And So It Continues … Oscar Predictions, Part V

by Michael Hunley. 0 Comments

June Squibb, Bruce Dern

Can June Squibb, left, and Bruce Dern make it to the Oscars for their performances in the recently released “Nebraska?” (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

And we’re back

PICTURE*
1. “12 Years a Slave”
2. “Gravity”
3. “American Hustle”
4. “Inside Llewyn Davis”
5. “Captain Phillips”
6. “Saving Mr. Banks”
7. “The Wolf of Wall Street”
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. “Dallas Buyers Club”
18. “Blue is the Warmest Color”
19. “Before Midnight”
20. “Out of the Furnace”

No big changes — I’ve moved up “Saving Mr. Banks” to the sixth spot as buzz continues to grow following screenings in the U.S. for critics, who are proclaiming it an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser that could appeal to more, let’s say, conservative Oscar voters (those who most likely allowed “The Help” and “The Blind Side” to get recent Best Picture nominations).

TEN MORE BEST PICTURE CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: “The Book Thief,” “Enough Said,” “Frances Ha,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Labor Day,” “Mud,” “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”

Everything’s staying the same here this week, too. Ejiofer, Hanks and Redford are the top three locks, and I could see the trophy going to any one of them. McConaughey is a strong possibility for a nomination, though a win is less likely — the well-received “Dallas Buyers” would have to become a breakout hit with audiences to push him up to the top.

The recently released “Nebraska” from Alexander Payne has been getting lots of huzzahs from critics, but the low-key, black-and-white dramedy probably won’t connect with moviegoers the way Payne’s previous films, “Sideways” and “The Descendants,” did — but look for it to get some attention from the Academy, most likely with a nomination for lead Dern (who’s gung ho on campaigning as much as possible to get his second nomination). It’s still early days, though — DiCaprio, Whitaker, Isaac and Jordan could all sneak in and push Dern off before the Oscar season is out.

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. Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”
5. Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

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”

Same top five as last time, but I’m pushing Thompson up thanks to the growing momentum of “Banks” and her performance in it. Dropping to the fifth slot is Streep, whose role in “August” has been met with more acclaim than the film itself — it appears that Thompson’s status in the race has become a lot more stable while Streep’s is becoming more and more vulnerable. If Amy Adams turns out to be as strong in “American Hustle” as the trailer suggests, then she’d easily be able to knock Meryl out of the fifth slot.

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. Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
4. James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”
5. Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”

alternates:
6. Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
7. Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”
8. Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
9. Matthew McConaughey, “Mud”
10. John Goodman, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Some changes this week: I’ve moved up Leto to third place — the acclaim directed toward “Dallas Buyers” has been just as strong for him as for lead McConaughey. I think he has a very strong shot for a nomination, but probably not a win (this is Fassbender’s to lose, I’d say).

Thanks to its strong performance at the box office, it looks likely that Barkhad Abdi will score a nomination for his debut performance. I’ve pushed out Cooper for now (“Hustle” has still been unseen by critics and audiences), though Gandolfini could take his place in the sixth slot if not enough Academy voters take notice of his indie comedy.

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. Amy Adams, “Her”
10. Sarah Paulson, “12 Years a Slave”

I’m still undecided on this list as a whole, so I’m going to leave it be for now. Lawrence is still the big question mark until her film is screened, but her ubiquitous presence in the massive publicity for the new “Hunger Games” film will prevent her from getting lost in the Supporting Actress race, even if her role in “Hustle” ends up to a relatively minor one.

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. Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine”

Same lineup in the top five, though it’s probably safe to say that McQueen and Cuaron aren’t going anywhere. The Coens, Scorsese and Greengrass, however, shouldn’t get too comfortable.

In the alternates, I’ve moved past winner Ron Howard out for now (“Rush” was well received but sputtered at the box office) and instead moved perennial Oscar favorite Allen in, who’s more likely to pop up in the Original Screenplay category, but he’s been nominated in this category seven times before, so never rule him out.

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

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