Oscar Predictions and Selections of 2014 part 1 of 2
Greetings and salutations fellow movie fans. As promised, I present to you all my Oscar predictions of 2014. Sadly, due to personal issues beyond my control, I fell drastically behind on my film reviews last year to the point that I'm kind of playing catch up at the moment.
As many of my fans know, I usually like to see and review each film that's up for a screenplay award. Along with reviewing every movie that features an actor's nominated performance, and all the nominees for "Best Animated Feature" and "Best Picture" before constructing these predictions. And even though I have seen most of the films that are going to be mentioned in this hub prediction series (with the notable exceptions of "Before Midnight", "Ernest & Celestine", and "The Wind Rises"), I still have yet to write all my reviews for them. Sadly, I'm not sure if I'll be able to publish them all in time, so I decided to publish this Oscar prediction hub series in advance. Don't worry, things will go back to normal in 2015, and you'll eventually see me churn out reviews for all the films mentioned on this list going into next month. However for the sake of time, I've decided to publish this series now, as I feel like I've gathered enough research material to justify each of these predictions.
For those who are new to how I do these predictions, I'll quickly give you the low down on things. For starters, I don't do predictions for all the minor and technical categories simply because it would be too time consuming to do, and since I'm kind of a one man crew on hubpages, it's probably best not to overload myself with too much work.
Therefore, I only do predictions for all the major categories like screenplay nominations, directing nomination, acting nominations, best animated feature and best picture. I do however make a notable exception of predicting who'll win best visual effects because I grew up watching science fiction, fantasy and superhero films as a child. Granted, I try to like all genre of films equally, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I had a soft spot in my heart for those kind of films; hence I do predictions for that category as well.
In each prediction category, I tell readers who I think will win in each perspective category based on what I've been able to research about them. Along the way, I also determine who has the best chances to pull off the upset in each category. These are aptly dubbed "Possible Upset Contenders." Meaning if "movie a" has a possibility for any reason to win the award from "movie b", who happens to be the favorite in that category, then I explain why "movie a" has a strong chance to upset "movie b."
I also lists which nominations are essentially long shots, and why they have relatively little to no chance to pull off an upset in each perspective category. Please keep in mind that none of these predictions reflect on who I want to see win each perspective category, as this is merely an objective prediction hub that I've compiled based on my own research. Is it possible that I could be wrong in these predictions? Sure, it's possible, but I'll let you all be the judge of that.
Also before I forget, this hub series is divided up into two separate articles. Part one will go over "Best Visual Effects", all the screenplay nominations, and all the acting nominations. While part 2, it'll go over "Best Animated Feature", "Best Director", and "Best Picture."
Anyways, without further delay, lets get on with the show!
- Oscar Predictions and Selections of 2014 part 2 of 2
Winner: Frozen- As of right now, "Frozen" has all the momentum going into the Oscars this year, when it comes to animated movies. "Frozen" is a critically acclaimed success for Disney, as it even garnered awards fo
Best Visual Effects Prediction
Gravity- Whether you liked this movie or not, the reality is "Gravity" is one of the hottest films coming into the Oscars at the moment. Not only landing Sandra Bullock a "Best Actress" nomination, but the film is also up for "Best Director" and "Best Picture" as well this year.
And in all honesty, it's doubtful that "Gravity" will win "Best Picture" simply because it's not nominated for a screenplay award. As history dictates, most movies that fail to land a screenplay nod that are up for "Best Picture" often don't win the award. Therefore, it's doubtful that we'll see "Gravity" winning "Best Picture." Sure, there's been a few rare cases where that's happened before, but it doesn't happen often when it comes to the Oscars.
Plus, it's also a well known fact that majority of the time that "Best Director" and the "Best Picture" awards usually go hand in hand with each other, so it's doubtful that we'll see Alfonso Cuaron win an award this year. It's possible, but doubtful. But, it's one of the hottest movies coming into the Oscars. Surely it has to be able to win something, right?
