Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oscar Predictions 2014

Sorry, not much with the blogging lately - I've been hard at work with the book while dodging snow and Olympics and travel and chronic headaches know. Stuff.

Be forewarned I condensed things a bit this year (but in a thoroughly logical way). And if you're amused by such things, I'll be live-tweeting the Oscarcast in all of its glory Sunday night. So! Let's dive in.

Best Actor:

I think this puppy is going to Matthew McConaughey, though it's not a sure thing. Given my druthers, I'd hand it to Chiwetel Ejiofor. And this is an Oscar that Leonardo DiCaprio wants.

McConaughey and DiCaprio have both been campaigning their hearts out. The narrative that Leo's people have presented is that he's the guy, he's always been the guy, and he should be rewarded for his body of work.

McConaughey's narrative is that after a career of popcorn flicks (and for several of those films, that's putting it nicely), he's the comeback kid with Hidden Depths. And it's not just Dallas Buyers Club, it's his performances in Magic Mike, Mud, and The Wolf of Wall Street. And - because in Hollywood campaigns, there's always an and - he's a nice guy. He has a photogenic wife, kids, and outside interests.

It plays better, politically, than DiCaprio's well-documented extended adolescence. So this round will likely go to McConaughey, and DiCaprio's turn will come again.

Likely win: Matthew McConaughey
Dark Horse: Leonardo DiCaprio
Real Dark Horse: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Best Actress:

What was once considered a sewn-up category became a bit unraveled when Woody Allen's past became even more controversial than usual. But Cate Blanchett has been a favorite from the beginning, and she won both the SAG award and the BAFTA, both of which have overlapping voters. 

So it'll go to Cate. But if the door is opened wide enough, the person to walk through would be Amy Adams for her role in American Hustle.

Likely win: Cate Blanchett
Dark Horse: Amy Adams

Best Supporting Actor:

Jared Leto has had a lock on this category for a while. He won the SAG, but the Captain Phillips' Barkhad Abdi).
fact that he wasn't nominated for a BAFTA maybe leaves a little room for play (the BAFTA went to

Maybe. But not likely.

Likely win: Jared Leto
Dark Horse: Barkhad Abdi

Best Supporting Actress:

In other uncertain categories, we've got Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence almost head to head. Jennifer Laurence won the Golden Globe (which is more about exposure/momentum than anything else) and the BAFTA, while Lupita Nyong'o won the SAG.

On paper it's close, but I'm thinking Lupita may have this. Jennifer Lawrence hasn't campaigned much; Lupita has been everywhere while impeccably dressed. Honestly, I don't think Jennifer wants it. Rule of thumb? The Academy rewards actors who campaign. If someone doesn't want it, they'll give it to someone else who does.

However, if she does pull out in the end, it'll be because of this sequence - 

Likely to Win: Lupita Nyong'o
Not Dark Horse: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Directing, Editing, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Score:

Sorry, for succinctness we're going to throw the Gravity sure-shots in together. No one's arguing that Gravity was the most technically glorious film of the year, and possibly the decade. Directing? Alfonso Cuaron won the DGA, which is almost always enough (unless you're Ben Affleck), as well as the BAFTA. His film will run away with the technical awards as well as the Score, with its first-time nominee and distinctive feel.

Disclaimer: I have not seen Gravity. The first time I saw the trailer? Scared the heck out of me. I cannot even deal with the premise. Just picking images pushed my limits. So...I leave this to the film critics and I will continue to watch movies about characters who at no time float in space or are low in oxygen and I can't even type this, I'm wigging out.


Let us move on.

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

It's between Her and American Hustle for this one. Her won the WGA, but the screenplay award is a frequent consolation prize, and American Hustle has a lot of nominations but isn't favored for many (if any) wins. So I think the Academy will throw David O. Russel this bone.

Don't get me wrong - Her is cleverer (but oy, so much awkward. SO MUCH), but I don't think the entire film has enough momentum to carry it through to a win.

Likely win: American Hustle
Could well win: Her

Best Writing, Adapted for the Screen

This one should go to 12 Years a Slave. It could turn left at Captain Phillips, which won the WGA, but this should be a screenplay win for John Ridley.

Likely win: 12 Years a Slave
Dark Horse: Captain Phillips

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

A highly successful box-office juggernaut, Frozen is an affirmation of the truth that if you animate princesses and give them songs sung by Idina Menzel, people will come.

