Sunday, March 2, 2014

Predictions for 86th Annual Academy Awards

We like Lupita Nyong'o & 12 Years a Slave's chances tonight

Here we go again: Time to pick this year's major Oscar winners. After going 10-1 over the three previous years, I slipped to 9-2 last year (after missing out on Best Director & Best Supporting Actor.) This year's edition is even harder to forecast, minus the usual high number of shoo-ins (not including Cate Blanchett & Jared Leto.) I'm also later than usual... 7:18 PM EST, as I write. Let's get to it.

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave. So far as I can see, this is a three-horse race between American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. You could make a case for any of the three; but Steve McQueen's epic seems to have a slight edge in momentum over Gravity.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club. Dazed and Confused no longer, McConaughey has quietly developed into an elite talent. Don't forget his terrific performance in Mud too.

Best Actress; Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. Oscar #2 for the brilliant Aussie. Put it in the bank.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club. Tough competition, but this one rivals Blanchett for slam-dunk of the night.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o12 Years a Slave. It should be Jennifer Lawrence, but she won Best Actress last year, and life's not always fair...

Best Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n, Gravity. He's well-respected by the Academy, and this may be a consolation prize of sorts (assuming Gravity doesn't win Best Picture.)

Best Animated Feature: Frozen. Seems like everyone else is on "thin ice."

Best Cinematography: Gravity. Hmm, maybe there were more shoo-ins than I thought...

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty. Didn't see it; but it won a Golden Globe, so...

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave. Not quite a lock, but should win over Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle. Spike Jonze's Her could surprise; but this is probably as close to a major award as David O'Russell gets tonight.