2014 Oscars predictions: Who will win?


I get ridiculously excited for the Oscars every year. It doesn’t matter that I know down to my soul that all I’m doing is watching a bunch of insanely wealthy people congratulate themselves for playing pretend really well – I still take my Academy Awards very seriously. If you’re of a like mind, you’ve been agonizing all week over your Oscars ballot, and this year I’m here to help you win that pool.

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave

Before Midnight

Captain Phillips

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

I think we’ll see John Ridley’s 12 Years a Slave screenplay win this one. It certainly can’t be easy to adequately portray such a harrowing true story, but Ridley accomplishes that in spades. Every character in the film, slave and slave owner alike, is multifaceted and complex, and that’s not just due to the fantastic performances of the entire cast – it’s also because of the brilliant material they were given.

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Dallas Buyers Club

Her

Nebraska

I’d like to see Spike Jonze win for his touching look at life and love in the near future in Her, but I just have a feeling he won’t. I’d say this will probably go to American Hustle, which, as a friend of mine mentioned soon after his release, is the kind of movie that looks like it was made explicitly to win an Oscar. I’m confident it will win at least one, and if it loses out on each of the four acting awards, as I suspect it will, I’d bet the Academy will give the film the Best Original Screenply honor.

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine

Frozen

The Wind Rises

This one’s a no-brainer. As far as I know, only one of these movies has made nearly a billion dollars worldwide. Frozen all the way here.

Best Costume Design

American Hustle

The Grandmaster

The Great Gatsby

The Invisible Woman

12 Years a Slave

The annual automatic win for a period piece, Best Costume Design is between The Great Gatsby and American Hustle. At the end of the day, I think it will wind up going to Gatsby. The opulence of West Egg lends itself perfectly to this category, and director Baz Luhrmann’s focus on that extravagance provided a lot of opportunities for the costume designer to deck the cast and extras out in the flashiest examples of ‘20s excess imaginable.

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

This is a category with some very strong performances, but every last ounce of momentum points towards Jared Leto running away with the statue. He’s won everything leading up to the Oscars, and it would be considered a huge upset if the Academy didn’t give this one to him.

Best 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 category feels like it will come down to two: Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o. This one really could go either way, but I think we’ll see first-timer Nyong’o come away with the Oscar. She gives a tragic and emotional performance in a powerful film, and while J-Law is currently the darling of Hollywood, she did win a statue last year and I think the Academy will reward 12 Years a Slave in several categories.

Best Actor

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

This is, for me, the most up-in-the-air, anyone’s-game category at the Oscars this year. All five guys have a serious argument to win the award. If my vote counted, I’d give it to Ejiofor for all the things he’s able to do in his portrayal of Solomon Northup without even uttering a word. But if I had to put money on it, I’d probably go with McConaughey or Bale. Not only did he (like his co-star Leto) make a substantial physical transformation for the role (which voters love), but he’s also got a nice streak of wins going right now, and a victory at the Oscars puts a very nice cap at the end of his career renaissance story.

Best Actress

Amy Adams – American Hustle

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Judi Dench – Philomena

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Much like the Supporting Actor category, Best Actress is basically a one-woman race, with Cate Blanchett handily leading a still very strong field. In any other year, I’d pick Amy Adams to finally win her first Oscar (and thanks to the Golden Globes’ separation of drama and comedy, she has received a major award for her awesome performance), but Cate Blanchett’s turn in Woody Allen’s latest is just too good not to win the big one.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne – Nebraska

David O. Russell – American Hustle

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

While the vast majority of the world Alfonso Cuaron built for Gravity was computer-generated, I think we’re past the time when work with CGI could ever be underappreciated. The shots Cuaron and his team constructed of the space shuttle being destroyed by debris as Sandra Bullock floated helplessly in the vacuum of space are simply astounding, and everything that followed that first tense moment is equally so.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

I have a feeling that the Oscars are going to follow the same path as the Golden Globes did, with no single film running away with the major awards, and movies like American Hustle and Gravity coming away with a pretty close to even number of wins in the technical and acting categories, but I predict that the night will end with the big prize going to 12 Years a Slave. The Foreign Press gave Steve McQueen’s film its highest honor, and that group is, as the name suggests, made up of non-American voters. The Academy is another story, and will likely reward the most culturally significant of this year’s nominees with the Best Picture Oscar.

And there you have it: my predictions for who will win the major awards on Sunday. For what it’s worth, I also think Gravity is a safe bet for most, if not all, of the technical categories: Visual Effects, Cinematography, Sound Editing, etc. I won’t even try to guess which short film or documentary will win – I never wind up seeing them and this year’s no different. Chip in in the comments with predictions of your own!

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Tags: Movies Oscars