Ellen Degeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards this Sunday starting at 8:30 PM on ABC.
Here are my Oscar predictions. Take into consideration, of course, that I’m not an expert so I’ve omitted some categories because I have no idea who would win in them.
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Contenders: American Hustle and Gravity
12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity all have a fighting chance at winning Best Picture, but I would give 12 Years a slight edge in this category because it’s already taken home Best Picture at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Producers Guild, and a bunch of critics awards. Interestingly enough, it shared Best Picture with Gravity in an unprecedented tie at the Producers Guild Awards. Even though Gravity is looking pretty good in this category, Oscar voters will probably want to give this award to the more emotionally charged 12 Years a Slave.
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Contenders: Steve McQueen
Best Director is usually a good indicator of Best Picture, but this year, it looks like there’s going to be a split. Best Director will go to Alfonso Cuaron, who’s already won the Directors Guild Award.
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
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Contenders: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Leonardo DiCaprio
Matthew McConaughey is the perceived frontrunner is this category. He’s won both the Golden Globe and the SAG award for Best Actor. A lot of people have been impressed by his career transformation (hailed as a “McConaissance”) – from failed rom-coms like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past to serious issue movies like Dallas Buyers Club. It helps that he’s been appearing in HBO’s True Detective every week, where Oscar voters get to see him play a completely different character than Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. However, I think there’s a slight possibility of an upset by either Chiwetel Ejiofor (the previous frontrunner for Best Actor who would probably have this on lock if it were any other year) or Leonardo DiCaprio.
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Contenders: Absolutely no one.
There isn’t much to say here except that Cate Blanchett definitely gives the strongest, most memorable performance out of anyone else in this category. The Woody Allen controversy will be on a lot of people’s minds when she wins, however.
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
Will Win: Jared Leto
Contenders: No one.
Jared Leto has been absolutely unstoppable. If there’s an upset, I’ll be very shocked. Fassbender’s decision not to campaign has essentially paved the way for Leto to collect this award, otherwise he’d probably win.
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
Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Contenders: Jennifer Lawrence. She’s won both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA.
Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence are neck and neck for Best Supporting Actress. Lawrence has won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, with Nyong’o winning the SAG and the Critics Choice Award. I’m predicting Nyong’o, but I’m not very confident about that. Oscar voters love Lawrence and the only thing standing in her way is that she already won last year’s Academy Award for Best Actress.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Dallas Buyers Club
Will Win: Her
Contenders: American Hustle?
Voters might want to award David O. Russell in some way, thus giving him the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But Her looks pretty strong.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Surprisingly enough, Philomena has picked up steam in this category. I would love to see Before Midnight win, but its chances look slim. The only sure bet looks to be 12 Years a Slave.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
Will Win: The Great Beauty
Contenders: The Broken Circle Breakdown
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Wind Rises
Will Win: Frozen
Contenders: The Wind Rises
Frozen has attracted the most buzz and it’s made a whole lot of money at the box office, as well. It looks like a clear victory for Frozen.
BEST DOCUMENTARY – FEATURE
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
20 Feet from Stardom
Will Win: The Act of Killing
Contenders: The Square and 20 Feet from Stardom
20 Feet from Stardom is the only feel-good documentary out of these five nominees, and those tend to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Last year, Searching for Sugar Man beat The Invisible War, How to Survive a Plague, 5 Broken Cameras, and The Gatekeepers. The Square has been picking up a lot of buzz, as well. But I’m going to go ahead and predict The Act of Killing anyway.
Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
Roger A. Deakins, Prisoners
Will Win: Gravity
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Alone Yet Not Alone,” Alone Yet Not Alone *disqualified*
“Happy,” Despicable Me 2
“Let it Go,” Frozen
“The Moon Song,” Her
“Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Will Win: “Let It Go”
Contenders: “Ordinary Love”
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
Will Win: Gravity