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

by Michael Hunley. 0 Comments

There’s been some twists and turns in the 2013 Oscar race since my first predictions, with some jaw-dropping eliminations (not really) and shocking dark horses entering the race (again, not really). As I’m doing every other week during the Academy Award season, here are my latest shots in the dark for which films and stars will prevail come Oscar time:

1. “12 Years a Slave”
2. “Gravity”
3. “American Hustle”
4. “Inside Llewyn Davis”
5. “The Wolf of Wall Street”
6. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
7. “Captain Phillips”
8. “Saving Mr. Banks”
9. “Rush”
10. “Fruitvale Station”

11. “August: Osage County”
12. “Blue Jasmine”
13. “Philomena”
14. “Nebraska”
15. “All is Lost”
16. “The Monuments Men”
17. “Blue is the Warmest Color”
18. “Before Midnight”
19. “Prisoners”
20. “Labor Day”

The big developments lately have been the number of slated 2013 releases that have been pushed back to 2014, the most notable of them being “Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller’s much-anticipated drama starring Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo. A film’s delay from a prime Oscar spot is usually an indication that the film wasn’t living up to the awards-hungry expectation of its studio (just like past delays “Shutter Island” and “The Great Gatsby”), but reports say that “Foxcatcher’s” post-production team wasn’t ready for its late-2013 release date (which just could be industry talk for “It ain’t lookin’ so good, y’all”).

There’s also rumors that Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” may get pushed back toward 2014, too — even if it’s just a rumor, though, that doesn’t bode too well for the film’s buzz, so I’ve pushed that film down from its No. 2 spot to No. 5 — it’s still a contender, but it could easily vanish from the list. The other big film delay was “Grace of Monaco,” with Nicole Kidman starring as Grace Kelly, though that was only tipped for recognition for Kidman.

The rest of the list hasn’t changed much since my first predictions list — “12 Years” is still the film to beat right now, though it’s getting some strong competition from sci-fi epic “Gravity,” which opens this week to reviews that are out of this world (do you … do you see what I did there?). The strong reviews coming in for the Tom Hanks vehicle “Captain Phillips” push it up a spot, while the good (if not great) critical and box-office reception for Ron Howard’s “Rush” led it to fall two spots — it’s now a question of whether it can keep the momentum going throughout the Oscar season, though it’s looking doubtful.

The most vulnerable entries are, as always, the films that have yet to be screened: “American Hustle,” “Wolf of Wall Street,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Monuments Men.” Any of those could go up and down the list based on their reception.

TEN MORE BEST PICTURE CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: “The Counselor,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Enough Said,” “Frances Ha,” “Her,” “Mud,” “Out of the Furnace,” “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.

1. Chiwetel Ejiofer, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Robert Redford, “All is Lost”
3. Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
5. Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

6. Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
7. Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
8. Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
9. Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station”
10. Hugh Jackman, “Prisoners”

No changes here — Ejiofer, Redford and Hanks are still locks, while DiCaprio and McConaughey are strong, if not definite, contenders.

The big news is  veteran character actor Bruce Dern’s personal rally to get recognition for his Cannes Film Festival-winning performance in “Nebraska” — he’s been on the interview circuit a lot lately, and word is that he’ll be popping up everywhere throughout the Oscar season, trying to get attention for his low-profile drama. It’s a scheme that’s gone wrong in the past (Ann Dowd’s one-woman campaign earlier this year for her role in “Compliance” didn’t work), but Dern is a respected, well-known actor (and past nominee), and if DiCaprio or McConaughey were to fall off, I could see him getting the fifth slot easily.

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;” Michael Fassbender, “The Counselor”

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”

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

Again, no changes here. Blanchett and Bullock are locks for their performances, which are getting career-best reviews, while perenial favorites Dench and Streep should get in easily. Thompson and Adams are fighting for that last spot for their as-yet-unseen films, and with Nicole Kidman’s departure after the delay of her film “Grace of Monaco,” taking her place is Exarchopoulos, who has garnered superb reviews (and a special Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival) for the controversial French drama “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

But keep an eye out for Winslet and Delpy, who could sneak in — as could Roberts, though she’ll most likely show up in the Supporting Actress race.

