A November Oscar Prediction Update - The Calm Before the Storm

November 4, 2013


I can hardly believe that it's November already! We're only weeks out from some major precursor awards that will begin to show just what shape the Oscar race will take at the start. Basically, this is the final calm before the storm, so an update to my predictions is due. There hasn't been a massive shift since my previous update last month, but more than enough has changed. What follows is a quick rundown of some of the major movements in the race to prep you for the how and why of some of my predictions. You'll see the predicted nominations after that, but once again, don't read too much into them yet. Moves are still being made, so it's going to be somewhere in December before one can get a concrete sense of some categories.

I'm sure you'll notice right off the bat that I'm still one of the few prognosticators not predicting 12 Years a Slave and it's filmmaker Steve McQueen to run away with the Oscar race in Best Picture/Director. I will concede that I think it's much more likely than I thought it was a few months ago (partially due to some solid box office numbers), but the same can be said for Captain Phillips and Gravity (including the financials, yes). I'm still keeping with American Hustle as the big victor, though once we see it that might have to change. Until then…I'm backing David O. Russell's flick.

The major update this time around of course has to do with the removal of George Clooney's The Monuments Men from the 2013 race and the now confirmed re-entry of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. I had the former in lots of places, so big changes had to be made. I'm not going all in on the latter just yet, but it could be a factor (look for an article on that subject soon) before all is said and done.


Most of the big contenders are scoring about the same amount of love from me, which speaks to how we're still sort of in a holding pattern until the precursors begin. Most of my changes have to do with the players trying to sneak in for a nomination, as opposed to the win. If you're looking for some of my longer shot citations, I have Spike Jonze's offbeat romance Her doing really well, Blue is the Warmest Color getting some attention, as well as James Gandolfini being rewarded with a posthumous citation for his work in Enough Said and August: Osage County being snubbed entirely (yes, even Meryl Streep misses out). There are others, but those are the quartet of particulars that you'll likely notice immediately.

Keep in mind that the onset of the precursor season with their first awards next month will change both the perception and the reality of the Oscar race, so while we're not quite in the calm before the storm anymore, we're still in the phase of things where quality and potential quality means a lot. When various groups and guilds start to chime in with their best of the year, the waters get muddied, but we're not quite there yet.

Here are my up-to-date predictions now for you to peruse now and ponder. I'll definitely be updating these again soon (possibly even before the end of the month), but for now, this is how I see things going down:

1. American Hustle
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Gravity
4. Captain Phillips
5. Saving Mr. Banks
6. Nebraska
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. Her
9. The Wolf of Wall Street
10. Blue Jasmine

1. David O. Russell - American Hustle
2. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
3. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
4. Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips
5. Spike Jonze - Her

1. Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips
2. Robert Redford - All is Lost
3. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
4. Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
5. Bruce Dern - Nebraska

1. Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
2. Amy Adams - American Hustle
3. Sandra Bullock - Gravity
4. Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks
5. Adele Exarchopolous - Blue is the Warmest Color

1. Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
2. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
3. Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks
4. Jeremy Renner - American Hustle
5. James Gandolfini - Enough Said

1. Oprah Winfrey - Lee Daniels' The Butler
2. Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
3. June Squibb - Nebraska
4. Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
5. Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine

1. American Hustle
2. Her
3. Blue Jasmine
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. Nebraska

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Captain Phillips
3. Before Midnight
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Blue is the Warmest Color

1. Frozen
2. Monsters University
3. The Wind Rises
4. Ernest & Celestine
5. The Croods

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. Saving Mr. Banks
5. Her

1. Gravity
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Captain Phillips
4. Prisoners
5. Her

1. American Hustle
2. The Great Gatsby
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. Saving Mr. Banks
5. Lee Daniels' The Butler

1. Captain Phillips
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. Gravity
5. The Wolf of Wall Street

1. American Hustle
2. The Great Gatsby
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

1. Gravity
2. Rush
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Star Trek Into Darkness
5. Elysium

1. Gravity
2. Rush
3. Captain Phillips
4. Man of Steel
5. Pacific Rim

1. Gravity
2. Man of Steel
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
5. World War Z

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. Saving Mr. Banks
4. The Book Thief
5. Rush