Therefore, don't be surprised if "Gravity" takes home the Oscar for "Best Visual Effects", along with various other technical awards like "Best Cinematography" and etc; especially if this year's SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild Awards) is any indication on who's likely to win "Best Actress" this year at the Oscars.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Iron Man 3- It's been no secret that the Annual Academy Awards has been struggling to get the younger audience to watch every year. Therefore, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see "Iron Man 3" take home the Oscar for "Best Visual Effects", in an attempt to gain younger viewers. Why do I say this?
Over the years, Marvel Studios has been infamously known for putting out top quality superhero films that appeal to many of today's youths. Plus, the special effects were nicely done as well. Although I hesitate to say anything in "Iron Man 3" is groundbreaking, in terms of visuals. But for what the film itself was going for, it's not that bad. Therefore, don't be surprised if "Iron Man 3" takes home the award this year.
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - Like "Iron Man 3", "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was arguably one of the most successful box office films of last year. Not only featuring an entertaining story, but the visual effects were nothing short of amazing. The CGI design for Smaug and the giant spiders were executed perfectly, as I don't think anyone could have made a more realistic dragon on the big screen.
Sadly, unlike "Iron Man 3", the CGI was a bit inconsistent in terms of quality when discussing "The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug." The Orcs were still a far cry from how realistic they looked in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy that it's almost kind of sad that might be the only thing keeping this film from being a possible upset contender.
The Lone Ranger- If this movie wins "Best Visual Effects", I'll be a monkey's uncle because there's no chance this movie wins this award. Sure, the visual effects were great, but it's hardly anything that would be considered groundbreaking. Sure, the horse riding on top of a train sequence was impressive, but we have to be honest with ourselves here.
If you look back at cinematic history, there's been a lot of great action sequences that taken place on top of moving trains over the years; in large part to CGI. The first movie that comes to mind is "Spider-Man 2", and even more recently, "The Wolverine." Both those films had great action scenes on top of moving trains as well; hence I'd hardly call the concept of an action sequence on top of a moving train original.
Sadly, the only category that "The Lone Ranger" might win an Oscar for this year will probably be in "Best Make Up and Hairstyle." And, that's largely in part of the unique look for Johnny Depp's character design for Tonto.
Star Trek Into Darkness- As a die hard casual Trekkie, I have to say "Star Trek Into Darkness" was a great follow up to the Abrams' revision of the franchise. Sure, the film still had it's fair share of problems, but it was still fairly entertaining to watch. As far the visual go, they were great as to be expected. Sadly, it's nothing movie fans haven't seen before. In fact, you could make the argument that the last "Star Trek" film had better visual effects than this one. That's not to say that the visuals were bad or anything, as they're definitely some of the best that I've seen for a science fiction flick.
However, it's not going to push any boundaries, to where I can see this movie pulling off an upset in this category. It's certainly a nice nomination to help boost it's DVD sales, but I wouldn't bet on this movie taking home the Oscar for this category.
Best Visual Effects Poll
Which film deserves the Oscar for "Best Visual Effects?"
Best Adapted Screenplay Prediction
12 Years a Slave- Not only is "12 Years a Slave" one of the hottest movies coming into this year's Oscar race, but it features a very strong social commentary on the concept of racism and slavery. And considering how much Oscar voters love movies that touch upon subjects like those, it's easy to see why this film is getting so much love this year.
Not to mention that it helps when you have a very deep emotional story like "12 Years a Slave" that happens to be based on a true story as well. When you combine those factors into the equation, then you're definitely going to see some success at the Oscars.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Captain Phillips- Based on a true story, "Captain Phillips" is essentially a movie that chronicles the events of a cargo ship captain that gets kidnapped by Somali pirates. Although it's highly doubtful that there will be an upset in this category, but if there is one, then don't be surprised if "Captain Phillips" is the film that does it.
As I mentioned earlier, movies based on real life stories that are written well tend to do fairly well at the Oscars. They especially do well when it touches upon subject matter that resonates with today's audiences.
