Oscar Predictions 2014

In the few years that I’ve been writing this little blog I’ve always meant to write something pre-Oscars. However, this is the first year in which I’ve managed to watch all of the major contenders before the winners are announced. There have been some significant and absolutely breathtaking films this years and a great deal of well-deserved nominations. Of course, on the other hand, there have been a few ‘par for the course’ nominations that perhaps should have been distributed elsewhere. As there’s nothing that can be done about it now I’ve decided to put my unblemished reputation on the line and offer my predications for Sunday night.

Best Film

It’s been an unbelievable year for films this year and, in my personal rundown of the year, I’d place most of the nine nominees very close together. As you can tell from my previous reviews, I have positively rated all of the nominees to a certain extent and would find it difficult to pick just one out of the pack. That said, in an ideal world Captain Philips and (though it pains me admit it) Philomena would be replaced with the almost flawless Inside Llewyn Davis.
However, despite the breadth of talent this year, the race for Best Picture has been a two horse race this awards season. There is no obvious winner out of the awe-inspiring Gravityand the harrowing 12 Years a Slaveand it could genuinely go either way on Sunday night. Although my gut tells me that the voters will instinctively offer the prize to Steve McQueen’s epic, I will be happy with any outcome other than the disappointing American Hustle being named the victor.
Will win: 12 Years A Slave
Should win: 12 Years A Slave or Gravity would both be worthy winners
Best Director
Once again I find the lack of recognition for Inside Llewyn Davis incredibly disappointing and think that missing out the Coen brothers from the list of five was a mistake. I know it may seem like I have a personal vendetta against the American Hustle writer and director but he could easily have been bumped in favour of the great duo.
Thankfully there is less of a question mark over this category as Alfonso Cuarón has won every significant prize for directing this awards season. Quite rightly of course because Gravity was a great feat of directing and the immense talent of Cuarón is evident within every frame.
Will win: Alfonso Cuarón
Should win: Alfonso Cuarón
Best Actor
Here we have another category and another wide range of talent for the voters to pick between. Significant names missing from the list are Inside Llewyn Davis’s Oscar Isaac and Her’s Joaquin Phoenix who both did tremendous jobs but were pipped to the post by the more high-profile performances.
If we’re being honest though it is McConaughey who has dominated the awards season for his dramatic weight loss (Oscar bait if there ever was one) and memorable performance in Dallas Buyers Club. Despite the insistence of most of the internet, Leonardo DiCaprio looks unlikely to clinch the win for his great lead in The Wolf of Wall Street but is still an outside contender. Chiwetel Eijofor has the strength of a BAFTA win on his side but he wasn’t facing McConaughey at the time. Though my heart longs to see the great Bruce Dern (Nebraska) or Eijofor come out on top, I’d have to say McConaughey is still a shoe in.
Will win: Matthew McConaughey
Should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor or Bruce Dern
Best Actress
A disappointing list of names this year with the vast majority being present based on their name and reputation rather than their contribution. Meryl Streep (August: OsageCounty) and Sandra Bullock (Gravity) could very well only be present because it would seem wrong if they weren’t. Streep has been better (although she has won for less) and Gravity certainly wasn’t made because of Bullock’s role. Judi Dench’s heart-warming performance as the title role in Philomena was delightful to watch but (again it pains me to admit) I can’t say it was Oscar worthy, although she remains an outsider.
The Best Actress race is clearly all about Cate Blancett and I really doubt that there is much Amy Adams could have done to get ahead of her. Since the release of Blue Jasmine, Blanchett has, quite rightly, been poised to walk away with the title. She’s already dominated other awards and, unless the voters are really concerned about her win being associated with Woody Allen controversy, it seems unlikely anyone else’s name will be called.
Will win: Cate Blanchett
Should win: Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actor
Another interesting bunch of men assembled here: with his recent BAFTA win you’d think Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) would be in a better position here but he still feels like a long shot. Still he remains in a better position than the awful (though I’m sure I’m the only one who thinks so) Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) and that makes me happy.
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) offers the strongest performance of the group but he does seem to lack campaign strength. It is starting to seem like a certainty that first time nominee Jared Leto will walk away victorious. His performance in Dallas Buyers Club is great in its own right but I can’t ignore this feeling that the wrong man will win in the end.
Will win: Jared Leto
Should win: Michael Fassbender
Best supporting actress
We have another two-horse race on our hands with supporting actress despite a lovely turn by Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and a noteworthy performance from June Squibb (Nebraska). These ladies have been dominated by the battle between Jennifer Lawrence (on track to win her second Oscar in a row) and Lupita Nyong’o. There can be no doubt that Nyong’o deserves the win for her powerful performance in 12 Years a Slave but, call me cynical if you want, I just can’t imagine the voters going for it. Lawrence’s role in American Hustle is nowhere near her best but she probably seems like the safe bet.
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should win: Lupita Nyong’o or, in my dreams, June Squibb

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