The Oscar ads ALWAYS say it’s the “most exciting year yet,” but this year, they might actually be right. Our other predictions are all written, so here we are – the big ones. Ben and I sat down and talked about who we think should win, who we think will, and where we might see some possible upsets.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
B: The acting categories exist in this strange realm where things may to appear to be a lock, but nothing is truly set in stone this year. Take Supporting Actress. This is still a tight race between SAG Award winner and Critics Choice winner Lupita Nyong’o and Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Jennifer Lawrence. But could any of their competition sneak in at the last minute? Thoughts?
N: June Squibb seems like the only possible opportunity for a surprise (the Academy does love the golden oldies), but really, this race belongs to either Lawrence or Nyong’o. If Lawrence hadn’t won last year, she might be a definite lock, but the Academy hasn’t given back-to-back awards since Tom Hanks for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, and that was 20 years ago. My money is on Nyong’o, because if the Academy loves anything, it’s an ingenue.
B: My money, and my heart, is set on Nyong’o as well, if only because I fear it may also be one of the only awards 12 Years a Slave wins come Oscar night.
Predicted Winner: Ben and Nina for Lupita Nyong’o. Lawrence for the steal.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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
B: Can anyone stop the wrecking ball that is Jared Leto? And can someone PLEASE photoshop a picture of Jared Leto on a wrecking ball Miley-style? This is important.
N: This is easy. Jared Leto. Done. Fassbender is the only person who even came close to his performance, and he hasn’t swept every award like Leto has. And Ben, I think you might have just won the Internet.
B: But for real, I’m also happy that Barkhad Abdi was able to pick up a BAFTA for his fantastic debut performance in Captain Phillips. But no, Jared Leto’s fantastic performance will deservedly pick up the Oscar.
N: Yeah, sorry, Abdi. Leto’s the captain now.
Predicted Winner: Ben and Nina for the Jared Leto win. No one for the steal.
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
N: This is the only other category that’s basically a lock. Blanchett has had the strongest and longest push this year – Bullock had a nice early surge, but Gravity came out so long ago that she ended up edged out. Dench and Streep kind of just got thrown into the mix (especially Streep, with her largely unpopular turn in August: Osage County), and Amy Adams has gotten a late surge from her Golden Globe victory, but I just don’t think anybody can beat Blanchett, who basically won the day Blue Jasmine was released.
B: Blanchett is definitely the strongest choice, but there are still a few variables to consider, mainly, Amy Adams. When you have a nominee in each of the acting categories like American Hustle does, it would be an incredibly rare occurrence for them all to go home empty-handed. Cooper and Bale certainly aren’t getting their awards, so that leaves it to Lawrence and Adams. They both have strong competition in their respective categories, but they’re both definitely worth looking out for.
N: Yeah, I see your point. I wouldn’t be THAT shocked if Adams pulled off a surprise, but for everyone else, it’s kind of just an honor to be nominated.
Predicted Winner: Ben and Nina for Cate Blanchett. Amy Adams for an increasingly likely steal.
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
B: We’re living in the age of McConaughey, my friends!
N: And I’m not mad about it. All right, all right, all riiiiight. McConaughey surprised me this year, surging directly ahead of front-runner Chiwetel Ejiofor by cleaning up at the SAGs and Golden Globes, only losing out on the BAFTA because, well, he wasn’t nominated. And I’m just bummed for DiCaprio, who delivered the best performance of his career this year, but is just jammed into a ridiculously stacked category. Plus, this sounds ridiculous, BUT: the Academy LOVES when people lose weight for a roles. McConaughey may be facing off against Ejiofor and DiCaprio, but that 47-pound loss might put him over the edge.
B: DiCaprio and his team have been campaigning pretty hard these past few weeks, and Chiwetel has been fortunate enough to receive the BAFTA, but between Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, Matthew McConaughey has been on a stellar ride this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. The Oscar is his, and rightfully so. But foolish as I may sound, I think a DiCaprio upset is not too far out there.
Predicted Winner: Ben and Nina for Matthew McConaughey. Ben for the DiCaprio Steal™. Nina for the Ejiofor upset.
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
B: My heart wants me to predict Steve McQueen winning this, becoming the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Director. The work he brought to the screen with 12 Years a Slave is undeniable – a work of pure artistry and passion, with each frame staring deep into your soul.
N: But, our likely winner is poised to make history as well. Cuaron would be the first director of Hispanic descent to take home the award. And his push is undeniable – he’s been cleaning house at basically every event. Plus, after Ang Lee’s win last year for the visually astounding Life of Pi, it seems like the Academy will, once again, reward a director for envisioning a new kind of visual spectacle. 12 Years a Slave is a masterpiece, but this is Cuaron’s time.
B: Cuaron is the likely winner. I do know that the Oscars can sometimes surprise us, so I’m going to stick with my heart on this one. Watch your back, Cuaron!
Predicted Winner: Ben for Steve McQueen, Nina for Alfonso Cuaron.
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
B: I’m calling it; Philomena for Best Picture.
N: Really? I was going to go with Captain Phillips. Also, shut up.
B: Fine fine fine. It’s a tight three-horse race, with 12 Years a Slave and Gravity neck and neck, with American Hustle coming up behind them.
N: If there hadn’t been the PGA tie and that whole British film vs. film thing at the BAFTAs, I would agree that American Hustle might be creeping up, but I think it’s effectively out of the running at this point. 12 Years a Slave and Gravity both have incredibly strong momentums here, but I’m going to stick with both heart and logic, which tells me it’ll be Slave. Gravity was a visual stunner, but just didn’t have enough in terms of plot (and is lacking a screenplay nod for it, while Slave is the frontrunner in Adapted), and Slave is an astounding film for every single reason you can think of. It’s everything the Academy could ask for – based on a previously untold true story all about humanity’s will to survive through anything.
B: Slave is a masterful work, from the performances, to the score, to the brilliant combination of John Ridley’s eloquent screenplay and Steve McQueen’s poignant and artful direction. It’s not just a great film, but a powerful and important one (see my Profile on the matter as well). Gravity speaks to the future of filmmaking, but 12 Years a Slave speaks to filmmaking as a reflection of ourselves as people, using our past to discuss our present. My vote goes with my heart.
Predicted Winner: Ben and Nina for 12 Years a Slave. Gravity is creeping up right behind though…
Well, our predictions are in, so now we’re ready to see who’s right, who’s wrong, and what kind of weird Christoph Waltz-style upset we should expect this year. But don’t think we’ve finished with our Oscar coverage – we’ll be following up with recaps of both the red carpet and telecast, and finish up with a postmortem on Monday! See you for the Super Bowl of Acting, everyone!