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by Peter Knegt
January 14, 2014 11:35 AM
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For Your Consideration: Final 2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions

In just under 48 hours, months and months of speculation will finally come to a close when the 86th Academy Award nominations are announced. Though various precursors (BAFTA, the Globes, the guild awards, the critics groups, etc) have narrowed things down considerably, the Academy's recent tendencies to go their own way here and there hopefully will offer us a few welcome surprises come Thursday morning.

One thing that is fairly certain is the three films that are set to lead the nominations overall: Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave," Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" and David O. Russell's "American Hustle." They have rarely failed to manage impressive support from pretty much all of the precursors, and if any of them miss out on best picture or best director (or have overall nomination counts under 8), it would be a big shock. Which films join them in the best picture race will be a lot more interesting. Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips" are looking pretty solid in that regard, but then it gets a lot more hazy. We don't know how many nominations there will be, after all, though the remaining 0-4 slots seem to be a battle among 6 films: Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," Joel & Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," Spike Jonze's "Her," John Lee Hancock's "Saving Mr. Banks," Jean-Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyers Club" and Stephen Frears' "Philomena."  For the sake of mixing things up, we're betting there will only be 8 nominees this year (there were 9 the previous two years), with "Her" and "Philomena" joining the aforementioned six nearly sure things.

The acting races should be equally interesting.  Best actor, in particular, is probably more stacked than its been in a decade, with Robert Redford, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Dern, Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Christian Bale and Joaquin Phoenix all offering performances that in any other year would arguably be certainties for nominations. But this year, it's gonna be tough.  As for best actress, it's considerably less competitive with six women aiming for five slots. But that still makes things interesting. Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Emma Thompson certainly seem like sure things, though who joins them -- Amy Adams or Meryl Streep -- will be a mystery to the last minute.

The past month of non-stop precursors have certainly made their stamps on the race and have given us some clear suggestions in all of the acting races. If an actor doesn't end up with at least one nomination from the Globes, BAFTA, SAG or the Critics Choice, there's a very slim chance they'll end up with an Oscar nomination. Though ask Jacki Weaver how she feels about that slim chance. She's the only one that beat it last year when she ended up with an Oscar nomination for "Silver Linings Playbook." Or, Marion Cotillard, for that matter, who was nominated for all four and then didn't end up making it to Oscar's shortlist. The year before, there was also one actor (Max von Sydow) made the cut without a SAG, Globe, BAFTA or Critics Choice nod, while Tilda Swinton did not despite getting all of them. If that trend continues this year, I'd bet -- for what it's worth -- that Jonah Hill ("The Wolf of Wall Street") is the one who makes it in without any of those precursors. His film broke very late in the game, and he's been campaigning aggressively ever since. He's also pretty fantastic in "Wolf."

So then who falls out? The following folks managed nods from all 4 organizations: Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o. The predictions below suggest Daniel Bruhl as the sole Oscar exclusion from that group. More over, they also suggest "12 Years a Slave" would lead the nomination count with 12, while "American Hustle" takes 10 and "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" each take 9.  Take a read through and feel free to add your own predictions in the comments section.  You can also find more extensive commentary on each individual category, click here.

Best Picture:
Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

If There's a 9th Nominee: Dallas Buyers Club
If There's a 10th Nominee: Saving Mr. Banks
The Spoiler Nominee: Inside Llewyn Davis
Pretty Please: Before Midnight
Winner Prediction: 12 Years a Slave

Best Director:
Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze, Her
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell, American Hustle

The Spoiler Nominee: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Pretty Please: Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Winner Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Best Actress:

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench
, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

The Spoiler Nominee: Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Pretty Please: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
Winner Prediction: Cate Blanchett,

Blue Jasmine

Best Actor:
Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

The Spoiler Nominee: Robert Redford, All Is Lost (or Christian Bale, American Hustle -- this is gonna be tight)
Pretty Please: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Winner Prediction: Bruce Dern, Nebraska


  • R.A. | January 16, 2014 9:14 AMReply


  • Ans | January 16, 2014 8:51 AMReply

    SO happy for Sally Hawkins too!

  • Ans | January 16, 2014 8:50 AMReply

    Wow Peter Knegt, you were pretty much spot on! Sad about Daniel Bruhl getting snubbed though. Also not happy about 4/4 acting nominations for American Hustle. There is way too much support for this hit-and-miss mess of a film.
    And now we all must say "two-time Academy Award nominee, Jonah Hill". Who knew?

  • Ross | January 16, 2014 3:40 AMReply

    Daniel Bruhl is more of a lock than Jonah Hill or Bradley Cooper, and a possible winner as well. The only thing that could count against him is that Rush is fairly unlikely to be nominated in many other categories

  • C | January 15, 2014 11:56 PMReply

    I would be disappointed if Frozen really gets picked over The Wind Rises. As much as I love Disney and Ghibli equally, Frozen came nowhere near what the classics did. It was a good film, but it wasn't a great one, and I found myself getting over it after one night. The Wind Rises, on the other hand, still has me thinking back to certain scenes within the film.

