2014 Academy Awards Predictions: Who’s Oscar Going Home With?

2014 Oscar predictions: Who will win, who should win, and who could surprise us all
2014 Oscar predictions: Who will win, who should win, and who could surprise us all

Let’s get this straight: the Academy Awards aren’t the Golden Globes, so we won’t be seeing a lot of curveballs. With most of awards season wrapped we’ve got a pretty good idea of who’s going to win what, with only a couple of coin tosses to keep things lively.

That being said, the fun of watching the Oscars is in rooting for your favourites to beat the odds and become a legendary upset. There have been a few over the years—Crash beating Brokeback Mountain; Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan—but what makes them legendary is they almost never happen. If Nebraska was your favourite movie this year and you thought Bruce Dern was just the best, you’re probably out of luck; if you really dug Jonah Hill and Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, first of all your appreciation for their irredeemable characters is concerning, but at least those characters probably won’t win anything.

There is at least one race that’s a toss-up, though, and thank goodness it’s the biggest one:

BEST PICTURE

The nominees: American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyers Club; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street
And the winner is: It could go either way, but it’s between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave—the former being an immersive feat of groundbreaking cinema, the latter being a heart-breaking, gut-twisting look at the reality of America’s history. Give the edge to 12 Years a Slave, but that margin’s as slim as they come.

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees: David O. Russell (American Hustle); Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity); Alexander Payne (Nebraska); Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave); Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
And the winner is: Just like Best Picture, this is a coin flip between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. On the basis of innovation and pure creative vision, Cuaron is the man to beat, though.

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BEST ACTOR

The nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle); Bruce Dern (Nebraska); Leonardo DiCaprio (The World of Wall Street); Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave); Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
And the winner is: Again, there are two clear-cut favourites in Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey has the edge, having already won a shelf-full of awards for his performance and garnered raves for his “McConnaissance”—his brief performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as the enormous respect he’s won with HBOs True Detective, have marked an evolution from loveable goofball to serious actor. This may be one of those categories that could see an upset, so don’t count Ejiofor out just yet.

BEST ACTRESS

The nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle); Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine); Sandra Bullock (Gravity); Judi Dench (Philomena); Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
And the winner is: There’s no limb to go out on—Cate Blanchett should be clearing a place on her mantel right now. Even with the child abuse allegations against Blue Jasmine’s director Woody Allen casting a dark shadow over the film, Blanchett won’t be blamed for the sins of her director. If there’s going to be a shocker, Amy Adams will be it, but American Hustle has lost too much steam to power an upset here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Philllips); Bradley Cooper (American Hustle); Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave); Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street); Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
And the winner is: Jared Leto, hands down. Like McConaughey, Leto is in the midst of a career revival after devoting the past six years to his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, and the admiration for his portrayal of a transsexual AIDS sufferer has snowballed throughout awards season. Fassbender’s chances are second-best, but they’re a distant second.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine); Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle); Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave); Julia Roberts (August: Osage County); June Squibb (Nebraska)
And the winner is: It’s tough not to say Jennifer Lawrence, who’s a darling of the Academy after winning Best Actress last year and generally being a very charming and likeable person. Lawrence has also already won a bunch of awards for her performance in American Hustle this year. But a few key factions—like the Screen Actors’ guild—have supported Nyong’o, and that bodes well for her chances. Pick the underdog Nyong’o to beat out J-Law.

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Drew Berner

Drew Berner is a freelance writer born and raised in Toronto and specializing in entertainment, sports and politics. He occasionally collects vinyl records, enjoys hate-watching the Blue Jays, appreciates good beer and great scotch, and goes to sleep each night with 120 lbs. of Great Dane draped over him (it’s a lot more comfortable than it sounds). Follow him on Twitter @DrewBerner for photos of huge dogs, observational humour and assorted sports rage.

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