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86th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

And it all comes down to this. After months and months of predicting and waiting and criticizing 2013’s offerings, the nominations will finally be revealed tomorrow. Tomorrow’s 5 AM will definitely be the most alive Hollywood will ever be for the whole year as AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth announce the 86th Academy Award nominations. Here’s who I think will be adding “2013 Oscar nominee” label under their names in all 21 different categories.

BEST PICTURE
• American Hustle
• Captain Phillips
• Dallas Buyers Club
• Gravity
• Her
• Nebraska
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave
• Wolf of Wall Street

10th (but not predicted): Philomena

For this year, four films are what I consider really safe already: American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips are surely the top four contenders at this point and they’ll easily get nominated. Since there are five films minimum that will be nominated in this category, I’d go with Nebraska as the fifth film in contention. After all, Alexander Payne’s last two efforts were Best Picture nominees, and About Schmidt would have definitely made it under this season. Then we have the next three in line: Spike Jonze’s Her, Jean Marc-Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, and Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Dallas has overperformed in terms of guild support getting in at SAG, PGA, and WGA, so the support for the film is actually there. Her is the critics film this season, and while I still can see a scenario where it misses (yes, especially if the Academy voters aren’t fond of the film’s topic), but I’ll still include it here. Wolf of Wall Street started slow but is currently peaking after its BAFTA performance, so I don’t think the voters will resist this Marty film. Now with eight contenders in tow, I still think we’d get one of those middlebrow films that gets in despite not reaching the intentional awards buzz. This year, we have three: Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena, and Blue Jasmine. Typically, Best Actor or Actress frontrunners carry their film towards a Best Picture nomination (The Blind Side, The Reader) but Jasmine, despite PGA and WGA nods, is too weak of a film to be carried. That leaves me with Philomena, who scored GG + BAFTA Best Picture nods in a Harvey Weinstein film, or Saving Mr. Banks, who got in PGA and lots of tech guilds support. While both can get in (since it’s a field that will nominate up to ten films), I’d go with Banks to fill that ninth spot.

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

SPOILER: Martin Scorsese, “Wolf of Wall Street

This category can be limited down to seven names fighting for five spots. After the Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow debacle last year, I don’t think anyone is actually safe? Or maybe they’d go the different route this year and be safe with their nods? Anyway, of course there’s the three frontrunners now: Alfonso Cuaron, Steve McQueen, and David O. Russell. All three are the most likely to survive the shock snub this year. In fourth place is Paul Greengrass. While he was able to nab all precursors (like the other three before him), the last three years all featured directors who nabbed all precursors only to miss the actual Oscar Directing nom. It’s true that Greengrass is the likeliest of the group to be snubbed, but I think Phillips has gathered enough fans to survive this. The last spot is a toss up between Alexander Payne who’s quite the Academy’s type of tea, Martin Scorsese who got BAFTA + DGA nods in his favor, and Spike Jonze. I went with Jonze in the end since it seems that there’s always a room for the auteur type of direction from this club, and he seems to fit that bill.

BEST ACTOR
• Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
• Leonardo di Caprio, “Wolf of Wall Street
• Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave
• Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips
• Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club

SPOILER: Christian Bale, “American Hustle”

On the outside, this list is likely set in stone now. Chiwetel Ejiofor, unexpectedly, is not the strong frontrunner we all assumed he will be, but he is still the flagbearer of the 12 Years a Slave team and has the British bloc behind him to get that nod. After his Golden Globe win and an impressive two year career turn around, it now pays off for Matthew McConaughey as he’ll finally hear his name with an “Oscar nominee” attached before it. If luck is on his way, he can even spin a narrative to take the golden man all the way. Since his Cast Away nomination 13 years ago, Tom Hanks hasn’t been invited as a nominee again, but between Banks and Phillips, he’ll surely get that sixth Best Actor nod this year. Bruce Dern is likely to be the receiver of the “veteran slot” in this category. Between his comeback narrative, Nebraska being a BP nominee, and Jack Nicholson campaigning for him, his follow up acting nod 35 years after his first is a done deal now. As for that last spot, it seems like momentum is on Leonardo di Caprio’s side now. After years of failed Oscar chances, it’s fitting that he comes back with his career best performance. However, I won’t still be surprised if he misses as it seems like it’s the story of his miserable awards life. While I’m predicting di Caprio, I won’t be surprised if Christian Bales completes the Hustle four nods in four acting categories achievement this year, or Robert Redford miraculously appears in for his All is Lost one man show (though that movie seems dead now).

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

SPOILER: Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County

While they can ship the actual Oscar over at Cate Blanchett’s doorstep already, they still need to complete the line up of who will be clapping for her as she walks her way to the podium. Sandra Bullock is sure to be one of them and is probably the closest to an alternative (ironically, a very distant one though) for her one woman show in Gravity. Then for her first successful entry in Lead, Golden Globe winner Amy Adams is also in contention. While she seems to be the toast in this batch, her current BAFTA nod and Globe win in this BP frontrunner makes it a done deal for her to receive her fifth nod (and first in lead) in nine years. As for the remaining two spots, we have Dame Judi Dench in this heartbreaking true to life story of Philomena. She has Harvey in her corner this time which resulted to five or her six Oscar nominations. Now make that six out of seven I guess. And while Emma Thompson is looking for her first nod in 18 years as P.L Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, this category is notorious the last three years for Oscar winning contenders sweeping precursor nods only to miss the actual Oscar nod (Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren, and Marion Cotillard), so there’s still a chance for Meryl Streep to get in her 18th nod here. After all, it’s hard to bet against Meryl Streep in a baity role in a film backed by Harvey Weinstein. But I guess I’ll still stick with Thompson here for that last slot.

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

SPOILER: James Gandolfini, “Enough Said

In what seemed as an open Oscar race at the start of the precursor season, it all evaporated quickly when three men picked up all precursor nods (Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Brühl, Michael Fassbender) while two of them picked three out of four (Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper). The consensus seems to be those five men will be the final list of nominees, and there’s a big chance that will actually happen. But I’m only going with Abdi, Fassbender, Cooper, and Leto in my predictions. Rush seems to be a very dead film now with no support, and Brühl can be that contender who gets lost in the shuffle. Also, this category is ripe for an upset for a contender that did not get any precursor nod but surprises come Oscar morning. With that I’m currently predicting  Jonah Hill, a previous nominee, who’s the second lead in a film that is peaking at the right time. It also doesn’t hurt that his is a character that this category loves. If not Jonah Hill, then a posthumous nod for Enough Said‘s James Gandolfini. Sure, he only got SAG and BAFTA nods for the said performance, but that combination of precursor usually takes first time nominees in this category all the way to an Oscar nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
• Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine
• Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle
• Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave
• Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County
• Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler

SPOILER: June Squibb, “Nebraska

Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o are the two lock contenders in this category. No matter what combination ends up as the Oscar nominees, those two names will have no problems getting nods this year. All the other contenders are on the same boat. Julia Roberts received all precursors needed but it seems like August: Osage County is not resonating well with voters, and though this is her first shot at an Oscar comeback since her 2000 win, there’s still a chance she will miss if voters did not respond to their film altogether. Oprah is actually in a strong position now, thanks to her BAFTA nod. After all, her only miss was for the populist Golden Globes who dismissed her film altogether. She got in at SAG, BFCA, and surprisingly at BAFTA so it’s likely we’ll see her in the final nomination list. Then there’s June Squibb, whose role in Nebraska is what this category is tailored for, but between being an unknown veteran and that Payne underperforming statistic every time he has a contending film, I went with Sally Hawkins as the final nominee though. Her surprising Globe nod over Oprah, and finally breaking through at BAFTA indicates good coattail nod for her. Blanchett might not carry Jasmine all the way to a Best Picture nod, but she can certainly bring Hawkins a to the party with a nod for her.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
• Eric Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle
• Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine
• Spike Jonze, “Her
• Ethan Coen, Joel Coen “Inside Llewyn Davis
• Bob Nelson, “Nebraska

SPOILER: Melissa Wallic, Craig Bortern, “Dallas Buyers Club”

While this seems to be the consensus five, there’s a potential for so many films to penetrate this field instead. There’s Gravity who can carry a Screenplay nod to it especially if AMPAS really loved the film. Enough Said can also make a case since Nicole Holocefner is in a much better position way back from her 2010 Please Give debut. Then the duo of Saving Mr. Banks is writing about a film that is about making a film so I can see it getting some passionate votes as well. Even the dead Frutivale Station can still score a nod here if they want to reward the film as a whole since Ryan Coogler is both the director and writer of the film. Then there’s the WGA nominated pair of Dallas Buyers Club who kicked the Coens butt out of that WGA nod. But in the end, I guess I’m sticking with the combination of American Hustle/Blue Jasmine/Her/Inside Llewyn Davis/Nebraska as the nominees.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
• Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, “Before Midnight
• Billy Ray, “Captain Phillips
• Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, “Philomena
• John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave
• Terence Winter, “Wolf of Wall Street

If Original Screenplay still offers a wild variety of feasible nominees, this one seems set in stone already. I won’t even offer an alternative because this five seems like the final line up and there’s not even a strong contender that will pose as a threat here.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
• The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
• The Great Beauty  (Italy)
• The Hunt  (Denmark)
• The Notebook (Hungary)
• Omar (Palestine)

SPOILER: The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)

With no Wadjda, The Past, and Gloria here, the field looks emptier and more open to surprise nods. Outside of The Hunt and The Great Beauty, I’m going with The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Notebook which seems to be this committee’s cups of tea. The last slot I’m giving to Omar over The Grandmaster since I think the former is a film that will resonate more to the voters while the latter is prone to just impressing them with the visuals.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
• The Croods
• Ernest & Celestine
• Frozen
• Monsters University
• The Wind Rises

SPOLER: Despicable Me 2

I keep going back and forth between Despicable Me 2 and The Croods for that final slot, but I still can foresee a scenario where both gets in while Ernest & Celestine or Monsters University misses. While this category loves animated feature films, last year’s line up shows that they can go all American production as well if they have five films that they like.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
• The Act of Killing
• Blackfish
• The Square
• Stories We Tell
• 20 Feet From Stardom

SPOILER: Tim’s Vermeer

The documentary feature category is such a big “no idea” so the clue is throw in some frontrunners (meaning which critics awarded) and then include some odd balls in between. In the event that Tim’s make it, I expect it will be at the expense of The Square. Who knows? Maybe God Loves Uganda can still pull off a surprise here.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
• Gravity
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Nebraska
• Prisoners
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Grandmaster

The cinematographers guild took a cop out and nominated seven films instead, and one can make a case for each of the seven films to get nominated. On The Grandmaster‘s side, foreign films nominated by them always makes the cut though what gives the pause is that it is a field of seven and not a field of five. I also foresee an all or nothing scenario for it meaning it gets in both at Foreign Language Film and here or zilch.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• American Hustle
• The Great Gatsby
• The Invisible Woman
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I’m not confident with The Invisible Woman here truth be told, but this is one guild that embraces flop Oscar bait films as long as they’re from period pieces. Not only do they nominate them (W.E, Anonymous), they even give wins to some of them (Marie Antoinette, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Young Victoria). Other than that, they can also go gaga over Catching Fire or go contemporary every now and then and nominate Blue Jasmine here.

BEST EDITING
• American Hustle
• Captain Phillips
• Gravity
• 12 Years a Slave
• Wolf of Wall Street

SPOILER: Rush

The duo of Rush actually makes sense since they got in even for Howard’s lesser fare Oscar outputs such as Cinederella Man (over Brokeback Mountain(!) in 2005), so you can choose any of the five above to miss and pick Rush instead.

BEST HAIRSTYLING & MAKE UP
• American Hustle
• Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
• Lone Ranger

SPOILER: Dallas Buyers Club

With the addition of Hairstyling here, I’m pretty sure they’ll emphasize the fact that they give it as equal importance as that of Make-Up which leads me with my American Hustle prediction. I don’t know which way they’d go with Make-Up if they’ll prefer the natural looking ones (which bodes well for Dallas Buyers Club) or the heavy showy ones (which then benefits Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). Eitherway, we’re off to some snubs in this category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
• The Book Thief
• Gravity
• Philomena
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: All is Lost

