March 2, 2014

2014 Oscar predictions

When the nominations came out this year, I'll admit I was less than enthusiastic. Though one reader harshly criticized me for judging movies based on their trailers, I sillily thought that's what trailers were made for! So based on their less than impressive trailers, I was not looking forward to watching what seemed like the ever-growing list of nominated movies.

However, it turns out most of the movies were at least mediocre, which doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, but it beat my extremely low expectations for the year. Now we'll just have to see if Ellen can do a better job of hosting than she did last time. The good news? It can't possibly be worse than Seth McFarlane. See? It's all about expectations.

Just to clarify, my picks below are my predictions of who I think will win, not who I want to win, since so often the two don't agree. This is exact reason I beat my husband in our March Madness brackets every single year - you can't get swept up by conference sentimentality when placing bets. You need to know that Gonzaga will choke and let you down every single year. 



Best Picture predicted winner: Gravity




Never have I wanted to be so wrong about a pick, but I have a feeling the Academy wants to make history and pick the first sci-fi movie to win Best Picture in history. Also, it was a thin year for Best Picture nominees and I'm sure plenty of viewers were so dazzled by its visual effects they didn't even notice the utter nonsense happening within the movie itself. 


  • American Hustle: It was a the movie version of an 80's hair band - entertaining, lots of fun, but not the highest quality product. 
  • Captain Phillips: If Tom Hanks hadn't headed up this movie, I guarantee it wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention. And yet, Tom Hanks isn't nominated for an Oscar. Shouldn't that tell you something?
  • Dallas Buyers Club: A good movie, but one can't help but feel like the Academy always picks at least one PC movie and this one fit for the year. It's just nothing particularly special in the realm of gay/AIDS movies.
  • Gravity: If this movie comes home with anything other than the award for Visual Effects or something relating to its CGI, well, there's really nothing I can do about it except complain loudly about it to anyone who will listen (my lucky husband!!). But a win would be as wrong as believing this movie would teach you about the realities of space travel.
  • Her: I'm sure the Academy think it's branching out into "unconventional" picks with this one, but it's really just slow, relationship drama with Oscar bait touches like great production design.
  • Nebraska: I liked it, but from what I hear, I'm one of the few people who managed to stayed awake through the whole thing.
  • Philomena: My personal favorite of the year, but judging by the number of blank faces when I try to recommend this movie to people, it's not well known enough to win.
  • 12 Years a Slave: Call it Oscar fatigue. I just never quite made it to this one. But in all honesty, movies with all African-American casts generally don't win Best Picture. If Glory couldn't pull it off, I'm not sure anyone can.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: I know the Academy loves Scorcese, but I just don't see the Academy voters picking a movie that has Leo snorting blow out of a hooker's a**. Just my opinion.


Best Actor predicted winner: Matthew McConaughey




  • Christian Bale, American Hustle: He's pretty awesome, but he's not Meryl Streep - he can't just win for absolutely everything he does, even if it's not his best work.
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska: The Academy has a soft spot for actors who play old, cranky people (just ask Clint Eastwood), but unless he's actually going to die soon, they're not going to give him the award out of sympathy. Just the nomination.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street: Maybe the Academy has gone all Tiger Mom on Leo and is withholding affection and accolades to force him to continue to prove his worthiness? I can't think of another reason for him not to win an Oscar.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave: BAFTA gave him the win, but he had a hometown advantage there. With gay civil rights issues sweeping across the nation, the timing seems right for Dallas Buyers Club. Looks like we'll need another regular civil rights movement to get any traction for movies about slavery.
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club: The Academy loves a physical transformation for a role. The more weight an actor/actress can lose for a role, the more seriously they are taken when Oscar time comes. Just ask Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman, and Anne Hathaway. Not that he doesn't deserve it, it's just that the weight loss puts him over the edge for the win.

Best Actress predicted winner: Cate Blanchett





  • Amy Adams, American Hustle: It's only a matter of time before she wins an Oscar, but this isn't the year. I appreciate the well executed English accent, but it won't be enough to win, especially against more obvious choices like characters who are over-the-top crazy.
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine: Nothing screams 'Oscar bait' more than playing a crazy person.
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity: Oh my god oh my god oh my god! [hands flapping] Was this just to inflate the Oscar nom numbers for Gravity, but there was no one else to nominate because she's the only one in the movie?
  • Judi Dench, Philomena: Not good enough to win against Meryl and Cate, but it was refreshing to see something other than her usual cranky old lady routine.
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County: She may deserve it this year, but sadly, the Academy awarded her prematurely for The Iron Lady and now she has to politely applaud while someone else collects the award.


Best Supporting Actor predicted winner: Barkhad Abdi




  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips: The Academy loves an upset and what better category to have it than in a supporting actor category? Every year there is a surprise winner my money is on Barkhad Abdi to be that surprise.
  • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle: You can read my review on this movie to get my thoughts on his nomination. I can't bear to repeat them, or talk about his hair again.
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave: Does he get naked in this movie like he does in every other movie? I'll bet he does.
  • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street: Though I've finally decided we are not, in fact, being Punk'd by the Academy, I think the viewing public is going to need a few more years to forget this is the fat kid from Superbad before he can start winning Oscars. Kind of like how long it took Matthew McConaughey to be taken seriously after being the stoner in Dazed and Confused. All right all right all right.
  • Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club: The most deserving, in my book, but it's a pretty political choice (gay, trans, and AIDS? It's like a rainbow trifecta!) and perhaps having Matthew McConaughey win Best Actor hurts his chances for the win by making it look too biased?


