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Oscar Nomination Predictions Updated– 2013 Movies

 By early tomorrow morning, the suspense will be over as regards the films and actors who will receive Academy Award nominations for movies  released in 2013. The Oscar will be  handed out on Sunday, March 2. 

      x950Golden Globe nominations and victories proved once again that movies from later in the eligibility year get remarkable preference over films released before October. This seems unfair or misguided until you look at the films from the spring and summer and realize little has been overlooked. Hollywood marketers know the game and act accordingly. The best product will be saved for October to December. Many movies that come out in January and early February are films for which distributors had high hopes but didn’t make the grade to be considered for award contention. 

      Using various guides and barometers, I will attempt to predict tomorrow’s nominees. In some categories, the choices are clear. In others, there’s not enough room, so someone is bound to be left out. 

       As is my habit, I will proceed category  by category. 

 

BEST PICTURE 

 

     Looking at my own rankings, I must be out of kilter with Hollywood thought this film year. The two highest movies on my personal list are “Blue Jasmine” and “The Spectacular Now.” The former did not make the Golden Globe cut although it claimed a prize or two from regional film critics’ awards panels. The latter slipped through all cracks. 

     In 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the entity that distributes Oscars, increased the number of annual nominations for Best Picture from five to ten. This obviously doubles the number of movies in contention. When I predict, please remember I’m guessing about the movies Academy voters will choose to nominate. Neither “Gravity” nor “Her,” both of which are possible Best Picture winners, would appear on a list I assembled while “The Spectacular Now,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Way Way Back,” and “Unfinished Song” might. I would also have a hard time finding a place for “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” both of which I believe will contend, on my list. The foreign film, “No,” could easily take one of their places. 

       In alphabetical order, these are the 10 films I think Academy voters will recognize. 

 

 1. 

American Hustle 

 2.  

Blue Jasmine 

 3. 

Captain Phillips 

 4. 

Dallas Buyers Club 

 5. 

Gravity 

 6.  

Her 

 7.  

Inside Llewyn Davis 

 8. 

Nebraska 

 9. 

Philomena 

  1.  

The Wolf of Wall Street 

 

Verdicts are in. My score was 8 out of 9 or 8 of 10. I can’t believe I included “Inside Llewyn Davis” instead of “12 Years a Slave.” Time to slap my hand on my forehead for that one. The nominees are “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” 

BEST ACTOR 

 

      Choosing five will be a difficult task in the Best Actor category. Someone worthy will have be left watching from his living room or in a non-contender’s seat. There’s just not enough space for all who qualify within the nominee roster. 

       I see three lead actors — Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, and Robert Redford  — as shoo-ins who can be certain to hear their names called by Chris Hemsworth as he announces nominees. The other slots are up for grabs between Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, who has two films for which he could get a nod, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oscar Isaac, Joaquin Phoenix, and Forest Whitaker. Terence Stamp, for “Unfinished Song” could also be considered, but there’s no space left to give him a prayer for a nomination. 

        Whitaker is probably the first who can be eliminated. While he did a solid, if sullen, turn in “The Butler,” Lee Daniels’s movie has been justifiably ignored during this award season. Isaac, for his taciturn but well-etched performance in “Inside Llewyn Davis” will also most likely be left as an also-ran. That leaves Bale, Dern, DeCaprio, Ejiofor, and Phoenix to vie for the two remaining nominations.  

         Each can be highly recommended. Because of my disdain for “Her,” and my belief that Phoenix lacked the charisma to carry off that movies lead role, I’m inclined to cross him off the list. But is the Academy? 

         Dern shows the craft of a lifetime in “Nebraska.” He has earned a nomination and the right to compete for the Oscar. Ejiofor shows nobility and range as he suffers the torment and indignity of a free man sold into slavery. His performance is stellar and hard to ignore or dismiss. Bale is witty and varied in “American Hustle.” DiCaprio was given the Golden Globe for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and rates more credit than he’s received for a fine job in Baz Luhrman’s take on “The Great Gatsby.”  You see the dilemma. Hanks is the most wobbly of the nominations I see as definite. I think his turn in “Saving Mr. Banks” earns him a place for one of his 2013 movies. I may be overestimating the Academy’s regard for Redford, but he had the hardest role and made it poignant. I can’t see how he could be overlooked for at least a nomination. 

          My predictions for the Best Actor nominees are: 

 

 1. 

Bruce Dern for “Nebraska” 

 2. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave” 

 3. 

Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips 

 4.  

Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club” 

 5. 

Robert Redford for “All is Lost” 

 

Drat me for using the word, “shoo-in.” Robert Redford, to whom I would give the Best Actor prize for 2013 was not chosen. Nor was Tom Hanks in spite of being eligible for two films. Christian Bale for “American Hustle” and Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street” join Dern, Ejiofor, and McConaughey in the field. 

BEST ACTRESS 

 

     The Best Actress field is probably the most clear of any in this year. 

     All five of the women I predict will receive nominations stand out at the prime contenders for this year. 

     In my heart of hearts, I would liked to have seen a wild card place that Amy Acker could have slipped into for her shrewd performance as Beatrice in Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” but I don’t, and the Academy would never have turned to her if there was a berth that was hard to fill. Vanessa Redgrave in “Unfinished Song” or Kate Winslet in “Labor Day” would have been the most likely choices to fill any void. Julie Delpy in “Before Midnight” could also have completed the dance card if necessary. 

