AWARDS

Post-Nomination Predictions Update: Who Will Oscar Love in March?

by
February 3, 2014

Oscars

With the Oscar nominations set in stone (save for one retraction), it's time for some new predictions! Obviously, my final set of predictions from January didn't completely match up with what happened, but it wasn't totally wrong. About 70% of my predictions were right, so that's not bad. Basically, I've done better but I've done worse too, so now that we're focusing on who and what might actually win, I'm aiming to totally nail this part of the season. We're mostly done with the precursors, consumption of the outcomes is basically done, so now it's just a matter of figuring out what members of the Academy will do. More below!

Essentially, it's time to start pulling out my hair and get into the mind of an Oscar voter. Are they really big American Hustle fans like they seem to be? Are they more fond of Gravity? What about 12 Years a Slave? The Wolf of Wall Street? Dallas Buyers Club? We have a month to make our best guesses.

Now, as mentioned above, we're switching from what could get nominated to what could pull off the win, so there's a lot more of a specific focus on display. The hypotheticals are limited and the quantifiable facts/statistics mean a whole lot more. That means a lot of shutouts for films that once upon a time were potentially big players. For example, I have Nebraska going home empty handed, with the same being said for Captain Phillips. It might not be fair, but it's the nature of the beast at this point.

What's so interesting here is that none of the big categories are actually sewn up at this point (and most of the technical ones too), which isn't usually the case. Sure, a couple of them are close to it, but by and large many of the fields are open for the taking by more than one (or in some cases two) contenders. There's more than a little bit of excitement in not knowing what's going to happen. There are some safe bets, but no locks in the major categories.

The main thing to consider is the possibility of a split between Best Picture and Director, since that will determine a lot about whether one film dominates the ceremony or not. In Oscar's history, there have only been 22 splits, so if it happens again now, we'd only have number 23 out of 86 Academy Award ceremonies. That's not a common occurrence folks. This is the sort of year that could make for an exception, but if you're trying to be conservative and accurate here, it pays to at least consider matching up Picture and Director as opposed to defying history and predicting a split.

Best Picture

Best Picture appears to be the three horse race that had been hinted at all along. The only viable winners here are 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity. Each has now won a big precursor prize, with Alonso Cuarón and Steve McQueen's films tying at the Producers Guild, David O. Russell's taking the top prize from the Screen Actors Guild, and Cuarón himself winning the aforementioned DGA award. Also, it's rare that the DGA doesn't reward the director of the ultimate Best Picture winner. 52 out of their 65 winners have seen their film wind up triumphing in Best Picture. That's an 80% success rate, even better than what the PGA has to offer in terms of a harbinger of what's to come.

These statistics and bits of history favor Gravity, especially when you look at when DGA and PGA has lined up. When they've backed the same film, it's only come up short in Best Picture three times. Some have tried to make the case for a shocking Philomena upset, but I'm not buying it, so it's almost a tie right now for me between those top three flicks. I've swapped them all in and out of the top spot since the nominations were announced, so we definitely have our closest race in some time in this category, though Cuarón's film does seem to be threatening to pull away from the pack.

Best Director is one of the most interesting of the major categories, since here is where you can predict the rare split. Basically, Picture and Director almost always line up, but with a competitive race like this one, some are going to predict a split ticket, as it were. Still, that leaves it a race between three of the gentlemen in this category who have their films as the Best Picture frontrunners. Cuarón, McQueen, and Russell are the fellas fighting it out, with the first two in the best positions by far (especially Cuarón), though don't count out Russell if his film is poised to win the top prize. I feel like the Academy is aching to give him an Oscar this year one way or another, and with his other chance in Best Original Screenplay no sure thing, this could definitely happen for him here. My advice in this category right now is to just not predict a Picture/Director split, as I mentioned above because they so rarely happen.

With Best Actor, things are starting to crystalize a bit, and it's no longer more or less anyone's race. Here, it's really Matthew McConaughey in the lead with Leonardo DiCaprio trying to pull the upset. Bruce Dern's time has come and gone sadly, while Chiwetel Ejiofor has lacked the big win necessary to keep him in the running beyond being a long shot spoiler. As for Christian Bale, well he's just happy to be nominated. DiCaprio certainly has a chance to sneak past McConaughey before all is said and done, but right now I don't see it just yet.

Best Actor

In Best Supporting Actor, it'll come down to if one of the major films pulls something near a sweep or just is poised for a big night. Otherwise, it's Jared Leto's to lose. His main competition is likely Bradley Cooper, though he's pretty far behind at this point. One can try and make an argument for Michael Fassbender, but it's a losing one to me. Barring something unusual, Leto is leaving the ceremony an Oscar winner. This is probably the easiest acting category to predict.

