Academy Advocacy: Who & What Should Actually Win Oscars This Year

February 27, 2014


It's once again time for some Academy Advocacy ladies and gentlemen, and one of the final ones for the season! But rather than delivering the normal awards opinions and whatnot today, this one will be a little more personal as I'll be dictating what I think actually deserves to win in all of the major Oscar categories. I won't be limiting it to the official nominees either, so these picks will vary quite a bit from what voters are choosing this week. We all have our preferred candidates, and I'm no exception, so below you'll be seeing who and what I would have voted for, as opposed to the choices that Academy members made. In some cases, they're actual nominees, though in other cases, I've gone off the ballot. More below!

This will be limited to the eight biggest categories, but suffice to say that my technical category preferences would be along the same lines as those to come, so make of that what you will. While the nominees themselves are respectable for the most part, they still excluded many of the year's best, so this is just one final reminder about what voters forgot about or ignored. Anyway, here goes nothing.

In Best Picture, we have the rare year where I've actually enjoyed all of the nominees. That being said, when I see the race now between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity, I can't help but wish that The Wolf of Wall Street had a better chance. All four of those would have to compete for the two through five spots on my preferential ballot however, since Her would get my number one vote. It's a masterpiece in my eyes, so of the nominees and in general, it's all about this one for me.


With Best Director, I'm of the opinion that they didn't even nominate the most worthy individual, which of course is Spike Jonze for Her. Martin Scorsese is my favorite of the nominated bunch with The Wolf of Wall Street, but my number one overall is Jonze. His vision for this flick is without equal, so to not even have him in the competition still bums me out. The Academy obviously disagrees, but I'm advocating for my position here, so Jonze gets the vote.

Best Actor is another space where they snubbed the best candidate. If you've seen my piece on the Best Male Performances of 2013, this should be no surprise to you, but I'd have voted for Oscar Isaac and his performance in Inside Llewyn Davis. Of course, Leonardo DiCaprio is the standout among the nominated gentlemen and a close second overall, but Isaac is the standout among every male actor in 2013. That alone makes his choice here fairly obvious, I'd think.

Continuing this trend, Best Actress (and again, no surprises if you've seen my Best Female Performances of 2013 article) would go to the non-nominated Adele Exarchopolous for her passionate turn in the ineligible Blue is the Warmest Color from France. Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett are equally good themselves in terms of the nominees, but neither of them hold a candle to Exarchopolous. It wouldn't have even been a close decision for me.

Best Supporting Actor is a spot where I go further off the reservation than most, since I'd cite Jake Gyllenhaal for his underrated turn in Prisoners. I have no qualm with Jared Leto winning and he'd be one of my nominated five, but Gyllenhaal gave the best male supporting performance of the year, in my opinion. The Leto win is cool and all, but Gyllenhaal not even being nominated is a borderline crime, so I want to give him all the credit he deserves.


In Best Supporting Actress, I'd continue the Her love fest by nominating Scarlett Johnasson, despite her voice-only presence. This should surprise no one, of course, considering my feelings on the movie. In terms of the nominees, my vote would go to Jennifer Lawrence, but my overall vote goes Johansson's way. You can see more of my thoughts on her performance in this pseudo advocacy piece here that I did a while back.

Best Adapted Screenplay is the final category where I'd have a non-nominated pick for who should actually win, and here I'd have cited The Spectacular Now's script. Among the nominees, I'd have gone with The Wolf of Wall Street, but no adapted script touched me like this one did, so to make up for its lack of a nomination, I'm giving it my vote here. But for Best Original Screenplay, I think Oscar voters are about to make the perfect choice when they give Jonze the win here for Her. My personal preference lines up with the likely outcome, and that's as good a way as any to finish up this piece, right?

