For those who have been patiently waiting for my final Oscar predictions i.e. those of you who haven’t been keeping track of them on Gold Derby, that is, I’m putting them all in one place for your convenience. There are a few tougher categories this year (like Best Picture – man, has this been a good year for movies!), but for the most part, it’s just that fifth slot in some of the categories and how the Academy will go vs. some of their precursors like the Screen Actors Guild and Hollywood Foreign Press (who nominate the Golden Globes).
If you read my Oscar update a few weeks back, you may already have a good idea where things are going, although since then, most of the other guilds have announced their nominations, giving us a clearer picture of how people in the industry are thinking. I noted some of the precursor nominations next to the names of the actors and movies I’ve personally picked.
This is a particularly tough year to pick just ten Best Pictures and who knows? The Academy may just go with nine this year or even less. There are definitely some factions in play and while there are movies that generally have a lot of support like 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity, there are more fringe movies like Her, Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis that have their fans but won’t appeal to everyone, so will they get enough top picks to even get into the running? There’s also movies like Dallas Buyers Club, which would seem like a movie more for acting nominations, but it has found support among the guilds as have very different, almost conflicting films, like Saving Mr. Banks and Wolf of Wall Street.
1. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) SAG Ensemble, PGA, BFCA, DGA, GG
The three below seem like the most obvious choices to appear in a tenth slot or to supplant one of the nine above, but none of them have gotten nearly as much support and at least the latter two, the earliest releases, may have been forgotten.
Saving Mr. Banks (Disney) PGA, BFCA
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) – PGA
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company) SAG Ensemble
A much simpler category in some ways because out of the nine or ten Best Pictures, there are definitely five or six that stand out as directorial achievements the big question is whether the Academy’s love for all things Scorsese (especially among the directors branch) will surpass those who question the entertainment value of the film’s Wall Street anti-hero. Alexander Payne may seem like an odd choice over either Scorsese or Greengrass, but he’s received two nominations for similarly quirky material and Nebraska is generally getting love from different branches. Cuaron, McQueen and Russell are the sure bets, but the DGA rarely goes five for five.
1. Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity, GG, DGA, BFCA
Alternate: Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street, DGA, BFCA
Actress in a Leading Role:
As in past years, this category filled up pretty quickly and definitely early on in the race, mainly with veteran actresses who have all won Oscars previously. The male contingent of the acting branch of the Academy tends to always go with at least one pretty young ingénue and considering how many times Amy Adams has been nominated in the supporting category, we could see her bumping one of the older actresses, but which one?
1. Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine, GG, BFCA, SAG
Alternate: Amy Adams – American Hustle, GG
Actor in a Leading Role:
A few months ago, this was the toughest category to pin down because there were so many great male performances from Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station to others, but this year, it looks like we’ll get a good mix of veterans who haven’t been nominated for a while (Dern, Redford) and well-deserving actors who have never been nominated (Ejiofor, McConaughey). The question is which of the vets Leonardo DiCaprio’s unforgettable performance might bump if the Academy decides to nominate him a fourth time.
1. Bruce Dern – Nebraska, GG, BFCA, SAG
Alternate: Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street, GG
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Another category that seemed a bit bare a few months back but seems to have gelled in recent weeks with SAG and BFCA nominations which matched up one for one with only one difference between the Golden Globes (who went with Oprah). I’d love to see Sally Hawkins get a much-deserved nomination after being snubbed for Happy-Go-Lucky, but this one seems pretty locked up.
1. Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle, GG, BFCA, SAG
Alternate: Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine, GG
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Same as above. There are a number of outstanding performances by actors who are essentially co-leads in some places and very often steal scenes from the film’s lead. For someone like first-time Somali actor Barkhad Abdi, to do that from a vet like Tom Hanks, is pretty amazing. Michael Fassbender has been deserving and snubbed for his lead performances a couple of times, but he probably won’t have such a problem with his role playing a cruel slavemaster. It would be nice to see Gandolfini get a posthumous Oscar nomination but his performance isn’t anywhere near the level of the othersif anything, he’ll bump Bradley Cooper.
1. Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips, GG, BFCA, SAG
Alternate: James Gandolfini – Enough Said, BFCA, SAG
Pretty straight ahead category here with a lot of former nominees, but the screenwriters branch sometimes goes off the beaten path and picks something unexpected and I think Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said fits into that category just fine.
1. Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell – American Hustle, WGA, GG, BFCA
Alternate: Craig Borten, Melissa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club, WGA
Nicole Holofcener – Enough Said
Not so much of a tough year as much as one where there just aren’t that many great adapted screenplays vs. originals. 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street stand the best chances since they’re expected to get Best Picture nominations. Captain Phillips could easily get in there, too, likely bumping the play-to-screen adaptation of August: Osage County.
1. John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave, GG, Scripter, BFCA
Alternate: Billy Ray – Captain Phillips, WGA, Scripter, BFCA
Always an interesting category, because there’s generally one or two beloved blockbuster hits and then every couple of years, something small sneaks in. Other than Toy Story 3, the Academy’s animation branch tends to shy away from animated sequels, but it’s hard to ignore Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University, although one could easily get bumped by the smaller French film Ernest and Celestine.
1. The Croods (DreamWorks Animation), GG, BFCA
Alternate: Ernest and Celestine (GKids)
Not a lot to say about this category except that it includes a number of vets who have been nominated a couple of times before as well as a couple first-time nominees. Of course, most people will want to see a vet like three-time Oscar nominee Bruno Delbonnel or five-time nominee Emmanuel Lubezki get their due but once there are five nominees it usually comes down to how pretty a movie looks rather than about the talent, experience and skill level of the DP. I think the Oscar nominations will be off slightly from the recent Cinematographers’ Guild ASC Awards.
1. Sean Bobbit – 12 Years a Slave, ASC, BFCA
Alternate: Barry Ackroyd – Captain Phillips, ASC
Another pretty straight-ahead category with the nominations coming directly from the film-editing branch of the Academy. There have been some really well-edited films which something so deserving like Ron Howard’s Rush might be ignored for something like 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, both which use a lot of long takes, but they’re going up against Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese’s three-time Oscar winning editor, and Christopher Rouse who has already won for a previous collaboration with Paul Greengrass.
1. Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave, BFCA
Alternate: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush, BFCA
Always a tough category to pick the nominations because every year there are some great scores out there and who knows what the music division of the Academy looks for? But expect to see a lot of familiar names including 8-time nominee (and already an Oscar-winner) Hans Zimmer may actually go up against himself if they continue to show love for his work. There’s a couple of lower key scores from notable composers that contributed enough to their respective films to sneak in.
Not much to say here either as we’re already down to ten movies that have been shortlisted, some more worthy than others.
Alternate: World War Z
Who I Think Will Win:
And of course, this is bearing in mind that we don’t have actual nominations as of yet . picking Ben Affleck as Best Director this time of year would have been somewhat premature.
Picture – American Hustle
That’s it for my picks. Please let us know what you think of them in the comments below and make sure to tune in for the nomination announcement for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on January 16, 2014. Also, the Weekend Warrior will hopefully be live-blogging this year’s Golden Globe Awards so if you want to see my opinions of the winners and speeches live, check out ComingSoon.net on Sunday, January 11, around 8pm Eastern.