       My predictions for Best Actress are: 

 

 1. 

Amy Adams for “American Hustle” 

 2. 

Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” 

 3. 

Sandra Bullock for “Gravity” 

 4. 

Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County” 

 5. 

Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks” 

 

Look at me, 4 out of 5 because I forgot all about Judi Dench, to whom, except for Cate Blanchett’s brilliant turn in “Blue Jasmine,” I would give the award. Oddly enough, if I had put Dench on my list, I’d have eliminated Sandra Bullock, so I’d be four for five anyhow. Bullock was nominated. Dench takes the slot I gave to Emma Thompson, whose performance was lustrous but admittedly on a single beam. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

 

      In both supporting categories, I think the Golden Globes got the fields right. I expect the Oscar nominations to mirror exactly what the Golden Globes did. That leaves a large group of potential contenders waiting for another year to vie for Oscar glory.  They are Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, and Andrew Dice Clay for “Blue Jasmine,” Louie C.K. in “American Hustle,” Steve Coogan for “Philomena,” Chris Cooper in “August: Osage County,” Dane DeHaan for “Kill Your Darlings,” Paul Dano in “Prisoners” or “12 Years a Slave,” Colin Farrell for “Saving Mr. Banks,” Will Forte in “Nebraska,” Ben Foster for “Kill Your Darlings,” James Gandolfini for “Enough Said,” John Goodman for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Jonah Hill for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Liam James in “The Way, Way Back,” Tobey Maguire for “The Great Gatsby,” David Oyelowo for “The Butler,” Jeremy Renner for “American Hustle,” Sam Rockwell for “The Way, Way Back,” and Miles Teller for “The Spectacular Now.”  Daniel Bruhl, predicted for his performance in “Rush” could also have been considered for his turn in “The Fifth Estate.” 

       My predictions for Best Supporting Actor are: 

 

 1. 

Barkhad Abdi for “Captain Phillips” 

 2. 

Daniel Bruhl for “Rush” 

 3. 

Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle” 

 4.  

Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave” 

 5.  

Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” 

 

 

Four for five again, the Academy nominating Jonah Hill for “The Wolf of Wall Street” while I predicted Daniel Bruhl. My list is the superior one, but it’s the Academy’s that counts. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

 

      As good as the women are who will populate this category, another five women of comparable strength wait in the wings to fill gaps. The problem for those women in there are none. This was a year of significant supporting actress performances, so good a year, women like Gemma Arterton in “Unfinished Song,” Julie Christie in “The Company You Keep,” Toni Collette in “The Way, Way Back,” Jennifer Garner in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Allison Janney in “The Way, Way Back,” Scarlett Johannson in “Don Jon,” Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Spectacular Now,” Rooney Mara in “Her,” Margo Martindale in “August: Osage County,” Carey Mulligan, making up for “The Great Gatsby” in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Julianne Moore in “Don Jon” or “What Maisie Knew,”  “Julianne Nicholson in “August; Osage County,” Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Family,” Vanessa Redgrave in “Unfinished Song,” Anna Sophia Robb in “The Way, Way Back,” Elisabeth Rohm in “American Hustle,” Oprah Winfrey in “The Butler,” and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now” have no way to squeeze into position for a nomination. 

       My predictions for Best Supporting Actress are: 

 

 1. 

Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine” 

 2. 

Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle” 

 3. 

Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” 

 4. 

Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County” 

 5. 

June Squibb in “Nebraska” 

 

Finally, a clean sweep, five for five. It’s nice to have a chance to clean some of the egg from my face. 

BEST DIRECTOR 

 

      It galls me that “Gravity’s” Alfonso Cuaron and “Her’s” Spike Jonze are almost positive to be nominated in this category while “Dallas Buyers Club’s” Jean-Marc Vallee, who crafted a marvelous comedy, or Alexander Payne, who charmed in black-and-white with “Nebraska,” are likely to be overlooked, but as Doris Day sang in a famous Oscar-winning song, que sera sera, whatever will be will be. Perhaps David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, or Steve McQueen will see the Academy Award go into more deserving hands. Assuming any of them are nominated. In a year when Woody Allen can make a genuine work of art like “Blue Jasmine” and possibly be shut down from award contention, why expect logic to prevail? Then again, maybe the Academy will be kinder to Allen than the Hollywood Foreign Press was. I won’t bother me at all in Martin Scorsese is passed over for the overly long “The Wolf of Wall Street.” 

      Others who could easily supplant Cuaron and Jonze on the Best Director roster, but almost assuredly won’t, are Stephen Frears for “Philomena,” James Ponsoldt for “The Spectacular Now,” or Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for “The Way, Way Back.” 

       My predictions for Best Director are: 

 

 1. 

Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity” 

 2. 

Paul Greengrass for “Captain Phillips” 

 3.  

Spike Jonze for “Her” 

 4.  

Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave” 

 5. 

David O. Russell for “American Hustle.” 

 

Given that Spike Jonze was not nominated for “Her,” I am happy, happy, happy to be wrong in his prediction. My score here is three out of five. Alexander Payne blessedly takes Jonze’s place. My joy is a bit tinged that Paul Greengrass was overlooked for “Captain Phillips,” especially since it could have been in favor of Martin Scorsese, who achieves much in “The Wolf of Wall Street” but would have made a stronger, tauter movie if he had once thought of investing in scissors, particularly in his movie’s second half. 

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2014 by in Movie Reviews and tagged , , , .

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