Best Supporting Actress predicted winner: Lupita Nyong'o




  • Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine: She absolutely nailed the American accent. If she were only competing against Renee Zellweger the year she was in Cold Mountain, this might be enough to win, but sadly, it isn't enough in this deep pool of ladies.
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle: Her winning would be as absurd as that year Judi Dench won for Shakespeare in Love, seeing as Jennifer Lawrence is in this movie for about the same amount of time.
  • Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave: Though I didn't see the movie, she's the only thing everyone is talking about, so I'm pretty sure this one is a slam dunk.
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County: Her natural over-enunciation made her a natural for a stage adaptation and made it enjoyable to hear her hurl insults with such clarity and vehemence. 
  • June Squibb, Nebraska: Good God she was annoying!! Like, nitpicking grandma annoying - exactly what you would expect in this movie and this family. Sort of like how all parents tell themselves their kids will be different from the brats they see on the streets, I want to believe I will never be that annoying as an old person. Job well done.

Best Original Screenplay predicted winner: Her




I wanted to comment on the screenplay races this year because I can't get over the absurdity of how movies are nominated into categories. Like, how is Blue Jasmine (which is openly based on A Streetcar Named Desire) considered an a original screenplay?? Personally, I think the Academy voters tried to stack the deck to give Woody Allen the win in this category so he wouldn't have to compete against all the biographies in the adapted screenplay category.


  • American Hustle: It's going to be a very disappointing year for American Hustle. It will probably walk away with little more than the award for costume design.
  • Blue Jasmine: After the latest molestation scandal, I think Woody Allen's chance at a fifth Oscar win has slipped away. 
  • Dallas Buyers Club: Not a groundbreaking plot - this movie rests on its acting.
  • Her: I think the Academy is itching to give this movie something and even though I criticized it for being pseudo-intellectual, it's certainly an interesting concept and it has some good dialogue throughout. Definitely the most inventive script of the bunch.
  • Nebraska: Probably too subtle to garner an Oscar win.

Best Adapted Screenplay predicted winner: 12 Years a Slave



  • Before Midnight: They were absolutely robbed here, as it should have swapped places with Blue Jasmine, where Before Midnight could have contended for the win. But against a bunch of real life stories? They'll have to settle for just being happy to be nominated.
  • Captain Phillips: Perhaps if the second half of this movie didn't have my checking my watch every five minutes, this might be a stronger pick. I actually felt the adaptation of this story could have been stronger.
  • Philomena: I've made no secret of my push for Philomena to win any Oscar, really, but sadly, I think it will probably get passed over completely because even evil nuns can't compete with our shame of trying to make reparations for slavery.
  • 12 Years a Slave: Obviously I didn't see this movie, but I'm still picking it for the win. With so many biographies to choose from, it's tough to decide which story is the most compelling. I'm betting on the Academy being swayed by the political implications of choosing a movie about slavery. A true story.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: I think people just don't take this movie seriously enough to win an award like Best Adapted Screenplay. It's not the movie's fault, of course - it's simply accurately portraying the life of debauchery led by Jordan Belfort, but there seems to be some sort of public distaste for rewarding a movie that revels in it so freely.


Best Animated Feature Film predicted winner: Frozen




  • The Croods: Is this a joke?
  • Despicable Me 2: Lame.
  • Ernest & Celestine: Uh, what?
  • Frozen: Pshhhhh...bitch, please. Are there any other movies even nominated in this category?
  • The Wind Rises: Miyazaki would normally be a force to be reckoned with, but with Frozen closing in on the $1B mark, better luck next time.


Best Original Song predicted winner: 'Happy' from Despicable Me 2





Last year, I didn't predict a winner for Best Song because frankly, I generally don't care that much about this category, but since I can't turn on the radio without hearing Pharrell's friggin' song at least three times in the span of ten minutes, I felt compelled to speak on the travesty that anything from Despicable Me 2 would beat out Frozen. Don't get me wrong - I like Pharrell - but give the man a Grammy, not an Oscar.

  • "Happy from Despicable Me 2: I consider this to be the Oscars appealing to the mainstream, like that year when Three 6 Mafia won for Hustle & Flow. Rarely does the Academy have the chance to give an Oscar to a commercially popular movie and this chart-topping song gives them an excuse to.
  • "Let it Go" from Frozen: Despite every single child in America knowing the lyrics to this song (and it being my least favorite part of the entire movie), I think the overwhelming popularity of Pharrell's song on the Billboard charts will sway the [adult] Academy voters.
  • "The Moon Song" from Her: I don't even remember this song. Is the Academy just trying to give this movie extra nominations?
  • "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Africa, Bono, yawn, yawn, whatever. If Nelson Mandela hadn't passed away recently, would this song still be nominated? Let's be honest.


Don't forget to search the archives or the new(ish) handy Oscars page for all Oscar nominated movies from the past two years. 

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