1. Frozen (Let It Go)
2. Inside Llewyn Davis (Please Mr. Kennedy)
3. Frozen (For the First Time in Forever)
4. Her (The Moon Song)
5. The Great Gatsby (Young and Beautiful)

1. Stories We Tell
2. Blackfish
3. Tim's Vermeer
4. The Square
5. 20 Feet from Stardom

1. Wadjda (Saudi Arabia)
2. Gloria (Chile)
3. The Past (Iran)
4. The Hunt (Denmark)
5. Omar (Palestine)

For those of you keeping count, these are the films that I have doing the best this time around: 12 Years a Slave leads the way still with 11 nominations (but again only three wins). Right behind is American Hustle with nine nods (and five wins), then Gravity with nine noms (which turns into four wins) as well, plus Captain Phillips with seven (and two wins) again and both Her and Saving Mr. Banks with six (but no wins for either). No other film gets more than five citations from me, so I'm once again predicting a pretty split field, at least right now before the precursors ramp up.

This of course is just my humble opinion in the end, so I'm very curious to find out what you think about the race. Are your predictions still mostly in line with mine? Am I now/still backing something too strongly for your tastes? Did I unjustly shut something out this time around? I'm always game for a good Oscar-centric debate, so feel free to chime in. That's all part of the fun of making Oscar predictions! Sound off below!

