2014 Oscar Predictions

When the Academy Award nominations were announced on January 16th there weren't really many surprises except for the fact that American Hustle actually slipped past everyone as an exceptional film to become the most nominated of the year. Though, even this was something I expected from the Academy. It is hard to even understand the affection for the film as it is a rushed and sloppily put-together script and film that only rises above something more than a Scorsese knock-off because of the acting talent involved. I won't say I didn't like certain aspects of the movie and the ensemble cast certainly make it a more enjoyable experience that I'm more than willing to give another chance when it comes to Blu-Ray, but did it deserve the awards love? No, that attention would have been better spent on Fruitvale Station, The Place Beyond the Pines, Short Term 12 or Inside Llewyn Davis. That these films will be almost completely absent from the the biggest ceremony honoring the best motion pictures of the previous year is a real shame and an eye-opener that it truly does mean the studios have to offer up their awards hopefuls in the final quarter of the year if they want to see it actually be considered and as is tradition, get an extensive run in theaters guaranteeing new interest and bigger than estimated returns.  The time has come and gone to complain though so we can only speculate on who will actually take home the awards and ultimately there is still a strong chance many of my personal favorites of the year will make good showings. My favorite film of last year, Gravity, should no doubt score a best director win for Alfonso Cuarón, but after his win for best director at the Directors Guild Awards in late January coupled with the film tying presumptive frontrunner 12 Years a Slave at the Producers Guild Awards gives us reason to consider Gravity as the likely winner. We all know Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto will be making acceptance speeches on March 2nd, but who else will be taking the stage? Hit the jump to find out my predictions for all of the major categories.

Best Picture 

With the best picture race it really is down to either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave and as much as I loved Gravity I truly wouldn't mind seeing Steve McQueen and his team accept the award for the best film of the year, because in all actuality, it is. It is the one movie that will come out of 2013 that will leave a mark on culture and will be studied in film schools years down the road. McQueen, in only his third feature, is a master storyteller allowing the content of the film to speak for itself and not emphasizing a certain point of view or agenda, but simply artistically presenting images and ideas that resonate with a multitude of people. Still, while Gravity doesn't have the pedigree of something like 12 Years, it is a full-on display of technical accomplishments mixed with a subtle story that simplifies some big themes without coming off as pretentious or overly-academic. I found it to be the most satisfying theater-going experience of the year and is likely the one I will re-watch the most out of the current crop of best picture nominees. As for the other films nominated both Philomena and The Wolf Of Wall Street made my top 15 of 2013 and while I adore Philomena it doesn't stand a chance while WOWS has been the dark horse throughout the season and, for all we know, could come out of nowhere and in many ways see the Academy give Scorsese his due as this would seem a fitting cap to his illustrious career. Her and Nebraska fall into the same category as Hustle for me; I liked them well enough but don't necessarily understand the amount of buzz around them. I enjoyed Nebraska the most out of those three, but I think the nomination of Alexander Payne for best director would have been a big enough win for the film. As for Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips, both are strong, powerful films that deserve their attention but Dallas Buyers Club will be rewarded in the acting categories while Tom Hanks was truly robbed of a best actor nom for his portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips, especially in that final scene which saw him remind the world why he has become the figure he is.  

Best Director

As with the best picture race the best director has come down to either Cuarón or McQueen with the outcome most likely landing in Cuarón's favor. As far as directing is concerned, he more than deserves the honor. For all the relevance and awareness that McQueen brought to the forefront with his film it is the film that deserves to be honored while the process of creating their piece belongs to that of Gravity's ambitious helmer. Gravity is a film that is a game-changer as far as the way films are made but represents the innovation of those who hope to create something bigger than themselves, something that pushes the boundaries, but does so for the right reasons and Gravity is the achievement those types of innovators can only hope for. It is a film that as far as I can tell best captures the feeling of being in space without actually having to go there. The vastness of it, the colossal weight of what it means, the beauty of it all, yet the film also comes to carry much more weight than simply functioning as a National Geographic tutorial on space travel while teaching a lesson about the consequences of space junk; it is a story about existence, about human nature, about the will to live and everything that comes along with these giant themes that are as extensive as the universe itself. I will be truly disappointed if Cuarón isn't rightly acknowledged for what he was able to create within the context of cinema.

Acting

Best Actor 

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress

Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Should Win: Sandra Bullock

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Jared Leto
Should Win: Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o
Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o

Writing




Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave 
Should Win: Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street 

Original Screenplay: 

Will Win: Spike Jonze, Her
Should Win: Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine





Alternate Picture Categories
Best Animated Film                     Best Documentary                             Best Foreign Language Film 

Will Win: Frozen                            Will Win: 20 Feet From Stardom           Will Win: The Hunt
Should Win: Frozen                      Should Win: N/A                                       Should Win: N/A

Music & Score


Sound Editing

Will Win: Gravity

Original Song: 

Will Win: Let It Go, Idina Menzel, Composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Sound Mixing:

Will Win: Gravity

Original Score: 

Will Win: Gravity, Steven Price



Technical Categories

Cinematography:                           Production Design:                                      Visual Effects: 

Will Win: Gravity                             Will Win: 12 Years a Slave                             Will Win: Gravity
Should Win: Gravity                       Should Win: The Great Gatsby                     Should Win: Gravity

Editing:                                            Costumes:                                                         Make-Up:

Will Win: Gravity                            Will Win: 12 Years a Slave                              Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club
Should Win: Captain Phillips    Should Win: The Great Gatsby                       Should Win: Bad Grandpa, just 'cuz


The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center.