Friday, January 10, 2014

Oscar Nomination Predictions

The Oscar nominations come out next Thursday and since I plan to spend most of next week on my own “Year in Review”, I figured it was time to do my one and only Oscar nomination Prediction piece of the year. This is a season that could still go any number of ways in terms of the nominations at least. Below are my best guesses.

Best Picture
1.       12 Years a Slave
2.       Gravity
3.       American Hustle
4.       Captain Phillips
5.       Saving Mr. Banks
6.       Nebraska
7.       The Wolf of Wall Street
8.       Her
9.       Dallas Buyers Club
Possible Spoilers
10.    Inside Llewyn Davis
11.    Philomena
Long Shots
12.    Blue Jasmine
13.    All is Lost
14.    Fruitvale Station
15.    Lee Daniels' The Butler

Why? I feel confident that the top 4 are locked. They have done well in all the precursors, and that’s a good sign. After that, it gets a little cloudier. I think Saving Mr. Banks has the support of the older contingent, so it should get in – but it’s not locked. Nebraska has been in play all year, so I think it holds on. The Wolf of Wall Street came on strong in the end, so I think it gets a nom. After that – I have no idea. Remember, they can nominate as few as five, and as many as 10 movies. The last two years, they’ve gone with 9 – so in keeping with, I think Her and Dallas Buyers Club will take those spots. But Inside Llewyn Davis, Blue Jasmine, All is Lost, Philomena, Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels’ The Butler have their supporters. We’ll see how it goes.

1.       Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
2.       Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
3.       David O. Russell, American Hustle
4.       Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
5.       Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Possible Spoilers
6.       Spike Jonze, Her
7.       Alexander Payne, Nebraska
8.       Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis

Why? Again the top three feel safe – but just as Bigelow and Affleck from last year if that means anything. I do think the final two spots are for Greengrass and Scorsese – and yes, I know this is the DGA lineup exactly, and they hardly ever match up completely – I just wonder if Jonze, Payne and the Coens are too heavily competing with each other for any of them to make a strong play.

Best Actor
1.       Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
2.       Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
3.       Bruce Dern, Nebraska
4.       Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
5.       Robert Redford, All is Lost
Possible Spoiler
6.       Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Long Shots
7.       Joaquin Phoenix, Her
8.       Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' The Butler
9.       Christian Bale, American Hustle
10.    Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis

Why? I want to include DiCaprio – but the top five feel so secure, I do not know who to get rid of. Phoenix, Whitaker, Bale and Isaac can all hope for a shocker – but it would be a shocker.

Best Actress
1.       Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
2.       Sandra Bullock, Gravity
3.       Judi Dench, Philomena
4.       Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
5.       Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Possible Spoiler
6.       Amy Adams, American Hustle
Long Shots
7.       Brie Larson, Short Term 12
8.       Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color

Why? The top five have been the top five for the entire Oscar season, so they should stick. But will a wave of American Hustle support put Adams in the lineup instead of Streep or even Thompson? You never know.

Supporting Actor
1.       Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
2.       Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
3.       Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
4.       Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
5.       James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Possible Spoilers
6.       Daniel Brühl, Rush
7.       Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
8.       Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
Long Shots
9.       Will Forte, Nebraska
10.    James Franco, Spring Breakers

Why? I feel if a shocker is coming, it’s here. The top three feel safe, but any combination of the next five for the final two slots would not shock me. Is there enough love for Nebraska for Forte? Can the critical support really get enough Academy members to take Spirng Breakers seriously?

Supporting Actress
1.       Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
2.       Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
3.       June Squibb, Nebraska
4.       Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
5.       Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Possible Spoilers
6.       Scarlett Johansson, Her
7.       Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Long Shots
8.       Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
9.       Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

Why? The top five feel secure to me. I think there’s too much resistance to Johansson’s voice only performance to get in, and Hawkins will be an also ran again. Poor Margo Martindale looked good, until they decided to commit category fraud and put Roberts in the supporting category for August: Osage County.

