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Oscars: The Playlist’s Final Predictions For The 2014 Academy Award Nominations

Oscars: The Playlist's Final Predictions For The 2014 Academy Award Nominations

After almost six months of debate, backbiting, speculation and guesswork (and yeah, it is close to six months—awards season got underway officially with the debut of “Gravity” in Venice in August, though some could trace it back even earlier to the arrival of “Blue Jasmine in the summer), we’re almost there: we’re less than 48 hours from the announcement of the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards.

We’ve been documenting the rise and fall and rise of the various contenders over the last few months, but now it’s time, to borrow an expression from the Dalai Lama, to shit or get off the pot. Below, and over the next few pages, you’ll find our (and by our, I mean mine) final, irrevocable predictions for what’ll be nominated for what on Thursday morning. Take a look, and check back bright and early on the 19th to find out how wrong we were.

Best Documentary Short

“Jujitsu-ing Reality”

“Karama Has No Walls”

“The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life”

“Prison Terminal: The Last Days Of Private Jack Hall”


As ever, these nominations are the trickiest to call because so few outside of the nominating committees have seen the film, which haven’t really popped up outside the festival circuit. But it’s also possible to make some educated guesses fairly accurately based on the eight-strong shortlist. I reckon that “SLOMO,” about a neurologist who gives up his life to become a Pacific Beach rollerblader, is a little too lightweight in subject to make the cut, while “Facing Fear,” about a gay man confronting the neo-Nazi who attacked him, could seem too familiar. But I’m confident that “Jujitsu-ing Reality,” about a paralyzed screenwriter, will connect with voters, while “Karama Has No Walls,” about a protest in Yemen that led to 50 deaths; “The Lady In Number 6,” about a 109-year-old Holocaust survivor and practicing pianist; and “Prison Terminal,” about a WW2 vet and murderer dying in prison, all seem to be made of the right stuff. Beyond that, I’ve gone for “Recollections,” about survivors of the Japanese tsunami.

Dark Horse: Don’t rule out “CaveDigger,” about an artist in New Mexico who digs “art caves”—it might not be as issue-driven as some of its rivals, but it ticks the artistry box.

Best Animated Short

“Get A Horse!”

“Gloria Victoria”

“Mr. Hublot”

“Requiem For Romance”

“Room On The Broom”

Unlike the other short categories, Best Animated Short can feature some big names in contention, and barring a serious upset, we should see Disney‘s Mickey Mouse-starring “Get A Horse!” and the charming “Room On the Broom,” from the makers of the Oscar-nominated “The Gruffalo,” among the final five. Beyond that, “The Missing Scarf” is sweet, but looks like an iPhone game, while Japanese ghost story “Possessions” and the somewhat slight “Feral” also feel like they’ll be on the outside. Chris Landreth won in 2005 for his film “Ryan,” but his latest, “Subconscious Password,” is a longer bet, though it’s distinctive (watch it in full here). So I reckon that the other three nominees will be the steampunkish “Mr. Hublot,” lo-fi kung-fu break-up short “Requiem For Romance” (watch in full), and “Gloria Victoria,” which is somewhat abstract, but hugely distinctive and has proved popular on the festival circuit.

Dark Horse: Stop-motion often does well, so we could see “The Hollow Land” sneaking in over “Room On the Broom” or “Gloria Victoria.”

Best Live-Action Short

“Avant Que De Tout Perdre” (Just Before Losing Everything) *



“Throat Song” 

“The Voorman Problem”

Again, this is a case of process of elimination. Finnish comedy “Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa” would be fun to see whichever Hemsworth brother ends up presenting the award on Oscar night try to pronounce, but is a bit lightweight, as is the Italian “Tiger Boy.” The Spanish child-soldier drama “That Wasn’t Me” and Serbian dark comedy “Two” are both technically accomplished, but
tread familiar thematic territory. So I’ve got my money on French short “Just Before Losing Everything,” the directorial debut of “Au Revoir Les Enfants” star Xavier Legrand, Indian drama “Kush,” a prize-winner in Venice, Fantastic Fest-winning sci-fi short “Record/Play” (which is terrific, and you can watch in full here), Canadian Genie-winner “Throat Song,” about an Inuit woman leaving her abusive husband, and British short “The Voorman Problem,” based on a short story by “Cloud Atlas” author David Mitchell, and with some star power courtesy of Tom Hollander and the omnipresent (but always welcome) Martin Freeman.

