My prediction on the 86th Annual Academy Awards

12yearsaslave01 The Oscar season in this year is heading toward its finishing line, and I miss my late friend/mentor Roger Ebert more than before. Even when he could not attend the Academy Award ceremony any more due to his health problem which ambushed him in 2006, he usually had something to talk about Oscar, and we always checked his Oscar prediction as trying to outguess him. Now he is no longer with us, and, as going through the first Oscar season without his presence, I sometimes wonder about what he would think of its major contenders.

As I look around the Oscar-nominated films of this year, I can only imagine how much he would be enthusiastic about many of them if he were still with us. “Gravity” takes us boldly into a new area we have never experienced before, and “12 Years a Slave” strikes us hard with its vivid and powerful depiction of the American slavery during the 19th century, and “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a dizzy hedonistic ride which ultimately resonates with a problematic mentality deep inside the American society. Other Best Picture nominees including “Nebraska”, “American Hustle”, “Her”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “Philomena”, and “Captain Phillips” are also good in their own distinctive ways, and each of them gives us satisfying experience to talk and think about.

So far, “12 Years a Slave” has been the leading contender in the race from the start, but “American Hustle” also appears as a serious competitor, and then “Gravity” gains the momentum mainly through its awesome technical achievement which will certainly sweep many technical categories. Now the other major awards including Golden Globe, SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA and BAFTA have showed their answers one by one during last six weeks, but there is still considerable amount of uncertainty around several major categories, and we can only guess which movie will get the last laugh at the end of the 86th Academy Awards ceremony.

I have been fairly correct in my Oscar prediction since I actively began to focus on Oscar season in 2003, but I must tell you again that I have never been wholly correct about eventual winners. I am quite certain about some of the categories, but there may be some surprise on March 2nd, and, again, my prediction will probably turn out to be less accurate than your prediction. Here is my prediction, and I sincerely hope you can outguess me, though there will be no reward or prize for that.

12yearsaslave02

Best Motion Picture of the Year
American Hustle (2013)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Gravity (2013)
Her (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Philomena (2013)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Unlike the previous winner “Argo”, “Captain Phillips”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “Her”, and “Philomena” have no chance of winning because they have no strong buzz around them. “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Nebraska” will be rewarded only with nominations, and “American Hustle” has been losing its steam recently. “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” won the PGA award together while “Gravity” won the DGA award for the director Alfonso Cuarón, so what we have here is the match between two exceptional films to be remembered for each own importance in the movie history. I will vote for “Gravity”, but I think “12 Years a Slave”, my No.2 choice, will win the Best Picture award.

Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
Preference: Gravity

dallas01Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale for American Hustle (2013)
Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Since “The Lincoln Lawyer”, Matthew McConaughey has constantly surprised us through the series of fabulous performances, and now he has a very good chance to win an Oscar for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club”. As one of the audiences who have been amazed by his sudden career boost during last 2 years, I will be very glad to see him on the stage, but my vote goes to Chiwetel Ejiofo’s unforgettable performance as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave”. Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely fearless in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and Christian Bale ably did a rare comic turn in “American Hustle”, and I admire Bruce Dern’s quiet but memorable acting in “Nebraska”, but we all know they do not have much chance compared to McConaughey or Ejiofo.

Prediction: Matthew McConaughey
Preference: Chiwetel Ejiofor

bluejasmin02Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams for American Hustle (2013)
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Sandra Bullock for Gravity (2013)
Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)
Meryl Streep for August: Osage County (2013)

Cate Blanchett has been a prohibitive contender right from when “Blue Jasmine” was released in last August, and she will win the award for her magnificent performance as the incorrigibly deluded heroine of the latest work from Woody Allen. It has been quite apparent that Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, and Meryl Streep should be content with their nomination, and even Amy Adams, who got her 5th nomination, has a very little chance to win.

Prediction: Cate Blanchett
Preference: Cate Blanchett

dallas02Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (2013)
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (2013)
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Jared Leto wonderfully embodies his transgender character in “Dallas Buyers Club”, and he has always been the leading contender in this category while other nominees have virtually been put far behind him. Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper, and Michael Fassbender are also excellent in their respective performances, and so is Barkhad Abdi, a non-professional actor who is amazingly intense and unpredictable while holding himself tightly against Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips”. Like Leto’s graceful performance, Adbi’s menacing embodiment of his character is one of the most remarkable performances in last year, and he surely deserves the award for that.

Prediction: Jared Leto
Preference: Barkhad Abdi

nyongoBest Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (2013)
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle (2013)
June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

Because the nomination itself is reward in case of Sally Hawkins, Julia Roberts, and June Squibb, it has been a tight race between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o, and both of them have a good chance of winning. I think the award will go to the latter because 1) her performance is the best of the bunch and 2) the voters might hesitate to give Lawrence the second Oscar considering her young age – and she won an Oscar in last year. But who knows? While Nyong’o is simply devastating to watch in her heart-wrenching performance, Jennifer Lawrence is literally the force of nature in her electrifying performance in “American Hustle”, and she may win the award in the end.

Prediction: Lupita Nyong’o
Preference: Lupita Nyong’o

f0022370_52e50cd83df07Best Achievement in Directing
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013)
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
David O. Russell for American Hustle (2013)
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

They are all wonderful directors who did a terrific job in each case, but there will be a huge upset if the award does not go to Alfonso Cuarón, who excited and dazzled us through many awe-inspiring moments in “Gravity”

Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón
Preference: Alfonso Cuarón

Her02Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
American Hustle (2013): Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine (2013): Woody Allen
Her (2013): Spike Jonze
Nebraska (2013): Bob Nelson
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Spike Jonze won the Golden Globe and WGA award for his smart and heartfelt screenplay for “Her”, so I predict it will win the award, but “American Hustle” may win due to its popularity.

Prediction: Her
Preference: Her

12yearsaslave03Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Before Midnight (2013): Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips (2013): Billy Ray
12 Years a Slave (2013): John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Terence Winter
Philomena (2013): Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope

These are all solid adapted screenplays, but the winner will be “12 Years a Slave”. My favorite is “Before Midnight”, but this category has no possibility of upset at all.

Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
Preference: Before Midnight

frozen01Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
The Croods (2013)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Ernest & Célestine (2012)
Frozen (2013)
The Wind Rises (2013)

“Frozen” will definitely win, and I have no problem with that, but my heart goes to “Ernest & Célestine”

Prediction: Frozen
Preference: Ernest & Célestine

thegreatbeauty02Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012): Felix Van Groeningen(Belgium)
The Missing Picture (2013): Rithy Panh(Cambodia)
Jagten (2012): Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino(Italy)
Omar (2013): Hany Abu-Assad(Palestine)

While there is no particularly strong contender, it seems “The Great Beauty” will win the award considering its wins at the Golden Globe and BAFTA – but watch out for crowd-pleasing music melodrama “The Broken Circle Breakdown”

Prediction: The Great Beauty
Preference: The Great Beauty

gravity01Best Achievement in Cinematography
Gravity (2013): Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska (2013): Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners (2013): Roger Deakins
The Grandmaster (2013): Philippe Le Sourd

Sorry, Mr Deakins and other nominees except Emmanuel Lubezki; this is not the year for any of you. You surely know why.

Prediction: Gravity
Preference: Gravity

captainphillips06Best Achievement in Editing
12 Years a Slave (2013): Joe Walker
American Hustle (2013): Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Gravity (2013): Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
Captain Phillips (2013): Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Martin Pensa, John Mac McMurphy

Christopher Rouse’s editing was crucial in generating crackling tension in “Captain Phillip”, and it is the busiest one among the bunch. “American Hustle” and “Gravity” also have a fair chance to win, so this category will be one of more interesting ones to watch during the ceremony.

Prediction: Captain Phillips
Preference: Gravity

Best Achievement in Production Design
12 Years a Slave (2013): Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker
American Hustle (2013): Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
Gravity (2013)
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
Her (2013): K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena

“The Great Gatsby” has been considered as the leading contender thanks to its sumptuous production design, but there may be an upset by “Her” or “Gravity” considering far more positive reponses they have received.

Prediction: The Great Gatsby
Preference: Gravity

small_thegreatgatsby01

Best Achievement in Costume Design
American Hustle (2013): Michael Wilkinson
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin
12 Years a Slave (2013): Patricia Norris
The Grandmaster (2013): William Chang
The Invisible Woman (2013): Michael O’Connor

Although I don’t like “The Great Gatsby”, it has many gorgeous costumes to impress the voters – and there is no serious competitor in this category.

