Today: May 29, 2024

Oscar Predictions 2014

It’s that time of year again. Time to dust off the tux, find the most jaw-dropping gown and join the beautiful people in Hollywood as we walk the red carpet to The 86th Academy Awards, or the Oscars as they’re better known.  It’s at this time of year where we like to turn to Filmjuice Editor Alex Moss to make his predictions as to who will take home the big Oscars on the glittering night.  Get your betting slips ready because if the formbook is anything to go by whatever Alex predicts is almost certain not to win…

Best Film
Of the ten allowed allocations for Best Film you can’t help but feel that some of the nine nominated are just there to make up the numbers. True stories is very much the trend of the moment with SIX of the nine nominated all being based on real events.  In case you’re wondering those are; Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, Philomena and The Wolf Of Wall Street.  The truth is Hustle and Wolf are perhaps a little too lighthearted for Oscar glory, as is Her and potentially Philomena.  Phillips is a stunning film but again maybe in the ‘not serious enough’ bracket for Oscar to really consider it.  That leaves 12 Years, Gravity and Dallas Buyers.
Head Says: Gravity is a true cinematic experience. The sort of film that restores your faith in the power of the silver screen.  With that in mind Oscar may look to award it with the big gong.
Heart Says: 12 Years A Slave, like Schindler’s List before it, is a film that everyone should see at least once in their life.  It’s brutal and devastating but to call it educational is underselling it.  For that reason it deserves to win in order to broaden its audience. 

Best Director
It’s nice that Martin Scorsese is in there for Wolf Of Wall Street but you suspect the voters will feel that he’s already had is turn with his only win for The Departed. (Let’s not get started on where his gongs were for Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Raging Bull.) David O. Russell is a recent Oscar darling but his direction, while clearly eliciting stunning performances, is never visually arresting.  If anything, American Hustle feels like Martin Scorsese-light, while Alexander Payne has created another of his typically poignant films that may alienate some with its stark black and white.  That leaves a straight shootout between Steve McQueen for 12 Years and Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity.
Heart Says: What Cuarón has achieved with Gravity is nothing short of breathtaking and for that reason he deserves to take home the little gold man.
Head Says: Oscar doesn’t normally like sci-fi but Gravity could be the film that changes that trend.

Best Actor In A Leading Role
This is one of the hardest categories to call this year.  Bruce Dern is brilliant in Nebraska but it’s a more comedy-based role and therefore unlikely to gain support from the voters.  Christian Bale has won an Oscar recently for The Fighter so the Academy might decide to induct a new alumni into their camp.  That leaves three actors all of whom fully deserve a win.  Matthew McConaughey is a revelation in Dallas Buyers club; the kind of transformative role that awards lap up.  Chiwetel Ejiofor grabs you by the tear ducts and doesn’t let go for the duration of 12 Years and Leo DiCaprio has enough presence in Wolf Of Wall Street to gain two nominations for the one performance.
Heart Says: There would be something poetic about Matthew McConaughey winning after completing his renaissance after all those God-awful rom-coms.
Head Says: Oscar often awards those who haven’t been awarded before but perhaps should have been based on their body of work.  Leo, like his Wolf Director Scorsese, is a Hollywood darling, has been in the industry since birth and is probably over-due a gong.

Best Actress In A Leading Role
Here is a bunch of seriously talented ladies all of whom are worshipped and loved around the world.  Sandra Bullock is brilliant in Gravity but you remember that film more for the visuals than her grounding performance. Cate Blanchett carries Blue Jasmine and bulldozes her way through Woody Allen’s otherwise self-indulgence. Judi Dench is utterly captivating in Philomena but, like Bruce Dern, above much of her performance comes from a place of comedy meaning she just misses out. In Passenger 57 Wesley Snipes famously said “Always bet on black”. In Oscar terminology it translates to “ALWAYS bet on Streep”.
Heart Says: Of all the nominees only Amy Adams doesn’t have an Oscar win to her name.  Look over her career and that feels like a horrible oversight given she is hands down her generation’s best actress.  She is also breathtaking in American Hustle.
Head Says: Blanchett is without doubt this year’s best leading actress and for that reason the Academy will probably recognise her.