Best Actress is pretty much a sprint to the finish between Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett. A lot of folks seem to think that Blanchett is way ahead, but I see Adams coming on fast and in position to pull off the win. It's similar to when Sandra Bullock won for The Blind Side, upending a seemingly over race and winning during the final stretch. Bullock won't win here this time around, even though she's nominated (neither will Judi Dench, for that matter), but Adams could certainly use that particular playbook in her quest to beat Blanchett.

Best Actress

For Best Supporting Actress, we have another fight to the end, this one between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o. It's all but a coin toss here, and I'd initially decided to give the edge to Lawrence over Nyong'o since I think the former's film is going to have the better night. I've since switched to Nyong'o, but I could see this one going either way. It's close to a tie, essentially.

Best Adapted Screenplay is probably the most locked up aside from Supporting Actor, with 12 Years a Slave way out in front. I'm not sure who could pull the upset, but something tells me that it could actually be Philomena as opposed to The Wolf of Wall Street or Captain Phillips (which won the WGA Adapted prize). Especially considering that some think it's got a chance in Best Picture (we can be real though here and say that it doesn't), I wouldn't rule out an upset here. It's not likely, but it's not impossible either.

Finally, Best Original Screenplay is a two horse race, but a really intriguing one. Conventional wisdom has American Hustle winning here and giving Russell his statue, but Spike Jonze has taken some big prizes for Her this season and this is the one spot where the Academy could reward that movie. Given the WGA Original win for Jonze, I think we have a potential upset brewing. If Russell loses here, it could be a bad sign for his film on the whole, so this close race here will be one to watch as a possible barometer for voters.

Well, enough talk now. I know what you're here to see, so I won't make you wait any longer. Here now are my predictions for how I see the Oscar ceremony going in March. Take a gander and get ready to chime in:

BEST PICTURE:
1. Gravity
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. Philomena
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
6. Nebraska
7. Dallas Buyers Club
8. Captain Phillips
9. Her

DIRECTOR:
1. Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
2. David O. Russell - American Hustle
3. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
4. Alexander Payne - Nebraska
5. Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street

ACTOR:
1. Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
2. Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
4. Bruce Dern - Nebraska
5. Christian Bale- American Hustle

ACTRESS:
1. Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
2. Amy Adams - American Hustle
3. Judi Dench - Philomena
4. Sandra Bullock - Gravity
5. Meryl Streep - August: Osage County

SUPPORTING ACTOR:
1. Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
2. Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
3. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
4. Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
5. Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
1. Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
2. Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
3. June Squibb - Nebraska
4. Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
5. Julia Roberts - August: Osage County

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
1. Her
2. American Hustle
3. Nebraska
4. Blue Jasmine
5. Dallas Buyers Club

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Philomena
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Before Midnight

ANIMATED FEATURE:
1. Frozen
2. The Wind Rises
3. Despicable Me 2
4. Ernest & Celestine
5. The Croods

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. The Great Gatsby
3. Gravity
4. Her
5. American Hustle

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
1. Gravity
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
3. Nebraska
4. Prisoners
5. The Grandmaster

COSTUME DESIGN:
1. American Hustle
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. The Great Gatsby
4. The Invisible Woman
5. The Grandmaster

FILM EDITING:
1. Gravity
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. Captain Phillips
5. Dallas Buyers Club

MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING:
1. Dallas Buyers Club
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
3. The Lone Ranger

SOUND MIXING:
1. Gravity
2. Lone Survivor
3. Captain Phillips
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

SOUND EDITING:
1. Gravity
2. Lone Survivor
3. Captain Phillips
4. All is Lost
5. The Hobbit: The Desoltation of Smaug

VISUAL EFFECTS:
1. Gravity
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Iron Man 3
4. Star Trek into Darkness
5. The Lone Ranger

ORIGINAL SCORE:
1. Gravity
2. Saving Mr. Banks
3. Her
4. Philomena
5. The Book Thief

ORIGINAL SONG:
1. Frozen (Let It Go)
2. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Ordinary Love)
3. Her (The Moon Song)
4. Despicable Me 2 (Happy)
5. Alone Yet Not Alone (Alone Yet Not Alone)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
1. The Square
2. 20 Feet from Stardom
3. The Act of Killing
4. Cutie and the Boxer
5. Dirty Wars

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE:
1. The Great Beauty (Italy)
2. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
3. The Hunt (Denmark)
4. Omar (Palestine)
5. The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

ANIMATED SHORT:
1. Get a Horse!
2. Possessions
3. Mr. Hublot
4. Feral
5. Room on the Broom

DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
1. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
2. CaveDigger
3. Facing Fear
4. Karama Has No Walls
5. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

LIVE ACTION SHORT:
1. The Voorman Problem
2. Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
3. Helium
4. Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
5. Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)

Overall, I currently have it being a pretty disappointing night for American Hustle and a real good one for Gravity. I have the former taking a grand total of one statue, while the latter has the most wins overall with eight, including the big ones of Best Picture and Director. The only two other films that I have winning more than two Oscars (since I have Frozen winning two) are 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, who both go home with three statues. Basically, those movies and American Hustle have a notable win or two, while Gravity more than doubles up their win total.

So Gravity has the most quality and quantity, but American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave aren't out just yet. How do you see things going down? Am I on track here? Sound off with predictions below!

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  • DAVIDPD
    The best actor category is so good this year. I would have swapped Bale for Hanks, but the others were so bloody impressive.
    • Joey Magidson
      It's a stacked lineup, for sure.
  • Buzzfunk
    Best picture for...Gravity?? Are you serious? Aside from the awesome visuals and sound , the movie had nothing else going for it. And i hope Hustle gets left out. Its just really an empty, lame play. I'd say tho this was def Matthew McConaughey's year. MUD, Dallas Buyers Club and even the short appearance in Wolf were just all amazing performances. And i never used to like the dude. Hope he and the movie win. Also Leto was awesome. Hats off to him! Pure talent.
    • Joey Magidson
      I'm not going with personal preference, just the likely outcomes...
  • ali3000
    Picture: Her Director: Steve McQueen Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (It's about time) Actress: Judi Dench Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o Screenplay: Her Animated: The Croods Cinematography: Gravity Visual Effects: Hobbit - Smaug Soundtrack: Gravity Documentary: The Act Of Killing No one gives a shit about the other categories.
    • John M
      Just wondering... are these your predictions or your preferences? Because it wouldn't be a bad turnout for the night in terms of my personal taste, but unfortunately in reality some of these just have almost no chance of happening. Also, kind of short sighted to mention things like Cinematography & VFX, yet say no one cares about Production Design, Editing, Sound, etc. How exactly did you decide which of the technical categories people "give a shit" about?
      • Joey Magidson
        I was wondering the same.
      • ali3000
        Preference. And the "don't give a shit" remark pertains to viewers who get up and grab something to drink or eat, or maybe go take a piss while they announce the unmentioned categories and their respective winners.
        • Joey Magidson
          Fair enough then.
    • Joey Magidson
      I beg to differ about your last point...
  • Marty
    Everything seems about right to me.
    • Joey Magidson
      Much obliged.
  • Jeff Beck
    The only ones I believe you have incorrect are Production Design, Costume Design, Documentary Feature, and Documentary Short. The first two are heavily favored to go to The Great Gatsby, while the third is probably going to The Act of Killing (it's been the most popular doc throughout awards season by far). Documentary Short is heavily favored for The Lady in Number 6 (I have no basis for this other than the fact that 15/21 experts at Gold Derby are predicting it). The other 20 categories match my own predictions.
    • Joey Magidson
      I don't have much confidence in Gatsby winning anything, but I know that those are slightly longer shots. I still have a month to make up my mind for sure.
      • Jeff Beck
        The thing with Production Design and Costume Design is that that's where the Academy may feel the need to award American Hustle a "pity Oscar" since it's not favored for any of its ten nominations. Those are really the only places that they could swing a win its way at this point given that Her has Original Screenplay locked away (many thought Hustle had a chance here, but it's been continually defeated, with the WGA pretty much sealing the deal) and Nyong'o seems guaranteed to take Supporting Actress (favorite by far throughout the critics awards on top of winning the SAG award, solidifying her in first place over Lawrence). At this point, Hustle will probably have to settle for being the next True Grit or Gangs of New York (10 noms, 0 wins). As for Gatsby, it seems like the exact kind of flamboyant costumes and production design they love to award, even if they didn't like the film itself. We'll get a better sense of who's in the lead when the ADG announces on the 8th and the CDG on the 22nd, but I highly suspect it will be Gatsby taking both period categories.
        • Joey Magidson
          I can see Hustle getting its one win in Costume Design, though I believe Supporting Actress is closer than many think, considering the Academy's fondness for Jennifer Lawrence. We shall see though.
          • Jeff Beck
            It'd be pretty shocking to see Lawrence get two in a row. I was somewhat stunned after they gave Waltz a second Oscar after just three years.
          • Joey Magidson
            They've been looking for a new Oscar darling and she could be the one.
  • IamSlave
    For the love of God, give Leonardo his damn Oscar already.
    • Joey Magidson
      It doesn't look likely too this year, though we'll see.
  • Morvidus
    That would be Dame Judi Dench...
    • Joey Magidson
      I don't go in for the sirs and dames, she's just another person to me, so it's Judi Dench in my eyes.
  • Bo
    I must say, Joey, the only reason I read all this was because it was from you. I get a real chuckle out of your excitement and passion for all things doing with the Academy Awards/Oscars. Good for you. I long ago lost interest in who wins what, etc. You have to admit, in the larger scheme of things, all this Oscar stuff is totally meaningless and not important in the least. If anything, it just serves to distract the 'people' from the larger scheme of things and in that it seems to be successful. Still, I do enjoy reading your enthusiastic musings about it all Joey. Please, do keep it up...lol...
    • Joey Magidson
      Well, thanks, and I will.

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