It’s that time of year again, the biggest awards show of the year is upon us. 2013 brought some of the best movies I have ever seen and there are many worthy nominees this year. For the first time, I have not only seen every movie nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, but also all the movies with acting nominees. These are my picks, who I would give the awards to if it was only up to me. As I point out below, some of them are different that who is expected to win, but I make sure to explain why. With that cleared up, I present my 2014 Oscar predictions.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts August: Osage County, June Squibb Nebraska
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave
This was a tough category to choose because if any of them except Roberts won, I wouldn’t complain. But Nyong’o goes above and beyond in her breakout role as a slave-girl, Patsey. What makes this movie so shocking is this performance, which is both scary and stunning. She deserves to win because she had the most difficult role.
If anyone comes close, it’s Lawrence as Rosalyn in American Hustle. This character didn’t have much do to do, but Lawrence again proves she has very wide range in her performances. Squibb in Nebraska was hilarious but comedy is rarely rewarded. Hawkings in Blue Jasmine was one of my favourite parts of that movie, while Roberts was nominated just because she swears a lot in August: Osage County.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper American Hustle, Michael Fassbender 12 Years a Slave, Jonah Hill The Wolf on Wall Street, Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club
Winner: Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club
Since TIFF, I have pegged Fassbender for this role. But once I saw Dallas Buyers Club I don’t see how anyone but Leto can win. He plays a cross-dresser the whole time and it is an incredible performance. Being a supporting character, he doesn’t do a whole lot, but he takes what he has and is a star. Leto has been winning this award all the way up to the Oscars and will take the top prize too.
Which really sucks for Fassbender, who will have to wait another year to win. His villain role in 12 Years a Slave is so believable and he brings kind of commitment needed for someone as racist as his character Edwin Epps. The next best performance was Hill in The Wolf on Wall Street who is so crazy in the movie that it is extremely entertaining. Abdi was good in Captain Phillips but he doesn’t compete with the others. And I really hated American Hustle and while Cooper tries his best, but the character is just so pointless.
Nominees: Amy Adams American Hustle, Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock Gravity, Judi Dench Philomena, Meryl Streep August: Osage County
Winner: Sandra Bullock Gravity
All signs seem to point at Blanchett being the favourite but Bullock’s Ryan Stone was far and away the best performance in this group. She spends most of Gravity alone in space, breathing heavily and trying to survive. It was incredible. And after seeing the behind the scenes videos with her trapped in a pod, being flipped around and being photographed, it was clear she worked really hard to stay in character. She deserves to win.
I really don’t get why Blanchett is expected to win, and has been winning the other awards. While Blue Jasmine is another classic Woody Allen, but her performance seemed too easy and non-original. Compared to Bullock, it isn’t even close. Both Streep and Dench seem to be nominated every year and I didn’t really like either of their movies this time around. And Adams could be a wild card because she does some great stuff with a fake British accent in American Hustle but she hasn’t been in the discussion much.
Nominees: Christian Bale American Hustle, Bruce Dern Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf on Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave, Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club
Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf on Wall Street
After best supporting actress, this is the hardest category to pick, with everyone but Bale deserving to win. I am picking DiCaprio because he was completely crazy in The Wolf on Wall Street and this is the only chance it has at winning an award. He plays a loud, aggressive and insane genius in a way no one else really could.
But he has some great competition for the award. McConaughey, like Leto, goes through a big transformation to play Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. It is basically a coin toss between him and DiCaprio at this point. Ejiofor was my original pick after seeing 12 Years a Slave but he hasn’t won anything for it and seems to be falling out of the favourites. Which is sad because he is incredible in the movie. Dern is the reason Nebraska is getting all the accolades because he takes a simple character and gives him a ton of depth. Bale on the other hand, did nothing in American Hustle that makes me think he should be nominated. I can think of a couple performances that deserved it more than him.
Nominees: Alfonso Cuarón Gravity, Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave, Alexander Payne Nebraska, David O. Russell American Hustle, Martin Scorsese The Wolf on Wall Street
Winner: Alfonso Cuarón Gravity
Gravity is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. Cuarón was able to make it look like Bullock and George Clooney were in space, and it is very convincing. And after seeing all the behind the scenes footage, where Cuarón developed new technology for 360 degree photography and a contraption for moving the performers around as if they are floating. Of course, James Cameron didn’t win this award for Avatar in 2010 when he should have so it is possible the Academy picks one of the other directors, whose movies focus on acting more than visuals.
Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf on Wall Street
Winner- 12 Years a Slave
There really is no other choice for the top prize, from start to finish 12 Years a Slave is incredible. It is full of amazing performances but what really sets this apart is the knowledge that this was based on a true story. There have been slave movies in the past, but by focusing on one man’s journey as a slave, director Steve McQueen has created the definitive slave movie that will be hard to top.
Only Gravity and Her come close to 12 Years a Slave in my opinion. Gravity can win if they finally decide to honour a technology and visual first movie. And Her is far from the favourite, but one of the best movies I have ever seen in any year, both visually and it’s story. The Wolf on Wall Street and Nebraska were both very funny and well made, but comedies rarely win Best Picture. Captain Phillips is a generic thriller until the final scene, where Tom Hanks gives an incredible performance, but since he isn’t even nominated this really doesn’t stand a chance. The best parts of Dallas Buyers Club were Leto and McConaughey and so those two have better chances of winning than the film itself. And finally I didn’t really like Philomena or American Hustle and therefore don’t expect them to win.