  • Amanda | January 15, 2014 6:00 PMReply

    I'm really hoping one Bruce dern to win best actor but
    Chitwetel did an amazing performance in 12 years a slave

  • Sydney Irene | January 15, 2014 3:24 PMReply

    I feel like due to the graphic content of Wolf of Wall Street, Dicaprio will get snubbed yet again despite his remarkable performance and incorporation of his earlier characters to perfect his performance. Plus the industry hates to correct itself and prove it was wrong in ignoring him when he was in prior nominations.

  • N | January 15, 2014 6:41 PM

    They correct themselves all the time. One of the biggest blunders ever in Oscar history was Helen Hunt winning over Judi Dench and the Academy embarrassed over that that they awarded Dench the following year for a part that had her on screen for all of 8 minutes. It was a brilliant 8 minutes mind you but it was also clearly a correction for the previous year's blunder.

  • pinky | January 15, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    Wow, I wouldn't be surprised if these predictions weren't 100% correct. And that's what's sad about the Oscars: so damn predictable.

  • Guest | January 15, 2014 8:50 AMReply

    I have a weird feeling dicaprio might just win this year.and lol cooper really?leto's got this in the bag american hustle is overrated anyway

  • Lucille | January 15, 2014 2:12 AMReply

    It's a shame that the excellent performances by Hugh Jackman in Prisoners and Brie Larson in Short Term 12 have been completely ignored this awards season.

  • lyta | January 15, 2014 1:48 AMReply

    i love that this year, except only in the supporting actor, where Leto is pretty much a lock, even though i do like Cooper´s perfomance better than Fassbender (i just think that they are compensay him for the Shame snubb). the supporting actreess i would like to see Lawrence take it, i´m convence with Lupita as an actor yet, she is so new then i don´t know she is worthy of the oscar yet. and Lawrence is the force of American Hustle.
    in the lead actrees if Amy Adams get the nomination i want her to win. Cate Blanchett has her oscar, and she suffer the snubb when they give the oscar to Gwyneth Paltrow insted of her, Amy has lost 4 times already, and the perfomance is great, not so suffer like Blanchett´s but equaly great.
    in the actor i hope that they nominated Leonardo, because i think that for now Matthew is the front runner, but i just couldn´t live in a world where Matthew gets the oscar for his first nominations, when he has only done decent movies for the past 3 yeas, and Leonardo DiCaprio who is probably the greates actor of our time, has been doing wonderfull films for more than a decade now, still don´t get the Oscar. The wolf is a really good movie, and a side from him as an actor that we have not seeing. Matthew still i think is a little away from the statue, and need to prove that he didn´t only do the movie for getting the oscar, but his career is taking a new direction.
    btw i love seeing actors that normally are considered sexiest men alive, or bachelors or what ever, like Bradley, Matthew, Michael and Leo showing that they look can help but can also be amazing and wonderfull actors.

  • Joe H. | January 14, 2014 6:03 PMReply

    I'll be annoyed if Ejiofor doesn't win. He was robbed at the Globes. There is nothing better than his performance in 12 Years a Slave, should go without saying...

  • Mitch | January 14, 2014 5:44 PMReply

    Why is Bradley Cooper the predicted winner for Best Supporting Actor? I thought Jared Leto was a lock.

  • Britt | January 15, 2014 4:22 PM

    Neither Leto nor McCanaughey were nominated for BAFTA. There's a large overlap in voting bodies between BAFTA and Oscars so most predictions are treating that as a sign that the two actors and the film might not have the momentum to carry them through to the win.

  • Chris138 | January 15, 2014 3:17 AM

    I thought the same thing. I don't think Cooper would have a chance of winning, if he is actually nominated.

  • Joe H. | January 14, 2014 6:04 PM

    I know right. It's without a doubt going to be Fassbender or Leto. I cannot foresee a future where Bradley Cooper beats both of them.

  • Don Moore | January 14, 2014 4:53 PMReply

    What! no predictions for the shorts??!!!!

  • Demond | January 14, 2014 3:18 PMReply

    It would be Really Bad Ass If Scarlett Johannson & Joaquin Phoenix Scored Nominations fo "HER." I'm sure Spike Jonze is a Lock For Best Original Screenplay & Best Director.

  • AC | January 15, 2014 5:00 PM

    If Scarlett gets a nomination, then the Academy is going to have to explain why exactly Andy Serkis didn't get a nomination for Two Towers....

  • Britt | January 15, 2014 4:32 PM

    I'm really hoping for surprise nominations for both Johannson and Phoenix as well. I'm willingly to be wrong on all of my predictions if it means those two get in.

  • Ashley | January 14, 2014 2:40 PMReply

    Adele Exarchopoulos pretty please....

  • Carlos Aguilar | January 14, 2014 8:59 PM

    I would literally lose my mind if she gets a nom, it would a smal miracle. Let's hope. I'm sure all other predicted nominees deserves but the performances in 'Blue' are just beyond anything else I've seen this year.

  • Dan | January 14, 2014 1:36 PMReply

    If Bradley Cooper wins Best Supporting Actor I will horror. It should be Michael Fassbender for his magnificent performance in 12 Years but probably going to be Leto. I also hope you are wrong about Bruce Dern, though it is a great performance, him actually winning would feel like an overall career award, for me you cannot ignore Chiwetel Elijifor's extraordinarily powerful performance.

