Best Picture Oscar Predictions Update: ‘Hustle’, ‘Slave’, ‘Banks’ and ‘Gravity’ On Top

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2014 Oscar Predictions Update: Post Toronto Look at Best Picture
Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Clearly at this point in the race, based on the films that have actually been seen, 12 Years a Slave is the frontrunner. However, these are predictions, which must take into account speculation on how the Academy will react to not only the films that have been seen, but those that haven’t, not to mention the dirty politics that comes with an awards race that spans several months, not a couple weeks in early September.

To the select few proclaiming 12 Years the de facto winner, American Hustle at #1, if only narrowly over 12 Years.

Why American Hustle? It’s a decision largely based on the David O. Russell factor and the cast he’s assembled. However, I’m also expecting a lot from my current #3 film, Saving Mr. Banks. Should Banks prove to be a little more than some schmaltzy Disney movie, with pundits chanting for Oscars for stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, what happens to 12 Years then? Building early buzz is good, but it can also be detrimental.

Steve Pond over at The Wrap felt it was necessary to make a list of five reasons 12 Yers is not yet a lock… for a win. Certainly he’s correct in his assertions, but at the same time I’ll be damned if I expect to see a better performance than Chiwetel Ejiofor gave and I’m going to beat the drum for Lupita Nyong’o as long as I can, certainly over anything else I’ve seen this year unless that anything else is Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color.

There are sure to be a couple surprises in store, but my gut tells me those three may end up being the primary competitors for Best Picture for the rest of the year. I know many will want to see Gravity in the conversation, and it’s there, it’s merely a fringe player right now looking to clean up in the below-the-line categories.

I’m also curious as to when we’ll finally start to hear a little more about Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street. Yesterday Kris Tapley from HitFix.com’s In Contention tweeted that it will not be one of the secret screenings at the upcoming New York Film Festival as many had speculated it may be and then he tweeted this:

https://twitter.com/kristapley/status/380361229463592960

There isn’t anything else to that just yet, but it does make one wonder.

For now, here’s how I see things. I’m predicting nine nominees at this time and you can see my full list of 33 ranked contenders right here.

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