The 2014 Oscars are right around the corner, so here are my thoughts on who I want to win (SHOULD WIN) and who all signs point towards winning (WILL WIN) for the 6 main Oscar categories.
For all intents and purposes, this is a two horse race between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity”. “American Hustle” has an outside chance of squeaking in, but the Academy will probably choose between the visually stunning “Gravity” and the historically important “12 Years”. Regardless of who wins Best Pictures, both films will win multiple awards Sunday night. “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Captain Phillips” were my top two favorite films from 2013, but they are either too controversial or too under-publicized to stand a chance here. Also if “12 Years” wins, it will be Brad Pitt’s first Oscar win, so that would be cool.
Should Win: Captain Phillips
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
I personally feel Paul Greengrass was snubbed for “Captain Phillips”, but it wouldn’t have mattered much, because it is pretty much a lock that Alfonso Cuarón will win for “Gravity”. If you watch any of the behind the scenes for the film, he had so much to do with creating the most visually stunning film ever (Avatar be darned). Steve McQueen could win for “12 Years a Slave” because of the emotional toll of that film, but honestly this would be an upset if anyone other than Cuarón wins.
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
This is by and far the tightest race in any category in Oscar history. Tom Hanks didn’t receive a nomination for “Captain Phillips”, yet he wasn’t snubbed; that’s how great this year’s nominations are. The leaders, however, are Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”, Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave” and Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) and Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”) both gave great performances, but it would still be a small shock if they won. McConaughey has done an amazing job turning his career around from the awful rom-coms and was phenomenal in “Dallas”. Ejiofor had such a large range of emotions in “12 Years”. And DiCaprio went all in with “Wall Street” and may deserve to win simply because he has been snubbed by the Academy for near 2 decades now. It will be close, but in the end I think the actor with the most physically demanding role will win, and that goes to McConaughey, who lost 38 pounds.
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Best Supporting Actor
Much like Best Picture, this is pretty much going to come down between 2 nominees: Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”). 2-time nominated guys Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”) and Jonah Hill (“Wolf of Wall Street”) will have to try their luck again another year, and despite being memorizing in “12 Years a Slave” Michael Fassbender has denounced the Academy after getting snubbed for “Shame” several years back, effectively knocking him out of contention. Between Leto and Abdi, Leto has the slight edge because his role was extremely demanding in several categories (he played a cross-dresser, lost 40 pounds and got his arms and legs waxed). As fantastic as Leto is, however, I personally would love to see Adbi win, giving “Phillips” it’s likely only win of the night. Plus he had never acted before this role; the guy was driving limos. That would be a crazy rags-to-riches story.
Should Win: Barkhad Adbi
Will Win: Jared Leto
Like many non-Academy members, I did not see Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”, but the buzz around Hollywood is she is a lock to win. She has essentially swept every award this year. Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”) and Judi Dench (“Philomena”) both gave great performances, but this just isn’t their year. And if Meryl Streep wins for “August: Osage County” I am pretty sure everyone watching the TV will groan and throw up. The only person who can challenge Blanchett is Amy Adams, and it is for the same reason DiCaprio stands a chance: she’s a 5-time nominated, no time winning actor. The Academy may feel bad if Adams goes home empty handed for a fifth time, and as much as I would love the overrated “Hustle” to not win a single award on Sunday night, I think Adams deserves a trophy for once.
Should Win: Amy Adams
Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actress
I am going to begin by saying Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t deserve her nomination and was nominated for the same reason Meryl Streep was: because of her name being credited in a movie. That being said, everyone in Hollywood does not agree with me, as Lawrence has won the BAFTA and Golden Globe this year for “American Hustle”. She has two real competitors: June Squibb (“Nebraska”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”). I thought Squibb was the best part of “Nebraska”; she was funny, angry and honest, often all at once. Nyong’o did a good job stirring up emotion in her role, and stands the best chance of beating Lawrence from sweeping the Big 3 awards. I really don’t know how this one will go; my gut says Lawrence, my logic says Nyong’o and my heart says Squibb. As long as Lawrence doesn’t win I’ll be happy, but deep down I fell I’m going to be disappointed come Sunday night.
Should Win: June Squibb
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence…or Lupita Nyong’o, I really truthfully haven’t a clue.