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A complete and detailed review of the Oscar 2014 front-runners

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This past year has been great for the film industry, and it’s been even better for the moviegoers. Moviegoers have been treated to a wide array of incredible movies – from “Frozen” to “The Wolf of Wall Street,” there’s been a great movie for moviegoers of all ages. With so many great movies and acting performances competing for this year’s most coveted awards, the race will certainly be a close one. Take a look at my predictions below and follow along as I live-tweet the Oscars tomorrow, March 2, 2014.

Predictions:

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave – although some Oscar voters don’t seem too keen on watching the film, it’s been raking in awards at every other major award shows and it doesn’t look as though the hot streak will end at the Academy Awards. “12 Years” was unquestionable one of the best films of the year, making it a clear front-runner for this year’s biggest award.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón – it’s rare for the director of the year’s “Best Picture” not to also take home the Award for “Best Director,” but there’s no question that Cuarón did a remarkable job with “Gravity.” His film was visually stunning and, was far more impressive than last year’s big winner, “Life of Pi” was.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Leonardo DiCapriothis is one of the hardest categories to predict. I initially thought that Matthew McConaughey was going to take home the award for Best Actor this year – he has a lot of momentum from his SAG victory and he gave one of the greatest performances of his career, but after seeing “The Wolf of Wall Street” for the fourth time I think DiCaprio’s performance is on par with McConaughey’s. DiCaprio has been nominated for four Oscars for his acting over the course of his career, and each time he’s faced extremely fierce competition and has come home empty-handed. Once again, DiCaprio will face a difficult pool of competitors, but I think 2014 may be the year one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors finally comes home with its biggest award.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Cate Blanchett – This is a lock. Blanchett has swept every previous award show this year and her performance in “Blue Jasmine” was stupendous. This is one of the few picks that is an near guarantee.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Jared Leto – He’s almost as likely to win as Blanchett – he too has swept the award shows with his incredible performance in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Although the category featured a number of other actors who delivered remarkable performances, including Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, and Jonah Hill, Leto’s performance was by far the most impressive of the group.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Lupita Nyong’o – After winning a crucial SAG award Nyong’o became a clear front-runner in the contest, though there’s no discounting the extremely popular and better connected Jennifer Lawrence. After coming away with the Oscar for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Lawrence has become a force to be reckoned with at the Academy Awards.

Best Animated Feature Film

Frozen – This is another lock. “Frozen” was a welcome, heart-warming, old-fashioned Disney story. “Frozen” captured the same sense of fun, excitement and wonder that made the Disney movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s the beloved classics they are today. With “Frozen,” Disney showed viewers that it still has the magic touch, and it unquestionably deserves to go home an Oscar (or two).

Best Foreign Film

The Great Beauty – This wasn’t my favorite foreign film of the year – that was “A Hijacking,” but there’s no doubting that “The Great Beauty” was the most visually stunning and artistically impressive foreign film of the year, making it the clear front-runner for this year’s foreign Oscar.

Best Documentary Feature

20 Feet From Stardom – This is one of the most hotly contested categories – this year has featured some truly remarkable documentaries, but “20 Feet from Stardom” is an inspiring and fascinating look into the people who perform in the spotlight but remain out of sight. This look into the lives of some of the greatest backup singers of the 21st century would be great to watch with last year’s big winner, “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Her – Although Scarlett Johansson can’t get an Oscar for her work on the film, Spike Jonze still has a great chance of coming home with an Oscar for his refreshingly original screenplay. Although he faces strong competition from the “American Hustle” team, his success at the Golden Globes makes him a front-runner in the category.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) – Ridley wrote the script for the film that I believe will take home the evening’s big “Best Picture” Oscar, which should be reason enough for him to come home with the Award for the best adapted screenplay. He’s a clear front-runner in the category.

Best Costume Design, Best Production Design

Catherine Martin/Catherine Martin, Beverly Dunn (The Great Gatsby) – There’s no question that “The Great Gatsby” had the best costumes of the year – the lavish costuming helped to bring the bygone era to life in a stunning and surreal way. Although “American Hustle” had great costuming from another period as well, it’s hard to imagine the Academy overlooking the impressive work that went into the production of “Gatsby.” Martin should also be expected to come home with an Oscar for production design – those who saw “Gatsby” will definitely agree that the production design helped the film jump off the screen.

Cinematography, Film Editing, Visual Effects

Emmanuel Lubezki/Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger/Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould (Gravity) – These two visual awards will definitely be going to “Gravity” – the film was one of the most visually impressive films ever and should be walking away with every Award possible. If James Cameron’s comments are any indication, the film should be a clear choice.

Best Documentary Short

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – This is certainly one of the quieter categories, but this year’s front-runner, “The Lady in Number 6” is one of the rare documentary shorts that shouldn’t be missed. The film tells the thrilling and surprisingly uplifting story of Alice Herz Sommer – a former London concert pianist and the oldest Holocaust survivor. Sommer is an impressive 109 years old but still has her wits about her and is able to tell her story in an engaging and Oscar winning way.

Short Film (Animated)

Get a Horse! – Moviegoers who saw “Frozen” will recognize the short, old-style Mickey Mouse/Steamboat Willie cartoon that began the film. Like “Frozen,” the short was a great reminder of the Disney moviegoers remember from their childhood.

Short Film (Life Action)

The Voorman Problem – This is a difficult film to describe, but the intelligent film tells the story of a man who believes he is a god. His doctor must decide whether or not the man is insane, which makes for an intriguing and engaging watch. “The Voorman Problem” is exactly the type of intellectually stimulating, fascinating film that takes home big awards, so expect it to come home with the Oscar on Sunday.

Best Makeup

Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny (The Lone Ranger) – Although most critics tore the movie apart and it didn’t do particularly well, I actually enjoyed “The Lone Ranger.” Fortunately, the makeup category has nothing to do with whether or not the film was good and has only to do with the appearance of the actors, and the actors, most notably Johnny Depp, looked great in the film. “The Lone Ranger” may not have been popular among critics, but it’s makeup will be.

Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing

Steven Prince/Glenn Freemantle/Skip Lievsay, Niv Adri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro (Gravity) – Once again Gravity will dominate several categories. In addition to featuring unbelievable visual effects, the film also had the best audio effects of the year, which helped to make a captivating, immersive, and completely unforgettable viewing experience.

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