Oscar Nomination Predictions

For the sake of posterity, and because why the heck not, let’s make Oscar predictions so we can all have a good laugh about this later, huh?

I have “Will be Nominated” sections, and then my “Wish List” sections. For the sake of keeping this from being a Top Ten List, let’s keep that wish list to films that are in the conversation/have a realistic outside chance of a nomination come tomorrow morning. (Note: I’ve seen every picture likely to be in the conversation nominations-wise with the exception of August: Osage County, Ernest & Celestine, and The Wind Rises.)

Best Picture

Will Be Nominated: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity, Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Dallas Buyers Club (Intentionally keeping this one small. Anywhere from 5-10 films can be nominated, but in years where a lot of first place votes get thrown the way of a small batch of films [like Slave or Hustle] the likelihood of a large field of movies with less animated support is unlikely, so I’m including those movies about which people seem to be absurdly passionate, and have left off movies that will end up third or fourth on a lot of ballots but first on very few like Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks. Still, I’ve been realistic and left off darlings that will be in first on ballots they show up on, but not on enough ballots, like Inside Llewyn Davis and Before Midnight.)

Wish List: Her, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Blue is the Warmest Color, Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club, Before Midnight, Fruitvale Station, The Butler (Give me ten slots to play with, these are the ten Oscar hopefuls I’d pray for. Notice a distinct lack of Captain Phillips and American Hustle; I believe those films are more than adequate but there’s better stuff out there to honor. I think hopefuls Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks are even further down my totem pole, I’d actually be a bit sad to see them nominated, moreso in Banks’s case. Note that this is not my top ten list. I’ve left tiny films like Short Term 12 and Gimme the Loot, as well as comedies like The World’s End and About Time, off this list because the notion their names might be called tomorrow is sadly laughable.)

Best Actor

Will Be Nominated: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street) (This is a stacked field. It is also pretty set, with little hope of a lock like Hanks being switched for a pleasant surprise like Forrest Whitaker in The Butler. I’ve opted for one sort-of-surprise in leaving out Robert Redford, the movie legend ascending, for his near-silent performance in All Is Lost, instead deciding to include Leo, who many think will be left out in the cold for starring in a controversial movie in which he holds a lit candle clenched in his buttcheeks.)

Wish List: Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Michael B. Jordan (Fruivale Station), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), (That said, please let Leo finally win his Oscar for a movie in which he holds a lit candle clenched in his buttcheeks. Also, instead of Hanks, who is pretty mundane until the last ten or so minutes when he finally reaches virtuosic levels, and Dern, whose old crank routine hardly seems Oscar-worthy to me, lets include Michael B. Jordan for one of greatest breakout performances of all time and Oscar Isaac for portraying an unsympathetic crank sympathetically.)

Best Actress

Will Be Nominated: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Amy Adams (American Hustle) (A set of frequently nominated actresses line up behind Blanchett, to whom everyone agrees to lose in splendidly outlandish fashion. But which actress sneaks in to that last spot, the most recognized actress of all time, Meryl, or the newish kid on the block, Amy Adams. Meryl’s film is the only one I haven’t seen, but it’s been savaged enough that I think Amy Adam’s heavily praised performance gets in here. But Iron Lady was torn apart too, and Meryl didn’t just get nominated for it; she won for it. Can anything stop her?)

Wish List: Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Judi Dench (Philomena) (I call shenanigans on this whole darn category, with the exception of Sandy, who I would not mind winning. While I appreciate what Cate does for Woody Allen, I don’t quite see the universal adoration and locked-in win. I’d be willing to trade her in for the Dame, who gives a very delicate and gentle performance in a film that is less delicate and gentle, for my last slot. But for me that fifth slot is a toss-in anyway. The first four are the ones that matter here. I bonded with these four woman this year. I felt like, while I was in the theater with them, I was a part of the lives of Dr. Ryan Stone, Adele, Grace, and, of course, Celine, in her third go around with Jesse. Ebert called movies empathy machines, and my empathy was most in lock-step when these ladies commanded the screen.)

