So it has finally come to this. After months and months of prognosticating and some crazy stunts (Miranja van Blaricom, NOPRAH!, Alone Yet Not Alone), we’ve finally reached the final destination: Oscar night. This has been such a whirlwind of a season, and with only two days left before the ceremony, trust me when I say this is the most difficult season in a long time. I change my predictions every hour, but I need to come up with a consensus. So whether, it’s slaves, sweepstakes, sex, Sydney, Somalian pirates, Scarlett, Steve Coogan, smuggled drugs, or Sandra, here we go with this year’s batch of my final predictions.
While Best Picture is still up for grabs, this one is more likely a done deal now. Sweeping all the Directing awards this season (except for that flop Satellite awards), regardless of how Best Picture will end up, Alfonso Cuaron will likely win the gold man on Sunday. Because unlike Ben Affleck, Cuaron is actually nominated. Steve McQueen is probably a distant runner up since it’s another historic win just in case (the first for a black director), but then it’s all moot since Alfonso Cuaron has been previously Oscar nominated many times in the past, so this is just a coronation of some sort. Besides, say what youw ant about Gravity as a film, but the directing is just outstanding.
PREDICTION: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alright, alright, alright. Sure he missed BAFTA, but who cares? Stars are lined up for him to win the Oscar on Sunday. Matthew McConaughey has the reviews, the Globe, the SAG, and the BFCA under his belt this season. The release of True Detective this season also gave McConaughey the free campaign to solidify his position in this race. The last two years have been very outstanding for this once rom-com mainstay, and his career turnaround is another reason why he’s winning. Add the fact that Dallas Buyers Club over-performed with the nominations which shows solid support from multiple branches. Christian Bale is the token past winner nominee this season, while Bruce Dern, despite his mega heavy campaign, can’t even muster a BFCA or Globe win. Chiwetel Ejiofor could have benefited from his BAFTA win, but the most it can do is position himself as the alternate. His chances really deteriorated with his Globe loss and he almost left empty handed this season. He still has that tiny teeny chance especially to passionate 12 Years a Slave fans who will vote it in all categories. As for Leonardo di Caprio, let’s just say his once runner up dark horse position isn’t even plausible anymore when he can’t even win BAFTA. He can use this as a narrative for his next nomination though. Bottom line is McConaughey is winning this now.
PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Okay literally sweeping even the critics mentions, it’s not even worthy to talk long about it. Meryl thank God you won your third Oscar for Thatcher. Sandy, if you haven’t won for The Blind Side, I’m pretty sure you’re the one sweeping now, but hey, you’re earning at least 70 million for Gravity so who cares about second Oscar (well Cate does?). Judi, honey, if you can’t even pull off the BAFTA win, then it’s toast now. But I’d love to see you attend the Oscars instead of watching Big Momma House in your hotel. And Amy, dear Amy, just be happy you finally escaped your way of the supporting categories. Congrats, your America’s Favorite Housewife no more. In short, Cate wins. The only thing exciting about it is how she’ll incorporate Woody in her speech (because she better right?).
PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
ALTERNATE: Amy Adams, American Hustle
Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill, thanks for playing. But at least you validated your first Oscar nods and proved you’re no one hit fluke (here’s looking at you Keira Knightley!). Fassy, I don’t if you’re still butthurt by that Shame snub (I feel for you tho), but you’ll never ever win an Oscar if you don’t like to campaign. Even Mo’nique did an anti-campaign campaign back then. Barkhad Abdi won the BAFTA and benefited from Leto’s snub there, but like Ejiofor, all it does is put him in a solid alternate position. In the end, Jared Leto, like his co-star Matthew McConaughey, is unharmed by the BAFTA snub since he has amassed already a long distance in this race. Plus, his role is one that screams Oscar here, and it’s one that Academy still can’t get enough off in terms of rewarding.
