McGinnis: Oscar Predictions 2014: ’12 Years a Slave’ favorite to take top prizeWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Supporting Actress:
Really, this is a two-horse race between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o — two very important roles in wildly different movies. Lawrence was widely credited with completely stealing “American Hustle” with her small but crucial performance, the kind of attention-grabber Oscar loves to honor. But she just won last year, and the voters don’t often give it to the same person two years in a row. (Tom Hanks, who won for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” back-to-back, is the notable modern exception.) This leaves Nyong’o open to be honored for her powerful work, and I figure the Academy will want to honor “12 Years a Slave” somewhere in the acting awards.
PREDICTION: Lupita Nyong’o
Best Supporting Actor
This one’s more cut-and-dried. Jared Leto has been talked up as the presumed front-runner since “Dallas Buyers Club” opened, and nothing’s shaken him off the lead yet. His performance as a transgender woman is exactly the kind of unexpected turn Oscar loves, and he’s at a stage of his career where the award would be seen as a coronation and welcoming to A-list status. Michael Fassbender of “12 Years a Slave” has a shot at being a spoiler, but it’s a long shot at best.
PREDICTION: Jared Leto
What a strange ride this category has been. Back in October, some presumed the isolated tension of “Gravity” was going to spell another gold statue for Sandra Bullock when all was said and done. Then, as award season began to ramp up, Bullock’s chances dimmed and Cate Blanchett’s work in “Blue Jasmine” began to take center stage. Now, as controversy swirls around director Woody Allen once more, have Blanchett’s chances been soiled by her proximity to the filmmaker, leaving the door open for Bullock or (more likely) Amy Adams to upset? Probably not.
PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett
Maybe the tightest race of the acting categories. An argument can be made for both Leonardo DiCaprio’s bombastic trader in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s imprisoned free man in “12 Years a Slave” to spoil here. But the stars have been aligning for Matthew McConaughey for a while now, with a movie that people like (which almost certainly won’t win in any bigger categories), a dramatic physical transformation (major Oscar bait) and a cool redemption story to boot (he’s not doing dumb romantic comedies now!). DiCaprio may still upset, but it’s looking less likely the closer to Oscar night we get.
PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey
We all know the story: Alfonso Cuaron won the Director’s Guild award for “Gravity,” which is the absolute best predictor of all the major award categories, and usually a solid indication of Best Picture, to boot. Sure, last year the two awards didn’t synch, but that’s only because the directors forgot to nominate Ben Affleck for the Oscar, so the DGA was a consolation prize. (The Oscar itself went to Ang Lee, in an upset over Steven Spielberg.) This is most probably Cuaron’s year, though Steve McQueen’s work on “12 Years a Slave” is still a possible contender.
PREDICTION: Alfonso Cuaron
Here’s where it gets really interesting. After initial buzz for “Gravity” when it opened, the presumptive front-runner has been “12 Years a Slave” for most of the Oscar season. Then, buzz started building around “American Hustle,” leading it to be considered a solid spoiler candidate. Then came the backlash against “American Hustle,” with many pundits dismissing it as overrated, leading to its chances seemingly receding. Now, thanks to the Director’s Guild going for Cuaron, we’re right back where we started: “Gravity” looks like a serious contender again.
But through it all, “12 Years a Slave” has remained as the steady and unshakable leader of the pack, and with good reason. It’s a powerful, important film which addresses head-on the most horrific stain on America’s soul, by giving one of slavery’s victims a face and a story for a modern audience. As “Schindler’s List” did for the Holocaust, “12 Years” takes its viewers and makes them confront evil head-on. And, like “Schindler’s,” “12 Years” will take home the big prize.
PREDICTION: “12 Years a Slave”
- Animated Film: Frozen
- Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
- Original Screenplay: American Hustle
- Cinematography: Gravity
- Costume Design: The Great Gatsby
- Documentary: 20 Feet from Stardom
- Editing: Gravity
- Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty
- Makeup: Dallas Buyers Club
- Production Design: The Great Gatsby
- Score: Gravity
- Song: “Let It Go”
- Sound Editing: Gravity
- Visual Effects: Gravity
- Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6
- Animated Short: Get a Horse
- Live Action Short: The Voorman Problem
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Tags: "American Hustle", "Blue Jasmine", 12 Years a Slave, 86th Annual, Academy Awards, alfonso cuarón, Amy Adams, Ang Lee, Ben Affleck, best actor, best actress, best director, Best Picture, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, Cate Blanchett, Director's Guild, gravity, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lupita Nyong'o, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Fassbender, Oscars, predictions, Sandra Bullock, Steven Spielberg, The Wolf of Wall Street, Tom Hanks