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Final 2014 Oscar Predictions

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We’re almost there. And thank God, because I can’t anymore. This will likely be the last year I spend time writing and talking about the Oscars regularly. Too much noise. I’ve been defeated.

Anyway, it’s a hell of a good year to go out with some pretty brilliant titles leading the charge for gold. I won’t elaborate too much, but here’s how I’m seeing Sunday’s show shaking out:

Best Picture
Winner: Gravity
Alt: 12 Years a Slave

I hear everything folks are saying regarding the Academy wanting to reward an “important” film over a sleak commercial thriller, but 12 Years hasn’t dominated the circuit the way a Best Picture winner should, right? Gravity, meanwhile, has Best Director and most of the craft categories sewn up. It also split the PGA award with 12 Years, which was telling to me. This one of the few categories I’m unsure about, which is cool, but Gravity is my pick. It’s been my pick. I’m riding this horse.

Best Director
Winner: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Alt: None

If I’m certain, I won’t be offering an alternate. Cuaron is winning this award, which makes me incredibly happy.

Best Actor
Winner: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Bruce Dern, Nebraska

There’s no good reason to expect anyone other than McConaughey taking this one home—the precursors, the physicality, the overall Academy love for the film. I’d say there’s a slight chance Dern takes it—the same small chance and for the same reasons some predicted Emmanuelle Riva for Best Actress last year—but it’s extremely unlikely.

Best Actress
Winner: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Alt: None

An easy call. And no, the alleged sexual molestation of a child years ago won’t affect the race, fuck you The Hollywood Reporter for asking.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: None

I won’t pretend to get it, but good for Leto. I hope he continues to act.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Alt: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

A really close race. I’m honestly not sure how this one turns out, but I have to lean toward the newcomer—the woman who’s been working it and, you know, didn’t win an Oscar last year.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: 12 Years a Slave
Alt: Philomena

I haven’t written about it much in this space, but I really loved Philomena—what a delightful, moving little flick. Anyway, in another year, I think it could have been a big contender in a lot of fields. This year, it’s a runner-up in a couple. There’s a chance it surprises, but this award has been 12 Years‘s to lose for the duration of the season.

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: American Hustle
Alt: Her, Nebraska

A stumper. I want to predict Her, but I don’t seen nominations-leading American Hustle claiming victory in too many categories, and it has to win one or two, right? This is one of its best chances.

Best Cinematography
Winner: Gravity
Alt: None

CHIVOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Best Costume Design
Winner: The Great Gatsby
Alt: American Hustle

Gatsby‘s lavish 20s garb just barely trumps Hustle‘s lavish 70s garb.

Best Film Editing
Winner: Captain Phillips
Alt: Gravity

A last-second swap for me. Captain Phillips could very well go home empty-handed, but its editing (from Christopher Rouse, a surprise Oscar winner for another Paul Greengrass film, The Bourne Ultimatum) is so much more in-your-face than the work on Gravity. Makes sense to me.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Winner: Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa

An all-time box office bomb, a Johnny Knoxville movie, and a beloved Best Picture nominee. I mean, which one do you think is gonna win?

Best Original Score
Winner: Gravity
Alt: Philomena

Oh, I really wanted to pick Philomena. Really did. Seems objectively unlikely, but I have a hunch. I’ll be kicking myself if it takes home the award, but Gravity is the safe choice.

Best Original Song
Winner: “Let It Go”, Frozen
Alt: None

If Alone Yet Not Alone had kept its nomination, this might be another story. Alas…

Best Production Design
Winner: American Hustle
Alt: The Great Gatsby

I correctly predicted Lincoln in this category last year. It was wide open, but I thought the voters would take this as an opportunity to reward a movie with a lot of nominations that wouldn’t take home many wins. I’m thinking something similar happens this year.

Best Sound Editing
Winner: Gravity
Alt: None

Nothing to see here…

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: Gravity
Alt: None

…nor here…

Best Visual Effects
Winner: Gravity
Alt: None

…nor here.

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Frozen
Alt: None

The cold never bothered moviegoers anyway. (Sorry.) They’ve been flocking to Frozen for months. It’s incredible. I love the movie, and I think it’s easily the best nominee I’ve seen (Ernest and Celestine has eluded me, sadly). It has this one in the bag.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: 20 Feet From Stardom
Alt: The Square

I feel pretty good about 20 Feet From Stardom. It’s a satisfying, accessible doc if I ever saw one. The Square, however, is just fantastic. Really powerful, present stuff. Wouldn’t be surprised if the entire voting body goes “important.”

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: The Great Beauty
Alt: The Hunt, The Broken Circle Breakdown

I resisted predicting The Great Beauty all season long, but it seems futile at this point. It’s been in theaters and collecting awards for months. And it’s a fun, free-wheeling film that people seem to enjoy.

The Short Categories
Best Animated Short: Get a Horse!
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life
Best Live Action Short: Helium

No idea. Didn’t see them. Going with the consensus (as should you).

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