Piracy is sadly a huge problem in this world that still happens even to this day. Although the events in "Captain Phillips" are a bit exaggerated for dramatic effect, it's still a very powerful movie that manages to pull on the heart strings of anyone who dares to watch it.
The Wolf of Wall Street- Although I doubt "The Wolf of Wall Street" will walk away with a "Best Director" and "Best Picture" award this year, it's possible that we may end up seeing it win "Best Adapted Screenplay."
The film is based on a true story, which is always a big thing at the Oscars. Plus, it has Martin Scorsese's name on the film, so that might help boost it's chances at winning this award.
The Long shots:
Before Midnight- Considering the last two films of this franchise didn't win an Oscar for "Best Adapted Screenplay", it's highly doubtful that this will be the film that breaks the mold. Heck, the first movie wasn't even nominated for an Oscar.
Do I think "Before Midnight" should win an Oscar? It's hard to say considering that I have yet to see the film itself. However, I have seen the prior two, and it's essentially a character study about a couple, and the progression of their relationship and lives every nine to ten years.
The first film showed how they first met, and how they inevitably parted ways before ever learning each other's full names. The second shows them miraculously meeting again nine years later to catch up on things. And, this current film allegedly studies how they've been doing since hooking over ten years ago.
Unlike most movie series, this one just seems to focus on the two main protagonists talking to each other throughout the duration of the film. If you can imagine a scenario where you overhear two people talking in a public place about their lives, then you can pretty much get a good general idea on what "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" were like. Although I wouldn't recommend the movies to most people, but it's definitely a nice character study film to watch if you're into movies of that ilk. Although I haven't seen "Before Midnight", it seems like the film follows the same pattern based on what I've heard about it.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of it's story arc, this might turn off a lot of people from it. Not to mention the film suffers from a severely limited release, and it came out back in June; hence most of the voters may not even remember it by this point. It's definitely a nice nomination for the franchise, but I wouldn't count on this one being the one that takes home the Oscar.
Philomena- Arguably one of the best films ever conceived. It has a lot of emotional weight to it, and it features arguably one of the most touching stories ever made. Sadly, the film has relatively no shot to win this award. Sure, it won an award at BAFTA for "Best Adapted Screenplay", but the film had a severely limited release upon arrival in the United States, so that could hurt it's chances drastically.
Plus, the subject may be a bit too controversial that could turn off a lot of Oscar voters this year. For those that haven't seen the movie, the film is essentially about a journalist who helps an elderly woman search for her long lost son. After she became pregnant, during her teenage years, she was forced to live in a convent for her actions.
Now, I won't go too much further into this, as I do plan on writing a full review on this film soon, so I'll try to keep this part brief. Needless to say, the Catholic Church isn't portrayed in a positive light in this film. Therefore, that might be a huge turn off at the Oscars, as history has shown that Oscar voters tend to shy away from controversial movies.
Best Adapted Screenplay Poll
Which film deserves to win for "Best Adapted Screenplay?"
Best Original Screenplay Prediction
American Hustle- As we all know, "American Hustle" is one of the hottest films coming into this year's Oscar race. Tying for the most nominations this year should automatically make it a favorite to win this year's original screenplay award.
Not to mention that the movie is said to be partially based on a true story, and as we all know, the Oscar voters usually love movies based on true stories.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Dallas Buyers Club- The film is allegedly inspired by a true story, which normally bodes well at the Oscars. Plus, it talks about a subject matter that's still fairly relevant among society, so I wouldn't bet against this movie either. The film may not be the hottest movie coming into the Oscars, but it has a very deep emotional story with a lot of social commentary about society.
And with such a touchy subject like healthcare being such a hot topic in the USA right now, "Dallas Buyers Club" is sure to earn a few accolades at this year's Oscars.
Blue Jasmine- Woody Allen is arguably one of the best screenwriters of all time, and rightfully so. The man has garnered more screenplay nominations, and Oscars, than any other screenwriter to date. Therefore, it would be hard enough to bet against a guy that has that kind of credibility backing him up.
