The real star of the Academy Awards: the dude in the khaki shorts wheeling that giant Oscar. (Photo from the Associated Press)
The Oscars are finally here! All the precursor awards have been handed out, the never-ending campaigning and debating has been never ending, and we briefly learned that there’s a song and a movie called “Alone Yet Not Alone.” All that’s left is the actual ceremony — although, honestly, most of the categories have been sewn up for the past few weeks, and the Oscar producers might as well just save all their money and time by canceling the show, FedExing the trophies to all the winners and airing two cinematic masterpieces that America needs to be watching instead: “Troop Beverly Hills” and the made-for-TV classic “The Worst Witch.” Now THAT’S four hours of my life I will NOT ask for back.
But since no one in Hollywood finds it necessary to take the advice of a newspaper blogger from suburban Maryland, I guess I’ll have to give my FINAL Oscar predictions. (And just as a fun little nostalgic look back, here’s my first stab at predicting this year’s Oscars, which I did all the way back in September.)
1. “12 Years a Slave”
3. “American Hustle”
4. “The Wolf of Wall Street”
5. “Captain Phillips”
7. “Dallas Buyers Club”
There’s several Oscar forecasters who are calling for “Gravity” to win the top prize over “12 Years” — they both tied for the main award at the Producers Guild of America, and it’s been scooping up all the major directing awards — but I’m not so sure. I think the love for “12 Years” is still strong, and even as it loses the Best Director prizes, it keeps picking up the Best Picture trophy (including big wins at the British Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Independent Spirit Awards). Plus, there’s the news that “12 Years” will soon be taught in school, proving that it’s definitely made its mark, even less than a year after being released.
So while I think “Gravity” will win the most awards of the night, “12 Years” will, once again, claim the top prize of the night.
1. Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
2. Chiwetel Ejiofer, “12 Years a Slave”
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
4. Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
5. Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Since winning the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice and Independent Spirit awards, Matthew McConaughey has shown himself to be the one to beat for the Oscar, proving that he truly is going through a McConaissance and is now a serious and professional acto– OK, I can’t do it, I can’t hold my tongue any longer. I can’t pretend to act like Matthew McConaughey is a great actor, you guys. I mean, really — we’re going to give him AN OSCAR? A Golden Globe, sure, why not, you can buy a pack of those for $5.95 down at Trader Joe’s, but AN OSCAR. Why must we fall over ourselves to reward these movie stars, like George Clooney or Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts, after they give a decent performance, throwing as many awards and nominations as possible at them, all the while sidelining superb character actors like Chiwetel Ejiofer and Bruce Dern, who have been doing consistently strong and effective work throughout their entire careers?! And this whole argument that McConaughey has proven himself to be a better actor — but compared to what? “Surfer, Dude?!” That one episode of “Sex and the City” he was in when they went to L.A.? He’s making better movies (and TV shows), but his performances have honestly stayed exactly the same — his technique really hasn’t changed that much since “Amistad,” you guys. I don’t care how many Oscars you throw at him, I won’t believe that Matthew McConaughey is a good actor — I won’t and I can’t and I shan’t.
1. Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
2. Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
3. Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
4. Judi Dench, “Philomena”
5. Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
The one category that’s open and shut. Cate Blanchett has won every award there is: the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, the SAG, the New York Film Critics Circle Award, the Independent Spirit Award, the Heisman Trophy, that spelling bee award you won in the second grade, the World’s Best Dad ashtray I made when I was 6, the Perfect Attendance aw– OK, you get it.
1. Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
2. Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
3. Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
4. Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
5. Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
1. Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
3. June Squibb, “Nebraska”
4. Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
5. Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
As easy as the other three acting categories are to call, this is proving the trickiest to pin down — the past few weeks, both Lupita and J.Law. have seen their buzz go up and down. They’re both gracing the covers of dozens of magazines and getting endlessly worshipped by the media — in those cases, it helps to look at whose won the most precursor awards, but there’s been a pretty even split between them (Lupita won at the SAG and Critics Choice awards, while Jennifer got the Golden Globe and BAFTA).
In picking Lupita for the win, though, I’m basing it more off a likely reluctance from Oscar voters to hand J.Law. a second trophy just one year after she won Best Actress. But don’t completely rule out Jennifer taking the stage again.
1. Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
2. Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
3. David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
4. Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
5. Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Though it’s done not often, there’ll most likely be a split between the Best Picture and Best Director prizes — Cuaron is expected to claim the award for his visually stunning, groundbreaking space opus.
And here are my guesses in that other categories, though I’m AWFUL at predicting these, because I can’t even ATTEMPT to tell you what Sound Mixing means:
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Her” (alternate: “American Hustle”)
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “12 Years a Slave” (alternate: “Captain Phillips”)
ANIMATED FILM: “Frozen” (alternate: “The Wind Rises”)
FOREIGN FILM: “The Broken Circle Breakdown” (alternate: “The Great Beauty”)
DOCUMENTARY: “20 Feet from Stardom” (alternate: “The Act of Killing”)
ART DIRECTION/SET DECORATION: “The Great Gatsby” (alternate: “American Hustle”)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Gravity” (alternate: “Inside Llewyn Davis”)
COSTUME DESIGN: “The Great Gatsby” (alternate: “American Hustle”)
FILM EDITING: “Gravity” (alternate: “Captain Phillips”)
MAKEUP/HAIR STYLING: “Dallas Buyers Club” (alternate: “The Lone Ranger”)
SCORE: “Gravity” (alternate: “Philomena”)
SONG: “Let It Go,” from “Frozen” (alternate: “Ordinary Love,” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”)
SOUND MIXING: “Gravity” (alternate: “Captain Phillips”)
SOUND EDITING: “Gravity” (alternate: “Captain Phillips”)
VISUAL EFFECTS: “Gravity” (alternate: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”)