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86th Academy Awards: Final Predictions - Page 2 of 2

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Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture
Omar

What will win: The Great Beauty seems to be the favorite. I haven't seen it yet.

Wouldn't mind winning: The Hunt, a film I liked better than I thought I would and much preferred of the two nominees I saw.

What shouldn't win: For me, The Broken Circle Breakdown ranks down with Bad Grandpa as one of the year's worst Oscar-nominated films.


Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips (DVD review)
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle (Film review)
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street (Film review)
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Blu-ray review)

Who will win: Jared Leto. A film many didn't expect to earn a Best Picture nomination surprisingly seems like a shoo-in to win two acting Oscars. It also reinforces the old notion that the way to glory is dramatic makeover. Leto does a nice job in a juicy role, but it always feels like a performance and one too obvious to recognize.

Jared Leto's showy performance as the transgendered Rayon has made him a favorite in the Supporting Actor category. "I'm the captain now," proclaims head pirate Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

Who should win: No obvious choice. Bradley Cooper's given strong back-to-back performances for David O. Russell. Barkhad Abdi gives a powerful performance out of nowhere and is unlikely to ever again be recognized.

Who should have been nominated: Matthew McConaughey for Mud would have been a nominee and winner I'd have preferred to any of these. I also liked Sam Rockwell in The Way, Way Back. Glad the two were represented for the Online Film Critics Society awards, this being the only category with which I strongly agreed.


Best Film Editing
American Hustle (Film review)
Captain Phillips (DVD review)
Dallas Buyers Club (Blu-ray review)
Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
12 Years a Slave

What will win: Gravity or Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks plays cargo ship captain Rich Phillips in "Captain Phillips."

What should win: American Hustle

What should have been nominated: Before Midnight

Editing is one of those things you shouldn't notice, despite it having a huge impact on films. As such, this category is one of the best indicators of the Best Picture winner. So I want my favorite film of the year to win. If not, I'm okay with Gravity's taut, nimble structure being rewarded. But I'm starting to think Captain Phillips gets picked here to prevent it going home empty-handed.


Best Production Design
American Hustle (Film review)
Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
The Great Gatsby (Blu-ray review)
Her (Film review)
12 Years a Slave

What will win: The Great Gatsby

Nick (Tobey Maguire), Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and Tom (Joel Edgerton) take in the sights and sounds of one of Gatsby's spectacular parties in Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" (2013).

I think this goes to Gatsby, although Her fans may have no better chance to recognize the film. Lincoln won last year, so maybe the similarly underwhelming 12 Years takes it this year.


Best Original Score
John Williams, The Book Thief
Steven Price, Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her (Film review)
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks (Film review)

What will win: Gravity succeeds without making much use of dialogue and characters, suggesting its score is more important than I really noticed in my first viewing.

What should win: It is staggering to me that Thomas Newman hasn't already won for at least one of his many fine scores. While I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from him,
I wasn't crazy enough about the others not to make the underrecognized Saving Mr. Banks an early/already overdue career achievement award for him. Having said that, Gravity's score did grow on me in my second viewing and I'll be pleased if it wins.


Best Original Song
"Alone Yet Not Alone", Alone Yet Not Alone
"Happy", Despicable Me 2
"Let It Go", Frozen (Film review)
"The Moon Song", Her (Film review)
"Ordinary Love", Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Who will win: "Let It Go", Frozen. Though a U2 win for Mandela is a very believable alternative outcome, especially with Mandela's daughters in attendance.

Who should win: Frozen seems preferable to the others, though Robert Lopez seems awfully young and not terribly artistic to become only the 12th EGOT (winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar AND Tony) in history.

Who should have been nominated: If they were going to nominate a comedy sequel, Anchorman 2's "Doby" would have better fit the bill. I'm also surprised that Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" extensively featured in The Great Gatsby wasn't nominated. Rumor has it that it may have been harmed by a mailing claiming inaccurately it was ineligible. I see no good reason why the Academy didn't choose a replacement nominee for the disqualified title song from Alone Yet Not Alone, as they have done in similar disqualification situations in the past.


Best Adapted Screenplay
Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Midnight (Blu-ray review)
Billy Ray, Captain Phillips (DVD review)
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street (Film review)

What will win: 12 Years a Slave

What should win: Before Midnight

If you thought you'd seen the last of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) walking and talking around Europe, think again!

