By Isaac Mathewson
It has been two weeks since the 2013 Academy Awards were announced and while I think it is a good list (with a few snubs like Tom Hanks for not getting a Best Actor nomination for either Captain Phillips or Saving Mr. Banks) it is difficult to decide who will win. Here are my predictions for this year’s Oscars judging by critical statistics, previous award ceremonies, and my own perspective, but only in the major categories.
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
All of these actresses are fantastic in their roles. How do we narrow down who will win? Although Squibb and Nyong’o are great, they are not household names and their roles are not memorable enough to secure a win. Hawkins is very good in her role as Cate Blanchet’s sister in Blue Jasmine but not much has been said about her performance from other critics. Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lawrence are the highest contenders from this year and the most famous. While Roberts gives one of her best performances in years, the Oscar will probably go to Lawrence judging by her popularity and the acclaim the film and her performance have received.
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 Buyer’s Club
You couldn’t ask for a better list this year. While Abdi has received great acclaim for his performance, the film that was originally considered one of the year’s top Oscar contenders has sort of deteriorated in popularity in the months since it was released. Hill is great, but does not have the acclaim that the other actors have. Fassbender gives a ruthless performance in 12 Years a Slave and Bradley Cooper gives a funny and electric performance in American Hustle. However, the Academy just can’t overlook Leto as the transvestite roommate of Matthew McConaughey.
Amy Adams- American Hustle
Cate Blanchett- Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock- Gravity
Judi Dench- Philomena
Meryl Streep- August: Osage County
All great choices, who will take home the big one? Judi Dench is a fantastic veteran actress and gives a powerful performance in her film, but there is just no love for it. Bullock doesn’t have much of a chance because the Academy never gives Oscars to actors in science fiction movies. Adams had a major chance with her role, but her chances seem slim going up against Streep, one of the greatest actresses in history. However, even she is in steady competition against Blanchett, who gave one of the best performances of her career in her film. While it is a tough choice, it will probably go to Blanchett, because I’m sure by now even the Academy is tired of nominating Streep over and over again.
Christian Bale- American Hustle
Bruce Dern- Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetal Ejiofor- 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey- Dallas Buyers Club
This is perhaps the best selection this year, as well as the hardest. While Dern is a veteran actor, and is fantastic in his role, there is not enough love for the film to secure the win. Ejiofer has no doubt received much acclaim for his performance, but the Academy usually does not give Oscars to foreign actors. DiCaprio is very memorable and so is Bale, but even their performances cannot top that of McConaughey, who just won the Golden Globe in the film in which he plays an AIDS patient, who illegally sells pain relievers to other patients.
Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle- David O’ Russell
Blue Jasmine- Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club- Craig Borten
Her– Spike Jonze
Nebraska- Alexander Payne
While all great choices, it’s difficult to narrow them down. Perhaps the two biggest candidates are Her and American Hustle. While Her won the Golden Globe, it should not be a surprise if American Hustle takes home the Oscar for its electric dialogue and story.
Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years a Slave– John Ridley
Before Midnight- Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips– Billy Ray
Philomena– Steve Coogan
The Wolf of Wall Street– Terence Winter
Again, all great choices. While all of them are memorable films and have great dialogue, it will most likely go to 12 Years a Slave because of the buzz it has been getting.
Alfonso Cuaron- Gravity
Steve McQueen- 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne- Nebraska
David O. Russell- American Hustle
Martin Scorsese- The Wolf of Wall Street
While every director made a fantastic film, the Oscar this year will probably go to Cuaron, because of how influential his filmmaking is in Gravity.
12 Years a Slave
Dallas Buyer’s Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Most of these films don’t have a chance at winning. The two biggest candidates are 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. Although the former is very powerful, the big one will go to American Hustle for its powerhouse writing and performances.
The 86th Academy Awards will take place on March 2, 2014. Judging by the nominees, it should be a good show.