Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Final Oscar Nomination Predictions

Welly well well, here we are on another Oscar nominations eve, so, without further ado (other than the poster image of 12 Years a Slave, that is), here are my final, and as the post's title says, set-in-stone, Oscar nomination predictions.  Have at 'em.  Oh, and I have listed them in order of probability within each category.

Best Picture
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. American Hustle
3. Gravity
4. Captain Phillips
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
6. Nebraska
7. Dallas Buyers Club
8. Her
9. Philomena
10. Saving Mr. Banks

Wild Cards: Blue Jasmine and/or Inside Llewyn Davis (Yeah, right - but I guy can dream)

The first three here are pretty much locks, and the next three are pretty darn as close to locks as they can be.  Now since we don't know just how many nominees we will see in this category, as the rules claim anywhere between five and ten (a rule with which this critic is not all too fond), who knows what tomorrow morning will bring.  My guess though, is eight, but if it does go to ten, there ya have it.  Other (slim) possibilities are Before Midnight, Fruitvale Station, The Butler, and even Blue is the Warmest Color, if hell freezes over.

Best Director
1. Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
2. Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
3. David O. Russell for American Hustle
4. Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips

Possible Spoilers: Alexander Payne for Nebraska and/or Spike Jonze for Her

Wild Cards: The Coen Brothers for Inside Llewyn Davis

The first three are locks here, with Cuaron the frontrunner to win then gold (another split between director and picture is likely again this year).  Scorsese is likely but not a sure thing.  Greengrass is a bit on the wobbly side here, with either Payne or Jonze (or maybe even both!) on the ready to (semi)surprise tomorrow morn.  A real surprise (and a welcome one) would be a nod for the Coens.  Who knows.

Best Actor
1. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club 
2. Chiwetel Ojiofor in 12 Years a Slave
3. Bruce Dern in Nebraska
4. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

Possible Spoilers: Robert Redford in All is Lost and/or Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Wild Card: Christian Bale in American Hustle or Forrest Whitaker in The Butler

Wow, just think, a guy who was the frontrunner to win the statue a month or so ago, may now, not even get nominated.  The top three are locks, with McConaughey in the hot seat to win in March, but the next two are a bit shaky.  Redford was the frontrunner, but with Leo buzzing up a storm, it seems unlikely he'll be left out, and Redford is the most likely culprit to end up not having his name announced tomorrow.  Of course, I could be wrong - imagine that.  Perhaps the Leo buzz came to late to affect the outcome, and Redford's once vaulted slot is safe after all. Phoenix could just as easily slip in there as well, but less likely.

Best Actress
1. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
2. Amy Adams in American Hustle
3. Sandra Bullock in Gravity
4. Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks
5. Judi Dench in Philomena

Possible Spoiler: Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

Wild Card: Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color

What!!?  Streep not getting nominated!?  What am I, a fool!?  Yeah, well maybe I am, but with a sudden surge in buzz for Amy Adams, someone had to get knocked off the list, and La Streep is the injured party.  Otherwise, this seems a pretty tight race.

Best Supporting Actor
1. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
2. Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
3. Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
4. Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
5. Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street

Possible Spoilers: Daniel Bruhl in Rush and/or Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks.

Wild Card: James Gandolfini in Enough Said

Again, the top three are sure-fire locks.  Numbers four and five, a bit more on the shaky side of things.  For a while, it looked as if Mr. Hanks might be a double nominee this year, but the buzz on Saving Mr. Banks, save for the lead performance of Miss Thompson, has pretty much taken the proverbial long walk off of a short pier.  That, along with the surge of both Hill and Cooper in this race, gives us our top five, but don't be too surprised if Herr Bruhl sneaks in there somewhere.  And let's not forget Oscar's reverence for the dead, and the, albeit slim, possibility of the late Mr. Gandolfini popping up as well.

Supporting Actress
1. Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
2. Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave
3. June Squibb in Nebraska
4. Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels' The Butler
5. Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine

Possible Spoiler: Julia Roberts in August: Osage County

Wild Card: Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station

Again, the top three are locks.  After that, it's pretty much a free-for-all.  If Oprah is nominated, she may very well win, but it's still debatable if she will be nominated (and if she's not, then maybe we'll see back-to-back Oscars for J-Law).  As for the fifth spot, conventional wisdom goes to picking Julia Roberts, but if Streep is snubbed (as is my prediction above) then perhaps the whole film will be, leaving the spot open for one of my faves of the year, one Miss Sally Hawkins.  Then again, there tends to be a big surprise somewhere in the acting categories, and perhaps our wild card Spencer is just that surprise.

Best Original Screenplay
1. American Hustle
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
3. Nebraska
4. Her
5. Blue Jasmine

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Captain Phillips
3. Philomena
4. Before Midnight
5. The Wolf of Wall Street

The screenplay nods seem pretty firm right about now, which is kind of unusual, so there is bound to be a surprise or two in here somewhere  Possibles surprises for Original are: Saving Mr. Banks, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Frances Ha, Dallas Buyers ClubFruitvale Station.  Others for Adapted are: August: Osage County, Blue is the Warmest Color, and The Spectacular Now.  So there ya go. 

Well, that's about it for now.  I'll let the other categories go for now (though I'm sure the 3D spectacle, Gravity, will be up for most of the tech awards, just as Life of Pi did last year).  All-in-all, I think American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Philips, and Gravity are the films destined to lead the nominations, and maybe The Wolf of Wall Street, if that pans out.  We'll see tomorrow morning, and I'll have a wrap-up of the nods, as well as my stats in the ole predicting game.  See ya 'round the web.

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