Dark Horse: Danish sci-fi short “Helium.” Director Anders Walter made the longlist last year with “9 Meter,” but could step up to be a nominee this time around.

Best Sound Editing

“All Is Lost”

“Captain Phillips”


“Lone Survivor”


To recap, in case you’ve forgotten the difference, Best Sound Editing rewards the design and creation of a film’s soundscape, while Sound Mixing is about how they’ve been put together in the final track. Here, “Captain Phillips” and “Gravity” both seem like locks, while the craft of the very noisy “Lone Survivor” will probably figure in both of these categories. Beyond that, the branch should recognize the very fine work in “All Is Lost,” while I’d just give the edge to “Rush” over blockbuster “Iron Man 3,” but it could go either way.

Dark Horse: Sometimes, the strength of support for a Best Picture nominee makes itself clear here, as with “Argo” last year, which got two sound nods. “American Hustle” is probably unlikely, but don’t be surprised if “12 Years a Slave” figures in. “Pacific Rim” could also be a possibility.

Best Sound Mixing

“12 Years a Slave”

“Captain Phillips”


“Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Lone Survivor”

Again, “Captain Phillips” and “Gravity” will be in, as will “Lone Survivor.” Music-related films often perform well here, so “Inside Llewyn Davis” should be a safe-ish bet here, if not in other categories. As for the fifth slot, it’s trickier to call, but “12 Years a Slave” might have a better chance here than in the Editing category.

Dark Horse:All Is Lost” was mostly stagebound, with the sound generally being created in post, which makes it a less likely nominee here. But if the branch go for the film, it could still double up.

Best Makeup And Hairstyling

“American Hustle”

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”

“The Lone Ranger”

With likely bets “Rush,” “The Hobbit,” “The Butler,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Prisoners” left off the Academy’s seven-strong shortlist, it opened up the category quite a bit. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” probably isn’t quite classy enough (though this is the branch that nominated “Norbit“), and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” will be hurt by being a sequel, despite some of those gravity-defying hairpieces, but look for “American Hustle” to make it in, becoming the first film since “Hairstyling” was added to the category name last year to make it in purely on the basis of its hairdos. Meanwhile, the old-age make-up on, of all things, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” is likely to be recognized, and I’d take the impressive work on “The Lone Ranger” over the shinier “The Great Gatsby.

Dark Horse: Dallas Buyers Club” is probably the least showy film on the list, but again, the movie is well liked across the board, and given its surprising achievements with the guild, don’t be totally shocked if this makes it in.

Best Visual Effects


“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

“Iron Man 3”


“Pacific Rim”

Gravity” is the obvious front-runner for the win, and the other nominees can quite happily get stinking drunk in the limo on the way without fearing that they’ll be called on stage. Of the ten-strong shortlist (which snubbed “Man of Steel” to the surprise of many), “Thor: The Dark World” is probably the least likely, along with “Elysium.” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is more feasible, given that its predecessor was a nominee, but I think it’ll miss out this time, too. Alongside “Gravity,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is likely a lock (all the Middle Earth films to date have been nominated), while “Iron Man 3” should follow its predecessors in. For the final two slots, I’m putting my money on “Oblivion” and “Pacific Rim,” which might not be the most realistic, but they’re more characterful, and I think that’s something the branch will award.

Dark Horse: We hear “World War Z,” perplexingly, went down well in early voting, so don’t rule that out completely. And we have a funny feeling that “The Lone Ranger” could make it in, if only for the train sequences.

