jurassic World. Not only could it make a huge amount of money, but in the case of a 90% or above Rotten Tomatoes score, I can see the Academy recognizing its significance both financially and critically by giving it a nomination in a similar way that they praised The Lord of the Rings, with all 3 films in the trilogy receiving Best Picture noms.
Well, here goes nothing y'all!--
Best Picture Nominees: