Adam Predicts the 2014 Oscar Nominees

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2014-oscars-slice

Well, folks, the time has finally come.  I’ve been covering this year’s awards season since last fall when we launched our awards column Oscar Beat, and after running through the ups and downs of the season thus far, it’s now time to predict which films, performances, screenplays, and other cinematic achievements from 2013 the Academy will choose to single out.  I feel very confident about some of my choices while others feel like more of a crapshoot.  One thing’s for sure: this has been quite an interesting season thus far, and there’s still no consensus with regards to some of the big winners.

Hit the jump as I take a stab at predicting the 2014 Oscar nominees.  The nominations will be announced at 5:30am PST on January 16th.

*Nomination predictions are listed in order of likelihood.

12-years-a-slave-posterBEST PICTURE:

12 Years a Slave

Gravity

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Nebraska

The Wolf of Wall Street

Saving Mr. Banks

Dallas Buyers Club

Her 

Alternates: Philomena, Blue Jasmine, Inside Llewyn Davis 

As I’ve been saying for months, this year’s Best Picture race is incredibly competitive.  12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle are all virtual locks and Captain Phillipsand Nebraska remain very safe bets, but the remaining candidates are tough to suss out. The Wolf of Wall Street has plenty of detractors, but it also has a passionate base so I think it gets in.  Despite mediocre reviews and iffy thematic suggestions with regards to artistic integrity, Saving Mr. Banks plays into the “Hollywood patting itself on the back” contingent, so I think it gets in as well.  Dallas Buyers Club has been a surprisingly strong candidate in the recent guild groups, so it has a very solid shot at landing a nomination.

The Academy’s recent habit of singling out at least one “artsy” nominee (Amour, Tree of Life, Beasts of the Southern Wild) leads me to believe that Her will land a nomination, but there are some other strong candidates vying for a slot.  Philomenahas been playing extremely well to the Academy’s older voters, and though Blue Jasminehasn’t garnered the same enthusiasm that Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, it does have fairly strong support.  Once considered a shoo-in for a nomination, Inside Llewyn Davis now feels like a dark horse candidate at best when you consider it was passed over by every single guild awards group.  There’s also the outside chance that Lee Daniels’ The Butler could enjoy a last minute surge, but The Weinstein Company seems much more focused on Philomena at this point, so I think that film has the best shot among TWC’s candidates.

Though the rules state that there can be anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees for Best Picture, statistically speaking the Academy’s voting system makes it nearly impossible for that number to reach 10.  This year, I could see either 8 or 9 nominees making the cut, and I’m just going with my gut by predicting 9.

gravity-alfonso-cuaronBEST DIRECTOR:

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

David O. Russell – American Hustle

Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips

Spike Jonze – Her

Alternates: Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club

Here’s another incredibly tough race.  One could say Cuaron, McQueen, and Russell are all but guaranteed to land Best Director nominations, but that’s what everyone said about Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow last year.  However, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are such director-driven projects that I don’t see how Cuaron and McQueen don’t make the cut, and Russell found favor with the Academy for The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook so he feels like a safe bet as well.  The final two slots are less certain, but Captain Phillips is a film that almost everyone admires and no one hates (the directing ain’t bad either), so I think Greengrass makes the cut.

Though Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese both have very strong shots at landing nominations, the Academy’s recent tendency to recognize more offbeat filmmakers (Michael Haneke for Amour, Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild) makes me think that Spike Jonze will land his second Best Director Oscar nomination for the brilliant Her.  However, I could also see a scenario in which Her gets a Best Picture nod without Best Director or vice versa.

BEST ACTOR: 

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

dallas-buyers-club-matthew-mcconaugheyTom Hanks – Captain Phillips

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Alternates: Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Christian Bale (American Hustle), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler

This is one of the hardest categories to predict this year, even though four of these five have been the frontrunners to land nominations for months.  Chiwetel Ejiofor and Bruce Dern seem to be the safest bets, while any one of the others could be supplanted with a number of alternates.  Leonardo DiCaprio gives quite possibly the best performance of his career in The Wolf of Wall Street, but the film has come under intense fire in recent weeks.  Christian Bale runs into a different problem with American Hustle, in that everyone seems to enjoy the film but you could line up five random viewers and they’d leave the film with five different opinions on who gave the best performance.  It’s a true ensemble piece, and it’s tough to draw a consensus around who’s giving a good performance and who’s a little off, which could work against Bale.

Oscar Isaac gives a stellar performance in Inside Llewyn Davis but that film has, for some inexplicable reason, fallen flat with guild voters; Joaquin Phoenix is incredible in Her but the film might be considered too “weird”, and it’s been a long time since Lee Daniels’ The Butler was at the forefront of the awards conversation despite Forest Whitaker’s fine performance.

Matthew McConaughey feels like he’s on a really strong streak, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s doing incredible work on television right now with True Detective—don’t be shocked if he takes this thing all the way to a win.Though Ejiofor, Dern, and Hanks all feel like relatively safe bets, Redford is quite vulnerable given that he failed to net a SAG or BAFTA nom. Following some bad press, DiCaprio seized the opportunity to speak to a number of outlets about Wolf and get people talking about something other than the film’s rating, nudity, or “endorsement” of its subject, and so I think DiCaprio slips in and takes Redford’s spot—by a hair.

american-hustle-amy-adamsBEST ACTRESS: 

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Judi Dench – Philomena

Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

Amy Adams – American Hustle 

Alternates: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Adele Excarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color)

Best Actress is this year’s over and done category, as Cate Blanchett seems to have this one in the bag for her transcendent work in Blue Jasmine.  The rest of the field also appears to be pretty set, as Sandra Bullock is poised to be recognized for carrying the majority of Gravity alone, Judi Dench will very likely land a nod for her charming work in Philomena, and despite the film’s negative response from critics, expect Emma Thompson to garner a nomination for her impressive work Saving Mr. Banks.

The final slot is a bit of a toss-up.  It’s weird to think of Meryl Streep as an underdog, but the lukewarm response to August: Osage County—including many who weren’t fans of Streep’s performance—makes her vulnerable.  It might be a different story if Osage County was a hit at the box office, but as of the voting closing deadline the film was only playing at five screens.  As such, I think the American Hustle love will be spread to Amy Adams, though I’d be ecstatic to see Brie Larson or Adele Exarchopoulos pull a surprise nod for their fantastic work in Short Term 12 and Blue Is the Warmest Color, respectively.

Click over to Page 2 to continue reading, including Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and more.

Continue Reading for Best Supporting Actor, Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Visual Effects, and More




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  • 35mm_Computer

    You lost me at Randy Newman’s “Monster’s University” as an alt for Best Original Score.

    • Bane

      Why not, that score is incredible with the additional of the Duke Blue Devils Drumline, EASILY one of my favorites

    • Strong Enough

      that score was amazing

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    Whatever happened to terry Gilliam ‘s zero theorem with Christopher waltz ?

    Anyway, for best picture I predict
    12 years a slave
    Gravity
    Nebraska
    Blue is the warmest color
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Captain Phillips
    Her
    Inside llewin Davis
    The act of killing

    Best actor
    Leonardo dicaprio
    Bruce dern
    Chiewetel ejiofor
    Joaquin Phoenix
    Tom hanks or Hugh jackman or Matthew maccounaghe or Oscar Isaac

    Best actress
    Sandra bullock
    Cate blanchett
    Brie Larson
    Julie delpy
    Adèle Exarchopoulos

    Best director
    Alfonso Cuaron
    Steve McQueen
    Alexander Payne
    Abdellatif Kechiche
    Spike jonze or Joshua Oppenheimer

    Best supporting actor
    George Clooney
    Matthew maccounaghe (wolf of Wall Street or mud)
    Jared Leto
    Jake Gyllenhaal
    Jonah hill

    Best supporting actress
    Sally hawkins
    June Squibb
    Lupita Nyongo
    Octavia spencer or Melissa Leo in prisoners
    Scarlett johansson or léa seydoux

    Best original screenplay
    Blue jasmine
    Her
    Nebraska
    Prisoners
    Inside llewin Davis or the act of killing

    Best adapted screenplay
    Blue is the warmest color
    12 years a slave
    Before midnight
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Captain Phillips

    Best cinematography
    Gravity
    12 years a slave
    Inside llewin Davis or her
    Prisoners
    Nebraska or blue is the warmest color

    Best editing
    Captain Phillip
    Gravity
    12 years a slave
    Prisoners
    Nebraska

    Wow look zero nomination for American hustle

    • jack

      You predict or you wish? That’s your wish list. Predictions are educated guesses of future events…Even you must be smart enough to know that half the people you chose aren’t even in contention

      • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

        Who’s not in contention ?
        They’re all eligible
        Yes this is my wish list as evident by the complete snub of American hustle

    • jack

      You predict or you wish? That’s your wish list. Predictions are educated guesses of future events…Even you must be smart enough to know that half the people you chose aren’t even in contention

  • J

    Quit with the Jonah Hill shilling. He looks good in the best of company, but is invisible otherwise. And no Meryl for Supporting? That’s like leaving Phelps off the swim team.

  • Julio Navas

    No Rush in the Best Cinematography categorie?

    • Adam Chitwood

      It’s possible. Wouldn’t count Anthony Dod Mantle completely out.

      • Julio Navas

        Every single frame of the movie was fantastic. Especially the last act, when the last race took place in Japan.

  • TigerFIST

    Not with you Adam but I’m frustrated that they didn’t consider IDRIS ELBA’s performance in Mandela. I just don’t understand…

  • yrulaughing418

    Man of Steel should be there somewhere under Best Visual Effects (though Gravity seems the likely winner)

    • watchingdamovies

      It did not make the shortlist for the Oscar nominations so it will not be nominated. The following are the films in the running so far:
      Elysium,Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger,Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim and World War Z

      • The Flobbit

        We can count The Lone Ranger (stupid fake bison), World War Z (stupid fake Israel zombies), Iron Man 3 (stupid fake glowing), Star Trek Into Darkness (absurd shaky cam) out completely. For my money, the race is between Gravity and The Hobbit.

        Ask yourself, which is harder to animate: the entirety of space, or a two hundred foot talking, fire breathing, dragon. My money is on the dragon…but Gravity will win.

        P.S. I was hugely impressed with the aether in Thor 2. Must have been a bitch to animate.

      • watchingdamovies

        Smaug was impressive but the rest of Desolation of Smaug was not. The visual effects throughout the rest of the film reminded me of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland as they were so cartoonish. If you want evidence that Gravity should win Best Visual Effects watch this behind the scenes video. Not only did the movie look undeniably realistic but it invented new techniques for filmmaking. Note that the final 5 seconds of the video contains a major spoiler for the movie for anyone who has not seen it yet.
        http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/video-sandra-bullock-george-clooney-667545

      • The Flobbit

        I believe you are wrong when you say it was cartoonish. Yes, there were parts that didn’t work, but what Peter Jackson had to do was just as hard as what Cuaron had to do. Alice in Wonderland, honestly, has some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen, while Smaug had some of the best.

        I know Gravity will win, nobody is disputing or criticizing that, but I am merely pointing out that Weta Workshops and Co. worked very hard on something thought impossible a few years back, and succeeded in making a completely awesome film.

      • watchingdamovies

        I am partially biased though because with the exception of the Smaug scene the movie bored me to tears. Don’t get me wrong though I am an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings series as the Return of the King is one of my favorite movies of all time. But with the exception of the Gollum and Smaug scenes I have found the Hobbit movies to be utterly boring.

      • watchingdamovies

        I am partially biased though because with the exception of the Smaug scene the movie bored me to tears. Don’t get me wrong though I am an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings series as the Return of the King is one of my favorite movies of all time. But with the exception of the Gollum and Smaug scenes I have found the Hobbit movies to be utterly boring.

      • The Flobbit

        I find you to be utterly boring. I found the movie to be exciting and visually stunning. Partially biased you are.

        But hey, to each his own and I respect your opinion.

      • Michael Stephenson

        I saw the movie too and I thought that it was absolute garbage. Smaug was not even that great. Seriously Flobbit what are you talking about?!

      • The Flobbit

        I saw your mom making out with…

        Let’s just cut the juvenile insults. Clearly you didn’t like a film I loved. And millions of others loved. Go away.

      • youshallnotpass

        Wow really Flobbit?! These two commenters simply stated they did not like it while not insulting you at all and yet you insult them and then tell them to stop the insults. That’s pretty hypocritical don’t you think?

      • The Flobbit

        I did not insult them. I toyed with the convention of insulting them to show how futile it would be. Clearly this is just a difference of opinions. I liked Smaug…they didn’t.

        Simple as that.

      • The Flobbit

        I did not insult them. I toyed with the convention of insulting them to show how futile it would be. Clearly this is just a difference of opinions. I liked Smaug…they didn’t.

        Simple as that.

      • The Flobbit

        I find you to be utterly boring. I found the movie to be exciting and visually stunning. Partially biased you are.

        But hey, to each his own and I respect your opinion.

      • The Flobbit

        I believe you are wrong when you say it was cartoonish. Yes, there were parts that didn’t work, but what Peter Jackson had to do was just as hard as what Cuaron had to do. Alice in Wonderland, honestly, has some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen, while Smaug had some of the best.

        I know Gravity will win, nobody is disputing or criticizing that, but I am merely pointing out that Weta Workshops and Co. worked very hard on something thought impossible a few years back, and succeeded in making a completely awesome film.

      • GrimReaper07

        Special effects is not just animation, just so you know. If you think The Hobbit has more complicated SFX then you clearly don’t know how Gravity was made. They had to create entire new technologies to make that film.

      • The Flobbit

        Nobody is disputing that. I just want to point out that a dragon is possibly the hardest moving thing you can animate. Look at the giant fail of Burton’s Jabberwocky. Jackson made the best dragon in cinematic history (that is pretty much indisputable).

      • GrimReaper07

        Yeah, but I’d still argue it falls way short of Gravity’s merits, at least regarding special effects.

      • The Flobbit

        Well, you’d argue that and I…wouldn’t. Agree to disagree *proffers hand*?

    • Nomis1700

      I was surprised the film wasn’t even in the shortlist to be nominated. Then again, maybe they should got more of WETA to work on it and trim the effects down here and there. Even though Snyder did a lot more practical than usual which is a plus.

      I think Gravity, Hobbit Desolation of Smaug, Pacific Rim, Oblivion and Star Trek Into Darkness all get nominated. Gravity will win but Smaug in DOS was absolutely breathtaking, he pretty much deserves an Oscar for himself.

    • Nomis1700

      I was surprised the film wasn’t even in the shortlist to be nominated. Then again, maybe they should got more of WETA to work on it and trim the effects down here and there. Even though Snyder did a lot more practical than usual which is a plus.

      I think Gravity, Hobbit Desolation of Smaug, Pacific Rim, Oblivion and Star Trek Into Darkness all get nominated. Gravity will win but Smaug in DOS was absolutely breathtaking, he pretty much deserves an Oscar for himself.

  • moviefan

    You keep saying throughout the article that Saving Mr. Banks got negative reviews from critics, which is not the case at all. It currently holds a 81% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • The Flobbit

    American Hustle is so goddamn overrated.

  • The Flobbit

    American Hustle is so goddamn overrated.

    • tRYSIS3

      same for gravity!

      • jimbostephenson

        Go home trysis3 you’re drunk!!!

      • tRYSIS3

        no i’m not ,gravity was nothing more than a pretty tech demo!

      • jimbostephenson

        Seriously trysis3 how many beers have you had?!

      • tRYSIS3

        same number as you.

      • jimbostephenson

        Seriously trysis3 how many beers have you had?!

    • tRYSIS3

      same for gravity!

    • Gerard Kennelly

      BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
      my choice; Cliff Martinez -Only God Forgives

      BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
      my choice: ”1 2 ” (Paranoia)

    • Gerard Kennelly

      BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
      my choice; Cliff Martinez -Only God Forgives

      BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
      my choice: ”1 2 ” (Paranoia)

  • Geoff

    Too bad, seems like you unanimously avoided giving Prisoners any credit. We’ll see, won’t we?

  • Geoff

    Too bad, seems like you unanimously avoided giving Prisoners any credit. We’ll see, won’t we?

  • -

    I’d love for Joaquin Phoenix to get nominated as he’s just as good as Ejiofor (who I think will probably end up winning). It’s probably not gonna happen though.

  • -

    I’d love for Joaquin Phoenix to get nominated as he’s just as good as Ejiofor (who I think will probably end up winning). It’s probably not gonna happen though.

  • Tosyma

    No alternates! That means you are not sure yourself.

  • Tosyma

    No alternates! That means you are not sure yourself.

  • whiskey_river1

    AKA Adam Chitwood does not like Inside Llewyn Davis or the Coen Brothers.

    • Adam

      Actually, Inside Llewyn Davis was my favorite film of the year. These are my predictions, not preferences.

      • whiskey_river1

        Woops! Sorry about that.

      • whiskey_river1

        Woops! Sorry about that.

  • Gerard Kennelly

    BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
    Steven Price – Gravity
    John Williams – The Book Thief
    Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave
    Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
    Alexander Ebert – All Is Lost

    Alternates: Randy Newman (Monsters University),Hans Zimmer (Rush), Henry Jackman (Captain Phillips)

    my choice; Cliff Martinez -Only God Forgives
    BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
    “Let It Go” – Frozen
    “Young and Beautiful” – The Great Gatsby
    “The Moon Song” –Her
    “So You Know What It’s Like” – Short Term 12
    “I See Fire” – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    Alternates: “In the Middle of the Night” (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), “Happy” (Despicable Me 2), “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

    my choice: ”1 2 ” (Paranoia)

    • The Flobbit

      I See Fire deserves the song Oscar. It was haunting and memorable, ethereal and rousing. It was a great achievement by Sheeran and Co.

    • The Flobbit

      I See Fire deserves the song Oscar. It was haunting and memorable, ethereal and rousing. It was a great achievement by Sheeran and Co.

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