Oscar 2013 Predictions, Round 2

“If it’s 5:30 AM in Hollywood, what time is it here?”

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday morning, so here is my only slightly informed opinion as to how things will break down. Right now things are kind of exciting because there are no solid favorites in any of the major categories, and while some of the categories seem to be pretty well determined, others have the possibility of crazy surprises.

This year I will list my predictions in descending order of likelihood, leaving myself open for even more ridicule.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Dallas Buyers Club
Blue Jasmine

Not coincidentally this is the same ten films that the PGA nominated. Anywhere from five to ten films can be nominated; there have been nine nominations the first two years of this practice. I would imagine there will be at least be nine this year. The film left out: Inside Llewyn Davis. The favorite right now is 12 Years a Slave. If Gravity couldn’t win the star-obsessed Golden Globes, than it must be a given throughout the Hollywood community that 12 Years is as socially significant as it is artistically qualified. I’m not the first to call it the Schindler’s List of the American black experience.

Best Director

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze, Her

The Academy usually matches the DGA four-for-five, and I’m ejecting Martin Scorsese for Spike Jonze, on something of a hunch. The first three on this list are locks, with Alexander Payne another possibility. The favorite might be McQueen–he would be the first black to win–but the Academy might do like the Globes and split, giving Cuaron due to the technical achievement of Gravity.

Best Actor

Chiwitel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
Bruce Dern, Nebraska

This quintet has been solid for about a month now, though it’s a very strong year, with people like Forrest Whitaker, Leonard DiCaprio, Christian Bale, and Joaquin Phoenix capable of getting nominations in lesser years. There’s no front-runner at this time, and Redford, who would normally be the sentimental favorite, may not even get nominated, judging by the SAG snub. Apparently he’s not that well loved.

Best Actress

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

Yes, I’m leaving Meryl Streep off, as August: Osage County‘s underwhelming reception and Adams being in a big smash combine for her getting in ahead of the legend. This is Blanchett’s to lose, but Adams, having gotten five nominations in nine years without a win, may be able to pull of the upset.

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
James Gandolfini, Enough Said

I feel confident about the first four, but the fifth could go in about half a dozen different directions. I’m leaning slightly toward a posthumous nod for Gandolfini, as there are no other strong contenders. Of all the acting categories, Leto is the strongest front-runner right now.

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Again, there could be someone from left field nominated here, like Margot Robbie or Jennifer Garner or even Scarlett Johansson’s voice-only work from Her. It will be interesting to see if J-Law’s world domination extends to winning two Oscars in consecutive years, which is a rarity. Right now I think Nyong’o will win.

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Inside Llewyn Davis

Hard to break into this group, and the screenwriter’s branch is not above giving a smackdown to big films that have script problems, like Titanic or Avatar, so Gravity should be left out. American Hustle will win.

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Before Midnight

The question is whether August: Osage County will get in ahead of Hawke, Delpy and Linklater before another Before movie (they were nominated last time out for Before Sunset). 12 Years a Slave is the prohibitive favorite.

Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark,
Two Lives, Germany
The Grandmaster, Hong Kong
Omar, Palestine

Having seen none of these, it’s just guesswork, but the Italian film seems like the favorite.

Best Animated Feature

The Wind Rises
Monsters University
The Croods
Ernest and Celestine

Best Documentary Feature

The Square
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Tim’s Vermeer

Best Cinematography

Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years a Slave
The Grandmaster

I’ll be back on Friday with my reactions to the actual nominees.


About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

8 responses »

  1. There were some major surprises in there, nominations and non-nominations.
    Stories We Tell isn’t only one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in some time, it was one of the best films.

  2. Here was my problem with Stories We Tell, which I agree is a good film. At no time is it made clear what are actually home movies and what are reenactments. For a movie about getting to the truth, this is disconcerting. It may have been a choice by Polley, but it’s troublesome for a documentary.

  3. That was the entire point of the movie, encapsulated perfectly by the very last thing anyone ever says. We spend all this time attempting to understand this woman, this cypher, understand her decisions and who are we to judge what she does and what she’s felt and even Polley and the family doesn’t understand completely or want to talk and it’s suddenly revealed the man who is her birth father and how it came to be and we believe we know and we understand and the very last line is: “I think you should know, though, that we did sleep together” from the blond-haired pretty boy, cut to black, subverting, upending, making us again question if we know anything about this woman, or if any of it was factual or understood or to be believed and it makes it as complex as the woman herself and …it’s simply brilliant.
    But I understand how that would be disconcerting, but I absolutely believe that was the point. And it’s so good. Just that last line, the delivery, the look, the tapping of the hand on the chair of the arm…and if you checked-out too soon, you would have missed it. I was glued to that movie. And I was rewarded.

  4. I agree with you, mostly. I was watching the film, thinking, my god, someone sure took a lot of home movies, but the film of Harry as a younger man made me suspicious, as it didn’t look like him and why would anyone take film of him just walking around? Then, late in the film, we see Polley directing the reinactments, which I guess is the reveal. I just wonder which were the actual home movies, just for curiosity sake.

  5. James–a nomination for Gravity in score!

    Ugh. It’s a fine action picture score, I guess – just ill-fitting (in my opinion).

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