Best Production Design

“12 Years a Slave”


“The Great Gatsby”

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

“The Invisible Woman”

Quietly one of the toughest categories to call this year, with a wealth of possibilities, and only a handful of slots. The safest lock is probably “The Great Gatsby“—Baz Luhrmann‘s film might not be the awards juggernaut it was hoped to be, but Catherine Martin‘s design work is always a safe bet here. We thought that “Gravity” taking place in open space might hurt it, but a BAFTA nomination suggests that won’t be the case, while its Best Picture competition “12 Years a Slave” should tick the right boxes as a period film. I’m not quite sure the same is true for “American Hustle“—the ’70s look is meticulous, but so much of the film takes place in unshowy offices and hotel rooms (the same could also be said of “Saving Mr. Banks,” though that might be a better bet). So instead, I’ll roll the dice on ‘The Hobbit,’ given that its predecessor, and all “The Lord of the Rings” films, made the cut, and on “The Invisible Woman.” British period fare like “The Duchess,” “The Young Victoria” and “The King’s Speech” has a tendency to over-perform in this category, even if the film goes unloved elsewhere.

Dark Horse: I wonder if the work in “Her” is too subtle for recognition, and shooting in Shanghai did do some of the heavy lifting, but it’s more than worthy, and it’s not unfeasible that it shows up on Thursday morning in this category.

Best Costume Design

“12 Years a Slave”

“American Hustle”

“The Great Gatsby”

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

“The Invisible Woman”

A little less wide-open than Production Design, this category essentially has four locked nominees, all period pictures to varying degrees: “12 Years a Slave,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Invisible Woman” and “American Hustle.” If any of them miss out, it’d be something of a surprise (though ‘Hustle’ might be the wobbliest). Beyond that, it’s tougher to say what could make the fifth slot, but either “Saving Mr. Banks” or “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” feel like the likeliest. I’d go for the latter, if only because it’s a little more interesting.

Dark Horse: Don’t rule out “Oz The Great & Powerful,” which had some garish, but attention-grabbing outfits that might figure in (don’t forget that “Alice In Wonderland” was a winner a few years back).

Best Original Song

“Let It Go” – Idina Menzel – “Frozen”

“The Moon Song” – Karen O – “Her”

“in The Middle Of The Night” – Fantasia – “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

“Ordinary Love” – U2 – “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”

“So You Know What It’s Like” – Keith Stanfield – “Short Term 12”

This category has been in flux the last few years after the disaster of a couple of years ago, when there were only two nominees, and now five nominees are guaranteed, which opens the field up somewhat. Rule changes also mean that closing credits numbers might have a better chance than they did before, which I think will favor U2‘s “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” over the Ed Sheeran track from ‘The Hobbit.’ Meanwhile, there’s a couple of options from “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” of which I think Fantasia has the best chance. Beyond that things get more interesting, with the rap from “Short Term 12” building critical swell (though don’t be surprised if it misses), and the Karen O-penned “Moon Song” from “Her” also viable. But really, any of these (and other potential contenders like Lana Del Ray‘s “Young & Beautiful” from “The Great Gatsby” and “My Lord Sunshine” from “12 Years a Slave“) are likely to be overshadowed by “Frozen” track “Let It Go,” which is something close to a surefire winner.

Dark Horse: “Doby” from “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is probably too silly (though don’t forget that “Blame Canada” was a nominee), but do keep an eye on songs from “Black Nativity.” Aside from “Frozen,” it’s the only true musical on the longlist. “He Loves Me Still” might be the most obvious one.

Best Original Score

Hans Zimmer – “12 Years a Slave”

Alex Ebert – “All Is Lost”

John Williams – “The Book Thief”

Steven Price – “Gravity”

Thomas Newman – “Saving Mr. Banks”

Not the strongest year for this category in recent memory, but that at least means that it’s trickier to guess. “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” are essentially locked in, while John Williams could collaborate with Ke$ha on a score and still get nominated, so “The Book Thief” could pick up a nod here too. Beyond that, precursor love for Randy Newman‘s “Monsters University” score never materialized, and “Nebraska” was disqualified, which is good news for Alex Ebert‘s “All Is Lost” score—its Golden Globes victory suggests it’s made at least something of an impression on the season. Beyond that, it comes down to two rather bland scores by composers who’ve done far better and work, and I’d wager that Thomas Newman‘s “Saving Mr. Banks” will ultimately beat out Alexandre Desplat‘s “Philomena” for the fifth slot.

Dark Horse: Henry Jackman‘s “Captain Phillips” could also figure in, potentially over Ebert or Newman.

