Oscar nominations come out in the morning at 8:30 Eastern/5:30 Pacific, so I will be up at 7:15 or so in order to watch the announcement.
Anyway, here are my predictions for every single category.
All of my predictions are in order of likelihood, especially further down the list in each category:
1. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
6. Saving Mr. Banks
7. Captain Phillips
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
10. Dallas Buyers Club
First Ones In: Blue Jasmine; August: Osage County
Other Alternates: Philomena; Before Midnight
Thoughts: I am pretty much 100% confident that the first 7 will be nominated. If the Academy continues their trend of 9 nominees instead of 10, then I hope Dallas Buyers gets in ahead of Inside Llewyn Davis, even though Davis was very good.
1. Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
2. Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
3. Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
5. David O. Russell for American Hustle
First One In: Alexander Payne for Nebraska
Other Alternates: Spike Jonze for Her; Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine; J.C. Chandor for All Is Lost
Thoughts: The first 3 are virtual locks, and Greengrass is pretty much a lock too. I thought both Russell’s and Payne’s directorial efforts were sub-par, but they’re definitely the two people duking it out for that 5th spot.
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
2. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
3. Tom Hanks in Captain Hanks
4. Bruce Dern in Nebraska
5. Robert Redford in All Is Lost
First One In: Christian Bale in American Hustle
Second One In: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
Third One In: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis
Other Alternates: Joaquin Phoenix in Her; Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station; Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Thoughts: As long as Bale doesn’t get nominated, I will be happy. I would love for DiCaprio or Isaac to get on instead of the good-but-not-great Dern, but that doesn’t seem all that likely. So I’m going with the consensus prediction and hoping that American Hustle gets as little love as possible.
1. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
2. Sandra Bullock in Gravity
3. Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks
4. Judi Dench in Philomena
5. Meryl Streep in August: Osage County
First One In: Amy Adams in American Hustle
Other Alternates: Brie Larson in Short Term 12; Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is the Warmest Colour; Julie Delpy in Before Midnight
Thoughts: This seems to be the most set-in-stone category in recent years, which is not really necessarily a good thing. I liked Thompson more than most, but was very underwhelmed by Dench. I haven’t seen Blanchett, but I doubt I’d dislike her. I also haven’t seen Streep, but I figure she’s just doing Streep. I hope the Academy decides to broaden its horizons with Larson, Exarchopoulos, or Delpy, but I know it won’t. Also, while I did think Adams was decent, I don’t think she’s worthy. Also, why is Julia Roberts a supporting actress in August? I know she isn’t and I haven’t even seen it. What’s the deal with not recognizing brilliant voice work? Kristen Bell should 100% be in the conversation and she’s nowhere close.
Best Supporting Actor:
1. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
2. Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
3. Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
4. Daniel Brühl in Rush
5. James Gandolfini in Enough Said
First One In: Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Second One In: Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks
Third One In: Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
Other Alternates: nobody really
Thoughts: This is a fascinating category in my opinion. It has the potential, if my predictions are correct, to have 0 total Oscar nominations in it. That being said, Gandolfini is at risk to Cooper, who has 1 and was horrendous in his movie, and, despite their great success, either Abdi and Brühl could be replaced by Hanks. Anybody but Cooper, anybody but Cooper, anybody but Cooper, anybody but Cooper.
Best Supporting Actress:
1. Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave
2. Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
3. Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
4. June Squibb in Nebraska
5. Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
First One In: Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Other Alternates: nobody, but there should be, especially Sarah Paulson and Alfre Woodard in 12 Years, Carey Mulligan in Inside Llewyn, Jennifer Garner in Dallas Buyers, and Margot Robbie in The Wolf.
Thoughts: What a dreadfully weak category. This is always a weak category, but damn, this is bad. Going for Hawkins and not Winfrey is a real leap of faith, but I would prefer a stronger category.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
1. 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
2. The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
3. Philomena (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope)
4. Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
5. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy)
First One In: August: Osage County (Tracy Letts)
Other Alternates: Second One In: Lone Survivor (Peter Berg)
Thoughts: This is a strong category. 12 Years, Wolf, and Philomena are all very strong scripts, and I’ve also heard great things about Captain Phillips and Before Midnight. Lone Survivor is a major long-shot, and August: Osage County’s script just got some bad reviews, but it’s a definite threat to make it instead of Before Midnight.
Best Original Screenplay:
1. American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell)
2. Her (Spike Jonze)
3. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
4. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
5. Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
First One In: Dallas Buyers Club
Second One In: Enough Said
Other Alternates: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón)
Thoughts: This is also a weak category. Dallas Buyers is my favorite Original of the year (based on what I’ve seen, of course), and I did not like the screenplays to American Hustle and Nebraska, but this is almost certainly the lineup.