Prediction: The Great Gatsby
Preference: The Great Gatsby

dallasbuyersclub01Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013): Steve Prouty
The Lone Ranger (2013): Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua Casny

Seriously, who will vote for any other nominees besides “Dallas Buyers Club”?

Prediction: Dallas Buyers Club
Preference: Dallas Buyers Club

gravity05Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Book Thief (2013): John Williams
Gravity (2013): Steven Price
Her (2013): William Butler, Andy Koyama
Saving Mr. Banks (2013): Thomas Newman
Philomena (2013): Alexandre Desplat

John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, and Thomas Newman are nominated again in this year, but newcomer composer Steven Price will get the award for his effective score for “Gravity”.

Prediction: Gravity
Preference: Saving Mr. Banks

frozen03Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Despicable Me 2 (2013): Pharrell Williams(“Happy”)
Frozen (2013): Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez(“Let It Go”)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013): Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Brian Burton(“Ordinary Love”)
Her (2013): Karen O(“The Moon Song”)

Let it go, Let it go, Let it go…. to “Frozen”

Prediction: Frozen
Preference: Frozen

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Gravity (2013): Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson
Captain Phillips (2013): Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor (2013): Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow

This is the race between “Captain Phillips” and “Gravity”, and the latter has more chance to win.

Prediction: Gravity
Preference: Gravity

gravity04Best Achievement in Sound Editing
All Is Lost (2013): Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips (2013): Oliver Tarney
Gravity (2013): Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Brent Burge
Lone Survivor (2013): Wylie Stateman

It will also go to “Gravity” for the same reason.

Prediction: Gravity
Preference: Gravity

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Gravity (2013): Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 (2013): Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Daniel Sudick
The Lone Ranger (2013): Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton

Do you see any alternative besides “Gravity”?

Prediction: Gravity
Preference: Gravity

20feetfromstardom05Best Documentary, Feature
The Act of Killing (2012): Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer (2013): Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars (2013): Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
The Square (2013): Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer
20 Feet from Stardom (2013): Morgan Neville

All these five documentaries are good enough to be recognized, but the lack of dominant contender in this category puts lots of uncertainty into the circumstance. “The Act of Killing” is definitely the best one, but I think “20 Feet from Stardom” will appeal to the voters more than other nominees.

Prediction: 20 Feet from Stardom
Preference: The Act of Killing

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Cavedigger (2013): Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear (2013): Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls (2012): Sara Ishaq
The Lady In Number 6 (2013): Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (2013): Edgar Barens

Prediction: The Lady in Number 6

Best Short Film, Animated
Feral (2012): Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden
Get a Horse! (2013): Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim
Mr Hublot (2013): Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares
Possessions (2012): Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom (2012) (TV): Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

Prediction: Get a Horse!

Best Short Film, Live Action
That Wasn’t Me (2012): Esteban Crespo
Just Before Losing Everything (2013): Xavier Legrand
Helium (2014): Anders Walter
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (2012): Selma Vilhunen
The Voorman Problem (2012): Mark Gill

Prediction: The Voorman Problem

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3 Responses to My prediction on the 86th Annual Academy Awards

  1. S M Rana says:

    My best was Gravity

    SC: I’m glad that we agree with each other.

  2. Personally, I don’t think any of the other nominees are in the same class with “Gravity”, a truly revolutionary film. “!2 Years a Slave” is fine but it felt to me simply like another “Schindler’s List” / “The Pianist”.
    I also think that, with the exception of “Gravity”, I liked “Prisoners” much more than any of the other Best Pictures nominees. I can’t understand why it was so widely ignored.

    SC: In case of me, I still cannot understand why “Prisoners” have been praised by many critics.

  3. Greg says:

    If THE GREAT BEAUTY doesn’t win Best Foreign Film, I will be throwing stuff at the screen this year. A masterpiece, and how many of those do you see in one year? Ditto about throwing stuff at the screen if THE ACT OF KILLING doesn’t win. In the animation category, the best animated film I saw all year wasn’t even nominated, but FROZEN will win. 🙂

    For Best Picture, I personally would go with AMERICAN HUSTLE, but I agree that the race is really between GRAVITY and 12 YEARS A SLAVE. If the first one wins, it will be for its technical achievements in a film that’s more an experience than a narrative; if the second one wins, it will be for its subject matter and its handling of it.

    SC: I don’t think “American Hustle” is that great, but it’s a big fun anyway.

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