PREDICTION: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
And the hardest acting category to predict this year, this one can really go both way. There’s no real or wrong assessment since both frontrunners are almost on equal levels. But before that. let’s acknowledge the three other ladies. Julia Roberts is dead last here, but if anything. she’s still a winner for picking her fourth career Oscar nomination for the fourth different decade (Steel Magnolias in 89, Pretty Woman in 90,and Erin Brockovich in 2000. She joins the likes of Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton who achieved the same feat. It’s lovely to see Sally Hawkins get nominated, and while she;s great in here, I still consider this as a late sorry for her Happy Go Lucky snub. And god bless June Squibb, that even though she won’t be hearing her name on Sunday, has made a breakthrough for her career at this point in her life. Ultimatelt, it all boils down to Lupita Nyong’o vs. Jennifer Lawrence. On one hand, Lupita is the ingenue that this category loves to reward. She plays a character that is memorable, and she has won the BFCA and SAG award for this performance. She is the new red carpet darling that campaigned her ass off so much. In other open years, this would have been an easy sweep and road to the Oscar. However, one woman stands in the way between her and the Oscar: current Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence. Sure, Lawrence has won just last year and it’s hard to pull off back to back wins, but remember, if anyone in Hollywood can do it, its definitely her. She’s a critical and commercial darling who has achieved a lot in the last two years of her career. Think of Tom Hanks in 93 and 94. It’s not as if she’s sailing her way as well since she won NYFC, NSFC, and both the Globe and BAFTA. As you may know, Globe + BAFTA has been a reliable combo the past few years in open races such as this one (think of Christoph Waltz last year, Meryl Streep in 2011 (against Viola Davis SAG + BFCA, like Lupita’s), Marion Cotillard in 2007, and Nicole Kidman in 2002). Also, as Waltz proved, there is no recent when it comes to follow up acting wins if AMPAS wants to give you one. It is really interesting to note that the two instances that Lupita won the televised awards, American Hustle won the Ensemble category so Lawrence didn’t go home empty handed too. Then in awards shows with no ensemble awards, J.Law beats Lupita. And in her favor, American Hustle is such an actors’ movie picking up nominations in all acting categories, and only two times that a film achieved that without winning at least one (with the last one being in 1950s). Supporting Actress is the only open race and their chance to reward the film with an acting win. Since the BAFTA win, momentum went back with Lawrence, and in this scenario, I’m predicting her to go all the way to the Oscar podium again on Sunday.
PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
ALTERNATE: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
This is the only “sure” category that 12 Years a Slave is winning in a cakewalk with no single alternate to push it off. It’s one of those instances where in you know Oscar is going one direction where in all the other precursors went to the others. The only way I see 12YAS losing is if it suddenly went on to become this decade’s The Color Purple. In that case, Philomena’s heart tugging screenplay wins instead.
PREDICTION: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
ALTERNATE: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
The second of the three difficult major categories to predict, this one is between two films: Her and American Hustle. Her has always been the underdog of the season, but it kept on winning the awards from the BFCA, Globe, and even the WGA. So ordinarily, it should be the frontrunner. But then it got snubbed at the BAFTA where American Hustle won the award. The outside factors here is a telling case though since this is the third screenplay nod of David O. Russell for his last three efforts, and while he has amassed lots of acting wins for his actors, he’s still bonkers when it comes to personal wins. After all, Hustle is the most nominated film here, so it indicates a lot of support among many branches and that’s what can catapult it to a win. This is such a close race, but I’m going by a hair with Her since the three times it competed with Hustle, it won them all, and Hustle‘s only win was with a Her-less field. Also, this is the only category where they can reward Her, though like what I said, it’s gonna be a tough race until the end.
PREDICTION: Spike Jonze, Her
ALTERNATE: David O. Russell and Eric Singer, American Hustle
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
I would have thought for sure that The Wind Rises would have at least posed a challenge here, but with how big Frozen continues to be, it’s clear that it’s one of the locks for Sunday night.
ALTERNATE: The Wind Rises
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM:
Sure, The Act of Killing might be killing it with the critics mentions, but with the new change of voting pattern here, it’s difficult for a film that is not accessible to everybody to win, and that’s the story of Killing this season. With that said, I think it will be a win for 20 Feet From Stardom for a number of reasons: it’s the accessible film, it’s one that tackles about the industry they belong to, and it’s that uplifting optimistic one that will please a lot of voters. If not it, then expect The Square to hear its name being called by the presenters.