Best Animated Feature:
2. The Wind Rises
3. Monsters University
4. Despicable Me 2
5. Ernest and Celestine
First One In: The Croods
Other Alternates: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; Epic; Planes
Thoughts: Going with Ernest and Celestine instead of The Croods will, in all likelihood, come back to bite me, but they’ve surprised before with things like The Pirates! Band of Misfits, A Cat in Paris, Chico and Rita, The Illusionist, and The Secret of the Kells, so I’m hoping Ernest and Celestine with be this year’s The Triplets of Belleville.
Best Foreign Language Film:
First here’s the shortlist:
The Broken Down Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
The Notebook (Hungary)
Two Lives (Germany)
1. The Great Beauty (Italy)
2. The Hunt (Denmark)
3. The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
4. The Broken Down Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
5. Omar (Palestine)
First One In: Two Lives (Germany)
Second One In: The Notebook (Hungary)
Thoughts: The Great Beauty is the run-away favorite with The Hunter a distant second. Everything else is far behind. The Grandmaster benefits from its pedigree, and while Omar is perhaps slightly less likely than Two Lives, I’m giving it the nod because it’s directed by the guy who did Paradise Now, and I think name recognition, if that even exists for Hany Abu-Assad, will make a difference over Two Lives.
Best Documentary Feature:
First here’s the shortlist:
20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
The Armstrong Lie
The Crash Reel
Cutie and the Boxer
First Cousin Once Removed
God Loves Uganda
Life According to Sam
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
Stories We Tell
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?
1. The Act of Killing
2. Stories We Tell
4. The Square
5. The Armstrong Lie
First One In: 20 Feet from Stardom
Other Alternates: Tim’s Vermeer
Thoughts: While I do like documentaries, I see a negligible number of them (less than 1 per year) and have no idea about what’s going to be nominated here. The Act of Killing has garnered significant praise, as has Stories We Tell. The Armstrong Lie is, evidently, a long-shot, but it seems just the type of thing they’d go for. Alex Gibney, who directed Armstrong, is also receiving a Writers’ Guild Award for his career, so I could see him making it on. 20 Feet from Stardom, which is about backup singers or something just seems really boring to me, which is why I’m not putting it on.
Best Production Design:
Best Production Design:
1. The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker)
3. Gravity (Andy Nicholson and Rosie Goodwin)
4. American Hustle (Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler)
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dan Hennah and Ra Vincent)
First One In: Saving Mr. Banks (Michael Corenblith and Susan Benjamin)
Second One In: Oz: The Great and Powerful (Robert Stromberg and Nancy Haigh)
Other Alternates: Her (K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena)
Thoughts: I don’t really have any opinion here, other than that The Hobbit and 12 Years should be the only ones in the conversation for the win. American Hustle was very good but not great. In case people actually care about the category, though, I should explain that it is a combination of Art Direction and Set Design. Essentially that boils down to sets and props. Every set you see in a movie was drawn by a set designer and every prop was chosen to create the time and geographical setting, etc.
1. Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbit)
3. Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
4. Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
5. Prisoners (Roger Deakins
First One In: Captain Phillips (Barry Ackroyd)
Second One In: Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle)
Other Alternates: none
Thoughts: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are definite locks. Inside Llewyn Davis seems to be a lock too. So does Nebraska, even though that’s only because it’s in black-and-white. Prisoners is probably less likely than Captain Phillips and Rush, but I’m expecting the Academy to balk at Captain Phillips’s shakiness and for Deakins’ name recognition to propel him to his 10th nomination and, eventually, his 10th loss. If Lubezki doesn’t win this thing, it will be the biggest debacle since he lost for The Tree of Life 3 years ago.
Best Costume Design:
1. The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
3. American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
4. Saving Mr. Banks (Daniel Orlandi)
5. Oz: The Great and Powerful (Gary Jones)
First One In: The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor)
Other Alternates: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Trish Summerville); The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, and Richard Taylor)
Thoughts: American Hustle is more likely than Oz and Mr. Banks, and I hate that fact. I’d say this category is pretty solid, unless The Invisible Woman makes it in, which is a distinct possibility.
1. Gravity (Mark Sanger and Alfonso Cuarón)
2. Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
3. 12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Thelma Schoonmaker)
5. Rush (Daniel P. Hanley and Mike Hill)
First One In: American Hustle (Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers)
Other Alternates: none
Thoughts: Well-made, physical thrillers are always the best bets in this category, followed by Best Picture contenders, which is why I’m insane for going with Rush instead of American Hustle, but I just didn’t like the latter, and the former fits the bill, so there we have it. I’ll probably pay for it come the morning, but I don’t care.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
First the shortlist:
Dallas Buyers Club
The Great Gatsby
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Lone Ranger
1. American Hustle
2. Dallas Buyers Club
3. The Great Gatsby
First One In: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Other Alternates: The Lone Ranger
Thoughts: If Dallas Buyers isn’t nominated for this, I will flip out. If it’s not nominated for Best Picture, then, statistically, American Hustle cannot lose. If/When it does win, it quite possibly will be the film’s only worthy win.
