2014 predictions: Oscar goes home with…

There’s no high-profile underdog to cheer for this year in the Oscars 2014 race. Ben Affleck isn’t back. But Barkhad Abdi, who plays a Somali pirate boarding a cargo ship in Captain Phillips, is close. A chilling performance, a first-time actor and an improvised line that will probably go into the annals of film history.

It has been a rich year for films, both studio and independent. Fully realized – great scripts, great performances, great direction etc. Hard choices for academy members ahead.

Many of my top 10 films of 2013 are scattered among the nominations, with noticeable exceptions of course. Let’s roll with my predictions for the top categories based on the Oscar 2014 nominations.

nominated films, academy awards 2014, fun and games, opinion and commentary, oscar 2014 predictions, oscar 2014 snubs

Best picture: I’ve been rooting for 12 Years a Slave since I saw it. That Chiwetel Ejiofor has been a favorite actor of mine for years, along with a superb cast, great direction and an unearthed book by and about Solomon Northrup’s life, works for me. I’m calling it to win. And if Her wins, I’d be happy too.

Best director: Huge fan of Steve McQueen, but I see Alfonso Cuarón (huge fan of his too) taking Oscar home. I enjoyed experiencing Gravity – props to Cuarón for creating the sense of weightlessness in space.

Best actor: Matthew McConaughey all the way – allright? He transformed his career from a so-so rom-com lead into a terrific character actor. He’s done great work in the past few years: Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Mud along with his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. It’s his time. My sentimental choice is Mr Ejiofor.

Best actress: Unless the Woody Allen backlash does her in, Cate Blanchett has been the frontrunner since Blue Jasmine was released. Great performances by Cate and the cast, but I didn’t love the film. Since my choice, Julie Delpy, in Before Midnight was snubbed, Amy Adams may be the could-win.

Best supporting actor: I’d be shocked if Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club didn’t win. He’s taken nearly every other major award. I’d be good with that. I’d also be good with Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave. Never gonna happen.

Best supporting actress: The showdown is Lupita Nyong’o vs Jennifer Lawrence. I’m calling it for Lupita, but Hollywood loves JLaw. A two-peat? Maybe. Kudos to Sally Hawkins who consistently delivers excellent work.

Best foreign language film: Having slacked off (saw only two of the noms) this year, I’m going with the Fellini-esque A Great Beauty which seems to be mounting a campaign. The Hunt was a great film, but it’s a long shot. So surprised that Blue is the Warmest Color didn’t make the cut.

Best documentary feature: I saw four of the five nominations, and The Act of Killing is like nothing I’ve seen before. I’m calling it the winner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the crowd pleaser 20 Feet from Stardom sneaks in. Polar opposites.

And now for the snubs. I know it was a year overflowing with good work, but these omissions hurt:

  • actor Joaquim Phoenix and director Spike Jonze / Her
  • director Paul Greengrass / Captain Phillips
  • documentary nomination for Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell
  • actor Oscar Isaac, the Coen brothers and the film Inside Llewyn Davis
  • the film Before Midnight

Cast your votes online. Ballots at the NYTiimes or LATimes. Do both, one as predictions, one as wishes.

All will be revealed on 2 march. Until then… we wait.

What have you predicted? What are you rooting for?

PS > Enjoy the trailer for one of the Oscar-nominated animated film shorts, Mr Hublot.

Images: Character stills / film posters, © each respective film.

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