Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Predicting the 86th Academy Awards (EVERY CATEGORY) [UPDATED]

Much like the monster that Christmas has become, eating up all the months before it, Oscar season is also more than a one-night event in Hollywood - it's a business and religion to many in the movie world, with tons of studios piling their "masterpieces" into a November/December timeframe in an effort to be nominated before time runs out.  This year has a solid bunch of nominees, so picking predictions this year was not easy. So without further ado, here are my official Oscar predictions for 2013 (I'll update this post after the airing with the winners highlighted and a little blurb).

* = Haven't seen it yet


American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

I Predict: 12 Years a Slave

It seems that the Oscar race this year is a showdown between 12 Years a SlaveGravity, and American Hustle.  I really am not sure which one will win until the other winners are announced throughout the night.  But I'll go with 12 Years because Gravity is too much like a "Life of Pi" effects picture, and American Hustle may be too comedic/slight, whereas 12 Years is prestigious and historically significant.

As Ellen said, if anything else won, it would've been racist.


David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

I Predict:  Alfonso CuarónGravity

I'm guessing there will be another split like last year, where the director and picture categories don't go to the same nominee.  I'm pretty sure the overall vision needed to create Gravity is stronger (12 Years relied much heavier on its acting and script) and not to mention riskier.  Plus this is how it went down at the Golden Globes - not that the Globes are a real indication of the Oscars.

Gravity took home a shitload of Oscars, and it all wouldn't have happened without this guy.  


Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

I Predict:  Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Even though I think Fassbender deserves to win, Leto is the more likely lock with Academy voters.  And would you look at that - Jonah Hill: Two-time Academy Award nominated actor.  Who could ever have thought that possible just a few years ago?

Totally unsurprising first win of the night; Leto has been the frontrunner since the beginning of awards season.


Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

I Predict:  Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

It's Lawrence vs Nyong'o here, and considering both that Lawrence won last year and this award typically goes to newcomers, I predict Nyong'o will win for her powerful first-time performance.

This is incredible considering she'd never acted in a film before, let alone an Academy-award winner.  I hope Nyong'o continues to find great roles after this win (not just being some random stewardess in a Liam Neeson action movie).


Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

I Predict:  Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

By far the most crowded category this year - Best Actor is really pretty evenly split between McConaughey, Ejiofor, and DiCaprio.  I've gone back and forth between these three many times and I'm still not too confident, but I'll go with DiCaprio just because of the hooplah over his not winning yet (that's pretty much how Jeff Bridges won for Crazy Heart).  McConaughey is just as strong a bet though, and I have no real reason to pick one actor over the other. This is a close call, and I might change my mind leading up to the night.

I was foolish for guessing otherwise, but I like to live dangerously.  Also, I should've taken into consideration the possible bump that True Detective could've given McConaughey.  I'm glad to see him win, but Leo and Ejiofor had better performances in my opinion.


Amy Adams,  American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

I Predict: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

I would be shocked if anyone else won the award, as Blanchett has been sweeping up every other awards show so far.

An incredible performance from Blanchett, earning her second Oscar.


The Croods*
Despicable Me 2*
Ernest and Celestine*
The Wind Rises*

I Predict: Frozen

Frozen is the clear frontrunner here; though in an alternate reality The Wind Rises may have a chance, being the last feature film from Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki.  I can't believe the exclusion of Monsters University!

If Frozen didn't win I think a mob would've formed.


The Grandmaster*, Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins

I Predict: Gravity

Gravity is going to suck up every technical award this year. The cinematography was appropriately disorienting and really made me feel like I was in outer space (or what I imagine space would be like).  And if you argue with me saying it won't win because it was mostly done on a computer, I will just say to look at Life of Pi and Hugo.  These are my predictions, not who I want to win (I sure am glad to see the Deakins get nominated, though he'll likely lose yet again).

An unsurprising win for Gravity.


The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty* (Italy)
The Hunt* (Denmark)
The Missing Picture* (Cambodia)
Omar* (Palestine)

I Predict:  The Great Beauty

This is a strange bunch of nominees, missing WadjdaThe Past, and Blue is the Warmest Color, seeming "shoo-ins" that weren't nominated.  But of the bunch, and this is a complete shot in the dark, I'm going to guess The Great Beauty, because The Broken Circle Breakdown was a little too dark and depressing for the Academy, and it looks like a Fellini film, which is right up the Academy's alley.

I can't personally comment on the films themselves, but this one had all the right "ingredients" to win.


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

I Predict: 12 Years a Slave

Not sure if any of the other nominees have a shot at this one. Why is Captain Phillips even on this list?  I enjoyed that film, but surely there were better adapted screenplays (like The Spectacular Now, one of my favorites of last year).  In my perfect world it would go to Philomena but I just don't see it happening.

I really wish Philomena had a chance at winning anything (has ANYONE else seen this incredible film yet?), but I can't disagree with awarding 12 Years a Slave.


American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

I Predict: American Hustle

This is a tough one - Her has been receiving a lot of love from other award ceremonies, but because of all the other American Hustle Oscar noms, I'd say the Academy favored this one a little more - plus it would earn David O. Russell his first win, and for whatever reason the voters love everything he does.

I am SO happy I predicted wrong; Spike Jonze deserved the award the most in my opinion and he's always delivered interesting work.


"Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet Not Alone*
"Happy" from Despicable Me 2*
"Let It Go" from Frozen
"The Moon Song" from Her
"Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom*

I Predict: "Let It Go" from Frozen

A powerful song that I couldn't imagine wouldn't be recognized by the Academy, though I was surprised when "Ordinary Love" won at the Golden Globes.  And oh yeah, the reason "Alone Yet Not Alone" is crossed out is because it was booted off the nominee list after it was revealed that some bigwig at the Academy pushed for it to get nominated.  Yup, these awards shows definitely aren't rigged or anything.

No surprise here.  "Let It Go" is pretty much a modern classic at this point.


American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave

I Predict:  The Great Gatsby

Even though The Great Gatsby isn't up for any big awards, I think it has a strong chance in either of the design categories.  I personally wasn't a fan of the film, but Baz Luhrmann's modern adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel certainly didn't lack in exuberant style.  I wouldn't be surprised however, if Her manages to sneak in there for the wonderful sci-fi world it created.

Who would've guessed The Great Gatsby would take home two Oscars? Oh yeah...me.


American Hustle
The Grandmaster*
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman*
12 Years a Slave

I Predict:  The Great Gatsby

Like production design, this is a tough category.  American Hustle is the more obvious choice here, but The Great Gatsby was just so over-the-top extravagant.  12 Years a Slave has a good shot too, for its period detail.

A slight upset over American Hustle, but a deserved win for Gatsby's...great...costume design.


The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars*
The Square*
20 Feet From Stardom*

I Predict:  The Act of Killing

Knowing how the Academy doesn't favor controversial movies (Zero Dark Thirty), there could be an upset with the much tamer 20 Feet From Stardom winning, but I think the sheer importance of this film in both the world of documentary and real-life would be insane to ignore.  It's basically about these killers who were pretty much the Indonesian equivalent of Nazis in the 60's...only they never left a position of power.  I have no clue how director Joshua Oppenheimer managed to get an inside look as to their lives, but it's horrifying how they glorify themselves still - recreating their exploits through re-enactments as if they were heroes.  You know it's bad when the majority of a movie's end credits are labelled 'anonymous.'  I realize this is outside the box for the Academy, but for those voting, I'd like to think they wouldn't let this slip by.

Good lord, The Act of Killing so deserved it, but I haven't seen 20 Feet From Stardom so I won't go on a rant.


Facing Fear*
Karma Has No Walls*
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life*
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall*

I Predict: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Sorry, I was lazy this year and didn't see the short films.  But this one is about a 109 year old lady piano player/holocaust survivor.  Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

Haven't seen the film, but it sounds pretty god damn moving.


American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave

I Predict:  Gravity

Yup - because Gravity is sure to win every "tech" award this year.

What a shocker!


Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

I Predict:  Dallas Buyers Club

Holy shit, I can not express in words how much I want Bad Grandpa to win this award.  Forget Benjamin Button, Bad Grandpa featured the best old man makeup ever conceived.  But alas, the only "serious" contender here is Dallas Buyers Club, for transforming both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto into some unforgettable characters.

Although I really was rooting for Bad Grandpa, you have to give the make-up team credit for winning an Academy Award on only $250 dollars worth of make-up!


The Book Thief*, John Williams
Gravity, Steven Price
Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena, Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman

I Predict:  Gravity, Steven Price

Gravity's score is definitely one of the best of the year, and effectively created tension in the soundless vacuum of space.  I do really wish Desplat had a chance though.  And for some reason Hans Zimmer keeps getting snubbed (I think it has to do with some technical thing with the fine-print rules).

I'm a little sad to see no love for Philomena's score, which I thought was one of the best last year, but Steve Price did a fantastic job (he's also scoring Ant-Man for Edgar Wright!)


Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot*
Room on the Broom*

I Predict: Mr. Hublot

The only short on this list I've seen is Get a Horse!, but I think it was a little too slapstick-y to win over the voters.  Taking a quick glance at the other noms, I think Mr. Hublot has the best chance at appealing to the voters - it's got that quirky/indie type of animation without being too artsy, if that makes sense.

The best part about the Oscars is that it gives little shorts like this their brief moment in the spotlight.  Get a Horse! may have been seen the most (placed in front of Frozen), but I'm glad someone other than Disney can take home a golden statue for animation.


Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)*
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)*
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)*
The Voorman Problem*

I Predict: The Voorman Problem

I haven't seen any of these, but I'm going with this one because it's the only short with a recognizable actor in it (I know, it's shallow).  It's also in the English language, which is a plus.  I mean, come on, is that one with all the dots over the vowels really going to win?  I say it's this or Helium based on the titles alone.

Helium was likely the most heartstring-pulling of the nominees, which probably helped to connect with Academy voters (haven't seen it though, so I'm talking out my ass).


All is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

I Predict:  Gravity

More tech awards for Gravity.



Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

I Predict:  Gravity

Although this category could go to Inside Llewyn Davis because of its musical nature, I still think both sound categories will go to Gravity.

Would've been nice to have an upset here with Llewyn Davis or Lone Survivor, but this was another expected win.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

I Predict:  Gravity

This is the most ridiculously sure-fire win of the night.

Gravity deservedly won for possibly some of the best special effects of all time! This was really no contest.


So that wraps it up - we'll see how it goes March 2nd.  I'm hoping I get at least half of them right...

OH YEAH.  I got 20/24 correct, which is pretty damn good in my book.  The past couple years I did this I only got about half of them, but luckily Gravity swooped in to make this one of the most predictable Oscars in a while.  Thanks for reading, and I look forward to next year's Academy Awards!

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