The 86th Academy Awards: My Oscar Predictions


They’re happening tonight.  Some of us will be watching (me).  Some of us will have expectations and hopes and dreams (me).  Some of us will probably be very disappointed (me).

Post-Awards Tally (I’m live updating this post):  11/24

So, without further adieu, here are my predictions for tonight’s awards:
“American Hustle,” written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell (the winner)
“Blue Jasmine,” written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club,” written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
WON “Her,” written by Spike Jonze (the one I want to win)
“Nebraska,” written by Bob Nelson
Personally, I think Her is the best original screenplay of the lot (caveat:  I haven’t seen all of these).  It’s not every day that we get a truly exceptional treatment of a cliche science fiction, particularly when that treatment is smart, compelling, and “real.”  But I also realize that American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club are favorites here.  I suspect the folks who pick the winners will take a safer route and go with American Hustle rather than the sometimes deliberately awkward Her.

“Before Midnight,” written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips,” screenplay by Billy Ray (the winner)
“Philomena,” screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
WON “12 Years a Slave,” screenplay by John Ridley (the one I’d like to win)
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” screenplay by Terence Winter
The above is a completely soft prediction.  I have no idea how to read the Oscars in this category, so what I think will win and what I’d like to win will probably look like alien monkeys to those who have some idea what to expect.  Regardless, of the films on this list, the ones I enjoyed the most were the two I picked, though the better of the two is probably 12 Years a Slave only because I think the Captain Phillips adaptation basically discards the source material in favor of a story that makes sense (you can read my review of the novel here).  But I think it’s possible The Wolf of Wall Street or Philomena could take it in the end.  I just have no idea what to think…
WON “Gravity,” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould (the winner; the one I want to win)
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger,” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton
Honestly, Gravity is the only film on this list that deserves to win.  Iron Man 3 had solid visuals, but Gravity is by far the superior film in terms of its treatment of its subject matter.  As for the others:  I refused to see The Lone Ranger (cause redface); I thought The Hobbit was a CG masturbation festival a la George Lucas in the prequel trilogy (the best scenes involve the dragon, which is bloody gorgeous, but so much of this particular franchise is just…too much); and I thought Star Trek Into Darkness was decent enough, but still a tad short of the mark.  I’ll be shocked if I’m wrong on this category.
Curious parties might want to check out these Shoot the WISB segments on Gravity and Star Trek Into Darkness.  My review of Iron Man 3 can be found here.
“Captain Phillips,” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
WON “Gravity,” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro (the winner; the one I want to win)
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor,” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow
Caveat:  I have not seen Inside Llewyn Davis or Lone Survivor, but of the three I have seen, the one that once again takes all the top marks is Gravity.  Not much else to say here (well, except that Smaug was pretty much the best part of The Hobbit; he should have his own movie — a sitcom with Bilbo Baggins as the sidekick called Welcome Back Smaug).
“All Is Lost,” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips,” Oliver Tarney
WON “Gravity,” Glenn Freemantle (the winner; the one I want to win)
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor,” Wylie Stateman
Gravity again.  Maybe The Hobbit.  But it will be Gravity, I suspect.
“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)”
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)”
WON “Helium”
“Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”
“The Voorman Problem”
I have no idea.  I have seen none of these, so I’m going to pick one at random based on whether I think the title sounds interesting.
“Get a Horse!”
WON “Mr. Hublot” (the winner)
“Room on the Broom”
I have seen none of these either, so I’m just going to have to throw a random choice in…again.
“American Hustle,” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler (the winner)
“Gravity,” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (the one I want to win)
WON “The Great Gatsby,” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her,” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave,” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker
It’ll probably go to American Hustle, though I suppose The Great Gatsby deserves a little love, too.  The rest are good in terms of the set design, but I suspect their minimalism or association with genre or some other stupid reason will get them knocked off.
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
WON “Let It Go” from “Frozen” (the winner)
“The Moon Song” from “Her” (the one I want to win — because it’s quirky)
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Honestly, I’m shocked that “Oblivion” by Susanne Sundfør isn’t on here.  I’m also shocked that Oblivion is nowhere to be found on the list.  If you ask me, it should have been on the lists for effects or something.  At least once.  Come on…
In any case, I’ll just pick the one from Frozen, because that’s probably what will win.
“The Book Thief,” John Williams
WON “Gravity,” Steven Price (the winner)
“Her,” William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena,” Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks,” Thomas Newman
M83’s soundtrack for Oblivion isn’t on this list either.  Dumb.
In any case, I have no idea here.  None of these soundtracks stood out to me, so I’ll just pick one at random.
WON “Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (the winner)
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” Stephen Prouty (the one I want to win — because it would be hilarious)
“The Lone Ranger,” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
The fact that Jackass is on this list makes me laugh.  That it could actually win also makes me giddy with joy.  But we all know it’s going to go to Dallas Buyers Club.
“The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Belgium
WON “The Great Beauty,” Italy
“The Hunt,” Denmark
“The Missing Picture,” Cambodia
“Omar,” Palestine (the winner)
I haven’t seen any of these.  However, I suspect the rather left-leaning-ness of Hollywood will put Omar in the winner’s slot.  Either that or The Missing Picture.  Or I’ll be completely wrong and you all can mock me for it later.
“American Hustle,” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips,” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club,” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
WON “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger (the winner; the one I want to win)
“12 Years a Slave,” Joe Walker
Gravity pretty much deserves to win all of the technical awards.  It is easily one of the most ambitious films of the year in terms of film style and form.
“Facing Fear”
“Karama Has No Walls”
WON “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” (the winner)
No idea.  Random choice.
“The Act of Killing”
“Cutie and the Boxer”
“Dirty Wars” (the winner)
“The Square” 
WON “20 Feet from Stardom”
I think it comes down to The Act of Killing and Dirty Wars.  I’m picking the latter just because of the political climate and Oscar history.
“American Hustle,” Michael Wilkinson (the winner)
“The Grandmaster,” William Chang Suk Ping
WON “The Great Gatsby,” Catherine Martin (the one I want to win)
“The Invisible Woman,” Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris
This is another one of those categories that could go to The Great Gatsby, but which is likely to go to something else entirely.  In this case, I’m picking American Hustle for no reason other than “yeah, it’ll probably win a lot of things.”
“The Grandmaster,” Philippe Le Sourd
WON “Gravity,” Emmanuel Lubezki (the winner; the one I want to win)
“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska,” Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners,” Roger A. Deakins
Do I need to explain this?  No?  Good.
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
WON “Frozen” (the winner; the one I want to win)
“The Wind Rises”
Honestly, I think Frozen is going to take it just on the strength of its presence in the public discourse.  That’s all I have to say on this because I was mostly disappointed by animated films this year…
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle” (the winner)
WON Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” (the one I want to win)
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Lupita Nyong’o was absolutely brilliant, and since this is one of her first performances, I desperately want her to win.  That said, I know Lawrence is the favorite here.
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave” (the winner; the one I want to win)
Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
WON Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
I’m torn on this one.  Part of me really wants Abdi to take it, even though I know his performance was not nearly as strong as many of the others.  But a part of me also thinks Fassbender’s portrayal of a corrupt plantation master was by far one of his best performances.  And then there’s the part of me that thinks Cooper or Hill will snatch the award because they’re Cooper and Hill and loved.  In other words, my vote is crazy confused.
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
WON Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Judi Dench, “Philomena” (the winner)
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
I don’t even know.  I have a fond spot for pretty much all of these women, so I’m taking a shot in the dark on this one…
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave” (the winner; the one I want to win)
WON Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
There is only one choice here.  Only one.  If they do not give it to Ejiofor, I will forever mock the Oscars for being the most irrelevant awards in the history of awards.  He was amazing.  That is all.
WON Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave.” (the winner; the one I want to win)
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
I loved Gravity and understand that most of these are great films in and of themselves.  However, Steve McQueen deserves it here.  12 Years a Slave was brilliant in its direction.  Visceral.  Real.  Minimal.  Powerful.  McQueen not only deserves it, but I think he’ll win.  Otherwise, I have no idea about the world anymore…
WON “12 Years a Slave” (the winner; the one I want to win)
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
I loved most of these films.  I really did.  But I consider 12 Years a Slave to be one of the top 10 films released since 2000, and easily one of the top 100 films of all time.  I believe that is self-evident.  It must win in this category because it is the only logical choice.  It…must…win.
And that’s that…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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