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    Nice list Joe. I agree with about 95 percent of it.
    • Joey Magidson
      Much obliged...
  • Andrew John Bundy
    Glad to see I'm not the only one buying the 12 Years train! Good article Joey!
    • Joey Magidson
      Thank you kindly...
    • hedd
      I doubt there is anything trying to sold in regards to McQueen's film. There is always Oscar hype. Especially considering how far out of the Academy's comfort zone 12 Years A Slave is. Going the American Hustle route is safe for Joey to predict. Also very realistic.
      • Joey Magidson
        I do what I can...
  • Michael Baldwin
    If world war z wins an oscar i will flip shit
    • Joey Magidson
      I highly doubt it wins anything, but a tech nod could well be in the cards...
  • CosminD
    No Man of Steel for ORIGINAL SCORE ?!
    • Joey Magidson
      It's in contention for a nom there, but I have a feeling something more Oscar friendly like The Book Thief will make it instead...
  • beforemidnight
    Shouldn't "Before Midnight" be in the category of "Orginal Screenplay", not "Adapted"?
    • Joey Magidson
      Nope, it's a sequel, so therefore it's Adapted...
  • Rob Clark
    Excuse me. Just where the hell is "Mud"? No where to be found anywhere on this list.
    • Joey Magidson
      It's a long shot contender for Original Screenplay and Matthew McConaughey has a solid chance in Supporting Actor, but right now I see it missing out everywhere...
      • Rob Clark
        "Mud" is one of the highest rated movies of the year (98% on RT), and should get a Best Picture nomination. If there is any justice. And you can best bet it's studio is going to rally hard for one. How are "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" on this list when no one has seen/reviewed them yet? Regardless of it's directors.
        • Joey Magidson
          They're on the list for the same reason that Mud isn't...industry buzz and what Academy members likely will respond to.
          • Rob Clark
            Industry buzz is high for "Mud". And always has been. Now, what the Academy members respond to is entirely up to Oscar campaigning.
          • Joey Magidson
            Not in the same way as the presumed heavy hitters. I'm hardly saying that it won't sneak in somewhere, but I'm fairly confident that Best Picture isn't happening...
          • Rob Clark
            It would absolutely stink if it didn't get a Best Picture nomination. Because it is most definitely one of the year's very best films. And should be recognized during the awards season.
          • Joey Magidson
            I liked it a lot when I saw it at Sundance, but personally I'd be more bummed out if The Place Beyond the Pines missed. They're both well regarded early year releases that have gotten a jumpstart on sending out screeners. We'll see how the precursors treat them...
          • Rob Clark
            COMPLETELY agree with you. I freakin' loved that movie. Hands down one of 2013's best. I'd rather see films like this get nominated over box office hits. The studio has it's work cut out for them to remind everyone how great "Pines" is. It does have an epic feel to it with it's storyline. Fingers crossed.
          • Joey Magidson
            There's an effort being made, but it's definitely an uphill battle. Depending on how the precursors go, films like that could either fall off the map or make a play for heavy consideration. It'll be interesting to see, that's for sure.
  • Rich Duaneards II
    • Joey Magidson
      Young and Beautiful seems to be the one that is getting a bit of buzz, but it could be any of the eligible songs at this point. Too earlier to tell for sure...
      • Rich Duaneards II
        I get that but it's a MUCH better song. So much more depth and vocals. I hope it gets nominated in the end.
        • Joey Magidson
          If only it came down to quality...
  • Joey Magidson
    Gotta love spam...
  • Hudsucker
    I honestly think it's unwise to leave Streep out. I mean, she's won for a mediocre movie, The iron Lady.
    • Joey Magidson
      There was a narrative there that she was somehow overdue for another win. Nothing of that sort is the case here, so while I'm certainly riding a hunch, I think it's likelier than you think, which isn't to say that it's going to happen, just that it's not a foregone conclusion that she's in...
  • Alex Williams
    Good points removing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It looks amazing, but not an Oscar front runner. I think you gave too little credit to Wolf of Wall Street. I feel like it's reminiscent of Moneyball (not because of jonah hill) but because biopics are always gold for oscar season, and with Scorsese at the helm, it's a 90% lock on director, I'd remove Jonze (even though he well deserves the nod) and remove Greengrass (as fantastic as Captain Phillips was, I don't think it's a front runner for Directing). Remove hanks in Saving Mr Banks. This movie will pull of 2 noms max (being the token family movie a.k.a. the blind side).
    • Joey Magidson
      It's not a frontrunner, no. Scorsese could make it in, no doubt, but I think his reputation is pushing him a bit more than the film itself right now. Greengrass is pretty close to locked in, though I'm certainly on a leap of faith with Jonze. As for Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks, that seems to be a nod you can almost count on right now, though we'll see...
      • Alex Williams
        if Michael haneke, and behn Zeitlin have taught us's that there is no such thing as a "locked in" director. ask ben affleck. greengrass is a wash. not happening
  • mylesedwardhughes
    Solid predix. I could definitely see the race shaping up this way. I certainly hope that American Hustle ends up being good enough to take it all.
    • Joey Magidson
      Thanks...and likewise.
  • Paula
    how about lea seydoux for blue is the warmest color?
    • Joey Magidson
      She's my #6 in Best Supporting Actress...
  • Tester
    WTF !! no Sound City for documentary ???
    • Joey Magidson
      Best Documentary is a wide open race, so nothing is out of it just yet...
  • Elysium should be on visual effects...that was easily some of the most impressive CGI i've seen in a long time. World War Z absolutely doesn't even come close to deserving a spot on that list. P.S. I know this is just a prediction/opinion, not an official list. So those are just my two cents :)
    • Joey Magidson
      I agree that Elysium was more impressive looking, but sadly that doesn't always mean much in this category. That fifth slot could go to just about any film with special effects from this year, honestly...
    • cobrazombie
      Eh, I didn't rate Elysium at all on anything, particular its VFX. District 9 was more impressive.
      • Joey Magidson
        I preferred District 9 as well.
  • IamSlave
    I thought "Wolf of Wall Street" was pushed back and was no longer in the running or am I thinking of a different movie?
    • Joey Magidson
      No, it's now coming out at Christmas. Foxcatcher and The Monuments Men are the ones that are 2014 releases now...
  • Zachary Shelton
    Why isn't 42 getting any love? There were great performances and it has what the academy looks for: historical and a dramatic movie
    • Joey Magidson
      The reception to that film overall wasn't too strong, so aside from potentially Harrison Ford making a Best Supporting Actor play, it's likely not to go anywhere...
  • dandassow
    Joey, You may find this IMDb poll interestings. Most likely Oscar winner?
    • Joey Magidson
      Considering that Oscar voters aren't voting in this poll and just registered IMDb users, I'd take it with a grain of salt, as it's just basically a popularity contest right now over there in that poll...
  • Jess
    Very professional seeming predictions. Well done!
    • Joey Magidson
  • Kim
    I'm going to use your predictions and see how I do at work.
    • Joey Magidson
      Well, wait until final predictions, but good luck...
  • name
    i feel as if the hype for 12 years a slave is well deserved .. don't agree with these predictions at all




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