The 86th Academy Awards: My Picks and Predictions

The Oscar ceremony is almost upon us now, so what better time to post my personal picks and predictions! Unfortunately, I didn’t do too well in keeping up with 2013 releases and the films that were nominated this year (usually I’d like to watch all the nominees for Best Animated Feature and Best Cinematography and at least some of the ones nominated for Best Foreign Language Film). But I did manage to watch all the films nominated in the 8 major categories, which isn’t too hard since the Academy hasn’t been so diverse in the films they’ve nominated lately. But I digress…part of the Oscars fun, of course, is trying to predict the winners. I did really well last year and only got 3 wrong in my predictions, so hopefully, I do just as well this year but I’m not counting on it since I haven’t been as invested this year. Anyway, I’ll try to predict the winners in all the categories but will only share my personal picks in the major 8 categories. Best Picture

First, my personal ranking of the nominees, from best to worst:

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

This ranking is a mix of how much I enjoyed the film and how good I thought it was on a technical level. I thoroughly enjoyed what I put in the top 5, so if the Academy still had 5 nominees for Best Picture, I’d be very happy if they happened to go with what I picked. I thought Philomena and Dallas Buyers Club were fine, but I wouldn’t put them up for Best Picture. The last two were just okay for me, and I’ll just say I really don’t understand the love American Hustle has been getting from critics and Academy members. The race seems to be really tight between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, especially after they tied for the PGA. So ultimately for my prediction, I’m going with 12 Years a Slave, though maybe the Academy will award a sci-fi film the highest honor for the first time, we’ll have to wait and see!

My PickHer
My Prediction12 Years a Slave

Best Director

Since Alfonso Cuarón has won most of the Best Director awards this season, it’s really his Oscar to lose. And it’s a very deserving win. If he doesn’t win for some reason, it’ll most likely go to Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave.

My Pick: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
My Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Best Actor

Fine performances from all the nominees, but only 3 of them really stuck with me: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Bruce Dern. Unfortunately, I don’t think either of them has a chance of winning at this point, but I am hoping for a surprise win. McConaughey seems to be a lock now though as he’s won most of the awards this season. It also helps that he’s been visible elsewhere, such as in The Wolf of Wall Street and True Detective. I do wish he was nominated for Mud instead, though; I preferred that performance over his work in Dallas Buyers Club.

My Pick: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave OR Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
My Prediction: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

Great performances all-around, but it’s hard to ignore Cate Blanchett’s turn in Blue Jasmine. Amy Adams is the only one in this category who hasn’t won previously, so there’s a small chance at an upset. And I’d love to see her win, but I’d rather she win for something else, but hopefully in the future, she does win in the Best Actress category! Anyway, I’m glad Blanchett will [probably] win an Oscar in this lead category, she deserves it.

My Pick: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
My Prediction: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor

There’s only one performance here that I didn’t think was Oscar-worthy, and that’s Bradley Cooper in American Hustle. I’ll just say he gave a much more worthy performance in The Place Beyond the Pines. I liked Jared Leto’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club and thought he was the best part of the film, but something about it rubs me the wrong way…it’s probably because the role should have gone to a woman or a transgender woman. But anyway, aside from all of that, another good line-up of nominees. I don’t have too much of a personal favorite here, though; all the nominees gave varied performances.

My Pick: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave OR Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
My Prediction: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress

An interesting mix of nominees. Last year I thought Jennifer Lawrence had the weakest performance in her category, and it’s the same case here. I actually like her as an actress, mostly in Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games franchise, but I haven’t enjoyed her collaborations with David O. Russell. Unfortunately, she’s a strong favorite to win. And she has the best chance of winning in her category compared to her co-stars, and history shows that if a film gets nominated in all four acting categories, at least one of them will win (the only time this didn’t happen was for My Man Godfrey and Sunset Blvd., sadly). But I have faith that Lupita Nyong’o’s incredible performance will have grabbed more attention, plus she’s been more visible this awards season.

My Pick: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
My Prediction: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay

Her is easily the most original of the nominees in this category. But it has some serious competition with American Hustle, and the Academy obviously loves the latter film and David O. Russell more (for some reason…). I’m going to stick with Her for my prediction, though, and I really hope I’m right.

My PickHer
My PredictionHer

Best Adapted Screenplay

I can’t speak for how these screenplays adapted from their original source and if it was translated well on film since I didn’t read the original source. Though there is an exception with Before Midnight, which I believe goes into the Adapted Screenplay category because it’s a sequel. Though I did enjoy The Wolf of Wall Street more as a whole, 12 Years a Slave has a very powerful story and is translated well onscreen.

My Pick12 Years a Slave OR Before Midnight
My Prediction12 Years a Slave gravity And now the rest of my predictions…

Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Best Foreign Language FilmThe Great Beauty
Best Cinematography: Gravity
Best EditingCaptain Phillips
Best Production DesignGravity
Best Costume DesignAmerican Hustle
Best Makeup and HairstylingDallas Buyers Club
Best Original ScoreGravity
Best Original Song: “Let It Go” from Frozen
Best Sound MixingGravity
Best Sound EditingGravity
Best Visual EffectsGravity
Best Documentary20 Feet from Stardom
Best Documentary Short FilmThe Lady in Number 6
Best Animated Short FilmGet a Horse!
Best Live Action Short FilmHelium

So there it is, from my predictions it looks like Gravity will sweep the awards. Though it’s fun being right, I am hoping for a few good surprises, especially in the major categories. The ceremony itself seems pretty promising, though I’m a little disappointed that the Academy didn’t choose to honor the 75th anniversary of films released in 1939 in general and is instead just focusing on The Wizard of Oz. Still, I’m really looking forward to it! And I’m very interested to see how the theme of “heroes” will play out in the ceremony.

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