As I was compiling this list of predictions I realized what I always realize at this moment in awards season and yet manage to forget again in the ensuing year: the Oscars are kinda boring.
Yes, they are the capstone of awards season and the highest honor Hollywood can bestow, but of the 24 categories there are less than 10 that your average viewer really cares about. It makes for a not so exciting four hours of television and an equally tedious prediction post if I were to actually bore you with my thoughts on sound editing.
But I’m not going to do that. Which can also be problematic because you might not be emotionally invested in who wins for best live action short, but if you care about wining your office pool these “uninteresting” categories are where you make your moves.
So my advice is stick to Gravity when it comes to the technical awards, Great Gatsby for the “pretty” awards and viva Italia!
Now onto categories I have some real opinions about.
Note: As always, when I say “Will Win” I am basing it off the current odds and general buzz and when I say “Should Win” I’m basing it off my own personal and deeply biased opinions.
12 Years a Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Should Win: Gravity
Who Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
This is a rare year in which I’ve only seen about half of the nominees (12, Hustle, Dallas, Wolf and Gravity). Of these, American Hustle is far and away my favorite. Combine all my favorite things; disco, con artists, vintage Gucci and Jennifer Lawrence, and you’re bound to win my undying love. But since I’m probably alone in that specific list, I don’t expect much Oscar love for it. So lets go with that technically amazing, compelling, genre bending one instead. I suppose that’ll do for a second choice. In my opinion a true “best picture” winner should be one that continues to resonate for decades to come. 12 Years a Slave may prove to fit that description, but Gravity already embodies it in every way.
Kyle here. I’ll be the one in blue. I agree with Devin that Gravity should win (and I believe WILL win) and for the same reasons she discussed above. In fact she took the words right out of my mouth. Literally. And typed them. But relationships are about sharing.
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
As unimpressed by Wolf of Wall Street as I was, Leo still gets my pick. He’s been far too great and far too over looked for far, far too long. Unfortunately, Hollywood loves a good underdog story. Not that Matthew is really an underdog, but if you’d asked someone five years ago if he’d ever be nominated for an Oscar they would have looked at you like you were as high as, well… And ultimately, the Oscars are nothing more than a popularity contest, and who doesn’t love Matthew McConaughey?
Matthew McConaughey has been blowing us away lately and his role in Dallas Buyers Club certainly deserves the attention it’s getting. I have to agree with Devin on this one, DiCaprio deserves it more, but McConaughey has too much momentum (including the perfectly placed series, True Dectective) to not be awarded the prize.
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Who Should Win: Cate Blanchett
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett was put onto this earth to give amazing performances, collect accolades and look impeccable doing it. You can’t argue with destiny.
I can. Cate Blanchett was brilliant in Blue Jasmine and no one is denying that. However, I’m going to be a little more bold and put my imaginary money on Sandra Bulluck. I’m not a huge fan of hers, trust me, but she gave the best performance this year in Gravity, adding pure emotion and horror to her breathing.
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Who Should Win: Jared Leto
Who Will Win: Jared Leto
When I was making my predictions for the Golden Globes I didn’t have very strong feelings about this category. Then I saw Dallas Buyers Club. Sometimes performances can get overhyped in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards. This is not one of those cases.
Jared Leto certainly takes the cake here. I can only hope he leaves his current hair stylist off of his acceptance speech.
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Who Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o
I would like American Hustle to win something and I would really like to see Jennifer win back to back. It’s a pipe dream though. She had the early buzz, but Lupita has done nothing but gain momentum as awards season has gone on.
Agreed. But to add on to what Devin said, Lupita Nyong’o gave a performance packed with so much innocence, beauty and brutality that it would hurt to see the statue in the hands of anyone else.
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
And here is the strongest case for Gravity winning best picture. It is very, very rare for the best picture and best director awards to be split between two movies. It happened last year because Argo rode a wave of outrage over Ben Affleck not even being nominated in the category, but before that it hadn’t happened since 2005 and of the 85 movies that have won best picture, only 22 have done so without a win for best director. Last year was the exception that proved the rule, this year we’re back to the rule. And no one is pretending that Alfonso Cuarón won’t win.
What a year for directors! So much amazing work from these five auteurs represented in the category. I would have loved to see Spike Jonze put on that list, but I don’t know who he could replace and that’s a great feeling. The winner will be Alfonso Cuarón, whose passion for excellence and cinema in general shine in this years best film, Gravity.
Best Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater (Before Midnight )
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street )
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)
Who Should Win: Julie Delphy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater for Before Midight
Who Will Win: John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave
If 12 Years a Slave wins for best picture but not director it’ll have to win at least one other big award. That would be this one. But I would really, really love to see Linklater and company take it home as a token to the decades long love story they so beautifully told.
There’s nothing to add here. 12 Years a Slave, while pulling for Before Midnight.
Best Original Screenplay
Who Should Win: David O. Russel and Eric Singer for American Hustle
Who Will Win: Spike Jonze for Her
With no big sweeping epics in this category, this is where the little movies could make a big move. True, it very well could go to the polished, star powered Hustle and I’d be happy to see it, but I think the academy is going to take this opportunity to prove its indie cred and give it to Spike Jonze for Her.
The indie cred card surely exists, but the Academy should and WILL give the Oscar to Spike Jonze based on the writing alone. Her is as beautiful a read as it is a film.
The Academy Awards will air at 7/8c March 2 on ABC.
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