Plus, "Blue Jasmine" was surprisingly one of the deepest stories ever told, and it's arguably one of Woody's best films. Truly a treat for anyone who watches it.
Her- Not only would I say that "Her" is one of the most unique love stories ever conceived, but it's probably one of the best ones out there. Spike Jonze really out does himself with this movie, as he orchestrates a film that speaks to us on so many levels.
It not only questions the basis on what love is, but it also raises various other questions about the direction our society is going in this new age of social media and technology. The film is essentially a love story about a man who falls in love with an A.I.,system. As their relationship grows, she grows as well. Which begs the question at what point in an A.I. life do we start to consider them to be sentient beings? If they become self aware, then does that make them a race? And if a person falls in love with an A.I. that was initially programmed to serve them to begin with, then is that really even love? Does the A.I. really love you for who you are? Or is it merely part of their programming? And what does that say about us if we do fall in love with an A.I.? Are we really in love? Or do we merely love the concept of finding love without any of the emotional heartbreak or obligations that come with it? "Her" plays upon these concepts quite well that it's arguably one of the best love stories of all time.
Indeed, if the Oscars were to give out any points for originality in this category, then "Her" would definitely earn a lot of brownie points here. Plus, it's coming off a victory for "Best Screenplay" from the Golden Globes, so that could only help further it's chances going into this Oscar race.
The Long shot:
Nebraska- While I can't say I agree with this film's nomination for "Best Picture", it's still one of the more entertaining movies that I've ever seen. The film focuses on a young man helping his father go to Nebraska to claim some alleged prize that he thinks he may have won in a magazine sweepstakes. Although the story may seem like a simple set up, it's actually quite charming in it's own way. Not only adding a touch of drama here and there, but it has a bit of comedy as well.
Sadly, the film suffers from the fact that it had a very limited release in theaters last year, and it doesn't carry the same emotional weight that a film like "12 Years a Slave" carries, or even the cleverly quick witted story of something "American Hustle", so I wouldn't count on this winning an Oscar for "Best Original Screenplay."
Best Original Screenplay Poll
Which film deserves to win for "Best Original Screenplay?"
Best Supporting Actress Prediction
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)- With a film like "12 Years a Slave", you know you're going to get a lot of buzz at the Oscars; especially considering it's strong subject matter. Therefore, it shouldn't come at any surprise if Lupita ends up taking the award this year. Not only did she pull off a victory at this year's SAG awards, but she also garnered various other nominations at other award shows as well, for her part in "12 Years a Slave."
Possible Upset Contenders:
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)- Julia Roberts is arguably one of the greatest actresses of all time, and her latest performance in this movie is nothing short of breath taking. Not only does she pull off her role with a sense of conviction, and inner turmoil, but you can tell she definitely puts a lot of heart into her performance as well.
Although the film is only up for only two Oscars this year, it would be hard to try to bet against two legendary actresses that gave such stellar performances; in the same movie too no less.
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)- Coming off her recent victory at the BAFTA and Golden Globes this year, it seems like Jennifer Lawrence could be poised to pull off the upset this year. Although Lupita is still the hands on favorite to win, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Jennifer having a shot at the Oscars this year. Although she had a relatively small role in "American Hustle", she still managed to deliver a sound performance.
The Long shots:
June Squibb (Nebraska)- Out of all the actresses nominated in this category, I have to say her performance was probably the most entertaining one to watch. Sure, she doesn't bring in the same level of dramatic flair that Julia Roberts does in "August: Osage County", or even the tortured soul that Lupita plays upon perfectly in "12 Years a Slave", but June does bring in a strong sense of humor; along with a tough as nails type attitude that's fun to see play off of Bruce Dern's senile old man portrayal in "Nebraska."
Sadly, since the film received such a limited release last year, it's doubtful that we'll see her walk away with an Oscar.