Likely to win: Frozen
Dark Horse: The Wind Rises

Best Foreign Language Film

Frequently compared to The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Beauty is all the things that Hollywood loves, yet given the socially-acceptable gloss of having been shot in a foreign language. Suzanne Bier's The Broken Circle could edge in here - the Academy does love her - but I think Beauty has this one. However, had Blue is the Warmest Color been released sooner (and thus been eligible), it would most likely have waltzed away with this and a few other awards as well.

Likely to Win: The Great Beauty
Could Win: The Broken Circle

Best Hair & Makeup

This is the moment when I spend a moment writing about WHHYYYY wasn't American Hustle nominated? Or Gatsby? Or Catching Fire? Or Hobbit? WHY with Bad Grandpa? Indie Wire wants me to buy into it, but no. I'm not.

Well, you can read here about the makeup budget for Dallas Buyers Club, and be subsequently impressed. It will win because the narrative about Robin Matthews making seborrheic dermatitis rashes out of her mom's cornmeal makes a good story, and I'm not convinced the entire Academy can live with Bad Grandpa being an Oscar winner for anything at all.

Likely win: Dallas Buyers Club
Should have been nominated in the first place: American Hustle, for Christian Bale's hair alone.

Best Costume:

Oh, I don't know. The Designer's Guild crowned 12 Years a Slave. The BAFTAS crowned The Great Gatsby. Others are predicting an American Hustle win.

This is going to be one of those awards that will be easier to predict about ten seconds before it's announced. If it's a night where everything comes up towards one film or another, the costumes will go with it. This is also a category where the Academy voting will differ from the guild when they see fancy dresses.

So...let's go Gatsby. I might still love when you're no longer young and beautiful.

Likely to win: The Great Gatsby
Dark Horse: American Hustle

Original Song:

Let it Go features the vocals of Idina Menzel and the lyric "frozen fractals," two things are that kinda great. The song itself is fun and rousing, even if the underlying message is perhaps not ideal (Queen Elsa gives up any attempt at communication skills, builds an ice castle, and releases the sexy. We should all of us be able to style our hair in a side-fishtail so quickly). However, it's a good entry into conversations about what in life is worth letting go of, and what's worth hanging on to even when it's hard. You know, like flossing.

Production Design:

Gatsby's emphasis on style over substance may have made it a better spectacle than, you know, movie, but the best parts of it will likely be rewarded come Sunday.

Likely to win: The Great Gatsby
Dark Horse: American Hustle

Best Feature Documentary:

I'm going with 20 Feet from Stardom on this one, which not only did well at the box office, but includes subject matter many Academy members will relate to.

Likely to win: 20 Feet from Stardom
Dark Horse: The Square

Best Documentary, Short Subject:

The Lady in Number 6. Sometimes it's all about subject matter.

Likely to win: The Lady in Number 6
Dark Horse: Everything else

Best Animated Short:

Get a Horse is the favorite to win,'s okay. Inventive, in a lot of ways, but...I think we can agree this was a thin year.

Likely to win: Get a Horse
Dark Horse: Mr. Hublot

Best Live Action Short:

The Voorman Problem is a.) not subtitled and b.) features Martin Freeman, who we can all agree has had a very good year. I say yes.

Likely to win: The Voorman Problem
Dark Horse: Just Before Losing Everything

Best Picture:

12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle have been circling each other for months. Gravity is a lock for the technical awards, while the artistic awards (makeup, costume, production design) will go elsewhere.

American Hustle is a salute to a time that is near and dear to many an Academy member's heart.

12 Years a Slave is not an easy film. In fact, while I'm guessing it'll take the top prize Sunday, I have doubts that everyone who voted for it watched it. Sometimes the film that wins says a lot about how the Academy wants to be perceived.

Can't wait to see how the categories actually shake out Sunday!

If I were going (and without a budget), I'd wear this pink gown from the Zuhair Muraid Couture collection (and it's partly because I'm obsessed with the leaf belt). You can see the rest of the collection here.

Are you going to watch the telecast on Sunday? What parts are you looking forward to?


  1. Do you set the DVR so that there is a gap and you can avoid commercials? I like to do that in the pre show so I can see the dresses.

    1. I always tape it, but watch the Oscarcast live so that when I'm tweeting through it the tweets are in real time. But I'm doing so much typing that the commercial break is handy!

  2. I have not seen Frozen yet, but watching the clip you put up, all I can think about is how much this song, including its implications for the character signing it, reminds me of Defying Gravity. Coincidence that Idina Menzel was cast...?

    1. Did you watch Idina during the show? If not, you must find it on YouTube. Agree the songs are thematically similar - I really think you'll enjoy Frozen.


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