Quick and dirty Oscar Nomination predictions

These are in 7 hours, aren’t they? Damn.

All right, so I’ve been a bit behind in my tracking the races this year, but I’m going to give this my best shot.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle


Captain Phillips


Wolf of Wall Street


Inside Llewyn Davis


Gah, this category should be easy with the expanded field, no? But the whole “there could be anywhere from 5-10 nominees” thing makes this trickier. That the Academy was kind enough to mention that under current rules, there never would have been a 10-nominee year helps a little. Considering that there have been nine nominees the last two years (with the current rules) at least helps us gauge that 9 seems to be the high end. That said, I’m looking at 8 nominees this year. The first three are the only real locks, with Captain Phillips close behind. My one caveat with Captain Phillips is that it seems like the sort of film that garners lots of admiration without much fervent love. Being ranked first on ballots is the single biggest factor to getting nominated, and even a small group of passionate fans can carry a movie a long way (as The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close can attest).

Her is just that sort of film, and while I’d be wary about it in a 5-nominee year, I think it’s going to make the cut with the potential for more than 5. The last three movies are all films I’d write off as long shots in a 5-nominee race, but that I think will garner the first-place votes needed to make the cut. There are contenders other than these eight, and if the Academy had stuck with 10 guaranteed nominees like it experimented with briefly, I’d slot in Dallas Buyers Club and two of The Butler, August: Osage County or Saving Mr. Banks. But as is, DBC‘s performances seem to be the main source of its buzz, and August has been too underwhelmingly recieved. I’m worried that I’m underestimating Saving Mr. Banks and The Butler and I considered sliding one or the other as a 9th place finisher, but I’m predicting 8 nominees and I’m not going to cop out now.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

David O’Russell, American Hustle

Spike Jonze, Her

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street


Top three seem pretty secure to me, with Cuaron as the tentative favorite in the category (although I’m always, always wary about a Best Director favorite whose film is not the favorite to win Best Picture, but that’s a story for next month). McQueen is about as much a lock for a nod. American Hustle should do very well across the board, so there’s no reason not to expect O’Russell to join the party. After that, if Her is the screenplay favorite and a best picture contender, I’m comfortable putting Jonze in here. But I’m a bit tentative about he and Scorsese, and I consider them both to be a coin flip with Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips.

Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis

The top three are pretty solid. Bruce Dern is just about there as well. After that, well, I was pulling my hair about between Leonardo Di Caprio for Wolf of Wall Street, Forrest Whitaker for The Butler and Robert Redford for All is Lost. Then, naturally, I used this spot for my annual attempt at a surprise prediction (it’s only worked once, when I predicted Fernando Meirelles’s nomination for directing City of God ten years ago, but traditions are traditions). But seriously, I think people are underestimating Isaac’s chances. It’s one of the most admired performances of the year in a film that most voters will be considering strongly in other categories. Only Ejiofor has won more critics awards in this category. Don’t be shocked if he makes it.

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Judi Dench, Philomena

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County


These are the five clear favorites. Amy Adams might nudge Streep, I think, but I’m not going to bet on it. That’s really all there is to it for now. Blanchett is the favorite to win, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Bullock pulls ahead down the road. We’ll see then.

All right, I’m pretty tired now and need to sleep early to get to the nominations, so here are the rest of my predix without analysis. Sorry about that.

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Daniel Bruhl, Rush

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle


Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

June Squibb, Nebraska

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Oprah Winfrey, The Butler


Best Animated Feature (Because I care about this one inordinately)


Monsters University

The Wind Rises

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celine


Best Cinematography (Because I also care about this one inordinately)


12 Years a Slave

Inside Llewyn Davis


The Grandmaster


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About johnmichaelmaximilian

Freelance writer from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Movies are my favorite thing.

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