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)- Although I'm sure Sally Hawkins is a nice girl, and I hope she continues to have great success in her acting career. The reality is she didn't deserve to nominated for this part. Granted, she had her strong moments in "Blue Jasmine", and she played off of Cate Blanchett quite well. In fact, one of the best scenes in the film was when her and Cate had a final confrontation at the end, but throughout most of the movie, her performance was fairly forgettable. Sure, she played the part that was required of her, but it was hardly anything worth writing home about.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying she did a horrible job in this film, but compared to the other actresses nominated in this category, her performance in "Blue Jasmine" seems rather tamed at best.
Best Supporting Actress Poll
Which one of these fine young ladies deserves the Oscar for "Best Supporting Actress?"
Best Supporting Actor Prediction
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)- Fresh off his recent victory at this year's SAG Awards and the Golden Globes, it seems like Jared is the odds on favorite to win the Oscar for this category. Plus, as many of us know, the Academy Awards loves to be politically correct, and whenever you have an actor playing a gay person in a movie like "Dallas Buyers Club", then you know that actor is going to get a lot of attention at the Oscars.
Add in the fact that this film is allegedly based on a real life story, and you have yourself a sure fire recipe for success at the Oscars. Jared Leto seems to have all those things in spades, and he managed to put on a great performance to boot.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)- Fresh off his victory at the BAFTA awards, Barkhad Abdi looks poised to possibly pull of an upset here. Although it's highly doubtful, as both Leto and Cate Blanchett seem to be sure fire locks to win the Oscars this year, but if there is an upset in this category, then don't be surprised if Barkhad Abdi's name comes up.
Piracy is still an issue that exists today, and "Captain Phillips" was a movie that was based on a real life story, so that could help Barkhad's chances to win; especially considering that "Captain Phillips" really has no chance to win "Best Picture" this year.
MIchael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)- Although Michael Fassbender hasn't won too many awards for his performance in "12 Years a Slave", I still firmly believe he has a shot to pull off an upset in this category.
The reason being is that "12 Years a Slave" is still a very hot movie coming into this year's Oscar race, and Michael Fassbender gave arguably the most stellar performance than any of the other actors nominated in this category. Plus, it helps that the film touches upon something that touches upon something like racism, as we all know how the Academy loves political correctness.
The Long shots:
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)- Although Bradley Cooper did star in one of the hottest movies coming into the Oscar race, I doubt it'll help him much here. Sure, he's gained a lot of nominations as well in other award shows, but the thing is his performance was average at best. Like his last nominated role, "The Silver Linings Playbook", he seems to play something of a person who seems to suffer from bipolar tendencies. Granted, they never come out and say that his character in "American Hustle" is bipolar, nor is it ever implied. However, it seems like he plays kind of the same character in this film as well; minus the charm. Don't get me wrong, i did enjoy "American Hustle" fine, but Bradley Cooper's role seemed like it was more derived for him to play the hapless stooge trying to make a name for himself throughout the film.
Sure, he plays that stooge for comical effect quite well, but he's hardly worthy of his nomination in this category.
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)- If this guy wins the Oscar for this part, then I'm going to be very freaking surprised to say the least. Although the film has garnered quite a bit of attention heading into the Oscars, Jonah Hill hasn't really been nominated for too many major awards for his part in this film. Not a very good sign for the young actor.
Best Supporting Actor Poll
Which one of these fine gents deserves the award for "Best Supporting Actor?"
Best Actress Prediction
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)- If anyone else wins this award, then I'll be very freaking surprised. According to various sources, Cate seems to be the odds on favorite to win this year. Not only winning a SAG Award for her acting this year, but she's also garnered a lot of love from the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards this year for her role in "Blue Jasmine."
Hence, I wouldn't bet against her in this category.
Possible Upset Contenders:
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)- Although I doubt there will be an upset in this category, but it could always happen though. As many Oscar fans know, "Gravity" is one of the hottest movies coming into this year's Academy Awards. Tying "American Hustle" with the most nominations this year; hence making it one of the heavy favorites. While I doubt in all honesty that we'll see "Gravity" win "Best Picture", I do think that the momentum of the film could swing things in Sandra's favor this year.
