Final Oscar Predictions Update: Big Show is Sunday, It's Now or Never

February 28, 2014


At long last, it's time for my final Oscar predictions. I'm going to keep things slightly light on the commentary, since we've been discussing this so much, there's really not much left to do but plant your feet firmly in one direction or the other. I'll quickly be giving some analysis for the major categories, but much of what I've said remains true from my post-nomination predictions. A number of races are likely over, but a handful of the big ones are definitely up for grabs, which has me both excited and nervous. There's never been a year where I've expected to do worse with my predictions that this, but that's the sign of a tight race.

Best Picture is basically a coin flip. Convincing arguments can be made for both 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, with enough spoiler talk for American Hustle keeping it a firm hold in third place. How did I wind up making my decision? Simply put, I decided to avoid predicting a split between Best Picture and Best Director, as you'll see below. A case can be made for all three of these, but in the end I'm sticking with the most prudent line of thinking, which is to avoid the split.

With Best Director, we're all pretty sure that Alfonso Cuarón is holding off Steve McQueen and David O. Russell here, so by that token, that informed my thinking in the Picture category, which clearly is also a 12 Years a Slave (McQueen) vs American Hustle (Russell) vs Gravity (Cuarón) match-up. Now, if there's a split, it's far more likely to be a different movie taking Picture than a different director taking this Oscar, but then again, this is the year to break the rules. Still, Cuarón is the very safe bet, which only helps Gravity.

Best Actor

Best Actor is thankfully a pretty easy category to predict, as Matthew McConaughey is all but locked in. Leonardo DiCaprio has fallen way back (and The Wolf of Wall Street is likely to get shut out), so if there's an upset, it's coming from Bruce Dern (ditto for Nebraska in terms of a shut out) or more likely Chiwetel Ejiofor (especially if 12 Years a Slave is poised to take Best Picture) here. That being said, don't expect an upset, so this could/should be the start of a pretty good night for Dallas Buyers Club.

In Best Actress, what was apparently a tightening race between Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett has now more or less gone back to Blanchett well in the lead. A strong night for American Hustle could tip things back to Adams, but I wouldn't bet on even that keeping Blanchett from her second Academy Award on Sunday. Woody Allen's current issues might have sunk Blue Jasmine from having any shot in the Original Screenplay race, but it won't matter here.

Really, there's nothing to be said about Best Supporting Actor than to say that Jared Leto is going to win, so I won't say anything else. Mark Leto down in permanent marker for this particular category and move on, with Dallas Buyers Club picking up trophy number two.

Best Supporting Actress

On the flip side, Best Supporting Actress is the second closest race of them all, and easily the tightest of the acting categories, and another 12 Years a Slave vs American Hustle contest. Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o have vacillated back and forth for the last few weeks, and it seems like at the last moment Lawrence may have sneaked back into the lead, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Nyong'o is able to hold her off. If the latter's movie wins Best Picture, that can only help her cause, but since I'm not predicting that, I'm not predicting her either.

Best Adapted Screenplay is most likely going to go to 12 Years a Slave, but as I mentioned in my recent piece on potential Oscar night shutouts, watch out for Philomena. It's coming on strong at the last minute and will make things a little more tense for John Ridley than he expected. In the end, I think Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope will come up short, but they very well could pull off the upset, so watch out for that.

Finally, Best Original Screenplay is another close contest, with Spike Jonze seemingly in a great spot to win the Oscar here for Her, but the fly in the ointment being that this could be the spot to finally reward the aforementioned Russell for the American Hustle script he co-wrote with Eric Warren Singer. The statistics point to a Jonze victory though, so that's what I've picked.

Here now, at last, are my final predictions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Dallas Buyers Club
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
3. The Lone Ranger

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

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

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

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

1. Frozen (Let It Go)
2. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Ordinary Love)
3. Despicable Me 2 (Happy)
4. Her (The Moon Song)
[Note- No fifth nominee due to the disqualification of Alone Yet Not Alone]

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

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

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

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

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

So what's the final tally look like? By my predictions, Gravity will have the best night by far on Sunday, taking home seven Oscars, with the closest film behind it being Dallas Buyers Club with three wins. The only other movies with multiple trophies here are American Hustle and the animated contender Frozen, both of which only wind up with two. The other films only manage one each, making for a top heavy end. What do you think of all my final predictions? Who do you have taking home the big prizes?

Find more posts: Awards, Editorial



There you have, we wait.

Joey Magidson on Feb 28, 2014


Congrats on making it through another season.

Marty on Feb 28, 2014


Much obliged.