With voting now closed and the ballots turned in, all that's left to do is wait until this weekend for the winners to be announced. The 86th Academy Awards will take place late on Sunday, March 2nd at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood with a live telecast airing on ABC starting at 7PM (EST) / 4PM (PST). This year's ceremony is being hosted by comedian/director Ellen DeGeneres. The complete list of all 2014 Academy Awards nominees in full here. In the meantime, let your own thoughts be known in the comments. Tell us who you would give your own Oscars to, even if they didn't get nominated this year!

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  • John M
    Good picks. I share your enthusiasm about Prisoners. Here are mine (oddly enough many of them are in fact nominated): Picture: Gravity Director: Alfonso Cuaron Actor: Hugh Jackman, "Prisoners" Actress: Sandra Bullock, "Gravity" Supp Actor: Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave" Supp Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave" Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave Original Screenplay: Prisoners I will also mention "Oblivion", a film that did not register at all with the Academy... but I would personally give it the awards for Cinematography, Production Design & Original Score.
    • Joey Magidson
      Thank you.
    • Have Hope
      GRAVITY? SANDRA BULLOCK? damn.....
      • John M
        That's right. I loved the film, and enjoyed her performance in it. And by now you probably know that I am certainly not alone in choosing Gravity as the best film of the year. Better to add something constructive to the conversation. What is your favorite this year?
        • Joey Magidson
          Duly noted there.
      • Joey Magidson
        To each their own.
  • DavideCoppola
    I think The Great Beauty deserved more love, like Servillo best actor and definitely best cinematography, editing, I'll throw in original screenplay. Blue is the Warmest Color for sure, it's too bad both actresses were fantastic, directing was flawless, editing and yes, screenplay. Nymphomaniac was genius, but I guess we can forget about Academy love for that one, just like with Melancholia. I was also a big fan of The Bling Ring, at least a nom (say for cinematography or editing) would have been nice.. Oh well.. Moebius had some fantastic performances, but I wouldn't dream of the Academy even knowing who Kim Ki-duk is..
    • John M
      Melancholia was probably the most accessible von Trier film in terms of mass audiences - I actually don't care for his films that much, but I thought Melancholia was wonderful. I wish it had been nominated for Cinematography (thought that year was stacked with so many good-looking images).
      • Joey Magidson
        Nymphomaniac makes Melancholia look like a mainstream flick by comparison.
    • Joey Magidson
      Agreed about Blue is the Warmest Color, and Nymphomaniac is a 2014 release, though I just saw Part 1 and the Academy will never ever go for it.
    As a pure art experience piece, I would have to say either 12 YEARS A SLAVE or HER. With HER being more art than film. 12 YEARS was heavy, gripping, and visually captivating. Phoenix has shown, since his comeback, he is the formidable ball of talent every one thought he was in the 00's. Unfortunately, this year saw Ejiofor turn his performance of a lifetime and I hope he is recognized.
    • Joey Magidson
      Duly noted.
  • Jon Odishaw
    Chiwetel Ojiofor deserves best actor if you were to ask me...which you have.
    • Joey Magidson
      Fair enough. You're not alone in liking Ejiofor's performance.
  • Have Hope
    ?????????? Thank goodness the voting does not come down to you.
    • Joey Magidson
      Sorry you don't like my personal choices.
      • Have Hope
        hmm. So you were being subjective rather than objective? Think would be better if you viewed it on merit. You didn't even MENTION Lupita....and can't think that a film was more profound and better made as a WHOLE than 12 Years a Slave
        • Joey Magidson
          When talking about what "should" win, as opposed to my predictions pieces, it's completely subjective, yes.
  • Ben Aston
    Interesting. Hard to disagree on the your calls for the actor/director slots. Have yet to see 'The Spectacular Now' yet but this has convinced me to. Cheers
    • Joey Magidson
      Much obliged.
  • Thomas Stalcup Jr
    100% agree with Jake for Supporting Actor. His subtle ticks and physicality in this movie was commanding. Besides the fact that his character's name is Loki, he stole this movie, though Jackman did amazing as well.
    • Joey Magidson
  • Marty
    Well said.
    • Joey Magidson
      Thank you kindly.




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