Best Foreign Language Film

“The Broken Circle Breakdown” – Belgium

“The Great Beauty – Italy

“The Hunt” – Denmark

“The Missing Picture” – Cambodia

“Omar” – Palestine

As ever, the foreign language branch threw some curve balls, with nine-strong longlist that didn’t include many of the presumptive favorites, including “The Past,” “Wadjda” and “Gloria.” Don’t exclude the possibility of more to come (though we can probably assume that Danis Tanovic‘s “An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker” won’t be in the final five), but this feels more guessable than usual: Playlist favorite “The Broken Circle Breakdown” is a likely nominee, as are “The Hunt” and “The Great Beauty.” Middle Eastern fare often ends up with a nomination, so “Omar” (from the director of “Paradise Now,” which was nominated a few years back) will probably figure in too. Beyond that, it’s less predictable, but the fascinating Cambodian documentary “The Missing Picture” is what I’d put my money on.

Dark Horse: Wong Kar-wai‘s never been nominated in this category (or, indeed, at all), but “The Grandmaster” could be the one, and potentially sneak in over “The Missing Picture.”

Best Documentary Feature

“20 Feet From Stardom”

“The Act of Killing”


“The Square”

“Stories We Tell”

Though their shortlist was less controversial than the foreign language branch, there were still some surprises in store with the documentary narrowing-down process: “At Berkeley” and “After Tiller” being among the notable absences. Still, many of the big dogs were included, and there’s a certain amount of consensus on the nominees: popular hits “20 Feet From Stardom” and “Blackfish” look good for a nod, along with the acclaimed “The Square.” I’ve already talked about my worries that one or both of “The Act of Killing” and “Stories We Tell” will be snubbed, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the moment that they’ll make it in.

Dark Horse: Should our worries about Joshua Oppenheimer or Sarah Polley‘s films turn out to be true, “Tim’s Vermeer” is the one to watch.

Best Animated Feature

“The Croods”

“Ernest & Celestine”


“Monsters University”

“The Wind Rises”

Not much has changed here since we ran these down, although Globes and BAFTA nods for “Despicable Me 2” have some wondering if that might make it in, but given the lack of love from the Academy for the first film, we’d be surprised. Otherwise, expect a Pixar, a DreamWorks, a GKIDS foreign indie, and a Studio Ghibli, the latter of which is the only thing that might potentially beat the frontrunner, Disney megahit “Frozen” for the win.

Dark Horse: Gothic stop-motion Spanish film “O Apostolo,” if enough voters saw it. But “Despicable Me 2” is more likely to cause the upset, probably over “Ernest & Celestine.”

Best Film Editing

“American Hustle”

“Captain Phillips”


“12 Years a Slave”

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

It’s famously hard for a Best Picture winner to miss out on an editing nomination, and as such, this category is likely to be dominated by Best Picture frontrunners “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle,” with “Captain Phillips,” which is arguably in fourth position behind them for the big prize, being a certain nominee too. Beyond that, it gets trickier. Most had figured that the very strong craft of “Rush” would make it in, but it’s worth noting that Thelma Schoonmaker‘s picked up four nominations (and two Oscars) for her work on the last five Scorsese movies (and might well have gotten one for “Shutter Island” too had it come out in awards season). Unless those who complain about the film’s length intervene, she’s probably a nominee again.

Dark Horse: Don’t discount “Lone Survivor,” which has some strong craft to it. The similar “Black Hawk Down” won back in 2001, and that was without a Best Picture nomination too. “Her” could pull a surprise too.

Best Cinematography

Sean Bobbitt – “12 Years a Slave”

Emmanuel Lubezki – “Gravity”

Bruno Delbonnel – “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Phedon Papamichael – “Nebraska”

Roger Deakins – “Prisoners”

Likely to be one of the more competitive categories in terms of grabbing a nomination, though we can all be pretty certain that Emmanuel Lubezki will be taking the prize home in March for “Gravity.” Alongside him, Sean Bobbitt is looking good to pick up his first nomination for “12 Years A Slave” and I’m confident that, even if the film itself is mostly snubbed elsewhere, “Inside Llewyn Davis” will be a nominee here. There’s probably been no better-shot film in the last year than “Prisoners,” and so Roger Deakins will almost certainly join those three. All four were ASC nominees, and the fifth slot will be taken by one of the three remaining films that got nods from the cinematography guild—”Captain Phillips,” “Nebraska” and “The Grandmaster.” I’d be surprised if the Wong film made the cut, but it could be either of the others. I’m leaning towards Phedon Papamichael‘s drab work on “Nebraska” over Barry Ackroyd‘s in “Captain Phillips,” but it could go either way.

