Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo give their Oscars 2015 picks

Five Live’s movie buffs have their say on awards season. Andrew Collins listens in...

Movies on the radio? It’ll never catch on. Except it already has. Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review, airing every Friday afternoon on 5 Live since 2001, has long since swapped “cult” status for “flagship” – its podcast is the station’s most popular, with 50.6 million downloads since 2005 and 1.5m in October 2014 alone.


So we asked one of radio’s great on-air odd couples – Simon Mayo the long-suffering voice of reason to Mark Kermode’s fanboy chatterbox – to form a two-man critics’ circle and make some predictions for next month’s Baftas and Oscars.

Before we start, Kermode offers words of warning: “All awards are inherently foolish, some are more foolish than others. And predicting the Oscars is foolish. But fun.” 

Best Actor

Simon I thought Eddie Redmayne’s is precisely the kind of performance that’s instantly Oscar-winning in the Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot department. It’s an acting masterclass: you’re basically paralysed and yet you show all that emotion.

Mark I think Redmayne will win the Bafta – there were entire sections of the film where you just forgot that what you were watching was a performance. But America loves a comeback, and there is something about Michael Keaton [playing a washed-up actor] in Birdman with all those parallels with his own career, I think that might just swing it with the Academy.

Simon Do you think he’s better in Birdman than when he was playing a snowman in Jack Frost? Because if he wins the Oscar, we get the chance to say, “Snow dad is better than no dad,” one of my favourite taglines.

Mark In the Baftas you can vote for an actor in the lead or supporting category, depending on how you feel, so Steve Carell is nominated as best supporting actor in Foxcatcher – which he could well win. In the Oscars, he’s best actor. I think that was a tactical error. 

Best Actress

Mark It’s hard to call as this year’s field is really wide open. Julianne Moore’s got a good chance for the moving Alzheimer’s drama Still Alice.

Simon It’s worth mentioning Reese Witherspoon for Wild.

Mark Yes, it’s one of those journey of self-discovery movies, which awards voters tend to like. I think it’s her best work.

Simon I associate her still with being glitzy and sparkling and singing along with Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, but she’s fantastic in Wild.

Mark Felicity Jones has a chance for The Theory of Everything – the reason you engage so much with Stephen Hawking is because you see him through the eyes of his wife, Jane. Jones is the real heart and soul of the film. 

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Mark I love Whiplash and I would really love to see JK Simmons win the Oscar – he’s a mixture of Lou Gossett Jr in An Officer and a Gentleman, R Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket and every scary music teacher you ever had. His threatening phrase, “Not quite my tempo” is going to become one of those quotes like “I’m funny how?” or “You talkin’ to me?”

Simon I haven’t seen Whiplash and I agree with Mark.


Mark I would say Patricia Arquette for Boyhood is the pack leader in supporting actress. She has a very strong chance.