Adapted Screenplay
1.       12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
2.       Before Midnight (Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater)
3.       The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
4.       Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
5.       Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
Possible Spoilers
6.       August: Osage County (Tracy Letts)
7.       The Spectacular Now (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)
8.       Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton)
Long Shot
9.       Lone Survivor (Peter Berg)

Why? I think number 1 is your winner, no matter what. Everything else is still in play – although I feel good about what I have predicted – although August and Spectacular would not surprise. There is confusion as to whether Short Term 12 is Original or Adapted – that hurts what was already slim chances.

Best Original Screenplay
1.       American Hustle (David O. Russell, Eric Singer)
2.       Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
3.       Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
4.       Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
5.       Her (Spike Jonze)
Possible Spoilers
6.       Saving Mr. Banks (Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith)
7.       Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
8.       Gravity (Alfonso & Jonas Cuaron)

Why? I feel very good  about these five choices, but really, Mr. Banks, Dallas or Gravity could all sneak in and steal a nomination. I hope not.

1.       Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
2.       12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbitt)
3.       Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
4.       Prisoners (Roger Deakins)
5.       Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Possible Spoilers
6.       Her (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
7.       All is Lost (Frank G. DeMarco)
8.       Captain Phillips (Barry Ackroyd)
9.       Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle)

Why? I feel good on the top three – they are undoubtedly nominees, and I think the cinematographers will go with old timer Deakins and the black and white of Nebraska. But there are any number of ways this could go.

Costume Design
1.       12 Years a Slave
2.       The Great Gatsby
3.       American Hustle
4.       The Invisible Woman
5.       Saving Mr. Banks
Possible Spoilers
6.       Oz the Great and Powerful
7.       Inside Llewyn Davis
8.       The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
9.       The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
10.    Lee Daniels' The Butler

Why? The costume designers do typically go their own way – which is why films like The Great Gatsby and The Invisible Woman – unlikely to show up in too many other categories could easily get in alongside some Best Picture nominees. I hold out hope for Inside Llewyn Davis, but I fear it may not be flashy enough.

1.       Gravity
2.       12 Years a Slave
3.       Captain Phillips
4.       American Hustle
5.       The Wolf of Wall Street
Possible Spoilers
6.       Rush
7.       Inside Llewyn Davis
8.       Her
9.       Nebraska
10.    Lone Survivor

Why? These feel like your nominees to me, despite all the great work done elsewhere - then again, they usually do find at least one spot for something more action driven - Rush or Lone Survivor perhaps?

Makeup & Hairstyling
1.       American Hustle
2.       Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa
3.       Dallas Buyers Club
Possible Spoilers
4.       The Lone Ranger
5.       The Great Gatsby
6.       The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
7.       Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Why? Who really knows – I’m never even sure how many nominees there will be. But this branch has no real concern for picking Best Picture films – they go with what they like most in their category – the quality of the film be damned. Yes – I really do think that a Jackass film is on its way to an Oscar nomination.

1.       Gravity (Steven Price)
2.       The Book Thief (John Williams)
3.       12 Years a Slave (Hans Zimmer)
4.       All is Lost (Alexander Ebert)
5.       Rush (Hans Zimmer)
Possible Spoilers
6.       Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
7.       Monsters University (Randy Newman)
8.       Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
9.       Captain Phillips (Henry Jackman)
10.    Her (Arcade Fire)

Why? Gravity’s work should easily get it in. They NEVER overlook Williams. Hans Zimmer has two that could easily get him in – and Alexander Ebert’s work was exceptional. Could this still go any number of ways? Yes – this branch is weird.

1.       Let It Go from Frozen
2.       Young and Beautiful from The Great Gatsby
3.       The Moon Song from Her
4.       So You Know What It's Like from Short Term 12
5.       Amen from All is Lost
Possible Spoilers
6.       In the Middle of the Night from Lee Daniels' The Butler
7.       You and I Ain't Nothin' No More from Lee Daniels' The Butler
8.       Happy from Despicable Me 2
9.       Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
10.    Monsters University from Monsters University
11.    Becomes the Color from Stoker
12.    My Lord Sunsine (Sunrise) from 12 Years a Slave

Why? Let It Go pretty much has the Oscar sewn up – but after that, this branch is massively unpredictable. My inclusion of So You Know What It's Like from Short Term 12 may just be wishful thinking on my part - as is including Becomes the Color from Stoker in the "possible spoiler" category.

