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2014 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Have Won

Once again, we find ourselves in that seminal time of year that movie goers and gossip buffs around the world spend the first eleven months awaiting anxiously: The Oscars! With so many great performances, films, and awards ready to be handed out, resident Oscar predictors Cassidee Moser, Chris Renner, and Dennis Dattolo sound off on their picks (and dream picks) for the biggest (and most popular) award winners on Sunday night. Share your own predictions in the comments!

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Cassidee: 12 Years a Slave might be a heavy favorite, but this illuminating (and kind of disturbing) post from the Hollywood Reporter voices my exact thought of why it won’t win Best Picture: it’s disturbing, heavy, and deep, and not at all a comfortable watch. We like to think that the Oscar voting process is objective, but we’re all human, and this film has had a while to sit with people. Because of this factor, I’m going to predict that Gravity takes the cake. It’s visually stunning, a technical marvel, and was a surprise hit, making it likely that some of these voters will want to go mainstream with their ballot. Plus, it’s the one I’d actually like to see win out of the nominees.

Chris: Predicting who will  win on this one is fairly easy; 12 Years a Slave. It’s not a great movie, but it’s an important movie, and the Oscar voters love voting for important movies; I assume because it makes them feel important by proxy. Who actually should win? Gravity, probably. Or Her. Or Nebraska. All of these are so disparate that comparing them feels like apples and oranges. Also, I still think the nine nominees thing is dumb.

Dennis: American Hustle my choice to win best picture of the year in a year that saw so many great movies get nominated and many more get left out. Will it win? Probably not. If I had to guess, either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave will take home the night’s biggest honors as those have the classic made-for-the-Academy feel to them. That doesn’t mean they are bad movies; far from it. Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are phenomenal movies, but American Hustle just sticks with me the most. It’s the film I’d most likely watch over and over again and still find the same enjoyment in it as I did when first watching it.


best director final

Cassidee: As much as I adore David O. Russell’s films, I can’t say that I’m confident in his scoring a win for American Hustle. He definitely deserves a win down the line, but I’d rather see it for a tighter and more well-constructed film. No, I see Cuaron taking this all the way. The sheer technical prowess and genius ideas behind the making of Gravity, plus the fact that the man was able to craft an experience that truly had the depth of space is more than enough to justify his taking it in my mind.

Chris: Alfonso Cuaron absolutely deserves this one. He directed the shit out of Gravity, combining his already stellar cinematic style and aesthetic, and combing it with truly state of the art technology to produce the most visually astounding movie of the year. And surprisingly, I think he actually will win this one too. Since I think it’s highly unlikely they’ll give him Best Picture, I think giving him this one will be their way of at least acknowledging his expertise here.

Dennis: This one is just as tough as picking best picture. I don’t see the Academy giving best picture and best director to the same film, simply because each of these films and directors deserves to go home with at least one piece of hardware once the night is over. That being said, I’m going to make it a 3-3 for Alfonso Cuaron. Cuaron’s use of long cuts and scenes is marvelous; combine that with the best visuals that any movie has been able to put out to date, and you have a movie that is simply breathtaking and Cuaron deserves all the credit for making Gravity such a huge critical and commercial success.


best actor final

Cassidee: I would absolutely love for Matthew McConaughey to take Best Actor, because the man has resurrected a career once constructed on terrible rom coms and turned it into one of note with his work in multiple fantastic films. He was great in Dallas Buyers Club (although I would have rather seen him nominated for Mud), and everyone loves a comeback story. That said, the Oscars are based more on politics than they are actual quality, and McConaughey’s revival probably will leave voters feeling like he’s really earned the win yet. I feel like this is probably where 12 Years a Slave will get one of its major Oscar wins for Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Chris: This one is actually tough, because while all good, few really stand out. I don’t think Leo or Christian stand a chance, and Chiwetel probably gets shafted by his film winning Best Picture, so it’s a toss up between Bruce and Matthew. Personally, I’d go with Bruce Dern, as it really was an amazing performance and the man deserves at least one Oscar for his years of work. But I have a feeling Matthew McConaughey is walking away with this one. Also, it should be noted the Robert Redford not being on this list for All Is Lost is a crime against humanity.

Dennis: It hurts to see Leo still not have an Oscar after all these years so obviously I’d love for him to finally get his first one to go along with his Golden Globe for Wolf of Wall Street, but I just don’t see that happening thanks to the performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor. Every expression, every word, every tear, and every smile that Ejiofor displays as Solomon Northup is delivered with perfection. Viewers feel every emotion that Solomon feels throughout the film. Even knowing how the story ends, I couldn’t stop myself from shedding a few tears after seeing Solomon reunited with his family after enduring the hardships he went through.


best actress final

Cassidee: My dream win? Amy Adams. The woman is the very embodiment of prolific; she’s fantastic in just about every role she’s ever done, from the kid-friendly Princess Giselle in Enchanted to the hardened working-class girl Charlene in The Fighter. Hers was easily the best character and performance of American Hustle in my mind, and it’s a great film to award this consistently-snubbed actress her Oscar gold. Cate Blanchett is currently the favorite, but with all the scandal surrounding Woody Allen, Amy could very well become the upset winner for Best Actress.

Also, just as an aside…Emma Thompson needs to be here instead of Meryl Streep. She was wonderful in Saving Mr.Banks, and August: Osage County was nothing more than an Oscar beg from The Weinstein Company. Anyway, moving on.