Best Supporting Actor

Will Be Nominated: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), James Gandolfini (Enough Said), Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street) (Call me crazy, but I think the Academy is less offended as a whole by Wolf of Wall Street than they’ve been made out to be. If they nominated Jonah Hill for Moneyball, they can nominate him over Bradley Cooper for this. Let’s say hypothetically they have enough of a funny bone to laugh at Jonah on Lemmons; they probably also can see appreciating Gandolfini in a romantic comedy as more than just a memorial award. Following this line of reasoning, they would be appreciating the warmest comedic performance of the year.)

Wish List: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), James Gandolfini (Enough Said), Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street) (Believe it or not, I won’t change a thing. This would be perfect. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some supporting performances outside the Academy spectrum I loved: Matthew Goode in Stoker, Bill Nighy in About Time, Nick Frost in The World’s End, Jake Johnson in Drinking Buddies. But if we’re talking likely picks, and, out of the field, this would work swimmingly for me.)

Best Supporting Actress

Will Be Nominated: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), June Squibb (Nebraska), Lupita Nyongo (12 Years a Slave), Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) (Fruitvale Station, once the talk of the town, has a strong chance of being nominated for nothing. I expect those who care about the film to rally around most-likely-nominee Spencer, she of past wins. [Melonie Diaz would be an equally valid rallying cause for this movie, but Spencer has Academy clout Diaz does not.] This would knock out Julia Roberts for a film no one seems to like or Sally Hawkins for a film people seem to like for one reason, and that reason is not Hawkins.Which seems fine with me.)

Wish List: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), June Squibb (Nebraska), Lupita Nyongo (12 Years a Slave), Scarlett Johansson (Her), Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) (I’ve already voiced displeasure with Hustle and Nebraska, but Lawrence and Squibb are so far and away the best things about those films, nominations are absolutely merited. They, like Nyongo, don’t steal the scenes they’re in, they make the scenes they’re in electric, upping everyone else’s game. Johansson is so unlikely to be recognized for her voicework as an Operating System, she may as well appear at the ceremony the same way she appeared physically in Jonze movie – not at all. Too bad. Samantha the OS may be one of the most complete, interesting film characters ever created, which is fascinating because we are only given her experience through our male protagonist’s eyes. Woodley should have been nominated for her role in The Descendants, 110%, and wasn’t. She won’t be for this teen romance either, which is a sad sad crime.)

Best Director

Will Be Nominated: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Spike Jonze (Her), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) (If I expect the Academy to punish Wolf of Wall Street anywhere it’s here. Marty won recently, finally, so he’s not owed, and the director’s branch seems to love doing new weird things now. But having both Jonze and the Coens would be too weird, so only one can come. Jonze’s film goes down smoother for most, so Jonze it is. As for Greengrass, the parts of his film’s that work, the down-the-middle thriller stuff, should get recognition here.)

Wish List: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Martin Scorsese (Wolf of Wall Street), Spike Jonze (Her), Edgar Wright (The World’s End) (Well I’m not going to punish Marty, am I? His film is brilliant. As for Wright, I know I broke my own rule since this nomination is so far off it’s science fiction. That said, Academy, recognize Wright and I will love you forevermore.)

Best Animated Feature

Will Be Nominated: Frozen, The Wind Rises, The Croods, Ernest & Celestine, Despicable Me 2 (No Pixar?!? No Pixar…)

Wish List: Frozen, Epic, The Wind Rises, Monsters University (Have I seen The Wind Rises yet? No. Even I’m not hard-hearted enough to take away Miyazaki’s chance on his [probable] last try. Come on! And wherefore art that fifth film? Didn’t want to add one. My wish list, I can do what I want. Didn’t see anything else that deserved it.)

Let’s see how absurdly far off I am in the morning kids!