An Amateur Made a Bunch of Oscar Nomination Predictions; You’ll Never Believe How Wrong He Was…Or How Right.

Okay, so the Golden Globes ceremony is in the books and the Oscar nominations being announced on Thursday. Guess it’s time for my 2nd Annual “Alex Makes a Lot of Predictions About Oscar Nominations, Many of Which are Wrong!” column. Good title, that. Or, no, I want more hits. “An Amateur Made a Bunch of Oscar Nomination Predictions; You’ll Never Believe How Wrong He Was…Or How Right.” Perfect.

In the name of saving you a lot of wasted time when I am wildly wrong on a lot of things in a few days I will but down greatly on my bloviating in this year’s column. That way there’s less egg on my face and you have more time to drink coffee and watch videos on UpWorthy. So I’ll paste in my predictions and then write a few sentences on each of the big races. For reference to a lot of the acronym-loving awards bodies please see this.

Best Picture
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. American Hustle
3. Gravity
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dallas Buyers Club

You will notice that I only put a number next to the first three predicted movies. That’s on purpose. Those three films, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity are the perceived front-runner for the ultimate prize and figure to lead the nomination tally come Thursday morning. Based on the Golden Globes, where Hustle ran rampant and won Supporting Actress, Actress, and Picture – Comedy/Musical it feels like that might be our tentative leader to win the actual prize. In terms of total nominations, though, I think 12 Years a Slave will lead the way. Considered the critical favorite of the year, it boasts the right mix of prestige, emotion (good lord, the emotion…), and historical trappings to land a metric ton of nods. I have it predicted to land 11. Lurking right behind those two is Gravity, which should lead all the Picture nominees in terms of box office and “wow” factor. It’s acclaim was also through the roof when it came out in October, but I dunno that it has a big enough faction within the Academy to win it all. Can’t be counted out though.

The rest of the nominees are…here. And happy to be so, presumably. Barring something nutty I doubt any can compete for more than 1 or 2 awards. Because of the Academy’s delightfully gonzo rules the number of nominees is not set, with anywhere between 5 and 10 nominees being possible. Those rules were adopted two years ago we have had 9 nominees in the past two cycles. I am betting on that continuing, though don’t be stunned if Dallas Buyers Club or Inside Llewyn Davis fall off or something like Saving Mr. Banks  or Philomena snuck in.

Let’s all cheer for this one, hey?

Best Directing

01. Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
02. David O. Russell – American Hustle
03. Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Same trio of front-runners here. Picture and Director go together the vast majority of the time. Splits happen when there is an exceptionally tight race or people want to reward Ben Affleck for making a mediocre movie. No idea if those scenarios apply yet, but those 3 directors should definitely hear their names called on Thursday morning. (Also, David O. Russell is a fucking idiot). I think Greengrass is pretty safe as well. Captain Phillips doesn’t seem like a threat to win any awards, but he has shown up everywhere expected, so that means he’s probably in. I have Scorsese getting the last Directing nomination, which would be his 8th. Yowza. The Wolf of Wall Street got finished late, which means it didn’t get previewed and hyped at festivals all autumn. But it also means that people are seeing it fresh right as they fill out ballots. This same scenario robbed Django Unchained of some nominations last year, but it ultimately won two major Oscars on the big night. Possible repeat scenario here. If Scorsese misses it would likely be for Spike Jonze’s work at the helm of Her. His film might wind up being too small and “outre” for the stodgy old Academy voters, but it’s not like Wolf is a Disney movie either. I give the nod to the living legend, rather than the still-rising auteur.

Best Actor in a Leading Role
01. Chiwetel Elijofor – 12 Years a Slave
02. Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
03. Bruce Dern – Nebraska
04. Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Pay no attention to the numbers here. I have no idea who will win, but everyone same DiCaprio seems safely in for a nod. I expect to discuss all their merits with Andrew after nominations are out, so I’ll skip over that and just mention the perceived battle for the last spot. Despite winning a Golden Globe for the role DiCaprio is no sure thing for Wolf. Like I said, it finished late whereas all these other men have had their films seen and promoted for months. His performance is being hailed as the best of his career and is very popular right now, so I’m riding that wave. We shall see though. His closest competitors for that slot seem to be Robert Redford for All is Lost and Christian Bale for American Hustle. The former is a movie legend who only has amazingly only been nominated for an acting Oscar once. Trouble is, his film is one of the least-scene in this race, though it’s also a one-man show that blows people away. So…very very possible. Bale is a recent winner and is extremely popular at the box office right now who also happens to be the lead of a presumed Picture front-runner (American Hustle) that is perceived as an actor’s movie. His nomination would be sort of boring (IMO), but not surprising either. Joaquin Phoenix (Her) and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) could also show up here if turns out that their smaller films have passionate fanbases.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
01. Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
02. Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
Judi Dench – Philomena
Amy Adams – American Hustle

