2014 Oscar Predictions

oscars

Two weeks until the Oscars and so here are my annual predictions! Last year I correctly predicted 3 of the big 6 and 11 of 22 overall. 50%, not too bad, hopefully I can do better this year! Here goes:

Best Picture

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: 12 Years a Slave

Personal Choice: 12 Years a Slave

Other Thoughts: If I were an odds-maker, I would put the odds at: Gravity 68%, 12 Years a Slave 30%, American Hustle 2%. But I’m really feeling 12 Years a Slave! So what if it’s not as technically impressive as Gravity, it was moving, poignant, and most of all important; it was a film that needed to be made! A couple years ago the Academy went with the artsy film (Hurt Locker) over the entertaining film (Avatar), and while that may have been an easier decision (Hurt Locker is better than 12 Years a Slave and Avatar is not as good as Gravity) I’m still hoping the Academy will do it again this year!

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  • David O Russell, American Hustle
  • Martin Scorcese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Personal Choice: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Other Thoughts: Despite what I said in my Best Picture thoughts, I do think Gravity was the best directed picture of the year. What Cuaron and his cast and crew were able to accomplish was breathtaking and amazing. The script was what I found weak in that film, but the directing was top notch, best of the year in my book. Also, did you know that Steve McQueen is only the third Black director to be nominated for best director in the history of the Academy?

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale, American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Prediction: Matthew McConaughey

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: This may be blasphemy, but I have not yet seen Dallas Buyers Club. I’ll see it eventually, but I missed the free Film Independent screening (I was sick) and am having a hard time justifying the price of a movie ticket for what appears to be good acting and not much else. As for the other nominees, once again this is an incredible competitive category, and this despite the fact that it is glaringly missing Robert Redford’s amazing performance in All is Lost.

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Prediction: Cate Blanchett

Personal Choice: Cate Blanchett

Other Thoughts: Cate Blanchett brought Blue Jasmine to another level entirely. If she doesn’t win, I’ll be shocked. Glad to see Sandra Bullock’s nomination, acting in sci-fi is so difficult and doesn’t get recognized enough. When was the last time Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated in this category? I’d like to see her and Daniel Day Lewis in a film together, a battle of the two strongest acting personalities of our time.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Prediction: Jared Leto

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: Jared Leto took a five year absence from acting to become a rock star, then comes back and is immediately nominated for (and will most likely win) an Oscar. That’s got to be the best life ever. Michael Fassbender is my favorite actor working today. So versatile and completely disappearing into his roles, taking risks and challenges, he is so exciting to watch. Barkhad Abdi was wonderful in Captain Phillips and it was his first ever acting credit. I wonder what the record is for oldest actor to be Oscar nominated for his first acting credit?

Best Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
  • June Squibb, Nebraska

Prediction: Lupita Nyong’o. It could be Jennifer Lawrence, but I’m going with Lupita Nyong’o.

Personal Choice: Lupita Nyong’o

Other Thoughts: With American Hustle, David O Russell is the first director to twice direct actors to nominations in all four acting categories in the same film (in back to back years no less!). Jennifer Lawrence was one of the best, stealing every scene she was in. This is Lupita Nyong’o‘s third IMDb credit, but her other two were a short and a TV show, so similar to Barkhad Abdi, this is a nomination for a first time feature actor. Where she went in her performance, and how well she did it would have been remarkable for any actor, first feature or not. June Squibb is so cute and wonderful working with Alexander Payne, I’m glad she got a nomination as well.

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

  • Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell, American Hustle
  • Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
  • Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Spike Jonze, Her
  • Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Prediction: Spike Jonze, Her

Personal Choice: Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Other Thoughts: Spike Jonze seems to be the favorite here, and while I liked the film, the hipster vibe in the first act really bothered me. Nebraska was quite a pleasant film and I’d like to see it get some honors, this seems like the right place to me. One more thought: how come this award is titled “best writing” not “best writer”, after all, it’s “best actor” not “best acting”? Is this another example of the lack of power/respect for writers in Hollywood?

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

  • John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
  • Richard Linklater, Julie Deply, and Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
  • Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
  • Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
  • Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Personal Choice: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Other Thoughts: This seems like one of the weaker categories this year. I loved 12 Years a Slave and thought the script was strong, but Oscar-winning strong? I don’t see anything else I would give it to. I can see Before Midnight trumping it, and I love that series, but I felt like this latest entry was the weakest and so it doesn’t get the prediction from me.

Best Animated Feature

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest and Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

Prediction: Frozen

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: I have not seen any of the films in this category. I really want to see Frozen though, it looks amazing and was a big surprise at the box office. This year marks only the second time PIXAR was eligible for a nomination (for Monsters University) and wasn’t nominated; the other missed nomination was for Cars 2.

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
  • The Great Beauty, Italy
  • The Hunt, Denmark
  • The Missing Picture, Cambodia (the language is French though)
  • Omar, Palestine

Prediction: The Great Beauty

Personal Choice: Not enough information

Other Thoughts: I haven’t seen any of these films either, although I’m interested in several of them. I’m predicting The Great Beauty because it won the Euro Awards and I’ve heard it is very good.

Best Documentary Feature

  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square

Prediction: 20 Feet from Stardom

Personal Choice: The Act of Killing

Other Thoughts: The Act of Killing was unlike any film I’d ever seen, over the top, surreal, avant-garde, but it needed to be to do what it was doing, and what it did was very powerful. However, I think the film may be too much for the Academy, who I’m guessing will go for the more conventional 20 Feet from Stardom.

I’ve never seen or even heard anything about the short film nominees this year, so instead of making 20% predictions, we’ll move on to the technical categories!

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About Gabriel Bruskoff
I write about films! I make them too! See www.gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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