Best Actor In A Supporting Role
Bradley Cooper is good in American Hustle but it’s not an Oscar-winning performance.  Jonah Hill continues to grow as a genuinely brilliant actor but in Wolf Of Wall street he’s perhaps a little cartoonish. Jared Leto is something to behold in Dallas Buyers but his lack of screen time might count against him. That leaves BAFTA winner Barkhad Abdi (Captian Phillips) and one of the best actors of his generation Michael Fassbender  (12 Years) competing for top prize.
Heart Says: Fassbender has been one of the most magnetic cinematic presences over the past few years and a win for him would cement his status as one of this generation’s best.
Head Says: Worrying for Fassbender, though, might be the deplorable nature of his character in 12 Years which could alienate some voters. That leaves debutant Abdi who not long ago was a limo driver, and the Academy do love an underdog story.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role
Julia Roberts is back to scintillating form in Osage County but you feel it’s not up there with her Erin Brockovich performance and so she loses out here. Sally Hawkins is eclipsed by Blanchett in Jasmine while June Squibb is great but not Oscar winning brilliant in Nebraska.  So it’s a straight-up fight between girl of the moment Jennifer Lawrence for her scene-stealing turn in Hustle and the absolute devastating performance for 12 Years’ Lupita Nyong’o.
Head Says: Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong and after last year’s trip up the stairs to win her first Oscar you cannot help but feel the Academy might want to see what she offers this year.
Heart Says: That said Nyong’o warrants a win.  She was robbed at the BAFTAs by Lawrence and if justice is to prevail her performance as Patsey will win her the gong she so richly deserves.

Best Original Screenplay
There’s something strange about having two films in this category based on true stories but hey, we don’t make the rules.  All of these films are brilliantly written. American Hustle conjures character, Blue Jasmine emotional punch but there is something about Spike Jonze’s Her that captivates like no other film in this category.
Head Says: Because it might miss out elsewhere, Oscar might plump for a bit of charity and award American Hustle. After all whoever wrote those wigs, plunging necklines and glasses into a script should get some credit.
Heart Says: Jonze’s Her is captivating, beautiful and a wonderful love parable that speaks to everyone’s heart and for that reason we want Jonze to win and have Scarlet Johansson’s Samantha from the film record an acceptance speech for him.

Best Adapted Screenplay
While it’s clearly a great film, Before Midnight is such a good script it’s hard not to wonder if much of it was ad- libbed and as such Oscar might overlook it.  Billy Ray’s Captain Phillips is an exercise in nerve shredding while Steve Coogan’s Philomena is heartfelt.  But there are two screenplays that stand out on this list and that’s Terrence Winter’s Wolf Of Wall Street and John Ridley’s 12 Years.
Head Says: 12 Years deals in important issues and Ridley has done a stunning job of raising them into a visceral and powerful script.
Heart Says: That said, anything as over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall insane as The Wolf Of Wall Street could throw up a pretty exciting acceptance speech.

Best Animated Film
Heart Says: There really is a stand-out winner here…it’s Frozen.
Head Says: See above.

Best Cinematography
This might not be a glamorous category but it’s important to acknowledge the people who make these films look so achingly beautiful.
Head Says: Gravity is a visual feast and will be remembered as such. With that in mind Oscar would be right in awarding Emmanuel Lubezki.
Heart Says: More than any other nominee this year we would like you all to send up a collective prayer for Roger Deakins to finally win a LONG overdue Oscar.  His nomination for Prisoners, which is memorable primarily for his paint pealing aesthetics, is his eleventh nomination with no wins.  We could write a whole feature on the brilliance of Mr. Deakins and when he was nominated for True Grit,The King’s Speech Director of Photography Danny Cohen, who was also nominated that year, told FilmJuice he would rather see Deakins win than himself.  So come on Oscar, do the right thing. Give Deakins the statue – you know he has more than warranted it.

Best Editing
One of those crafts that, if done properly, you shouldn’t notice it. Therefore there really is only one winner.
Head And Heart Say: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger for Gravity. It’s so seamless it often feels like a single shot, pure genius.

So there you have it. FilmJuice’s Oscar predictions for 2014. Good luck to all the nominations and if Editor Alex is horribly wrong we’re going to make him watch Grown Ups 2 on repeat for a fortnight.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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