Cate Blanchett is probably winning. So there’s  that. Sandra Bullock is also a sure thing to be nominated for her career-best work in Gravity. After that it’s a 4-way fight for 3 spots. I think Thompson, Dench, and Adams will make it in because…well because I’m tired of Meryl Streep being nominated for crappy movies. August: Osage County looks like (and is being treated like) a stinker, so let’s just hope that she gets left out in favor of three actresses who can actually pick a damn script. I’m not even sure who falls out if Streep does make it in. I had though Adams, but she’s got a really showy part in a Picture frontrunner. That, and this potentially being her FIFTH nomination in 8 years, should see her safely home, right? But then which is the utterly respectable former Brits gets snubbed? I guess I would say Dench for Philomena because it seems to have less popular support than Saving Mr. Banks and Weinstein is just really off his game this year. French newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos has an outside chance for her fiercely praised work in Blue is the Warmest Color.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
01. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

02. Michael Fassbender –12 Years a Slave

03. Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

04. Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

05. Daniel Brühl – Rush

Weird formatting there. MS Word hates me. Anyway, I’m putting a number next to all of these guys! Not that I think they can all win, it seems that Jared Leto is going to sweep this category at every major stop. But these five actors seem very locked in for nominations. The only potential spoiler that I can spy is the late (and great) James Gandolfini, who earned a lot of posthumous plaudits for his unexpectedly sweet work in Enough Said. If he gets in it will be over Abdi or Brühl, who are rather seriously lacking in name recognition.  I haven’t even seen the film, but I would personally love a nomination for James Franco’s gonzo turn in Spring Breakers. Doubt he will be welcomed back to the Oscar circle too quickly after his widely-panned hosting gig a few years back. That and the role seems nuts.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
01. Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
02. Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
03. June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

Again, the numbered predictions are the ones I feel certain of. It seems like Lawrence may be heading towards her second straight win for playing a role she is too young for in a David O. Russell movie. Which…I dunno. I like her, but really? We’re gonna do that? Not that I am necessarily cheering for anyone else here, but, yeah. Two Oscars in two years for JLaw seems like a bit much. Anyway, I think Nyong’o is her closest competition. She certainly has a lot of showy scenes that make a huge impact in 12 Years a Slave. Beyond that June Squibb will be nominated but not come within a country mile of winning. The nod is her congratulations on working so long. Oprah will probably make it in for The Butler, though she’s had a tougher fight though the precursors than I would have guessed. Her missing a nomination from the notoriously star-loving Golden Globes was really surprising. She’s in a fight for those tailing spots with fellow megawatt star Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and Sally Hawkins, who played support for Blanchett’s likely-winning performance in Blue Jasmine. I am betting on the latter, though it’s a “no guts, no glory” sort of deal.  Jennifer Garner could also sneak in here for playing a loving girlfriend in Dallas Buyers Club. The world yawns.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
01. American Hustle
02. Blue Jasmine
03. Her
04. Inside Llewyn Davis
05. Nebraska

I’m including this just because Before Midnight was so lovely and we never wrote about it.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
01. 12 Years a Slave
02. Before Midnight
03. Philomena
04. Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street

Not much commentary on these. Wolf is probably the shakiest of all these. The writers always like to chuck a few screwballs (see, Travis, I know baseball stuff) {Editor’s note: I believe you meant curveballs. Screwball as popular nomenclature refers to a comedic style most commonly popularized by Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, with a wonderful interjection by Cary Grant. Ooh, sick burn, douche! – Travis} on nomination morning, so I tend not to stress too much about getting these right. From right not I think your winners are American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. One of those would be deserving. The other would make me froth quite a bit.

So that’s all for now. Check back after the nominations are announced on Thursday morning when Andrew and I discuss the results.

Alex Bean

A life-long Midwesterner, currently living and working in Chicago. Primarily writes here about television and film (which is what he accrued crushing debt to study in school), but will write about books, sports, video games, or whatever else strikes his fancy. He's the one who thinks baseball is really boring.

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