Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oscar Nomination Predictions

Mel's Cine-Files

By Melissa Agar

It’s my favorite time of the year as a film lover – OSCAR SEASON!  This is my Super Bowl. I’ve been watching the early critics’ awards and guild nominations, curled up with the Golden Globes on Sunday, and I’m ready to make my predictions of who is going to be getting some early morning calls Thursday from their agents and who will get to sleep in. 

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Inside Llewellyn Davis
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street

Predicting the Best Picture nominees is harder now that the number is “flexible.” I’ve listed here in the order of confidence. Slave, Hustle, and Gravity are locks. I get less confident as the list goes down. I suspect it’s going to end up being a shoot-out between Slave and HustleWolf deserves a nomination; it just depends on whether or not the conservative wing of the Academy ranks it highly enough for it to make the cut. 

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Spike Jonze, Her
Martin Scorcese, The Wolf of Wall Street

It’s been a fabulous year for directors. Scorcese is my “gambler’s” choice, but he is such a beloved figure that it’s hard to imagine him being snubbed even if voters don’t warm to the film. If Wolf isn’t nominated for Best Picture, though, I suspect Scorcese will drop off the list in favor of the Coens.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Bruce Dern, Nebraska

The top three are no-brainers in my book. Tom Hanks is beloved, and Captain Phillips was his strongest film in a few years after a couple disappointments (Larry CrowneCloud Atlas?). Dern is my gambler’s choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if Robert Redford took that spot, but the Academy loves to reward aging actors and act like they’re newly discovering them. No one could pretend that Redford is newly discovered, but Dern? Much “hipper” choice.

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena

This is a tough field of ladies this year, and I suppose Meryl could still sneak her way in here although critical response to August: Osage County has been a bit more tepid than I expected considering the tremendous source material. With such a strong crop of performances this year, it’s a lot easier to imagine Meryl squeezed out in favor of Judi Dench’s sweetly heartbreaking performance in Philomena.

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Will Forte, Nebraska
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

I’m gambling a little more here. Leto is a lock for nomination, and I have a hard time imagining Cooper getting shut out of the love for American Hustle, which is a true actor’s showcase. There’s a nice murmuring of support building for Will Forte (plus, it’s always nice to see those SNL kids do well). I’d love to see Jonah Hill back on this list, but in such an amazingly competitive year, his performance may get lost. I absolutely adored Tom Hanks’s performance in Saving Mr. Banks even though I wasn’t overly fond of the film itself and would love to see him sneak in here.

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita N’Yongo, 12 Years a Slave
June Squibb, Nebraska
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

It’s kind of nice this year that no one seems to have a total lock on the win so far (although Jared Leto seems to be distancing himself from the competition pretty mightily). There are a lot of incredible performance that will go unrecognized this year – Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, for example. Right now, Lawrence N’Yongo seem like the top contenders to take this award, but the rest of this field seems a little more open. I’m gambling on Oprah here and won’t be remotely surprised to see another name in this fifth spot – Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (although if Julia is nominated and Meryl isn’t, that seems like a bit of a travesty), Margot Robbie for The Wolf of Wall Street (a nomination that no one, sadly, seems to be talking about), Jennifer Garner for Dallas Buyer’s Club, Sarah Poulson for 12 Years a Slave – but I’m sticking with Oprah.

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