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2014 Oscar predictions: Screenplays and Other Features

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.

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence are trying to one-up each other in "American Hustle."
Columbia Pictures

Best Documentary Features
“The Act of Killing”
“Cutie and the Boxer”
“Dirty Wars”
“The Square”
“20 Feet from Stardom”

As much as I want to pick the brilliant and powerful “The Act of Killing,” the truth is that Academy is likely to favor a crowd-pleasing documentary like “20 Feet from Stardom” over a thought-provoking documentary like “The Act of Killing.” However, do not count out “The Square,” which could garner the Oscar after winning the DGA (Director’s Guild of American) and IDA (International Documentary Association). This is tight three-way race that could go either way.

Who Will Win: “20 Feet from Stardom”
Who Could/Should Win: “The Act of Killing”

Best Foreign Language Film
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” – Belgium
The Great Beauty” – Italy
“The Hunt” – Denmark
“The Missing Picture” – Cambodia
“Omar” – Palestine

Speaking of a three-way race, this category is going to be between three impressive imports from Belgium, Denmark and Italy. Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty,” which would probably made Federico Fellini proud, is the frontrunner in this category after winning the BAFTA and Golden Globe. There is also a chance that the Academy could favor substance over style by voting for dramatic and emotional films like “The Hunt” or “The Broken Circle Breakdown.”

Who Will/Should Win: “The Great Beauty”
Who Could Win: “The Hunt”

Best Animated Feature
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“The Wind Rises”

With Pixar nowhere to be found in this category, this is Walt Disney Animation’s race to lose as there is no doubt that “Frozen” will win, which will give the studio its first win. If there were a slight chance that it won’t win, it would likely go to Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song, “The Wind Rises.”

Who Will/Should Win: “Frozen”
Who Could Win: “The Wind Rises”

Best Original Screenplay
“American Hustle”
“Blue Jasmine”
“Dallas Buyers Club”

There is a chance that either “American Hustle” or “Her” could walk away with no Academy Awards. This category is between Eric Warren Singer’s and David O. Russell’s con film and Spike Jonze’s futuristic romantic movie. Even though “Her” did win the Golden Globe and WGA, a win at the BAFTA proved that “American Hustle” is not out of the race. I think the Academy’s love for “American Hustle” will outshine the competition with Russell destined to win his first Oscar.

Who Will Win: “American Hustle”
Who Could/Should Win: “Her”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Before Midnight”
“Captain Phillips”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

There is no clear frontrunner in the Adapted Screenplay category. Anybody in could win this race. A couple of films have an advantage over their competition with “Captain Phillips” winning the WGA and “Philomena” winning the BAFTA. One film that has zero chance in winning on Sunday night is “Before Midnight.” Even though the screenplay from Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is brilliant, the lack of a Best Picture nomination makes it the dark horse in this race. With no screenplay wins under its belt, I think “12 Years a Slave” is likely to walk away with the Oscar.

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

Tune in tomorrow for the last installment of my Oscar predictions as we look at the major categories including the top prize: Best Picture.

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