Best Original Score:
1. Gravity (Steven Price)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Hans Zimmer)
3. The Book Thief (John Williams)
4. Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
5. Captain Phillips (Henry Jackman)
First One In: All Is Lost (Alex Ebert)
Other Alternates: Rush (Hans Zimmer)
Thoughts: All Is Lost won’t make it in because it won the Golden Globe. On the seldom occasions when the Globes get it right, the Oscars don’t. This will be an interesting duel between Gravity and 12 Years come Oscar night. Rush is technically the second one in, but that’s incredibly unlikely. Let’s be honest: John Williams is the only guy they’d nominate twice in one year nowadays. Also, if I’m correct, then congratulations to Thomas Newman for his 12th nomination and 12th loss in this category.
Best Original Song:
1. “Let It Go” from Frozen (written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and performed by Idina Menzel (film) and Demi Lovato (credits)) (Idina’s is the best)
2. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (written by U2 and Brian Burton and performed by U2)
3. “Young and Beautiful” (written by Lana Del Ray and Rick Nowels and performed by Del Ray)
4. The Moon Song (written by Karen Orzolek and Spike Jonze and performed by Karen O)
5. Atlas (written and performed by Coldplay)
First One In: “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 (written and performed by Pharrell Williams)
Other Alternates: “I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (written and performed by Ed Sheeran); “My Lord Sunshine” from 12 Years a Slave (written by Nicholas Britell and performed by David Hughey and Roosevelt Credit)
Thoughts: It’s a huge shame “In Summer”, and “Love Is an Open Door” to a lesser extent, from Frozen weren’t shortlisted. Same with “Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis.
Overall, I’ll probably only get the top three correct, as the music department votes incredibly oddly for this category every year. “I See Fire” didn’t really work with the movie in my opinion. I’m very happy “Ordinary Love” won the Globe because the Globes and the Oscars pretty much never match up in this category, and I want “Let It Go” to win incredibly badly.
Best Sound Editing
2. All Is Lost
3. Captain Phillips
5. 12 Years a Slave
First One In: Lone Survivor
Other Alternates: Pacific Rim
Thoughts: Most importantly, this means sound effects editing, so things like explosions, weather phenomena, car crashes, etc. This pretty much has more to do with sound creation than anything else. Thus, Gravity, All Is Lost, and Rush are locks, as is Captain Phillips.
2. Captain Phillips
3. All Is Lost
4. 12 Years a Slave
First One In: Inside Llewyn Davis
Other Alternates: absolutely none
Thoughts: This is the category for sound. So how well are all of the sound tracks (speech, score, crickets chirping, etc.) put together. Inside Llewyn Davis is on the outside looking in only because the other five are so strong in this regard. Rush, though, could lose its place.
Best Visual Effects:
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Pacific Rim
5. Star Trek Into Darkness
First One In: Iron Man 3
Other Alternates: World War Z
Thoughts: Gravity can’t lose (apologies in advance to the excellent effects by The Hobbit’s crew), so trying to figure out who else will be nominated is just an exercise in vanity. Anyway, Elysium has the umph the Academy needs, and Iron Man 3 doesn’t seem to really be anything special. World War Z suffers because it really only has zombies (at least that’s what it looked like to me as I didn’t actually subject myself to it).
Best Animated Short:
1. Get a Horse
2. Room on the Broom
3. Mr. Hublot
4. Subconscious Password
5. The Missing Scarf
First One In: Feral
Other Alternates: I have no idea
Thoughts: Get a Horse, which preceded Frozen, is the only one I’ve seen, and though it’s good, it’s nowhere near Flying Books from a few years ago, still the greatest short I’ve ever seen. I don’t care about the short categories at all, and from the way they nominate things in these 3 categories, it seems like Academy members don’t either.
Best Live Action Short:
1. The Voorman Problem
2. Tiger Boy
3. Dva (Two)
5. Throat Song
First One In: Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Other Alternates: Drawing from a hat might serve you better.
Thoughts: The Voorman Problem will probably win as it’s based on part number9dream by David Mitchell (who also wrote Cloud Atlas) and stars Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander. Other than that, see my last sentence for Best Animated Short.
Best Documentary Short:
1. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
2. Facing Fear
5. Jujitsu-ing Reality
First One In: Karama Has No Walls; Prison Terminal: Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Other Alternate: Recollections (I have just included all of the shortlisted shorts)
Thoughts: I really don’t have any idea what any of these are about and will never see a single one of them.