After Alex Ebert’s win at the Globes this year (in addition to his BAFTA nod), it seems like not all is lost yet for All is Lost (sorry terrible pun) to make a case for a nomination. But in that case, I guess I’ll stick with mostly old fashioned picks and baitier picks to be chosen by the Oscars and go with the five above.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
I See Fire (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug)
• Let It Go (Frozen)
The Moon Song (Her)
• Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
• So You Know What It Feels Like (Short Term 12)

SPOILER: Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby)

The only reason I’m not predicting Lana del Rey here is so I won’t jinx her nomination tomorrow and I’d rather risk my prediction to see her getting a nod. After all, this category is such a wasteland the past few years and is in dire need of an overhaul. As a matter of fact, I’m not convinced that The Moon Song will be nominated but I’m just filling up random songs here.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
• American Hustle
• Gravity
• The Great Gatsby
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

If The Hobbit really finds its way here, then expect Banks to miss the list, though I think the back and forth worlds of P.L. Travers is something that the Academy eats up. Maybe they even think that they built a Disneyland just for this film. But there’s also a chance of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire making it here especially if they go gaga over the film and shower it with a lot of technical nominations (Costumes, Make Up are also probable). Even Her is likely at this point.

BEST SOUND EDITING
• Captain Phillips
• Frozen
• Gravity
• Iron Man 3
• Lone Survivor

SPOILER: All is Lost

I do not know how dead All is Lost at the moment, but I can see it bumping off any of the three nods above except for Captain Phillips and Gravity. Even Rush has a chance to spoil here and the other sound category.

BEST SOUND MIXING
• Captain Phillips
• Gravity
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Lone Survivor
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: Rush

Like what I posted above, Rush can still be resurrected by the sound guild here and get both Sound nominations. They’re also fond of animated films, so that’s good for Frozen‘s chances.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
• Gravity
• The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
• Iron Man 3
• Pacific Rim
• Star Trek: Into Darkness

SPOILER: Lone Ranger

The visual effects guild nominated the same five films but they rarely do yield the same results so expect the populist World War Z or Lone Ranger to make it in. I have no idea who to bump out though that’s why I’m sticking with the five above.

NOMINATION TALLY:
12  
12 Years a Slave
10 –  American HustleGravity
8 –  Captain Phillips
5 –  Saving Mr. Banks, Wolf of Wall Street
4 –  Her, Nebraska
3 –  Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Frozen, Inside Llewyn Davis, Philomena
2 –  The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, Lone Survivor
–  
August: Osage County, Before Midnight, The Book Thief, The Croods, Ernest & Celestine, The Invisible Woman, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, The Lone Ranger, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,  Monsters University, Prisoners, Short Term 12, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Wind Rises

Happy Oscar nomination day tomorrow! I’m personally rooting for Emma Thompson, anything Her, Lana del Rey, James Gandolfini, and Margot Robbie (no chance but she’s my current favorite) the most, but I’m sure they’ll bring in the crazy. Just less of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and more of Tree of Life and Amour please.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Oscars Predictions: December Edition   Leave a comment

With the Globe and SAG nods already announced, and three of the four major critics already revealing their choices, here’s the state of the race (and the last one prior to noms on January).

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86th Oscars Predictions: November Edition   Leave a comment

Okay one more month before we get to see the precursors. Sorry there’s no write up this month, since I’ll soon be updating for December, and this is a pretty stagnant month in terms of premieres and shake ups. Anyway, post your comments and questions below if you have anything. 🙂

PS: Best Actress is so effin boring there’s no changes at all for this month.

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86th Oscars Predictions: October Edition   Leave a comment

Here we go! October batch, as we get closer and closer to the precursors season. Also, Wolf of Wall Street is still in a deadline to meet for this year, and no such announcement was formally made that it will transfer to 2014. Until then, I’d just include it here yet. Plus, screenplay categories and foreign language film!

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As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Oscars Predictions: September Edition   7 comments

Now we’re getting closer to the Oscar precursor season especially since Venice, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals are all over. They all solidified some films’ and performances chances. Here’s the state of the race for this month:

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86th Oscars Predictions: August Edition   3 comments

We’re halfway before the start of the festivals roll now into our Oscar predictions, and a lot of crazy things has happened already! Here’s how I see the state of the Oscar race for the six major categories for this month!

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You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Oscars Predictions: July Edition   4 comments

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As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl