December Oscar Prediction Update: Will Oscar Voters Do the 'Hustle'?

December 9, 2013

American Hustle

Somehow, it's December already folks! All of the contenders have been seen (yes, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street are known commodities, if you can believe it), which is pretty crazy on its own. The precursor season has begun, films are being honored/ignored, and the very beginnings of some real evidence can be used in trying to figure out the Oscar race. We're knee deep in it now ladies and gents, and I'm personally updating my predictions every single day like a crazy person/serious awards prognosticator. As such, you'll notice some big changes in my predictions from last time, but that's expected. More below!

I'm also going to show you who would likely be next in line (from my perspective) for the big eight categories, so you'll get a good sense of where my mind is at and perhaps see things a little bit differently than usual. What follows once again is a rundown of some of my major transitions in the race so you know why I'm predicting what I'm predicting. You'll see the nominations in full after that, but once again, don't read too much into them just yet (though don't take them too lightly either now). It's crunch time!

It took months, but I've finally started predicting 12 Years a Slave and Steve McQueen to win Best Picture/Best Director. I'm not incredibly firm on that, but with American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street shaping up as more minor threats (depending on who you ask, of course) than major monster contenders. The former has an outside chance still, especially if Academy members opt to play it safe but don't want to just go for something small like Nebraska.

In any event, I'll be discussing this more thoroughly soon), I just don't see anything beating it right now. Honestly, the biggest competitor might be Nebraska, but that's not really a fair fight. It's possible that Gravity can still make some big moves (it's doing very well on the precursor circuit so far) or that Saving Mr. Banks can come on late, but with Captain Phillips apparently fading fast in the minds of many (though still poised to recover somewhat with Oscar's tech categories at least), I'm just not sure what will pose a legitimate threat to McQueen's flick, at least at this moment.

Captain Phillips

You'll see the totals at the end, but it's clear that films like Captain Phillips are going to have to fight for the attention they thought they'd get previously, while something like Her perhaps is going to do better than expected. Among the notable additions and subtractions you'll see below, I've temporarily abandoned hope of Adele Exarchopolous cracking a veteran Best Actress lineup, I've removed James Gandolfini from the Best Supporting Actor lineup (for now), and I've decided to toy with Tom Hanks getting just one nominatio. Also, I still have Meryl Streep getting snubbed and have new winners in a lot of the big categories (including one that some of you might find rather shocking). It's a whole new ballgame.

The first handful of precursors haven't shown me anything definitive (and I cautioned earlier this year not to get too up or down based on them), so I didn't rely on them too heavily, but they did factor into my thinking somewhat, especially in terms of support for certain contenders. In the end though, these are educated guesses and hunches as much as anything. That sort of open ended nature is reflected in how I have almost nothing getting shut out (the notable one there is Blue is the Warmest Color, which I think will come close in a few places but ultimately miss). I'll tighten the reigns soon and begin shunning more films to the zero nomination zone, but this week at least, I'm still casting a wide net.

Here now are my up-to-date predictions now for you to look at and judge as you see fit. I'll definitely be updating these again soon, likely before the end of the month but for now (since honestly, I keep tinkering, which is why this is a little later than usual), this is how I see things going down, with the next in line predictions included now too as promised:

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

(Next in line: 11. Dallas Buyers Club, 12. Blue Jasmine, 13. Lee Daniels' The Butler, 14. Blue is the Warmest Color, 15. Before Midnight, 16. Philomena, 17. August: Osage County, 18. Stories We Tell, 19. Frozen, 20. All is Lost)

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

(Next in line: 6. Spike Jonze - Her, 7. Ethan and Joel Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis, 8. Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips, 9. John Lee Hancock - Saving Mr. Banks, 10. Peter Berg - Lone Survivor)

1. Bruce Dern - Nebraska
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
3. Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
4. Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Robert Redford - All is Lost

(Next in line: 6. Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips, 7. Joaquin Phoenix - Her, 8. Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis, 9. Christian Bale - American Hustle, 10. Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station)

1. Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
2. Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks
3. Sandra Bullock - Gravity
4. Amy Adams - American Hustle
5. Judi Dench - Philomena

(Next in line: 6. Adele Exarchopolous - Blue is the Warmest Color, 7. Meryl Streep - August: Osage County, 8. Kate Winslet - Labor Day, 9. Brie Larson - Short Term 12, 10. Shailene Woodley - The Spectacular Now)

1. Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks
2. Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
3. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
4. Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Will Forte - Nebraska

(Next in line: 6. James Gandolfini - Enough Said, 7. Jake Gyllenhaal - Prisoners, 8. Bradley Cooper - American Hustle, 9. George Clooney - Gravity, 10. John Goodman - Inside Llewyn Davis)

1. Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
2. Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
3. Oprah Winfrey - Lee Daniels' The Butler
4. June Squibb - Nebraska
5. Jennifer Garner - Dallas Buyers Club

(Next in line: 6. Scarlett Johansson - Her, 7. Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine, 8. Julia Roberts - August: Osage County, 9. Lea Seydoux - Blue is the Warmest Color, 10. Octavia Spencer - Fruitvale Station)

1. Nebraska
2. American Hustle
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Saving Mr. Banks
5. Her

(Next in line: 6. Blue Jasmine, 7. Gravity, 8. Fruitvale Station, 9. Dallas Buyers Club, 10. Prisoners)

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Before Midnight
4. Philomena
5. August: Osage County

(Next in line: 6. Captain Phillips, 7. Blue is the Warmest Color, 8. Lone Survivor, 9. Short Term 12, 10. The Spectacular Now)

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

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

1. Gravity
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Captain Phillips
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. Lone Survivor

1. American Hustle
2. Saving Mr. Banks
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. The Great Gatsby
5. The Invisible Woman

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Captain Phillips
5. Inside Llewyn Davis

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

1. Gravity
2. Rush
3. Captain Phillips
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. All is Lost

1. Gravity
2. Rush
3. Captain Phillips
4. Lone Survivor
5. Man of Steel

1. Gravity
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Pacific Rim
4. Iron Man 3
5. World War Z

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

1. Frozen (Let It Go)
2. Her (The Moon Song)
3. The Great Gatsby (Young and Beautiful)
4. Short Term 12 (So You Know What It's Like)
5. 20 Feet from Stardom (Desperation)

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

1. Wadjda (Saudi Arabia)
2. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
3. The Past (Iran)
4. Bethlehem (Israel)
5. The Great Beauty (Italy)

1. Get a Horse!
2. Requiem for Rmance
3. The Missing Scarf
4. Room on the Broom
5. Possessions

2. Cave Digger
3. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
4. Karama Has No Walls
5. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

1. Tiger Boy
2. Helium
3. Record/Play
4. The Voorman Problem
5. Kush

Lastly, for those of you who keep count, these are the films that I have doing the best here in December: 12 Years a Slave leads the way once more with 11 nominations (but now with a half dozen wins, including the two big ones). Right behind now is Gravity with nine nods (and four wins), then American Hustle with eight noms (which morphs into three wins), followed by Nebraska (six nominations, two wins), Saving Mr. Banks (six noms, one win), and The Wolf of Wall Street (six nods but no wins) tied for next in line. Rounding out the field of top nomination getters we have Captain Phillips (five nominations) Inside Llewyn Davis (five nominations), and Her (four nominations), none of which I have winning anything. There's still no overwhelming juggernaut, but that could change soon.

Of course, this is just my personal take on the race, so I'm as always more than a little bit curious to find out what you think about the nominations. Are your predictions still mostly in line with mine, even as I start to mix things up? Am I backing something much too strongly for your taste? Did I rather unjustly short change something this time out? I'm always game for a good Oscar-centric debate as you no doubt know by now, so feel free to chime in. That's all part of the fun of making Oscar predictions each year! Sound off below!

Find more posts: Awards, Editorial



I'll likely have another update before the end of the month, so stay tuned there...

Joey Magidson on Dec 9, 2013


Will the race actually be that different?

Kim on Dec 9, 2013


At least a little bit, yes...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


I thought you did an update every day. :o)

Michael English on Dec 9, 2013


Oh I do, I just don't publish those...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


I'd swap out Payne for either Jonze or the Coens in Director, and Jennifer Garner seems like a long shot for Supporting Actress, but otherwise these look totally solid.

mylesedwardhughes on Dec 9, 2013


Trust me, I came close to doing just that. As for Garner, I've seen her in more of my colleagues' predictions than I expected to, so that's partially why I've taken a flyer on her. Wouldn't be out on a limb alone for that one...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


I'm willing to bet my house on "12 Years a Slave" to win Best Picture.

Al Apone on Dec 9, 2013


That would be the safest bet at the moment, yes, but it's still early-ish to be saying that...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


The Act Of Killing will be nominated and possibly win Best Documentary. It has won many awards already.

Jordan Russell on Dec 9, 2013


The precursors so far have very little bearing on the Oscars, both in terms of nominations and wins. It's got a good shot at being nominated, but it could easily miss too, especially considering how competitive that race will be...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


No 'Act of Killing' in the best Documentary?

Zack Daley on Dec 9, 2013


It will be in, no question.

Michael English on Dec 9, 2013


It's hardly a lock, and in fact, none of the nominees I have are. That category could go in a number of different directions...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


It's the #6 for me there. That category is likely to snub a handful of worthy films, so that just happens to be the one I see missing right now...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Seems that you are being bold in certain places, which I like.

Kim on Dec 9, 2013


I try to be accurate as much as anything, but being bold never hurts either...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Great article, I've been wondering if Captain Phillips just got lost in a season of more "important" films. Especially considering how familiar and repetitive the style feels compared to Greengrass other works, plus Hanks can just ride the Banks ticket with such a weak supporting category this year. (Gandolfini seems like a lock for a nod at this point to me which I find somewhat shocking, though obviously we disagree there)

Andrew John Bundy on Dec 9, 2013


Thank you kindly, and basically yes...that's what has happened with Captain Phillips. As for Gandolfini, it'll just come down to how Supporting Actor shapes up, since he'll have a solid section of support.

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


It is a very long road to the end. And this year is very different than any we have seen in some time. Always annoyed when people compare the year to the one previous or even the past two or three. I get statistics but emotion and politics are players every year (there is no "Argo" this year - it won on the lack of direction nom, we know and that is not a bad thing). At this point I think 12 Years will rebound any issues that it is having. But I think this year is primed for a BP/Director split (which I love - I hate hearing those must match. Then why have 2 categories?). And the Academy really wants a black Director win. Sorry if that sounds harsh. They love patting their backs, this year is perfect for that. I think Blanchett's statue has been engraved already (as well as Gravity for cinematography). McQueen's is close. Now give me a best original screenplay for Her and I'm done and happy. Cheers.

Michael English on Dec 9, 2013


It is certainly a long road, no doubt about that...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


I'm with you on a Her citation being something that'll be pleasing in the end, but I do disagree about the Picture/Director least at the current moment.

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Am I the only one who thinks Nebraska is a very mediocre film and that Bruce Dern's performance is nothing special?

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 9, 2013


Same with Will Forte. Bruce Dern acted like an old man (half his lines were "what!?") and Will Forte was... Will Forte.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 9, 2013


I definitely disagree with Forte playing himself, since it's nothing like anything he's done previously (or what he's like in person either), but you're certainly entitled not to care for the movie...Oscar likely will go for it though.

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


I was just completely unconvinced by Forte's performance, every time he spoke I was reminded that I was watching a movie.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 11, 2013


Fair enough I suppose...

Joey Magidson on Dec 11, 2013


You're not alone, but most seem to be embracing it, especially Dern. I'm not over the moon for the flick, but I do think he gives a tremendous performance...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Seems like pretty reliable information here!

Jess on Dec 9, 2013


Much obliged...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Glad to have the scoop from ya!

Jess on Dec 10, 2013


My pleasure...

Joey Magidson on Dec 11, 2013


I thought 12 YEARS A SLAVE had it locked from the beginning of the year. I think I even mentioned it on Joey's first Oscar article. There is no other way.

DAVIDPD on Dec 9, 2013


It's hardly locked, but it's slowly but surely treading water while nothing else rises to meet it...

Joey Magidson on Dec 10, 2013


Wow, a very interesting and thorough article. Can't wait to see how the awards really turn out. Personally I'd love to see Gravity steal the show!

M.B. on Dec 10, 2013


Thanks, and we shall see what happens...

Joey Magidson on Dec 11, 2013


I want to see Gravity take a number of awards, particularly those technical ones and sound.

cobrazombie on Dec 11, 2013


It will likely win most of the technical awards, if not all of them...

Joey Magidson on Dec 11, 2013

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