Updated 2014 Oscar Predictions: Top Categories

2014 Oscar Predictions
Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Last week, I went through and updated all my Oscar predictions and even started working on the below-the-line categories that I haven’t yet posted my first official predictions on. I’ll hopefully have those additional categories — Sound Editing and Mixing, Editing, Production Design, Makeup & Hair, Song and Documentary — open at the beginning of next week. I just started watching several documentaries and wanted to have as many under my belt as possible before opening that category and I still have about four here I want to watch in advance.

However, when it comes to the top-line categories, those are all alive and well and I’ve posted my current batch of predictions below. Let’s take a look at the races…

Best Picture

  • American Hustle
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Gravity
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Captain Phillips
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler
  • Nebraska

We’ll begin with Best Picture, which is still led by American Hustle. To my knowledge no critics have yet seen the film, though screenings are expected to begin in Los Angeles this weekend (no telling when we’ll get the Seattle screening) and buzz is quietly beginning to build. I’ve had it on the top-line for as long as I can remember and while 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are the current leaders in the clubhouse I still haven’t seen reason enough to waver on my #1.

Best Director

  • David O. Russell (American Hustle)
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
  • Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  • Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
  • John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks)

My Best Director category features the same top five films as Best Picture, though only a reversed order for slots four and five. This race and Picture clearly have a long way to go and a split very well may be likely, but, again, I’m sticking with David O. Russell and American Hustle if for no other reason than to say the film hasn’t had a misstep yet to suggest I need to make a change.

Best Actor

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
  • Robert Redford (All is Lost)
  • Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)

Best Actor is an interesting race as I can’t quite tell what’s going to happen with Robert Redford (All is Lost) and couple that with Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and I continue to wonder… Can they both get in? Will either of them get in? Of the two I think Redford has the only legitimate shot at getting in, but are enough people seeing the film?

chiwetel-ejioforChiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) I feel are in and I have a very strong feeling Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) is safe with a nomination as well, but after that… Who?

Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) is my current pick, but if I was doing the voting it would be Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) getting in there. In fact, I’d personally bump Hanks to ensure those two had a spot a this point.

I still haven’t seen Out of the Furnace, but Christian Bale has received solid early chatter and no one has seen Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, which will likely begin screening in just over a week or so in NY and LA.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Judi Dench (Philomena)
  • Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
  • Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
  • Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

cate-blanchettThe Best Actress field seems pretty much locked in place when it comes to the top three. I also think Sandra Bullock (Gravity) is a strong contender for a lock, though I still rank her just below Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) even though I can’t tell what will be the final consensus on that film. I personally enjoyed it.

With American Hustle unseen there’s no telling how strong a contender Amy Adams may be, Berenice Bejo (The Past) won in Cannes, but will the film make a dent stateside? Speaking of Cannes, what of Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color) and I also wonder if Julie Delpy and Before Midnight will make much of an impact anywhere on the board.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks)
  • Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
  • Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
  • James Gandolfini (Enough Said)

jared-letoBest Supporting Actor again brings unseen films such as American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street to mind, but I feel safe in assuming Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) will be nominated and I feel a groundswell of love for James Gandolfini (Enough Said) that just might pay off in a nomination come January 16th.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
  • Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)
  • June Squibb (Nebraska)
  • Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
  • Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station)

lupitaThe Best Supporting Actress might prove to be an interesting category up until the envelope is opened. My top five remains the same from my previous update and, in fact, my top seven hasn’t even changed. But as much as my current placement hasn’t changed, I still don’t feel overly confident in any of my predictions outside of my top two.

You can find the complete field for each one of these categories and stay up to date with all of my predictions as they are updated right here as I did also update both Screenplay categories (Original and Adapted), Costume Design, Visual Effects, Cinematography, Score and Animated Film. Speaking of which, I’m heading out to go see Frozen right now. Fingers crossed it’s as good as everyone has been saying.

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