A Completely Biased List of Oscar Predictions for 2014
By Laura Mooney, Arts Editor
With the king of all award shows rapidly approaching, the film industries best and brightest are prepared to battle it out at the 86th annual Academy Awards. Airing on Sunday 2 March 2014, host Ellen DeGeneres will once again lead the audience through a night honouring achievements in filmmaking, where those films that are the most deserving will take home the coveted golden man to place on actors’, directors’, and all of the forgotten support staff’s mantles. While the upcoming night is exciting for us film buffs, speculating about who will be those lucky few to take home the award is even more fun. For months now, everyone from high class news reporters to gossip columnists have cast their vote as to who will be the top winners come Oscar night, and for once, there is quite the deviation between preferences. So in order to join in on the Oscar prediction fun and to provide a helpful guide for readers on Oscar night, here is a completely biased look at the nominees and who will (or should) win the academy award.
First let us start with the supporters, actors and actresses that is. While being nominated for best supporting actor or actress kind of seems like the “oh yeah, they were in that movie too” award, this usually uneventful category has been stirring up a bit of drama this year, with the two supporting actress front runners, Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) nearly neck and neck. What this basically means is that throughout the award season, these two nominees have both collected a handful of awards each; Lawrence got the Golden Globe and Nyong’o got the SAG, so the clues as to will win the Oscar are still up in the air. Typically in the past, those who win the Golden Globe go on to win the Oscar, but this year may not be so straightforward. While Lawrence’s performance as Christian Bale’s jaded ex-wife in American Hustle was good, when compared to her Oscar winning performance in last year The Silver Linings Playbook, it honestly falls a bit flat. There is no doubt that the young actress has talent, but in this year’s case the award will most likely go to Nyong’o simply for the political aspect and the sheer passion she put into her role as Patsey, a woman in the time of slavery. As for best supporting actor, 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto has it in the bag for his turn as a gay transvestite in Dallas Buyers Club. Seriously, if you have not yet experienced this film, drop everything and see it now simply for Leto’s performance.
Next is the much more concrete category of best actor and actress in a leading role. Without question, the award for best actress will, and should, go to Cate Blanchett for her role as a ruined socialite who suffered a severe mental breakdown. The world already knew that Blanchett was a fabulous actress, but there is something about this role that solidifies that fact. The scenes in which a broken Blanchett is sitting on a bench talking to herself, still in her designers clothing from her past life, are heartbreaking. Seriously, give this woman all of the Oscars, just hand them over.
Now best actor is a bit more complicated, and here is where the matters of personal preference begin to show in this year’s Oscar season. While many are rooting for Chiwetel Ejiofor, with his performance as Soloman Northrup in 12 Years a Slave, the only award he has taken home so far has been the BAFTA, which admittedly is not the best indicator for the Oscar winner. The other clear favourite to win is Leonardo DeCaprio with his performance as the raucous Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. Although DeCaprio is long over due for an academy award, and even though his performance was incredibly good, he is up against some stiff competition this year. At this point, if he wins, it would just feel as though the academy was giving him the award to make up for the one he should have won back in 2007 for The Departed. So does anyone remember when Matthew McConaughey was just known as that creepy older guy who cat-called at young girls in Dazed and Confused? Me neither. As of this year that image has been completely erased and Matthew McConnoisseur was born. With his turn as a straight, homophobic cowboy who finds out he has AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey is my personal favourite and looks as though he stands a good chance at winning after proving he can perform in a drama like a champion.
Best director? Alfonso Cuaron, no questions asked. Gravity was beautifully shot, and was a visual masterpiece (but that is about it). Cuaron will win.
Finally the big one. The king of all categories, the champion of the night. The award for best motion picture. With a whopping nine nominees, the best picture category is always the most debated and surprising category of the year. With some of the nominees seeming as though they are only there to be fillers (here is looking at you Captain Phillips), the race for the award is only between a few contenders. For months now critics have been claiming that American Hustle will claim the prize without question, but after watching the movie, it really makes me question those critics’ sanity, as well as why the film is even in the category in the first place. Sure, American Hustle is a good movie, but Oscar-worthy? I do not think so. Instead, due to its dramatic nature, political message, and overall amazingness, 12 Years a Slave should be the one to win for best picture. Although secretly I am rooting for the epic man and machine romance film Her, but I will admit that one is a bit of a long shot.
So when Oscar night arrives, gather around the television, cheer on your favourites, make your predictions, and know that in a mere week’s time, all of these films will be long forgotten.