Final 2014 Oscar Nominations Predictions


No intro; this rundown is long enough. I’m really excited to see how things shake out tomorrow. Here are my best guesses.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Hustle, Phillips, Gravity, Nebraska, 12 Years are your locks. I feel good about Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street. Saving Mr. Banks is a weak candidate at this stage, but it started at a place of such strength, and I don’t think it’s fallen far enough to miss out. So Her is the weakest of my predicted nine. I finally saw the film, and as much as I loved it, it’s out there. Compare that to something like Lone Survivor (my number ten…I so wanted to place it in here) which is a right-down-the-middle hit that perhaps started a little too late in the game, and I think Her could have problems. But it’s hard to ignore the guilds in this case. Almost nothing for Lone Survivor. Plenty of love for Her.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Four of the five DGA nominees. I replaced Scorsese with Payne. I’d be surprised if someone outside of those six managed to get in, but last year…

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

I mean, whatever. Odds of MBJ getting in: next to nothing. How badly do I want to be the only guy who predicts something right? Really, really, really badly. So here we are. But here’s the thing: I really don’t see Redford getting in. Great performance, very tricky movie. More realistic choices to get that fifth slot: DiCaprio (my #6), Christian Bale (my #7), Forest Whitaker (my #8).

Best Actress
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Blanchett, Bullock, and Adams (yep) are your locks…I think. Dench should be good. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Thompson miss out in favor of Streep. Assuming Adams gets in, I think she could win.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Maybe Hill, maybe Bruhl, maybe Forte. All for naught—Leto has this one in the bag.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

I’ve been all set with these five for months now, so is the category ripe for a surprise? Perhaps, but I can’t even fathom who the sixth woman is. Hawkins? Paulson?

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

This one, too, seems pretty locked up. I can’t fathom Tracy Letts and August: Osage County bumping off a Best Picture contender or Before Midnight.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, American Hustle

I’m unsure about the Coens. I want Llewyn Davis for all the categories, but it’s a tricky movie, and the guilds didn’t support it, even the writers. Dallas Buyers Club and Saving Mr. Banks are definite possibilities.

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

Almost replaced Ernest and Celestine with The Croods, but I’m going with my heart. I think you can take the other four to the bank.

Best Documentary Feature
20 Feet From Stardom
The Act of Killing
The Square
Stories We Tell

This one is a real clusterfuck. I could see getting all five wrong here as the shortlist of 15 is stacked with quality, beloved films. The Armstrong Lie is my #6. Tim’s Vermeer wouldn’t surprise me either.

Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Notebook (Hungary)
Omar (Palestine)

The first three on the list seem good. It helps that they’re the three I’ve seen. Not sure about The Notebook or Omar. The Grandmaster is my #6.

Best Cinematography
Captain Phillips
Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years a Slave

Nebraska and The Grandmaster are your spoilers. If one or both makes it in, it will likely be at the expense of Prisoners and/or Captain Phillips.

Best Costume Design
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave

The costumes branch isn’t afraid to support a film or films without much support elsewhere, so don’t be surprised to see something like The Invisible Woman or Oz The Great and Powerful pop up. But I like these five.

Best Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave

Going against the grain with my fifth choice. None of my other predicted Best Picture nominees seem like Best Editing nominees, i.e. they aren’t noticeably edited. The Wolf of Wall Street is the closest candidate, but I don’t think it’s particularly well-edited, and it’s three hours long (never discount an easily placed, four-word criticism). So why not Rush? It’s gotten its fair share of guild love. It could pop up in a few categories.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
American Hustle
Dallas Buyers Club
The Lone Ranger

Two Best Picture nominees and a flashy, big-budget action movie. Sounds about right, but look out for Bad Grandpa. I’m not kidding.

Best Original Score
All Is Lost
The Book Thief
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave

I subbed Monsters University for All Is Lost at the eleventh hour after the latter’s Golden Globe win. Its GG nomination surprised me, but I didn’t think that was enough to get it into the Oscar’s top five. A win is another story. It beat big movies and big scores. I think it can get in, which is awesome.

Best Original Song
“Let It Go” from Frozen
“The Moon Song” from Her
“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
“So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12
“Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby

I feel better about this one than usual. The question marks for me are Her and Short Term 12. Two songs from Lee Daniels’ The Butler could find their way into the mix.

Best Production Design
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave

Gravity is tricky because it’s all special effects, but Avatar won this category in 2010, so why can’t Alfonso Cuaron’s film manage a nomination?

Best Sound Editing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
Lone Survivor

Best Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

I’m going with a 4/5 split between the categories. All Is Lost is such a strong Editing contender; Inside Llewyn Davis as strong in Mixing. Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim, and Monsters University are all possibilities across both categories.

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
World War Z

Seems like one slot is up for grabs—the Man of Steel slot, I’ll call it. I like Marc Forster’s zombie movie, but I could easily see it going to Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, or The Lone Ranger.

11: 12 Years a Slave
10: Gravity
9: American Hustle, Captain Phillips
5: Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks
4: Dallas Buyers Club
3: The Great Gatsby, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Rush
2: All Is Lost, Blue Jasmine, Frozen, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lone Survivor, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street
1: The Act of Killing, August: Osage County, Before Midnight, Blackfish, The Book Thief, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Despicable Me 2, Enough Said, Ernest and Celestine, Fruitvale Station, The Great Beauty, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunt, Iron Man 3, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Lone Ranger, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Monsters University, The Notebook, Omar, Pacific Rim, Prisoners, Short Term 12, The Square, Stories We Tell, 20 Feet From Stardom, The Wind Rises, World War Z

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