As the critics organizations continue to chime in, 12 Years a Slave is fast emerging as this year’s – fairly overwhelming – critical champion. It’s also out in front in terms of industry nominations, now that we have heard from the Screen Actors Guild. Nevertheless, Alfonso Cuaron is now well-established as the Best Director frontrunner, and so the battle between Gravity and 12 Years rages on.
Updated projections follow in all categories. Based on the SAG nominations, we may be getting a feel for how the acting categories will shake out (like, Tom Hanks may not get that double-nomination after all), but then again, with categories this crowded, not even SAG can be trusted to be 100% predictive.
The Golden Globes announced last week as well…but, ya know…HFPA is an amusing wild card. Don’t expect much to shift on their account.
And then there is the very large matter of the Academy’s shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film, which excluded a handful of films that many – including me – thought to be major contenders. As a matter of fact, three of my top five predictions from last week – The Past, Gloria, and my #1 selection, Wadjda – failed to make the cut. While it’s unfortunate that these wonderful films will not be included among the Oscar finalists, I can’t say my pride has taken any hits, since one simply cannot predict how the Oscar shortlist will be formulated. There was a record 76 entries for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year, and in the process of narrowing that field down to nine shortlisted contenders, casualties were to be expected…but the omission of these three high-profile titles was quite surprising. As a result, the full shortlist is featured on this week’s predictions, ranked from 1 to 9.
We are continuing to add categories as we move closer and closer to the full Oscar slate. This week’s new categories are Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Visual Effects.
The latest projections:
1. Gravity – If you project how many significant Oscars each film could win, it just feels like this is The One.
2. 12 Years a Slave – Easily the frontrunner based on the critics awards…but Oscars aren’t decided by the critics.
3. American Hustle – The only significant threat to sneak in between the two top contenders.
4. Nebraska – Consistently loved.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street – Wasn’t a big winner with Globes or SAG, but it’s still being seen. There will be haters…but there will be lovers, too.
6. Saving Mr. Banks – The lack of SAG and Globes strength is curious enough to queston it’s standing. But it’s a Hollywood movie about old Hollywood, and should garner Academy support.
7. Her – Would be higher on the list if we were basing it on critical support, but we aren’t. The Academy might still be too analog for this one…
8. Captain Phillips – Support for Hanks and Abdi shows the film hasn’t been forgotten.
9. Dallas Buyers Club – The SAG ensemble nod signals broad strength among the Academy’s acting branch. This one is back on the rise, but if it sneaks into Best Picture, what film would it supplant?
10. Inside Llewyn Davis – I guess this is the film that gets supplanted. I am surprised by the lack of passion from critics and industry insiders alike for this incredible film. Still wonder if respect for Coens helps it sneak in.
11. Blue Jasmine
12. August: Osage County
13. Lee Daniels’ The Butler
14. Fruitvale Station
15. Before Midnight
1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity – Feels like an obvious winner.
2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave – The only logical upset choice. In the case of a mini-sweep by 12 Years, McQueen probably wins.
3. David O. Russell, American Hustle – As the film settles as a top contender, Russell becomes even more likely in this category.
4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street – Was denied a Globes nomination, but I still feel like this nomination can happen once more people see the film.
5. Spike Jonze, Her – Could land a nomination here even if the film doesn’t earn a BP nod.
6. Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips – The conventional choice for the five slot. If the film holds, he could still make it in…likely over Scorsese or Jonze.
7. Alexander Payne, Nebraska
8. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
9. J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
10. John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks
1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine – Seems destined.
2. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks – She is the best part of a mediocre film.
3. Sandra Bullock, Gravity – Should be on stronger ground…and should be threatening for the win. But Cate has usurped attention in this category and Cuaron has usurped attention in terms of Gravity.
4. Judi Dench, Philomena – Weinstein has campaigned masterfully for Dame Judi.
5. Amy Adams, American Hustle – As the film gains steam, she feels like a great choice to sneak past one of the frontrunners.
6. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County – Can she get in just by virtue of being Meryl? Yeah, probably, but the film needs to show up soon.
7. Brie Larson, Short Term 12 – A real sneaky, very deserving underdog.
8. Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
9. Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
10. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave – In a category that once seemed uncertain, Ejiofor now seems a clear frontrunner. Plus, if the film doesn’t win Best Picture, he will be its most visible Oscar representative.
2. Bruce Dern, Nebraska – The clearest upset threat.
3. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club – The SAG support gave McConaughey a needed boost to stay in the thick of this race. He once again feels like a nominee.
4. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips – I worried last week that the film would be forgotten. It hasn’t been.
5. Robert Redford, All is Lost – No SAG nom is a problem, especially when he wasn’t campaigning much to begin with. Vulnerable.
6. Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler – Seemingly out of nowhere, the film regained traction with big SAG support. He is once again threatening.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
8. Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
9. Christian Bale, American Hustle
10. Joaquin Phoenix, Her
11. Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
12. Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Best Supporting Actress
1. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle – The film is surging and she steals the show.
2. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave – Based on the massive critical support, she should really be in the top spot. I’m projecting out into the future, but if her momentum holds, she could very easily win.
3. June Squibb, Nebraska – As well loved as the film itself.
4. Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler – SAG nomination solidifies her spot here.
5. Julia Roberts, August: Osage County – Another much-needed SAG boost.
6. Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station – Easily the film’s best (and probably only) shot at a nomination.
7. Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
8. Naomie Harris, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
9. Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street
10. Scarlett Johansson, Her
Best Supporting Actor
1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club – Next to Blanchett, Leto feels like the surest Oscar juggernaut at this point.
2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave – The lack of campaigning hurts, but he should still make the cut.
3. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips – Nominations from SAG and HFPA have vaulted him back into position.
4. James Gandolfini, Enough Said – A well-deserved posthumous honor.
5. Daniel Bruhl, Rush – Power of SAG yet again. Maybe it was a boost, maybe it was confirmation that he was always a strong contender for a nomination.
6. Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
7. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
8. Will Forte, Nebraska
9. Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
10. James Franco, Spring Breakers
Best Original Screenplay
1. American Hustle – Eric Singer, David O. Russell
2. Nebraska – Bob Nelson
3. Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
4. Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen
5. Her – Spike Jonze
6. Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron
7. Dallas Buyers Club – Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
8. Saving Mr. Banks – Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
9. Short Term 12 – Destin Cretton
10. Enough Said – Nicole Holofcener
11. Mud – Jeff Nichols
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
2. Before Midnight – Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater
3. Philomena – Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
4. Captain Phillips – Billy Ray
5. The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter
6. August: Osage County – Tracy Letts
7. Blue is the Warmest Color – Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix
8. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – William Nicholson
Best Film Editing
1. Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
2. 12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker
3. American Hustle – Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
4. Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse
5. The Wolf of Wall Street – Thelma Schoonmaker
6. Rush – Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
7. Nebraska – Kevin Tent
8. Her – Jeff Buchanan, Eric Zumbrunnen
9. Inside Llewyn Davis – Roderick Jaynes
1. Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki
2. 12 Years a Slave – Sean Bobbitt
3. Inside Llewyn Davis – Bruno Delbonnel
4. Rush – Anthony Dod Mantle
5. Nebraska – Phedon Papamichael
6. Prisoners – Roger Deakins
7. Her – Hoyte Van Hoytema
8. American Hustle – Linus Sandgren
9. Captain Phillips – Barry Ackroyd
10. All Is Lost – Frank G. DeMarco
Best Foreign Language Film
1. The Hunt (Denmark)
2. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
3. The Great Beauty (Italy)
4. Omar (Palestine)
5. The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
6. The Notebook (Hungary)
7. Two Lives (Germany)
8. An Episode In the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
9. The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Best Animated Feature
1. The Wind Rises – More than the film, people respect Hayao Miyazaki
2. Frozen – In a weak year, this is the deserving winner.
3. Monsters University
4. The Croods
5. Ernest and Celestine
6. Despicable Me 2 – Probably dumb of me to omit this film, which was such a box-office juggernaut. I suppose it could supplant the little-known GKIDS entry, Ernest and Celestine, or The Croods…
8. A Letter to Momo
Best Documentary Feature
1. The Act of Killing – Feels like the leader now, but the doc branch is unpredictable.
2. Blackfish – It’s an activist film, which is very popular with this group.
3. Stories We Tell – Is it too personal to make the cut?
4. The Square – May be higher on this list than I’m currently giving it credit for.
5. 20 Feet From Stardom
6. Tim’s Vermeer – A film that could easily supplant one of the top contenders. But which one?
7. After Tiller
8. Cutie and the Boxer
9. Dirty Wars
10. The Armstrong Lie
Best Visual Effects
1. Gravity – Winner. Over.
2. Pacific Rim
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. Iron Man 3
6. World War Z
8. Star Trek Into Darkness