Although it's doubtful she'll pull off the upset in this category, but I wouldn't count her out.
Amy Adams (American Hustle)- Like "Gravity", "American Hustle" is tied with the most nominations, and Amy Adams did deliver a solid performance in her role. Adding the emotional weight that plays off Christian Bale's performance just nicely; thus she could be a possible threat in this category. Not to mention her recent victory at the Golden Globe Awards for this part could only help her chances this year at winning an Oscar.
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)- Meryl Streep is arguably one of the best actresses of all time, and she has more nominations in her career than most actors do in their lifetime. Although she's a bit of a long shot, but you never really want to bet against Meryl Streep, when it comes to these acting categories.
The Long shot:
Judi Dench (Philomena)- "Philomena" was hands down one of the best films of last year, and arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. Sadly, the film had a limited release in theaters, and it's hardly generating any kind of buzz going into the Oscars. Unfortunately, this isn't going to help Judi's chances to win another Oscar. If she hadn't won an Oscar by now at this point in her career, then I probably would say she's a strong upset contender, as Oscar voters do sometimes give acting awards to actor's more so for their careers rather if they deserved it for that particular role or not. However, since she's already got her Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love", I don't think we can consider that a factor.
Best Actress Poll
Which one of these lovely ladies would you like to see take home the Oscar for "Best Actress?"
Best Actor Prediction
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer's Club)- Although "Dallas Buyer's Club" isn't exactly one of the hottest movies going into the Oscars right now, but it does feature arguably one of the hottest performances going into it. The film is based on a real life story, which is a big bonus for the movie going into the Oscars. Not to mention the film has a strong social commentary on a topic that still haunts America to this day.
Since it's highly doubtful that the film will walk away with an Oscar for "Best Picture", it's not too hard to imagine that it'll at least walk away with SOMETHING. Plus, Matthew McConaughey did win a best acting reward at this year's SAGS, so that definitely increases his chances.
Possible upset Contenders:
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)- As we all know, the Academy Awards love movies that have strong social commentaries on society; especially ones that are related to any kind of racism. In the case of "12 Years of Slave", it not only features a strong social commentary on said subject matter, but it even offers a deep story to boot.
Chiwetel gives a command performance in "!2 Years a Slave" that's not only worthy of his nomination, but I'd argue that he probably deserves to win more so than the other men in this category. Plus, "12 Years a Slave" is a hot film coming into the Oscars, so that could help Chiwetel's chances of winning this year.
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)- As some of my readers might know, Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my all time favorite actors to watch. Fresh off his recent victory at the Golden Globes this year, it seems like Leo's momentum could potentially help him at the Oscars. Although it's highly doubtful that we'll be seeing "The Wolf of Wall Street" walk away with "Best Picture", it's not that hard to imagine Leo taking home an Oscar for "Best Actor."
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)- Like Christian Bale, Bruce Dern doesn't seem to be going into this year's Oscar race with a lot of momentum behind him, as I'm sure he'd probably hope. Not to mention, it doesn't help that his film suffered from lack of exposure because of it's limited release last year.
Having said all that, there's still a distinct possibility that he could still off the upset here. As many movie fans know, there have been occasions where Oscar voters do reward actors for their careers, whenever they're up for an acting nomination, rather than giving it them based on whether they performed well in the movie or not. And since Bruce Dern isn't getting any younger, and he's never won an Oscar in his career, then don't be surprised if Bruce's name is called on Oscar night.
The Long shot:
Christian Bale (American Hustle)- Although "American Hustle" is a hot film coming into the Oscars this year, it doesn't seem like it's been helping Christian Bale out this year at a lot of major award shows going into the Oscars; which is a crying shame, as this is definitely one of his better films.
Best Actor Poll
Which one of these strapping young lads deserves the Oscar for "Best Actor?"
© 2014 Steven Escareno