Pop Goes the Culture’s 2013 Oscar Predictions: Part Four

by Michael Hunley. 0 Comments

Chiwetel Ejiofor Michael Fassbender Lupita Nyong'o

From left, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofer star in “12 Years a Slave.” (Photo courtesy of Associated Press)

Yet again, here are my every-other-week predictions for the 2013 Academy Award nominations. Please enjoy:

PICTURE*
1. “12 Years a Slave”
2. “Gravity”
3. “American Hustle”
4. “Inside Llewyn Davis”
5. “Captain Phillips”
6. “The Wolf of Wall Street”
7. “Saving Mr. Banks”
8. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
9. “Nebraska”
10. “August: Osage County”

alternates:
11. “Rush”
12. “Fruitvale Station”
13. “Blue Jasmine”
14. “Philomena”
15. “Her”
16. “All is Lost”
17. “Blue is the Warmest Color”
18. “Dallas Buyers Club”
19. “Before Midnight”
20. “Labor Day”

No big changes this week. “12 Years” is still the one to beat — it’s doing very well in limited release and should continue to pick up steam as it opens nationwide. And that’s not mentioning the fact that critics adore it. Box office sensation “Gravity” is the closest thing to being a dark-horse upset, though it’s still a bit too early to tell if it could overtake “12 Years,” especially with the news that Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated “Wolf of Wall Street” will officially get a Dec. 25 release date, after rumors that it would be pushed back to 2014. George Clooney’s WWII-set caper “Monuments Men,” however, WAS pushed back to 2014 in order to “work on visual effects” (aka, it probably sucks).

Gaining some momentum recently was the Disney family drama “Saving Mr. Banks,” which premiered for critics in the U.K. and got a warm, if not overly enthusiastic reception — basically, it’s a well-intentioned and entertaining dramedy that’s not particularly original and groundbreaking. So, it’s everything that the Oscars love! And if it’s a hit at the box office when it’s released in mid-December, “Banks” is a guaranteed Best Picture nominee.

TEN MORE BEST PICTURE CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: “The Book Thief,” “Enough Said,” “Frances Ha,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Mud,” “Out of the Furnace,” “Prisoners,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Short Term 12,” “The Spectacular Now”

*The number of nominees for Best Picture can range from five to 10, depending on the number of votes a film receives.

ACTOR
1. Chiwetel Ejiofer, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
3. Robert Redford, “All is Lost”
4. Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
5. Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”

alternates:
6. Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
7. Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
8. Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
9. Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station”
10. Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

No changes here. Ejiofer, Hanks and Redford are all locks, and McConaughey is a very strong contender — he’s getting strong reviews for the just-released “Dallas Buyers.” Dern is still the most vulnerable and could be overtaken by DiCaprio if “Wolf” ends up being a hit with the Academy. However, the sentimental vote for veteran actor Dern will possibly prevail.

FIVE MORE BEST ACTOR CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Christian Bale, “American Hustle;” Christian Bale, “Out of the Furnace;” Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Fifth Estate;” Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom;”  Hugh Jackman, “Prisoners”

ACTRESS
1. Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
2. Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
3. Judi Dench, “Philomena”
4. Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
5. Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”

alternates:
6. Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
7. Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”
8. Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
9. Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
10. Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”

After moving up “Hustle’s” Adams to the fifth slot in my last predictions, I’m switching her out again and putting “Banks'” Thompson back — critics had nothing but great things to say about her performance as P.L. Travers, the author of “Mary Poppins.” Still, it’s basically a showdown between Blanchett and Bullock as of right now …

FIVE MORE BEST ACTRESS CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Berenice Bejo, “The Past;” Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha;” Brie Larson, “Short Term 12;” Naomi Watts, “Diana,” Shailene Woodley, “The Spectacular Now”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Tom Hanks, “Saving Mr. Banks”
3. James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”
4. Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
5. Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”

alternates:
6. Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
7. Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”
8. Matthew McConaughey, “Mud”
9. Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
10. John Goodman, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

I can only make educated guesses for this category — the top seven names listed could all go up and down the list as the Oscar season progresses. Fassbender is a lock, but he was considered one two years ago for “Shame” and got snubbed; Hanks got great reviews for his performance as Walt Disney, but his possible nomination in “Captain Phillips” may lead voters to cancel this role out; a posthumous nod could happen for the late Gandolfini, though it’s not guaranteed; Leto is getting strong reviews for “Dallas,” but may get trumped by the more-publicized campaign for lead McConaughey; and buzz has been strong for Cooper, even if no one’s actually seen his film yet. But don’t discount the much-heralded performances of Abdi and Bruhl just yet — it’s still anyone’s game.

FIVE MORE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Javier Bardem, “The Counselor;” George Clooney, “Gravity;” Steve Coogan, “Philomena;” Matthew McConaughey, “The Wolf of Wall Street;” Jeremy Renner, “American Hustle”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
3. Octavia Spencer, “Fruitvale Station”
4. June Squibb, “Nebraska”
5. Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

alternates:
6. Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
7. Margo Martindale, “August: Osage County”
8. Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
9. Sarah Paulson, “12 Years a Slave”
10. Amy Adams, “Her”

No changes here. As of now, I’d be astonished if someone other than Nyong’o or Winfrey wins this prize.

FIVE MORE BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Melonie Diaz, “Fruitvale Station;” Scarlett Johansson, “Her;” Carey Mulligan, “Inside Llewyn Davis;” Julianne Nicholson, “August: Osage County;” Lea Seydoux, “Blue is the Warmest Color”

DIRECTOR
1. Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
3. Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
4. Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
5. Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”

alternates:
6. David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
7. John Lee Hancock, “Saving Mr. Banks”
8. Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
9. Lee Daniels, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
10. Ron Howard, “Rush”

Thanks to “Captain Phillips'” strong showing at the box office, I switched out Greengrass for Russell for now, though the latter could still climb his way back into the top five — it all just depends on how well his film is received when it’s released in December. McQueen and Cuaron, though, probably have their nominations in the bag.

FIVE MORE BEST DIRECTOR CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine;” J.C. Chandor, “All is Lost;” Ryan Coogler, “Fruitvale Station;” Stephen Frears, “Philomena;” John Wells, “August: Osage County”

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