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by Peter Knegt
December 18, 2013 9:47 AM
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For Your Consideration: New Oscar Predictions In The Wake of a Storm of December Precursors

As it does every December, the 2014 Oscar race has essentially gone from a wide open question mark to a largely settled snooze fest in just two weeks. Sometimes it ends up that these two weeks -- when the Golden Globes, SAGs, Critics Choice and about 2,000 or so critics groups all announce their year-end kudos -- are the most exciting part of awards season. Because this is when the 5, 6 or if we're lucky 7 contenders in each of the acting races are more-or-less confirmed and the Academy usually ends up sticking to them.

If an actor doesn't end up with at least one nomination from the Globes, 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 and John Hawkes, for that matter, who were both nominated for all three and then didn't end up making it to Oscar's shortlist. The year before, there were two actors (Max von Sydow and Gary Oldman) made the cut without a SAG, Globe or Critics Choice nod, while two (Tilda Swinton and Leonardo DiCaprio) did not despite getting all three. 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 the precursors.

So then who falls out? The following folks managed nods from all 3 organizations: Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks (for "Captain Phillips," not "Mr. Banks" which he was snubbed in all 3 for), Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb. The predictions below suggest Daniel Bruhl as the sole Oscar exclusion from that group -- but if I had to pick one or two more it would honestly be "August: Osage County" duo Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, in that order.

As for the race overall, it seems like the Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" vs. Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" narrative that was set in early September remains, though David O. Russell's "American Hustle" seems like their biggest challenger. Best picture (and best director, for that matter) will almost certainly come from one of those three films. "12 Years" and "Hustle" were by and large the films to get the most nominations from the Globes and Critics Choice (tying in both regards with 7 and 13 nods apiece, respectively). But notably "Gravity" -- essentially a one-woman show -- pretty much got every nomination it was really in contention for, losing out on higher nomination counts due to its minimal cast. This could give us something of a nail-biter when it comes to best picture, and perhaps another picture/director split (suggestively at this point with "12 Years" getting best picture and Cuarón getting best director, but it could be the other way around or involve "American Hustle" somehow).

Beyond those three, Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips" are looking pretty locked in for best picture nominations, and then it gets a little more unstable. We don't know how many nominations there will be, after all, though the remaining 0-5 slots seem to be a battle between 6 films (in order of likelihood, at least as far as I'm concerned): Joel & Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," Spike Jonze's "Her," Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," John Lee Hancock's "Saving Mr. Banks," Jean-Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyers Club" and Stephen Frears' "Philomena." 

Those predictions and ones for every category save the short films are listed below, and they suggest that overall that "12 Years a Slave" would easily lead the nomination count with 11, while "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" would each have 8. For more commentary on each individual category, click here.

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

If There's a 9th Nominee: Saving Mr. Banks
If There's a 10th Nominee: Dallas Buyers Club
The Spoiler Nominee: Philomena
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: Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Pretty Please: Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Winner Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Best Actress:

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench
, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

The Spoiler Nominee: Amy Adams, American Hustle
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
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

The Spoiler Nominee: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Pretty Please: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Winner Prediction: Bruce Dern, Nebraska

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  • cinemadude | December 20, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    Bruce Dern for Best Actor? Your drunk IW

  • sam | December 19, 2013 6:40 PMReply


  • renee_church@yahoo.com | December 19, 2013 10:27 AMReply

    my neighbor's mother makes $64 an hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for nine months but last month her pay was $19252 just working on the laptop for a few hours. see here.....

  • Ashley | December 18, 2013 11:39 PMReply

    The academy is going to lose credibility if they ignore Adele's brilliant performance.

  • Ashley | December 18, 2013 11:38 PMReply

    The academy is going to lose credibility if they ignore Adèle's brilliant performance.

  • unsoo | December 18, 2013 5:42 PMReply

    Excuse me, Mr. Knegt, but did the predictions change within a few hours? I could've sworn "Cutie and the Boxer" was actually a predicted nominee of yours.

  • Yair Raveh | December 18, 2013 3:40 PMReply

    Hans Zimmer will win Best Score for 12 Years a Slave.

  • Reuben | December 18, 2013 3:03 PMReply

    I missed getting to see the movie, but if it's half as good as the series it's based on, Madoka would be my "pretty please" for animation.

  • ljennifer442@yahoo.com | December 18, 2013 2:21 PMReply

    my buddy's mother-in-law makes $83/hour on the computer. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her pay was $17954 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this.....http://7.ly/dkZm

  • Jace Paul | December 18, 2013 2:11 PMReply

    Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave? I find it a bit depressing that in the year 2013 a film with the dramatic weight and cultural significance of 12 Years is up against a film that's yet another variant of "ill-prepared and emotionally damaged white woman needs rescuing from a a level-headed and charming man." Gravity looks and sounds great, but in terms of content the plot is as vacant as the depths of space.

  • Raul | December 18, 2013 1:17 PMReply

    I think Brie Larson in "Short Term 12" is the spoiler nominee for actress. She has picked up quite a few critics' prizes. The only question is whether it has been widely seen by Academy members.

  • Claudia | December 18, 2013 12:37 PMReply

    *Trayvon Martin's murderer absolution

  • Claudia | December 18, 2013 12:35 PMReply

    It would be surprisingly encouraging if "Fruitvale Station", Forest Whitaker and Melonie Diaz got to be recognised, too. This year was marked by Trayvon Martin's absolution, the fact that young, poor and black Americans still are victims of great discrimination, and, Mandela's death (who had a great influence on U.E Americans). "12 Years", "The Butler", "Fruitvale Station" are different parts (and visions) of this - same - long American history, and from this movies we all had great performances and powerful stories. Art and socio-political issues have always walked side by side. In any case, it is wonderful to recognise more diversity. Nevertheless, this year at least 6/8 actors and actresses from minorities could be nominated among the Best Acting categories, and at least two in the Best Director, but, perhaps, the Academy, as many film critics, are still not ready to see such a large presence, unfortunately.

    P.s: I believe Matthew Mcconaughey will be the strongest in this year Best Actor category.

  • Joe H. | December 18, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    Daniel Bruhl and Tom Hanks both deserve a supporting nod mre than Barkhad Abdi.

  • Pedro | December 18, 2013 11:20 AMReply

    Cate Blanchett and Lupita all the way!

    But in Best Actress category, they must nominate Adele Exarchopoulos, she will bring a fresh air to the Oscars and her performance is miles better than Sandra Bullock's.


  • groucho | December 18, 2013 10:57 AMReply

    I hope these predictions are (mostly) right but a little predictable. I wish for some upsets in the nominations, like Adele Exarchopolous or Brie Larson or even Greta Gerwig in the Actress category. Or a Michael B. Jordan in the Actor category; Margo Martindale and Sally Hawkins in the Supporting Actress. From the predicted nominees, it is as though only 20 films were released in 2013. I hope the voters search for the truly illuminating if unheralded films to bestow the Academy honor. Like some love for "Museum Hours", "Ain't Them Bodies Saints", "In a World".

  • Miguel | December 18, 2013 10:45 AMReply

    You're missing Best Special Effects, which anyway, Gravity will win.

  • Miguel | December 18, 2013 10:45 AM

    *Visual Effects, sorry.

  • Charles | December 18, 2013 10:32 AMReply

    Looks like a good list/forecast. Nothing surprising, nothing egregious.