With the Oscars only hours away, I’ve finally seen enough of the nominees to be able to do some predictions. As an homage to the late, great Roger Ebert, for each category that I make a prediction for I shall list both who I think will win and a dark horse. Let’s begin.
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
I have trouble seeing how this film can lose. It’s wonderfully directed, wonderfully acted, and is emotionally powerful. It is certainly the strongest contender, in my book, for the best picture award.
Dark Horse: Her.
This might be a ridiculous choice, but then again, it’s ridiculous that the academy picks 10 nominees instead of 5, and there are just too many to choose from. So, I will choose Her because it might have been my favorite film of the year. Not the best film, mind you, but certainly a favorite. It original, it’s beautifully shot, and Joaquin Phoenix does a splendid job in the film.
Prediction: Chiwetel Ejiofor
I said it in my review of the film, but not only is Ejiofor’s acting brilliant in the film, but he benefits from such a powerful story behind it. It was a powerful performance that would be difficult to beat.
Dark Horse: Matthew McConaughey
The same things that make Ejiofor such a strong contender for the award are present in McConaughey’s performance as well. He has a difficult role here, attempting to play a character who transitions from one extreme to another without ever changing the way he actually interacts with people. It was a toss up for me between McConaughey and Phoenix here. Phoenix had the difficult task of having to interact with an intangible voice, and it’s truly some of his best work. However, McConaughey was a powerhouse in his role and I’ll give him the dark horse in this instance.
Prediction: Dame Judi Dench
Hands down, no question, it will be a great shock to me if she does not win. I only wish that I had seen this film earlier so that I may have had a chance to write about it, but too late now. She brings such honesty to this character and such curiosity and hope that she pulls herself far ahead the competition.
Dark Horse: Amy Adams
Unlike the previous categories, I don’t think this is a close race at all. For me this borders on the same one-sidedness as when Helen Mirren won for The Queen. But, if I have to pick a dark horse, I’m going with one of my favorite actresses, Amy Adams. Her navel deep v neck outfits alone are enough to warrant the dark horse for this category.
Prediction: Michael Fassbender
This category might be the closest field of them all. Between Fassbender, Cooper, and Leto it’s almost any man’s game. I am leaning towards Fassbender because of the sheer range of his character. This character how to be able to go from seemingly sweet to monstrous in one second flat and Fassbender did so seamlessly.
Dark Horse: Bradley Cooper
I name Cooper the dark horse here because to some extent, his character is similar in difficulty as Fassbender’s. Not as wide in range and not as quickly changeable, he still had the difficult task of portraying a man who becomes more and more obsessed and unstable as the film progresses. What I’m looking at here is the difference between what Fassbender and Cooper pulled off versus what Jonah Hill did, which was just stay in the red for the entire film. Cooper did it well, but Fassbender did it better and with a more difficult role.
Prediction: June Squibb
I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this character. She made herself the perfect contrast to Bruce Dern’s character. While Bruce Dern played a man who’s clearly not as sharp as he used to be, who’s naive, and who wants to be liked, Squibb played his long “suffering” wife. She was blunt, sharp as a razor, saw through everyone else’s shit, and couldn’t care what others thought of her. She sometimes came off as hard on her husband, but through her actions, you could see how much she really loved him.
Dark Horse: Jennifer Lawrence
She’s going to have quite a collection of these awards of she sticks with David O. Russell. She was close this year, but close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.
Prediction: Steve McQueen
Fuck Armond White, I don’t care what he thinks of McQueen. McQueen made this movie into a powerhouse feature and deserves recognition for the splendid work he did.
Dark Horse: Alexander Payne
I don’t know what it is in particular, but I thought Payne did a great job with Nebraska, from the tone he was able to set, to the choice to film in black and white. He took risks with this film that I appreciate. I don’t know if it’s enough to win the award, but he’s a strong contender.
I know many people didn’t like this movie, but I quite liked it. Not at all a favorite film, but it was enjoyable. However, no matter what you think of the film, you cannot deny how amazing the shots were. It was certainly a visual wonder, that can’t be denied.
Dark Horse: Inside LLewyn Davis
Only because I loved this movie and would like it to win something.
I abstain here. I have yet to see The Wind Rises and Ernest and Celestine, both of which I feel like I must see before I can choose properly. Suffice it to say, the award will probably go to either those two or to Frozen. As a lifelong Miyazaki fan, I’ll be rooting for him, but wouldn’t be disappointed if it went to any of these films.
The Academy should be ashamed of itself if this does not win best original screenplay. It was witty, it was complex, and it was completely unique.
Dark Horse: Nebraska
The dialogue between the characters is masterful.
Prediction: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Steve Coogan wrote a fantastic screenplay. One that allows room for humor and lightheartedness without taking away from the film’s darker aspects.
Dark Horse: John Ridley
See everything I’ve already said about 12 Years a Slave.
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Prediction: Mr. Hublot
This was a wonderful little french short about a robotic humanoid with OCD who saves a mechanical dog, who proceeds to grow too big and ruin his tiny apartment. It’s funny and quirky and sentimental.
Dark Horse: Possessions
I would be so happy if this won. The film focuses on a japanese wanderer who walks into an abandoned home to escape the storm. Turns out the home is haunted with all the things that have been forgotten and abandoned. He goes room by room through the home, fixing everything, until finally the home settles and let’s him leave. I loved the animation and it was a lovely story.
That’s all I’ve got. Let me know what you think in the comments.