Joey Magidson on Feb 28, 2014


Well said. My big surprise that I'd love would be to see Her shock in Production Design.

Joey Magidson on Feb 28, 2014


I really want Leo to win. Hoping for a miracle Sunday night, but not holding my breath for one unfortunately. 🙁

FincherFan on Feb 28, 2014


There was a time...but that BAFTA loss more or less killed his chances.

Joey Magidson on Feb 28, 2014


Solid picks can't really disagree with anything you say. I think there will be a few shockers in the main categories. Have had a feeling since Monday that Chiwetel was going to win Best Actor, but my gut feeling maybe wrong. I would love to see Mcqueen win Director but I don't think it's going to happen. Other things I would like to see The Wind Rises winning Best Animated Feature would be a good way for Hayao Miyazaki to go out. Happy winning Best Original Song. I think Let It Go is a overrated song and the other songs touched me more. I love Happy the song is a bit repetitive but it puts me in a great mood every-time I hear it.

Jamie Bailey on Feb 28, 2014


We won't have long until all is revealed...

Joey Magidson on Feb 28, 2014


This costume design to American Hustle is screwing me up; I can't decide. Also I'm debating whether they will go with something like Gravity or 12 Years for Production Design. Jennifer Lawrence better not win. Nothing personal, she's great, but for everyone's sake; Lupita needs to win that one. Gravity will probably win best picture, but I'm sticking with 12 Years. It's probably foolish, but it feels like I've seen similar situations (Avatar vs The Hurt Locker, Gandhi vs E.T.) I'm not completely convinced that they see enough prestige in Gravity other than being a technical achievement. We shall see.

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


Why does someone need to win for anyone's sake, out of curiosity?

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


For Jennifer Lawrence's sake, the amount of "she's over-rated" backlash will storm down on her so bad. She's fantastic, truly. Her career I think would actually strive more from losing this one. Plus if there's one oscar 12 Years a Slave deserves the most, its Supporting Actress, Lupita was just astonishing.

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


I don't concern myself with any of that...just the predictions and if I think the performance is deserving on a personal level (which I don't factor into predictions but when I'm doing my own awards, etc), so I'm not worrying about that with Lawrence.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


Okay? Well I do. Haha, that is something that is just my personal opinion. Biases aside I do think Lupita will win as well. I would be open to switching to Lawrence though if there was something I'm overlooking. Is she winning because American Hustle needs an acting win, she's beloved, and was a stand out in the film?

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


Partly, and BAFTA is an incredibly accurate Supporting Actress predictor.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


Yeah, but SAG is just as solid a predictor as BAFTA. Not to mention, BAFTA did not award Lawrence last year for Silver Linings, so her win there kind of makes sense. No?

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


I don't buy into "make up" wins, so if anything, I think BAFTA means more. Also, you could make the argument that SAG felt Lawrence was being honored by the Ensemble win for American Hustle, so there's that as well.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


I guess what it comes down to it, you're predicting Gravity for picture. In order for 12 Years to win, I need that Lupita win. If she loses, then I can probably expect Gravity taking it home. What a close crazy year.

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


That's one key category to watch. The techs could say a lot too. Honestly, I think 12 Years a Slave is just as likely to win and American Hustle is a lot closer than people think and could easily benefit from a vote split. I'm sticking with Gravity mainly because I'm loathe to predict a split with Director.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


So you don't subscribe to the idea that voters may want to award gravity and 12 years both, by splitting? I mean it's happened a few times, is it just unlikely to predict it?

movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014


As a general rule, I never assume that voters have a plan, since they don't all get together and make their decisions. That kind of outcome is merely the luck of the draw.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


Yeah, you're probably right. DGA winners usually means best picture and splits rarely happen. Gravity is sweeping the tech categories and director, I don't know why I'm so hesitant to mark it picture.

movieguyryan . on Mar 2, 2014


You're not alone. I'd just as soon predict 12 Years a Slave or even the American Hustle upset. I just never see a good reason to split from director unless we have a situation like last year. I'm playing it safe.

Joey Magidson on Mar 2, 2014


Thanks for posting these articles during the past award season! I agree with a lot of your picks. We disagree on a few, though: Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o Best Film Editing: Gravity Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing We'll have to wait until Sunday to find out!

Steven F on Mar 1, 2014


My pleasure.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014


Best Picture: 12 Years Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto Best Director: Scorcese Best Original Screenplay: Her and….. Best Actor: LEO

jensen on Mar 1, 2014


Highly unlikely for Actor and Director.

Joey Magidson on Mar 1, 2014

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