Dark Horse: Hoyte Von Hoytema will probably have to wait until Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar” next year for a nod, but there’s a small chance he could sneak in this time for “Her.” 

Best Original Screenplay

Eric Warren Singer & David O. Russell – “American Hustle”

Woody Allen – “Blue Jasmine”

Spike Jonze – “Her”

Joel & Ethan Coen – “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Bob Nelson – “Nebraska”

A rare year in which this category’s been more competitive than the Adapted one, but this has pretty much crystalized in the last few weeks. “American Hustle,” “Nebraska” and category regular Woody Allen for “Blue Jasmine” are all certainties, and Golden Globe winner Spike Jonze could join them (and might even win). Despite the WGA going for “Dallas Buyers Club,” our confidence remains in “Inside Llewyn Davis“—this category often serves as a consolation prize for things that miss out elsewhere, and that should be the case here. “Saving Mr. Banks” is also just about viable, but having missed out with the precursors, probably won’t figure in this time.

Dark Horse: Gravity.” The script might have come in for criticism from some, but writers are more likely to see its value, and they’re the ones doing the nominating here. It did get a BAFTA nomination, which could be more telling.

Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley – “12 Years a Slave”

Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater – “Before Midnight”

Billy Ray – “Captain Phillips”

Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope – “Philomena”

Terence Winter – “The Wolf of Wall Street”

With both “Philomena” and “12 Years a Slave” ineligible for the WGA Awards, we’re likely to see more of a departure from the guilds here, as both of those films feel like safe-ish bets in this category. Beyond that, Billy Ray will be a nominee for “Captain Phillips,” and a WGA nod likely sealed the chances for Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy to repeat their “Before Sunset” nod with “Before Midnight.” I’d tipped “August: Osage County” at one point, but with the film getting such middling reviews, I’d be surprised if Tracy Letts got an Oscar nod. Instead, look for Terence Winter and “The Wolf of Wall Street” to take that fifth slot.

Dark Horse: Well, “Lone Survivor” got a WGA nod, so we suppose it’s probably that. But if it gets that, then it’s probably getting a Best Picture nomination too, and that feels very unlikely.

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o – “12 Years a Slave”

Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle”

Julia Roberts – “August: Osage County”

June Squibb – “Nebraska”

Oprah Winfrey – “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Another category that was in flux for some time, but has settled down a bit of late: Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence are the frontrunners, with June Squibb and Oprah Winfrey also likely nominees. Julia Roberts was the fifth SAG nominee, but we’ve felt a bit of a groundswell towards Sally Hawkins in recent weeks. That said, I figure if that happens, it suggests a wider group of support for “Blue Jasmine” which would also result in a Best Picture nomination, and I’m not prepared to go that far, so Roberts it is for me.

Dark Horse: Jennifer Garner in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Mostly ignored by precursor awards, but well liked, and certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender – “12 Years a Slave”

Bradley Cooper – “American Hustle”

Barkhad Abdi – “Captain Phillips”

Jared Leto – “Dallas Buyers Club”

James Gandolfini – “Enough Said”

Much more difficult to call than the Supporting Actress race, this has three locks—Fassbender, Leto and Abdi, and then a revolving door of potentials for the other two. Daniel Bruhl got a second wind with an SAG nomination, but I’m still not sure he’s making the cut, with the potential of a posthumous James Gandolfini nomination for “Enough Said,” and Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle” building momentum. Similarly, there was a moment where it seemed like Jonah Hill could get a second nod for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” but he’s an outside bet at best now.

Dark Horse: It wouldn’t be entirely shocking if Will Forte for “Nebraska” got in.He’s another when who’s had a bit of a boost as more and more people saw the film. It’d be over Gandolfini, most likely, though, and the latter’s still the better bet for now.

