Oscar predictions

Seriously, these are tonight?

Wait, 2 hours?

Good lord.

OK then, this is one tradition I can’t abandon, even if I tend not to be very good at these. Here are my crazy rushed Oscar predictions.

Picks in bolded italics

Best Picture


12 Years a Slave


American Hustle



The Wolf of Wall Street

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years a Slave has been the frontrunner since its appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, where it won the coveted Audience Award. Since then, however, its footing has never felt secure. This is a pure hunch pick, which pretty much always backfire on me, but so it goes. Cuaron’s directing Oscar for Gravity seems like a sure thing. That alone makes me more confident in its Best Picture chances. Neat and tidy best director/best picture splits pretty much don’t happen when they’re predicted (See, the predicted The Kings Speech/Social Network and The Departed/either Little Miss Sunshine or Babel splits that didn’t happen). I want 12 Years a Slave to win, but I fear that it committed the sin of not giving the Academy what it wants. The Academy likes cathartic films that make you feel good about humanity. 12 Years a Slave is a better film for providing no catharsis, just demonstrative suffering. But that’s not the sort of film that tends to win Best Picture, not with a populist work of impeccable craftsmanship like Gravity in the mix.


Christian Bale, “American Hustle”

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”

Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

I want to pick Ejiofor. If 12 Years a Slave does end up winning best picture without Steve McQueen winning best director, then I cannot fathom how someone could vote for it without voting for Ejiofor. His performance is the film’s heartbeat. But McConaughey has been a force this award’s season, as evidenced by his win in yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, which 12 Years a Slave otherwise swept. It’s his to lose.


Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”

Judi Dench, “Philomena”

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”

Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

The accusations against Woody Allen by Dylan Farrow are sort of an elephant in the room here. I don’t think it’ll be enough to derail Blanchett, who has been the favorite since the film premiered and has never relinquished that status. Amy Adams might sneak an upset, what with this being her fifth nomination without a win so far. I think Bullock might snare her share of votes from Gravity fans. But Blanchett will likely win out in the end.

Supporting actor

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”

Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”

Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”

Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Jonah Hill, “Wolf of Wall Street”

Leto and McConaughey have been a joint awards force this year. Leto has won most everything, save the BAFTA where Dallas Buyers Club was surprisingly snubbed completely. Tellingly, Barkhad Abdi won there, and without Leto he’d be the unquestionable favorite for his movie-stealing performance in Captain Phillips. My renegade side wants to predict Abdi, but I can’t if I’m going to be honest with myself.

Supporting actress

Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”

Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”

June Squibb, “Nebraska”

This is between Nyong’o and Lawrence. Lawrence’s turn is exactly the sort of comedic performance that can and often does win the supporting categories. If she hadn’t won last year, I think she’d be the frontrunner. But I’m not just predicting Nyong’o because she is deserving of this award(and she is very deserving); she also has all the makings of a star that the Academy would likely feel remiss not to recognize now, as her star is rocketing upward. Lawrence’s wins at the Golden Globes and BAFTA give me pause with this prediction, but this is still Nyong’o’s to lose.


Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”

Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”

David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

He has won pretty much everything. Barring a 12 Years a Slave joint Best Picture/Best Director haul (which is more than possible) he’s the runaway favorite.

Writing, adapted screenplay

“Before Midnight”

“Captain Phillips”


“12 Years a Slave”

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

If 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture, it’s a lock here. If it doesn’t, it’s still the huge favorite.

Writing, original screenplay

“American Hustle”

“Blue Jasmine”

“Dallas Buyers Club”



I can’t imagine the Academy letting American Hustle go home emptyhanded. Her is an excellent bet as well, but Hustle has 10 nominations, and this is one where it has any sort of frontrunner potential.

Documentary feature

“The Act of Killing”

“Cutie and the Boxer”

“Dirty Wars”

“The Square”

“20 Feet From Stardom”

The Act of Killing is the critical darling here, which hasn’t always meant much in this category. The Square is timely and relevant to things we see in the day to day news. With no popular documentary to steal the spotlight like Searching for Sugar Man last year, The Square is my bet.

Foreign language film

“The Great Beauty”

“The Hunt”

“The Broken Circle Breakdown”

“The Missing Picture”


Critical darling + precursor success. My notes are going to be short from here on out, by the way, because I need to eat dinner.


“The Grandmaster”


“Inside Llewyn Davis”



Lubezki has won every award under the sun for his amazing work here. He gets the award he should have won three times already for The New World, Children of Men, and The Tree of Life.

Animated feature film

“The Croods”

“Despicable Me 2”


“Ernest & Celestine”

“The Wind Rises”

Disney’s first win in this category will go to the film that might have just kickstarted its next renaissance as a creative and popular force in animated movies.

Costume design

“American Hustle”

“The Grandmaster”

“The Great Gatsby”

“The Invisible Woman”

“12 Years a Slave”

Gaudy and period and Oscar precedent for Catherine Martin. I’m not even writing sentences anymore.

Makeup and hairstyling

“Dallas Buyers Club”

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”

“The Lone Ranger”

Just because I imagine Oscar voters not being able to comprehend giving an Oscar to the other two.

Documentary short subject


“Facing Fear”

“Karma Has No Walls”

“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”

“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hill”

The rule with this category: Predict on the title, based on the amount of suffering or redemption conveyed. Seriously: without the subtitle of Music Saved My Life, I’d be going with Facing Fear, with more confidence than almost any other category.

Music, original score

John Williams, “The Book Thief”

Steven Price, “Gravity”

William Butler and Owen Pallett, “Her”

Alexandre Desplat, “Philomena”

Thomas Newman, “Saving Mr. Banks”

Her is a good bet if the Academy wants to show it has a bit of modernity in its taste, as they did when The Social Network’s dissonant electronic score won here. As it is, Gravity’s score is bombastic and memorable and, more importantly, used well.

Music, original song

“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”

“Let it Go,” from “Frozen”

“The Moon Song,” from “Her”

“Oridinary Love,” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

I dare you to bet against this behemoth of a song that may have single-handedly revived Disney. Yes, that’s probably overstating it, but still: no one song is as memorably tied to the film it’s in as Let it Go (even though I think Happy and The Moon Song are better).


Production design

“American Hustle”


“The Great Gatsby”


“12 Years a Slave”

When in doubt, glitz.


Short film, animated


“Get a Horse!”

“Mr. Hublot”


“Room on the Broom”

It’s about a cute, giant robot dog. I refuse to bet against that.


Short film, live action

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)”

“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)”


“Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”

“The Voorman Problem”

My annual “Close my eyes and click at random” pick.


Film Editing

“American Hustle”

“Captain Phillips”

“Dallas Buyers Club”


“12 Years a Slave”

If Gravity sweeps, it wins here. I’m predicting a Gravity sweep.


Sound editing

“All Is Lost”

“Captain Phillips”


“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

“Lone Survivor”

Gravity sweep.


Sound mixing

“Captain Phillips”


“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

“Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Lone Survivor”



Visual effects


“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

“The Lone Ranger”

“Iron Man 3”

“Star Trek Into Darkness”

If Gravity bombs tonight, it still wins here. If it sweeps and doesn’t win here, then I just give up and promise to never subject you to my attempts at predicting these godforsaken awards again.


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About johnmichaelmaximilian

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

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