Best Director Predictions Oscars 2015With the 2015 Oscars almost here, Moviefone will be releasing a set of staff predictions each day this week (in countdown fashion) for the four major categories. We wrap it up today with arguably the hottest contested race: Best Director.

We've already given you the beat on the 2015 Oscars race, so now let's break down our favorites to win the award. Here, we've listed the directors we expect to win, and then, more importantly, who we think should win.

Tim Hayne
Who Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu. The Academy loves an innovator -- just look at Alfonso Cuaròn's 2014 win for "Gravity" -- and this year will be no different. "Birdman" is a wild ride, visually and emotionally. Iñárritu​ took what could have been an inside-baseball, rarified glimpse into the world of stage acting and the Hollywood career cycle and turned it into a riveting voyage into Batman's burned-out actor Riggan Thomson's comeback-obsessed psyche. I hope he tackles a remake of "Sunset Blvd." next. Norma Desmond won't know what hit her.

Who Should Win: Richard Linklater. Hey, I'm a huge Iñárritu fan, but I've got to give props to Linklater for really going out on a limb for "Boyhood." Not only did he commit 12 years of his life to project -- and convince his actors to do the same -- he was able to get the movie financed. The end result is a stirring, heartbreaking, and nostalgia-filled journey through adolescence that will likely be held up as the pinnacle of coming-of-age filmmaking for years to come.

Alana Altmann
Who Will Win:
Richard Linklater for "Boyhood." This is really a tight race between him and Alejandro González Iñárritu for "Birdman," but we think Linklater will pull off the win after coming out on top at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes. We'll spare you a spiel about the whole it took 12 years to make thing, but we don't think that innovative cinematic feat went unnoticed when voters were deciding.

Who Should Win: Richard Linklater for "Boyhood." This is film that took a deeply personal vision and ran with it to extremes. "Birdman" is a technical accomplishment, but it's a surreal one, that doesn't quite touch the artfully executed purity of "Boyhood"'s simple story. Linklater is a realist auteur who achieved in creating a coming-of-age classic.

Jonny Black
Who Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu. "Birdman" has been praised for its standout performances all around, earning both Michael Keaton and Edward Norton acting nominations, but its most impressive feat is its technically innovative directing. Iñárritu combines a collection of beautiful, tight long takes that give the film the effect that it was shot in one seamless take. Even more impressive? Iñárritu didn't want to recreate the inside of a theater, so all the sequences inside the theater (the St. James in New York) were shot in two weeks. The Academy may like more traditional films for Best Picture, but just like with Alfonso Cuaron last year for "Gravity," Academy voters seem to laud unique and innovative direction.

Who Should Win: Richard Linklater. From the get-go, the footage from "Boyhood" could have ended up being worthless, but Linklater instead pieced together a stirring nostalgic epic from 12 years of footage -- and it's now the favorite for Best Picture. Linklater had the foresight and, really, the guts to commit himself to this 12 year experimental film (shot over 39 days). Admittedly, the argument for Linklater or Iñárritu is tough; both are true visionaries, but do you laud a beautiful vision that is executed over a decade or a taut, meta-journey that is a technical wonder?

Who's your pick? Tell us in the comments below, and find out which star wins Best Director when the Oscars air live Sunday, February 22 at 7 ET / 4 PT on ABC.
categories Movies, Oscars