PREDICTION: 20 Feet From Stardom
ALTERNATE: The Square
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Like the documentary category, they changed the voting procedures with this one by letting the whole Academy vote for it regardless if they have seen all nominees or not (unless they, of course, abstain y’know). In the old system, I’m pretty certain that The Broken Circle Breakdown would have won this in a cakewalk. Now I’m still not eliminating its chances per se, but The Great Beauty sweeping precursor awards (like the Globe, BFCA, BAFTA, and even Cesar) is jsut the more buzzed film in this group for me to predict it.
PREDICTION: The Great Beauty
ALTERNATE: The Broken Circle Breakdown
As for the rest of the categories, here’s how I see them going down to:
PREDICTION: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
PREDICTION: Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
ALTERNATE: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
BEST FILM EDITING:
PREDICTION: Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
ALTERNATE: Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger, Gravity
BEST HAIRSTYLING AND MAKE UP:
PREDICTION: Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club
ALTERNATE: Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
PREDICTION: Steven Price, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Alexander Desplat, Philomena
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
PREDICTION: Let It Go (Frozen)
ALTERNATE: Happy (Despicable Me 2)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
PREDICTION: Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby
ALTERNATE: Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker, 12 Years a Slave
BEST SOUND EDITING:
PREDICTION: Glenn Freemantle, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Oliver Tarney, Captain Phillips
BEST SOUND MIXING:
PREDICTION: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro, Captain Phillips
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
PREDICTION: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity
ALTERNATE: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon,David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
And I’ll try to predict the shorts categories again!
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
PREDICTION: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
ALTERNATE: The Voorman Problem
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
PREDICTION: Get a Horse!
ALTERNATE: Room on the Broom
There you have it! Oh wait…
And this is the most difficult category of them all. Sure there are nine nominees this year, but there are only three real contenders here. The difficult thing about this scenario is that it’s even harder to predict because of the preferential ballot and what film will benefit which votes. First, as much as people want to dismiss it, American Hustle is still in this race. it did not over-perform on Oscar nomination morning for nothing. This film fits the bill of the recent winners such as The King’s Speech and Argo, a middle of the field consensus pick that was solidly done but mostly is more on the enjoyable side. The difference though is that both King‘s and Argo swept of their precursor years, while Hustle struggled except for the comedy wins and that SAG ensemble victory. However, among the three contenders, it’s the most “consensus” pick that I think will benefit from being ranked in the middle and does not have passionate dislike. Also, Hustle benefits from being well liked by the largest branch in the Academy so to dismiss it is really a false move. Then you have Gravity. It won DGA, tied PGA, and won Best British Film at the BAFTAs. In a normal scenario, it’s a perfect set up for an Oscar Best Picture win. With that said, the nature of the film hurts is because it is being boxed as a sci-fi when it will even pass as a drama. It’s also likely to be the sweeping film come Sunday, so it can translate a more scattered support from most branches paving for a win. And besides, it’s seen as a masterpiece of this generation and one that will likely stand the test of time. And lastly, there’s the curious case of 12 Years a Slave. Its whole narrative this season is that it kept on losing all the awards only to win the last one which happens to be Best Picture. Happened at the Globes, happened at the BAFTAs, heck it even happened at the Satellites. Somehow, people seem to feel that it’s the best film but it’s not the best acted, directed, edited, (insert any technical category here). Sure that’s logical (see Gladiator in 2000), but the scenario is such so weird that this has beent he story of this season. It’s even a struggle to come up with three assured wins for the film unless it’s bound to win Picture and Adapted Screenplay only. Then there are also reports of voters avoiding the film altogether because of how it’s difficult to watch or how the film is uncomfortable at all. But then again, it still pulled off all televised Best Picture wins, so I really don’t know what to make of this one. But I guess in a surprising turn of events, I’m going with Gravity as my pick here. Seems like it will be the film that will benefit the most from the #2 and #3 votes. I mean it tied with 12 Years at the PGA, and won Best British Film at BAFTAs, so it’s only loss is at the Globes. In a close race like this, anything can happen, and I’m predicting Gravity to win by a squeak.
ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave
So there you really have it! My current win tally predictions: Gravity (7 wins), Dallas Buyers Club (3 wins), Frozen and American Hustle (2 wins), 12 Years a Slave, 20 Feet From Stardom, Blue Jasmine, Captain Phillips, The Great Beauty, The Great Gatsby, Her (1 win each).
So what do you think? Lupita or J.Law? Hustle or Her? Gravity or 12 Years a Slave? Waaah this crazy season!!!
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