American Hustle

So, it seems we have full-fledged frontrunners in every single acting race: If Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o don't win in each of their respective categories, it would be a major upset. Not to say that can't happen -- each have slight vulnerabilities here and there. But they remain full-fledged frontrunners, and betting against any of them would be a risky move... which sure does make things a little boring for the many among us that want some real suspense on Oscar night.  That said, there are thankfully still are a few categories where two, three or even all the contenders have totally reasonable shots at winning.

Indiewire will offer full on predictions for every category in the coming weeks, but here are five in particular we are having issues feeling confident predicting:


1. Best Picture
It has been a very long time since there was this tight of a race for Oscar's big prize. I know people say that all the time with respect to various categories, but this is a rare occasion where it's genuinely true. With recent winners "Argo," "The Artist," "The King's Speech," "The Hurt Locker" and "Slumdog Millionaire," it felt like a done deal weeks before the Oscars were handed out.  But with less than a month to go (and only one clue remaining in next week's BAFTAs -- which I suspect will simply confuse things further), there are three bonafide contenders for best picture in Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity," Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and David O. Russell's "American Hustle." "Gravity" won with the DGA and the Los Angeles film critics, "12 Years" won the Golden Globe (for drama) and the Critic's Choice, and "American Hustle" took the SAG ensemble prize, New York critics and Golden Globe (for comedy). Making matters even more complicated, "Gravity" and "12 Years" tied with the PGA, the first time that's ever happened with a group that has one of the best track records with predicting picture. So that's three major prizes each, with BAFTA about to break that tie one way or another.  The Brits seemed to love all three films rather excessively, with "Gravity" getting 10 nominations and "Hustle" and "12 Years" each getting nine. Any of them could win (we give the narrow edge to "12 Years"), but that wouldn't really do too much to clear up things with Oscar.  It's going to be anybody's game up until the last moments of Oscar night, which anybody looking for some drama should be very thankful for. 

2. Best Film Editing
For a while there it seemed like Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger had this in the bag for their work on "Gravity," but "Captain Phillips" editor Christopher Rouse -- who won this award back in 2007 for another Paul Greengrass film, "The Bourne Ultimatum" -- beat the "Gravity" team at the American Cinema Editors awards (or the ACE Eddies) in the dramatic film category, while another Oscar nominated team -- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten -- won the comedy prize for "American Hustle."  Notably, nine of the last 10 ACE Eddie winners have gone on to win the Oscar, which bodes well for "Hustle" and "Phillips." But "Gravity" is absolutely still in contention (as is, to a lesser degree "12 Years a Slave), meaning basically any editing team save "Dallas Buyers Club" has a shot here.