Updated 2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director

2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The precursor awards are underway and I waited until seeing the likes of American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks and Love Survivor before rushing to update my predictions once again. That said, after the Gotham Awards, New York Film Critics Awards, and National Board of Review announcing their favorites it’s time to start offering some updates as the only major Oscar player I have yet to see is Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, but even that we have some advance buzz concerning and even more is on the way as additional New York and Los Angeles critics will be seeing it over the weekend.

Now for today’s action where I’ll be updating all the major categories from Best Picture to Best Animation over the course of the day. First off, we’ll begin with Best Picture and Best Director, which are detailed below along with links to browse my complete, ranked field of contenders.

Also, be sure to stay up-to-date with my Awards Calendar as the Los Angeles Film Critics will hand out their awards this Sunday, December 8 and next week on December 11 and 12 we’ll have the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations.

Best Picture

So far, once thought major front-runners by most — 12 Years a Slave and Gravity — haven’t done so well in the early awards season while the first Best Picture winners belong to Inside Llewyn Davis (Gothams), American Hustle (New York Critics) and Her (National Board of Review).

My previous #1, American Hustle, simply doesn’t have what it takes to win the Oscar in my estimation and after winning with the New York critics it’s complete absence from the National Board of Review is notable. 12 Years a Slave is now faced with what will be a rising tide in Saving Mr. Banks while Gravity will slowly settle to the middle of the pack and take home several technical awards.

Films to keep an eye on, however, are Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis and The Wolf of Wall Street, though something tells me the latter of the bunch may be a bit too edgy to truly compete for the big prize, though Jonah Hill may prove a strong competitor in Supporting based on early buzz.

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Saving Mr. Banks
  3. Gravity
  4. Nebraska
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street
  6. American Hustle
  7. Inside Llewyn Davis
  8. Captain Phillips
  9. Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Find my complete, ranked list of 27 contenders right here.

Best Director

steve-mcqueenWhile American Hustle isn’t out of it, after seeing it I now know it isn’t the frontrunner I assumed it would be and David O. Russell has some work to do to overcome the large amount of talent that already started making waves long before anyone got a glimpse of his latest. This moves Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) into a virtual tie for the top spot with John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks) nipping at their heels.

I’ve yet to see The Wolf of Wall Street so my placement for Martin Scorsese is simply based on the advanced buzz and the fact he’s been nominated for four of his last five films. As a result, it’s hard to tell what to do with the likes of Paul Greengrass (Captain Philips), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and Russell while Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) has been making waves in early awards as Breakthrough Director.

Lastly, Spike Jonze (Her) won Best Director from the National Board of Review, which is helpful considering the last three directors they’ve given such an honor went on to be nominated as well as six of the last ten, but it’s a film I’m not sure will truly resonate with the Academy over the competition in front of it.

  1. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
  2. Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  3. John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks)
  4. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  5. Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Find my complete, ranked list of 23 contenders right here.

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