I am making my predictions based on the actual nominees (though, I will take the opportunity to complain about some of the eligible films and actors that didn’t get a nomination, but should have…).
Actor in a Leading Role
This year was really stacked in this category, with a list of noms that all could take the Oscar in less crowded years, and a list of eligible actors that also would make impressive noms, but didn’t quite make the cut. Quite frankly, I think that Joaquin Phoenix should have been nominated, and should win; however, I was indelibly impressed by Bruce Dern’s portrayal of Woody. He disappeared into the role, and was so heartbreakingly honest, making a dense and opaque loser loveable.
Matthew McConaughey has pretty much swept the awards circuit up until now, and I don’t predict a change. McConaughey did deliver the best performance of his career this year, and he’s sitting in a great position to win his first Oscar. If anyone could upset, though, it’s Leonardo DiCaprio, who was also was at his career best, and it’s about time his efforts were rewarded. I wouldn’t be mad with either.
Who Should Win: Bruce Dern/ Joaquin Phoenix
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey/ Leonardo DiCaprio
Actress in a Leading Role
If anyone can steal this award away from Cate Blanchett, it’s Amy Adams. She was outstanding as Sydney Prosser. However, Blanchett pretty much had already won from the moment Blue Jasmine was released. She’s been dominating the awards circuit, and I don’t predict a change.
Who Should Win: Amy Adams
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Actor in a Supporting Role
Yes, I am still mad about James Franco not getting nominated for his portrayal of Alien; his was the best and most important performance of the year, period, in my opinion, but I’ll digress… This was also a great year for this category. I was so deeply struck by Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Edwin Epps; he brought so much depth to the character, avoiding the flat, vacuous villain trap that so many succumb to. However, Jonah Hill also gave the best performance of his career, so far, as Donnie Azoff: he was such a scumbag, pure filth, yet I loved him, the character, and performance as a whole.
Jared Leto has also pretty much swept the awards circuit, and I think he’s set to take this one home. I just wasn’t as in love with his performance as everyone else seems to be; I mean, it wasn’t bad, he was great. Rayon as a character just didn’t strike me as much as some of the other noms. However, Oscar voters don’t necessarily have to agree with me…
Who Should Win: Jonah Hill/ Michael Fassbender/ James Franco
Who Will Win: Jared Leto
Actress in a Supporting Role
All the noms in this category were great. June Squibb was unrelenting as Kate Grant, and Jennifer Lawrence was just everything and more as Rosalyn Rosenfeld. However, neither quite captured the amount of gritty poignancy in Lupita Nyong’o’s portrayal of Patsey.
Nyong’o has been getting it right all awards season in all facets. The general population is in love, and I believe that Oscar voters will reflect that sentiment.
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o
I really think that Spike Jonze should have gotten a nomination, and subsequently, the win, but I also really did love Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, and what he was able to accomplish with that story.
Gravity was a spectacle, and a good one at that: I think voters are going to want to see the film take away at least one more award outside of the sound and effects categories.
Who Should Win: Alexander Payne/ Spike Jonze
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
I am just in love with this movie. It was beautifully shot, the story was soberingly real and tenderly uplifting, and the characters were transparent and surprisingly noble. I cried at the end, just because of its heartbreaking beauty. It didn’t need loud bells and whistles or extreme circumstances to paint a moving and brutally honest picture about life. Oh, it should win, it really should…
However, despite all my passionate belief in Cutie and the Boxer, I’m picking either 20 Feet from Stardom or The Act of Killing to win. The former is definitely the most popular of the noms, box office-wise, but voters may pick the latter because of how assaultingly powerful the story is. I’d be happy with either, maybe I’m leaning toward The Act of Killing, though, for the win…
Who Should Win: Cutie and the Boxer
Who Will Win: 20 Feet from Stardom/ The Act of Killing
Out of all the nominees, Nebraska and Her are my favorites, but I still feel that I am a little more in love with Her. Jonze’s love story for the postmodern world was unexpectedly grounded, fantastically true, and as perfect as it possibly could get. It was successful on all fronts, with some of the best acting, production, writing of the year; a victory is in order.
12 Years a Slave was also incredibly triumphant as a film, with viewers walking away with a deep realization of its importance. I feel that this realization, in one way or another, will affect voters’ decisions, leading them to place this film in their top 3, not exactly because they feel it’s the best, but simply because they are supposed to like it. Either way it gets there, I’m fine; I loved the film, and I think it and Steve McQueen are definitely worthy of the win.
Who Should Win: Her
Who Will Win: 12 Years a Slave