Oscar night is upon us! But unlike last year—when I went complete beast mode with my picks, sweeping every highlighted category because I’m a Monster that way—I have absolutely no idea what is going to win anything this year. Your guess is (almost) as good as mine. Nevertheless! Since prophecy is my spiritual gift (according to tests that measure that sort of thing) here are the films and people that will take home Oscar gold!
There are some really good nominees here, but Gravity had pretty amazing visuals, and was the talk of every town, so I give it the edge here. Sorry Star Trek Into Darkness, too many lens flares.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
Music (Original Song)
U2 is nominated for “Ordinary Love,” and since they’re a better than ordinary band I think they’ll win.
“Happy” from Despicable Me 2
“Let it Go” from Frozen
“The Moon Song” from Her
“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom*
Music (Original Score)
John Williams is nominated here for, oh, about the 1300th time, seriously. Not gonna lie, nothing stands out to me here, so I’m going to go with Thomas Newman because I feel like he’s been due for a while. At the very least they should retroactively give him one for his work on The Shawshank Redemption.
The Book Thief—John Williams
Her—William Butler and Owen Pallett
Saving Mr. Banks—Thomas Newman*
Foreign Language Film
I haven’t seen a single one of these films, so I’m picking the one I think sounds the most fun.
The Broken Circle Breakdown—Belgium*
The Great Beauty—Italy
The Missing Picture—Cambodia
This is always a challenging category to call, and at some point I would like to run the percentages to see if there is any correlation between a win in this category and a Best Picture or Best Director win. But I don’t have that now. So I’m going with Gravity.
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
There was some absolutely stunning photography this year, with some real heavyweights! Roger Deakins is a stud (and he didn’t even film the Coen Brothers film on the list), while Emmanuel Lubezki is consistently inventive, and his work on Gravity is remarkable. Nebraska is a gorgeous shade of black and white. But I’m going with Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis. The opening sequence alone is incredible, but the whole film is shot with a heartbreaking beauty that I haven’t been able to (or wanted to) shake.
The Grandmaster—Philippe Le Sourd
Inside Llewyn Davis—Bruno Delbonnel*
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Writing awards are sometimes pretty easy to pick out, like last year pretty much everyone knew Quentin Tarantino was going to win for Original Screenplay, because, well, it's Tarantino. This year is very different. Which is why I'm just taking my cue from the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) awards. Captain Phillips it is.
Before Midnight—Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Captain Phillips—Billy Ray*
Philomena—Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave—John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street—Terence Winter
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Like the Adapted Screenplay award, I'm simply taking my cue from The WGA awards. I'll talk the inventive RomCom Her.
American Hustle—Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine—Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club—Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Animated Feature Film
The Wind Rises might take this one to send the master Hayao Miyazaki out with a win. But I don’t think so.
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
Martin Scorsese for LIFE! But I don’t think he’ll win. For me this is a toss-up between Alfonso Cuarón and Steve McQueen.
David O. Russell—American Hustle
Steve McQueen—12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese—The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Supporting Actor
This one seems easy to me, and I’d be shocked if anyone other than Jared Leto wins here. By the way, it’s surprising, yes, that this is Bradley Cooper’s second Oscar nomination in as many years. More shocking, this is also the second (yes the second) Oscar nomination for Jonah Hill. This is only the first for the brilliant Michael Fassbender.
Barkhad Abdi—Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper—American Hustle
Michael Fassbender—12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill—The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto—Dallas Buyers Club*
Best Supporting Actress
There are some really strong performances here. Good to see Julia Roberts back at the Oscars. June Squibb is hilarious in Nebraska. Jennifer Lawrence owns the screen in American Hustle. But… I have to go with Lupita Nyong’O from 12 Years a Slave. Crazy good.
Sally Hawkins—Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence—American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’O—12 Years a Slave*
Julia Roberts—August: Osage County
When I first saw 12 Years a Slave I thought there was no way Chiwetel Ejiofor could lose, but now I don’t know if there’s any chance he’ll win. All the momentum is on Matthew McConaughey’s side, and deservedly so—he’s magnificent! Not only in Dallas Buyers Club, but in Mud and Wolf of Wall Street as well. But I’m going with Leonardo DiCaprio here. 1) He’s due. 2) He practically got The Wolf of Wall Street made. 3) It’s almost certainly the best performance of his career, and he puts a stranglehold on the screen for almost all of three hours! 4) I think this is Wolf’s most winnable category, and may be given as a sort of “Best Picture” award for a film that has no shot of winning Best Picture or Director.
Christian Bale—American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio—The Wolf of Wall Street*
Chiwetel Ejiofor—12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey—Dallas Buyers Club
This is a stacked class of women. And I think it’s finally Amy Adams’ year.
Amy Adams—American Hustle*
Cate Blanchett—Blue Jasmine
Meryl Streep—August: Osage County
Welp, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity TIED at the Producer’s Guild Awards (which is usually a good indicator of what will win Best Picture), so I have no idea. I’m going with 12 Years a Slave (even though I think Gravity has a better chance in terms of popularity) because the film is so profoundly moving that it’s almost beyond critique. And I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Gravity. Honestly though, I think my favorite film of the year was Nebraska. It was a real cinematic treat. Pour some out for Inside Llewyn Davis, which wasn’t even nominated (for shame, Academy), and The Wolf of Wall Street, which I thoroughly loved as well.
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave*
The Wolf of Wall Street
Here you are, (most of) your 2014 Oscar winners. You should probably bet money on these picks.