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”

1. Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Tom Hanks, “Saving Mr. Banks”
3. Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”
4. James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”
5. Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

6. Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
7. Javier Bardem, “The Counselor”
8. Matthew McConaughey, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
9. Matthew McConaughey, “Mud”
10. John Goodman, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Big change here is the elimination of “Foxcatcher’s” Mark Ruffalo thanks to that film’s delay until 2014. In his place is Jared Leto, who has gotten strong reviews on the festival circuit for his role as a transexual in “Dallas.” But don’t count out Barkhad Abdi, a possible breakout star from “Captain Phillips,” or past Oscar winner Bardem in the as-yet-unseen “Counselor.”

As for the locks, Fassbender is still sitting pretty at the top, though the other four slots are less secure: Hanks could be nixed if “Banks” turns out to be a turkey; German actor Bruhl’s traction could stall if “Rush’s” buzz dies out come Oscar time; and the late Gandolfini may face difficulties due to his film’s lower-profile standing among the big-budget Oscar bait.

FIVE MORE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: George Clooney, “Gravity;” Steve Coogan, “Philomena;” Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle;” Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street;”  Jeremy Renner, “American Hustle”

1. Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
3. Octavia Spencer, “Fruitvale Station”
4. Margo Martindale, “August: Osage County”
5. Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

6. Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
7. Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
8. June Squibb, “Nebraska”
9. Sarah Paulson, “12 Years a Slave”
10. Cameron Diaz, “The Counselor”

Top five stays the same, with Nyong’o and Winfrey the frontrunners and Spencer coming up the rear. Martindale’s performance has her fans, but she may get trumped by her “August” co-star Roberts (depending on what category the studio wants to push her in). Lawrence’s placement is based on the buzzy trailer for “Hustle,” as well as her status as the reigining “It Girl” of Hollywood.

With “Foxcatcher” delayed, possible contender Vanessa Redgrave was booted out, being replaced by “Counselor’s” Diaz, who seems to have a flashy role in the crime thriller. Other than that, it’s a wait-and-see situation here — the supporting races are usually the ones where dark horses or surprise nominees pop up.

FIVE MORE BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Amy Adams, “Her;” Melonie Diaz, “Fruitvale Station;” Naomie Harris, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom;” Carey Mulligan, “Inside Llewyn Davis;” Julianne Nicholson, “August: Osage County”

1. Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
2. Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
3. Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
4. David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
5. Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

6. Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”
7. Ron Howard, “Rush”
8. Lee Daniels, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
9. John Lee Hancock, “Saving Mr. Banks”
10. Ryan Coogler, “Fruitvale Station”

Top five stays the same, but Scorsese drops down due to rumors circulating about “Wolf” not making its November release date. McQueen is still looking like the big frontrunner here, with buzz for his much-herald “12 Years” continuing to grow, and Cuaron has been getting raves from no less than James Cameron himself, who calls “Gravity” the “best space film ever.” The Coens brothers are Oscar favorites, and their critically adored “Llewyn” should easily get them nominated. Two-time nominee Russell could also get in, as long as the hype surrounding his film pans out.

Circling the perimeters are Greengrass and Howard — the former appears to have the lead, thanks to the strong reviews “Captain” is getting ahead of its release next week. Whether it flops or not at the box office will be a good indication of how well it does come Oscar time. The three other alternates — Daniels, Hancock and Coogler — could move up and down the chart easily; it’s still fairly early in the Oscar season, so there’s plenty of time for a film’s buzz to rise and fall.

FIVE MORE BEST DIRECTOR CANDIDATES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine;” George Clooney, “The Monuments Men;” Stephen Frears, “Philomena;” Alexander Payne, “Nebraska;” John Wells, “August: Osage County”


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