This is the category where there is the largest gap between what will win and what should win. One of the year's best films, Before Midnight has such passion and care for further developing this couple it created nearly twenty years ago. And yet the Academy will probably recognize the true slavery drama whose dry screenplay is most responsible for the film's inability to engage and stir. If 12 Years loses, it would likely be to Philomena, a film with appeal to British and older voters, both of which the Academy has plenty of.


Best Original Screenplay
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle (Film review)
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine (DVD review)
Craig Borten and Melisa Walack, Dallas Buyers Club (Blu-ray review)
Spike Jonze, Her (Film review)
Bob Nelson, Nebraska (Blu-ray review)

What will win: Her may be too weird for the general public, but not for the industry.

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) prepares to meet his new operating system in Spike Jonze's "Her."

What should win: Characters, dialogue and storytelling distinguish American Hustle, a film that now seems stunningly and unfortunately likely to fall short on most of its ten Oscar bids.


Best Director
Alfonso Cuarσn, Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska (Blu-ray review)
David O. Russell, American Hustle (Film review)
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street (Film review)

Who will win: Alfonso Cuarσn has run away with this honor all season long. A Picture/Director split is rare, but seems quite possible this year.

Who should win: David O. Russell has dazzled three times in four years. If those movies were spread out over a decade, he would feel long overdue for this win. Instead, he'll have to settle for being known as an actor's director who gets his cast recognition (11 nominations from those three movies). Assuming he maintains his hot streak, the Academy won't be able to keep letting him settle for nominations.


Best Actress:
Amy Adams, American Hustle (Film review)
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (DVD review)
Sandra Bullock, Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County (Film review)

Who will win: Cate Blanchett has been the surest thing since the start of Oscar season, even though her movie opened all the way back in summer.

Jasmine Francis (Cate Blanchett) catches passersby's attention with an impassioned speech directed at nobody in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."

Who should win: Blanchett gives an excellent performance in the movie. While Amy Adams deserves to win an Oscar, I have no doubt she will in the near-future and hopefully in the lead category, potentially as soon as next year.

Who should have been nominated: This is tricky because I wouldn't want to lose anyone in this category, but Saving Mr. Banks deserves a lot better than it got and Emma Thompson is key to the film's success. It also would have been nice for Frances Ha's Greta Gerwig to get noticed; thankfully the Golden Globes' Comedy or Musical category included her.


Best Actor:
Christian Bale, American Hustle (Film review)
Bruce Dern, Nebraska (Blu-ray review)
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (Film review)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (Blu-ray review)

Who will win: Matthew McConaughey's reconnaissance from vapid romantic comedies to serious fare is the compelling narrative and one I can get behind.

In July 1985, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is convinced his HIV-positive diagnosis is a mistake.

Who should win: Bruce Dern gives a powerful, genuine performance in one of the year's very best films and deserves recognition for his long, distinguished acting career.

Who shouldn't win: Leonardo DiCaprio's given better performances in better films. Heck, I even preferred his Jay Gatsby to his Jordan Belfort. The Academy has overlooked him in the past, but he'll have plenty of other opportunities to win, ideally playing a less loathsome character than the one whose public speaking prowess he endorsed in real life.


Best Picture
American Hustle (Film review)
Captain Phillips (DVD review)
Dallas Buyers Club (Blu-ray review)
Gravity (Blu-ray 3D review)
Her (Film review)
Nebraska (Blu-ray review)
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street (Film review)

What will win: 12 Years a Slave

What should win: American Hustle

I believe Gravity has a legitimate shot at taking this top prize home, but to do so it would have to overcome the Academy's deep-seated aversion to sci-fi. Star Wars couldn't do it, sadly. Avatar couldn't do it, gladly. Gravity barely even qualifies as sci-fi, but it is set in space. While its abundance of visual effects and technical brilliance ensure it will be the most widely recognized film of the night, I fear they will work against the film when it comes to Best Picture. Still, until that envelope is opened and its winner read, I genuinely believe this award could go one of three ways, even to my preferred Hustle, which pundits have begun ruling out.

Jump to a Category:

Page 1:

Supporting Actress • Animated Short • Animated Feature • Sound Editing • Sound Mixing • Costume Design

Makeup and Hairstyling • Visual Effects • Cinematography • Live-Action Short • Documentary Short • Documentary Feature

Page 2:

Foreign Language Film • Supporting Actor • Film Editing • Production Design • Original Score • Original Song

Adapted Screenplay • Original Screenplay • Director • Lead Actress • Lead Actor • Picture

Related Articles: The Films of 2013: Ranked and Reviewed • 2014 Oscar Nominations Predictions

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Posted March 2, 2014, the morning before the 86th Academy Awards ceremony.



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