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2014 Oscar predictions: Major Categories

All roads lead to the gold on Sunday night as the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science present the 86th Academy Awards as some of Hollywood’s A-listers get their speeches ready for their impending win. For the second time in her career, Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting the ceremony. This has been a great year in movies as some of the major categories are up in the air especially Best Picture with “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle” and “Gravity” all vying to win the top prize. This week, we will look at all the categories that are seeking to win the little golden man on Sunday night.

Sandra Bullock is stuck in space in "Gravity."
Warner Bros Pictures

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”

There is no doubt that Cuaron will walk away with the Oscar for Best Director. “Gravity” may be one of the best movies of all time, but it is no doubt a cinematic experience to behold on the big screen especially in IMAX. Curaron took advantage of the industry’s latest technology to simulate the experience of being in space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It also doesn’t hurt that the Mexican filmmaker has taken every major directing award leading up to the Academy Awards including the trifecta: the DGA, the BAFTA and the Golden Globe. If anyone but Cuaron wins, this will be a major upset.

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Who Could/Should Win: Steve McQueen

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
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

Jared Leto has won every major award leading up to the Oscars from the Golden Globe to the SAG. However, since Leto wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTAs, the award went to Abdi, a limo driver-turned-actor. Cooper, Fassbender and Hill turned in the best performances of their career last year and they all deserved to be recognized by the Academy. Even though Leto is likely to win, the Academy could pull an “Eddie Murphy” and give the award to Abdi on Oscar night.

Who Will Win: Jared Leto
Who Could Win: Barkhad Abdi
Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins – “Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o – “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts – “August: Osage County”
June Squibb – “Nebraska”

There will be a huge backlash against Lawrence and the Academy if her name is announced on Sunday night. She did win the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, but the Globes always go for the stars over unknowns and the BAFTA probably gave the award to JLaw because she didn’t win the BAFTA last year for her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.” On the other hand, Nyong’o has picked up the Critic Choice Award and the SAG. The thing is Nyong’o is in full campaign mode and Lawrence isn’t. With that said, it is safe to that Nyong’o is going to win the Academy Award.

Who Will/Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Who Could Win: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Actor in a Leading Role
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 absolutely the most crowded Best Actor race in recent years with Tom Hanks’ and Robert Redford’s performances in “Captain Phillips” and “All is Lost” getting snubbed the morning the Oscar nomination were announced. Bale will not win because he won an Oscar for “The Fighter” three years ago and Dern’s nomination is more like a recognition for his career. Even though there is a slight chance that Ejifor or DiCaprio could win Best Actor, McConaughey has too much momentum on his side to lose as he has won all the precursor awards and he is delivering a career-high performance on HBO’s “True Detective.”

Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Who Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”
Judi Dench – “Philomena”
Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”

This is a stacked race with four of the five nominees being former winners while Adams has been nominated five times. Blanchett has been declared the person to beat in the Best Actress race since last summer when “Blue Jasmine” was released in theaters. There is no doubt that Blanchett delivered a powerhouse performance that is reminiscent of Vivian Leigh’s Blanche DuBois from “A Streetcar Named Desire,” but Adams has the power to pull an upset. Not only is she the MVP of the film with the best performance of her career in “American Hustle”, but she has been making the rounds for the film like showing up to almost every “American Hustle” panel/Q-&-A. She is eventually due to win an Oscar soon, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look this year will her year win. Despite the Woody Allen controversy, Blanchett will prevail and overcome as she wins her second Oscar.

Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Who Could/Should Win: Amy Adams

Best Picture
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

This year’s Best Picture is the closet race we have seen in years, as he final award of the night is three-way race between “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle” and “Gravity.” “12 Years a Slave” had a lot great word-of-mouth buzz after premiering in festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival. “American Hustle” picked up some steam during the award season by winning big courtesy of the New York Film Critics Circle and then the film went on to win the Golden Globe and SAG for Best Ensemble. However, the BAFTA had no love for the film except for giving the movie the Best Original Screenplay award. With that in mind, “American Hustle” will not win Best Picture and it might not even walk away with any Oscars if some of the Oscar pundits are correct. With “Hustle” out of the picture, it is down between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” “12 Years a Slave” had a lot great word-of-mouth buzz after premiering in festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival. The film went on to win many best film awards from critics around the country and it looked like it was destined to win Best Picture until PGA. For the first time in the PGA’s history, it was declared a tie between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” This put some Oscar prognosticators, including myself, to think that there is a strong possibility that “Gravity” will win Best Picture. The BAFTAs was the final major award before the Oscars and it looked like whoever won BAFTAs’ top prize will win the Academy Award for Best Picture. With “Gravity” winning Best British Film, “12 Years a Slave” went on to win Best Film, thus making the movie the automatic frontrunner and potential winner for the biggest award on Oscar night.

Who Will Win: “12 Years a Slave”
Who Could Win: “Gravity”
Who Should Win: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

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