Best Actress

Amy Adams – “American Hustle”

Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”

Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”

Judi Dench – “Philomena”

Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”

This category seems to have been set in stone for months: Cate Blanchett is the obvious winner, with Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County” seemingly pre-destined to join them. But the tides have been shifting recently, with the momentum behind Amy Adams for “American Hustle” building as the film grew in power, and I think that she’ll beat out Streep for the fifth slot, though other prognosticators are divided as to whether that’ll be the case.

Dark Horse: Almost the biggest shock would be if Dench, Bullock or Thompson fell out, but it seems very unlikely. Beyond Streep, we’d love for Brie Larson or Greta Gerwig to pull a shock, but the chances are virtually none.

Best Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor – “12 Years a Slave”

Christian Bale – “American Hustle”

Tom Hanks – “Captain Phillips”

Matthew McConaughey – “Dallas Buyers Club”

Bruce Dern – “Nebraska”

What was once a wide-open race has tightened up a fair bit: Chiewetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern are all pretty much dead certs (Hanks perhaps a little less so, but it’d still be the biggest shock of the day if he missed out). The fifth slot is one of the toughest calls to make, with at least five actors in competition for it. Forest Whitaker has the SAG nod, but very little other buzz; Robert Redford had the early heat, but has mostly fallen away; and Leonardo DiCaprio has a late boost from the Globes and from the heat around the film. But I have a funny feeling that Christian Bale will surprise, making a second clean sweep of the acting nods for David O. Russell. 

Dark Horse: In a way, Bale is the dark horse, but I’d love for Oscar Isaac to shock and make the final five (though it’s not happening).

Best Director

Steve McQueen – “12 Years a Slave”

David O. Russell – “American Hustle”

Alfonso Cuaron – “Gravity”

Spike Jonze – “Her”

Alexander Payne – “Nebraska”

Again, a tricky one to call, given the unpredictability of the director’s branch last year (virtually no one called the nominations for Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin). Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen are locked, along with David O. Russell, and beyond that, it’s generally seen to be Spike Jonze, Paul Greengrass and Alexander Payne fighting for the remaining two slots. Some have speculated that Jonze, who’s well liked among other directors, could be the first filmmaker since the Best Picture field expanded to get a director nomination without the film getting one too. I think it’s unlikely that that would be the case, but I also think the film’s getting a Best Picture nod, so it doesn’t matter much. For some reason, I’d just take Payne over Greengrass, even though the latter’s a more obvious showcase for a filmmaker.

Dark Horse: It’s not often that you call Martin Scorsese a dark horse in a directorial competition, but that’s probably a fair term, given the strong feelings against “The Wolf of Wall Street” from some quarters. Then again, you could have accused “Amour” or “The Tree Of Life” of the same thing.

Best Picture

“12 Years a Slave”

“American Hustle”

“Captain Phillips”

“Dallas Buyers Club” 




“Saving Mr. Banks” (if it goes to 8 nominations)

“Philomena” (if it goes to 9 nominations)

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (if it goes to 10 nominations)

The theoretically fluctuating nature of Best Picture these days makes this tougher than ever to call, but it’s safe to say that “12 Years a Slave” is locked, along with “Gravity” and “American Hustle.” Despite a brief lull in buzz at one point, “Captain Phillips” should be fine, as is “Nebraska.” Beyond that, it’s less certain, but the late surge for “Dallas Buyers Club” should see it in there, while “Her” has had a lot of love, though is on shakier ground. “Saving Mr. Banks” was seen as a potential winner briefly, but has faded over time: nevertheless, it feels like a nominee. Past that, there’s “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” but those depend on whether it goes to nine and ten nominations. But don’t rule out an “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close“-style shock for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” or a nod for “Blue Jasmine.”

Dark Horse: Inside Llewyn Davis.” Most have dismissed it, and it clearly hasn’t connected with audiences at large, but it doesn’t have to, necessarily. It needs to connect with 5% of Oscar voters. Given that “A Serious Man” was a nominee, that’s not impossible to imagine at all.

So there we have it. Feel free to make your own predictions, or quibble with ours, in the comments section, and check back early Thursday morning for the Academy’s announcements.

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