Production Design
1.       12 Years a Slave
2.       The Great Gatsby
3.       The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4.       Inside Llewyn Davis
5.       American Hustle
Possible Spoilers
6.       Gravity
7.       Saving Mr. Banks
8.       Her
9.       Oz the Great and Powerful
10.    The Lone Ranger
11.    The Invisible Woman

Why? Never bet against period films, or Hobbits in this category. They always get nominated. Gravity is quietly lurking right behind however.

Sound Editing
1.       Gravity
2.       All is Lost
3.       Rush
4.       Lone Survivor
5.       Captain Phillips
Possible Spoilers
6.       Pacific Rim
7.       Oblivion
8.       Man of Steel
9.       Iron Man 3
10.    Star Trek Into Darkness
11.    Monsters University`

Why? Everyone is just trying to be honored to lose to Gravity. These are the films I think will.

Sound Mixing
1.       Gravity
2.       All is Lost
3.       Lone Survivor
4.       Inside Llewyn Davis
5.       12 Years a Slave
Possible Spoilers
6.       Rush
7.       The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
8.       Captain Phillips
9.       Pacific Rim
10.    Man of Steel

Why? Everyone is just trying to be honored to lose to Gravity. These are the films I think will.
Visual Effects
1.       Gravity
2.       The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3.       Pacific Rim
4.       Iron Man 3
5.       Oblivion
Possible Spoilers
6.       Star Trek Into Darkness
7.       Elysium
8.       The Lone Ranger
9.       Thor: The Dark World
10.    World War Z

Why? Everyone is just trying to be honored to lose to Gravity. These are the films I think will.

Animated Film
1.       Frozen
2.       The Wind Rises
3.       Monsters University
4.       Despicable Me 2
5.       The Croods
Possible Spoilers
6.       Ernest & Celestine
7.       Epic
8.       A Letter to Momo
9.       Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
10.    Turbo
11.    Free Birds
12.    O Apóstolo
13.    The Fake
14.    Khumba
15.    Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury
16.    The Legend of Sarila
17.    Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion
18.    Planes
19.    The Smurfs 2

Why? The new rules – that members have to see fewer films, and can do so on screeners – could easily hurt the smaller films. In a weak year like this for animation, you may expect to see a foreign film like Ernest & Celestine or A Letter to Momo sneak in – but I bet they keep it fairly mainstream – with a Miyazaki thrown in.

Foreign Language Film
1.       The Hunt (Denmark)
2.       The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
3.       The Great Beauty (Italy)
4.       Omar (Palestine)
5.       The Notebook (Hungary)
Possible Spoilers
6.       The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
7.       The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
8.       Two Lives (Germany)
9.       An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Why? This branch is hard to predict. Really, any combination of the nine films could get nominated and it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve picked the highest profile ones – except for the one with Kung Fu – but who really knows.

1.       The Act of Killing
2.       Stories We Tell
3.       Blackfish
4.       The Square
5.       20 Feet from Stardom
Possible Spoilers
6.       Tim’s Vermeer
7.       The Crash Reel
8.       Cutie and the Boxer
9.       God Loves Uganda
10.    Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
11.    First Cousin Once Removed
12.    Dirty Wars
13.    Life According to Sam
14.    The Armstrong Lie
15.    Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

Why? This branch is hard to figure out – you never know what the hell they’re going to do. Still – I have a hard time thinking they won’t nominate The Act of Killing or Stories We Tell – it would be a major story (and embarrassment) if they ignored either. Blackfish is the one that has been able to stay in the news – and not just movie news – all year. The Square feels too important to not nominate. Finally, I think it’s a battle of the audience pleasers – with 20 Feet From Stardom vs. Tim’s Vermeer – the former is more battle tested, having gone thrown a full scale release, but that doesn’t mean the later is unthinkable. And be prepared for one front runner to be snubbed, and some film WAY down my list to sneak in. Happens almost every year.

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