  • Britt | January 15, 2014 4:35 PM

    Agreed on Bruce Dern. As much as I liked Nebraska and Dern's performance I feel like the film relied much more on Will Forte's character coming to understand/accept his father than it did on Dern's character who (fittingly) doesn't grow, change, or adapt throughout the film. I'd sub him out for Phoenix or Redford in a heartbeat.

  • Chris138 | January 15, 2014 3:19 AM

    American Hustle winning anything at the Oscars would be pretty bad, in my opinion. I'm baffled that the film is considered a front runner and has gotten so many rave reviews from critics. And I am with you on Ejiofor for Best Actor; he certainly deserves to win.

  • Katie | January 14, 2014 4:40 PM

    I agree, a Bradley Cooper win would be a disaster, it might even cure me forever of my interest in the oscars.

  • Dan | January 14, 2014 1:37 PM

    Ejiofor* UGH!

  • Truthgiver | January 14, 2014 1:00 PMReply

    "Pretty Please: Scarlett Johannson, Her"

    Your so cool and off beat....

  • corvo | January 14, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    Bradley Cooper???? Seriously??? Jared Leto will win!

  • Stanley Theroux | January 14, 2014 12:25 PMReply

    Best Cinematography snubs:

    Only God Forgives (love it or hate it you can't deny its one of the most beautiful films of the modern era)


    Spring Breakers

  • Carlos Aguilar | January 14, 2014 9:00 PM

    'To the Wonder' beats any film from last year in Cinematography, the only saving grace is that Lubezki also did 'Gravity' and will finally win for that.

  • Kyle | January 14, 2014 12:19 PMReply

    I don't hold as much confidence in "Philomena" as I do with "Inside Llewyn Davis" for Best Picture. "Philomena" just doesn't have many nominations this season outside of Actress and Adapted Screenplay. And while, I know critics don't have a say in Oscar nominations, "Llewyn Davis" has been all over the place, even winning some, including AFI, so I think "Philomena" is tied for 9th/10th spots with "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Dallas Buyers Club", and "Llewyn Davis" in 8th or 7th. Just my thoughts.

  • Julio | January 16, 2014 7:06 AM

    I agree Llewyn Davis is an incredible story very hard to act but at the same time full of heart and music. Oscar Isaac is a revelation from doing very good parts in several films, he has graduated to a master in acting. His performance in this film rose the level of the whole cast giving a superb movie as a result. Most of the other films are influence by two or three actors, music or the story. Inside Llewyn Davis is Oscar Isaac master piece.

  • Duane | January 14, 2014 12:08 PMReply

    Are we kidding here with the Bradley Cooper for Best Supporting Actor? That's so random. Definitely Leto or Fassbender.

  • Kathryn | January 15, 2014 10:09 AM

    So it is a joke? Glad to hear that Mr Knegt. I've seen American Hustle a couple of times now and I enjoyed it well enough, more the second time, but I understand why people are annoyed by the over reaction of the critics. Their performances increased my fondness for Adams, Bale and Renner, but the hysteria has made me rather tired of hearing Lawrence's name and has effectively turned my indifference to Cooper into dislike. There are so many films I enjoyed this year that I am sure I will approve of most of the nominations, but at this point nothing will make me happier than Cooper NOT being nominated.

  • M. | January 14, 2014 1:13 PM

    Well Cooper's chances are def. intriguing, I'm going with Leto or Fassbender.

  • Peter Knegt | January 14, 2014 12:32 PM

    It was definitely a risky stab, and one I don't take that seriously (at least for now). I just can't for whatever reason see Leto or Fassbender actually winning, and the support for HUSTLE is just so strong I thought, why not go there. Though Adams or Lawrence probably stand better chances at winning than Cooper, this was just a rather silly bet ahead of the nominations (which Cooper is not even a sure thing for). Serious grain of salt to be taken with that suggestion, either way.

  • Raul | January 14, 2014 11:52 AMReply

    I think if Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated he will probably win, and the same with Amy Adams. Adams may take it from Blanchett for being a four-time loser starring in a best picture frontrunner. I love that pretty much all the major categories are competitive this year. As much as I don't think the Academy wants to recognize Jennifer Lawrence again, there doesn't seem to be an actress giving her a lot of competition this year. I do hope it's Lupita Nyong'o or even June Squibb. And one last thing, "And the Academy Award goes to..."Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa!"

  • Carlos Aguilar | January 14, 2014 9:04 PM

    Right? I don't know if I can stand a future where Bad Grandpa gets a nomination after I spent so much time telling my friends that's not even a real film lol. The Lone Ranger, I can live with that. I think Amy Adams , winning or even getting a nomination is basically impossible. Cate Blanchett has won it all; however, Viola Davis and Mickey Rourke lost when they basically had it in their hands. Leo might get a nomination if he pushes Redford out of the race, I personally think Tom Hanks shouldn't even be nominated, the best part of his performance are the last 4 or 5 minutes the rest is bland.