Chris: The question here is just how bad the recent scandal hurt Woody Allen. Before it, I would have said Blanchett stood a very solid chance of winning, but Allen may have become a hot potato in the voting circles. Personally, as much as it feels cliche and overdone at this point, I do think Meryl Streep gave the best performance of the year. It’s just that she does that so consistently that I imagine the voters are kind of tired of her awesomeness by now. I think the actual winner will be Philomena’s only win, and Dame Dench will walk away with it. Also, Brie Larson from Short Term 12 was an unfortunate omission here.

Dennis: Is the Academy tired of saying Meryl Streep’s name yet? If not, then she will win for August: Osage County. Even though it’s not a film I’m all that fond of, it’s clear that it was made for the Academy, and so was Meryl’s performance. That isn’t a slight to her; she is deserving of the award because she gives an excellent performance and does so time and time again, but I’m a sucker for young faces winning these awards. That’s why my pick is Amy Adams from American Hustle. She has shown time and time again just how great of an actress she is, and her performance in American Hustle has been her best yet. Perhaps when she reaches Meryl’s age in her career I’ll be saying, enough of giving Amy Adams the Oscar and let someone younger take over.



Cassidee: This is a tough category, because to be honest, no performance here is really that fantastic. That’s not to say they’re bad, but none of them are particularly illuminating, either. Fassbender hasn’t been acting long enough to make the Academy think he’s worthy, Leto wasn’t all that fantastic, Jonah Hill…is Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper was fine in American Hustle, but again, not that great, and Barkhad Abdi, although decent in Captain Phillips, isn’t an actor. Leto will probably win this strange toss-up, if for no other reason than the Academy wanting to seem edgy.

Chris: Jared Leto will probably take this one, which is a shame because it wasn’t much of a performance (Leto has never been an amazing actor). Fassbender was amazing as the unhinged slave owner, so he would probably be my personal pick, but I somehow doubt the voters would give the slave owner the award in this one. Also, Jonah Hill, what are you even doing up there? There were plenty of other people who could have gone on this list; Daniel Bruhl from Rush, first and foremost, should have been on here instead of Hill.

Dennis: From this list I’d have to go with Fassbender, but what I want to have happen is for Daniel Bruhl be a surprise 7th nominee and walk out with the award after cutting a WWE-style promo as Niki Lauda. He deserves the award the most for his portrayal as Niki Lauda in Rush and it’s an absolute shame that he, Ron Howard, and Rush itself were snubbed entirely from tomorrow’s awards.



Cassidee: As much as I’d love to see Sally Hawkins or June Squibb upset with a win in this category, I feel like the actual race is between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o. Lawrence’s performance in American Hustle was fantastic, but awarding her an Oscar two years in a row is pretty unlikely by Academy standards. Because of this, I see Nyong’o winning for 12 Years a Slave.

Chris: I would love for June Squibb to win this one. Her performance was surprising, refreshing, endearing and real. But she won’t. Jennifer Lawrence is also fantastic, as probably the best part of American Hustle, but I doubt the academy would give her the same award two years in a row. I think Lupita takes this one, it was the important role, and also pretty great in and of itself.

Dennis: This one is probably the easiest of picks for me, Jennifer Lawrence hands down stole the show in American Hustle. I would love for the Academy to buck tradition of not giving an actor or actress the same award two years in a row, and Lawrence is more than deserving. I never thought I could find myself hating a character she played (for all the right reasons), given her past roles and amazing personality outside of movies, but she managed to do it.


best vfx final

Cassidee: The sheer fact that Cuaron was able to use his visual effects to all but transport us to the deep reaches of space makes Gravity an easy (and deserved) win for Best Visual Effects. Although, I will cry foul for the fact that Pacific Rim is nowhere to be seen on this list. Add that in The Lone Ranger‘s place, and my answer would have been a tighter fight between robots and aliens vs. Sandra Bullock floating in zero gravity.

Chris: First off, the inclusion of The Lone Ranger is a laughably ridiculous. In the realm of serious contenders, Gravity totally deserves this one, and will likely take it (I get a sinking feeling that it might be the only award it gets).The Hobbit stand a decent change too, that dragon really was impressive, but I think the overall illusion of really being in outer space that Gravity was able to pull off will keep it in the top spot here.

Dennis: Before seeing Gravity, I would have said The Hobbit, then I saw Gravity. That is how you seamlessly incorporate CGI into your film without having it look so obviously faked. Also, really The Lone Ranger? That was your best throw-away nomination you could come up with Academy Awards voters? Thor: The Dark World or Pacific Rim should have easily been nominated over it and Pacific Rim could have a least given The Hobbit and Gravity a run for their money.


best score finalCassidee: Gravity will probably edge out a win here as well, although if I had the chance to vote, I would have given it to Saving Mr. Banks. Music played such an integral role in that film, and it was often used to great effect. Gravity‘s score was good in its own right, but I don’t remember its musical cues as much as I do the “Let’s Fly a Kite” scene with Emma Thompson, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak. The music of Mary Poppins was brilliantly re-imagined in Saving Mr. Banks to not only play on nostalgia, but to also lend emotional weight to pivotal moments of the film. That’s not an easy task to accomplish, but the film did so in strides. Also, why is The Book Thief on here while Frozen sits out in the…cold? (Sorry.)

Chris: I think Gravity deserves this one too, as it’s score was only insanely intense and impacting, but also served multiple purpose, as it had to compensate for the lack of audio the film could portray due to its outer space nature. I do foresee a future where Saving Mr. Banks could take this one, as it is a fairly music oriented movie, and it could be the voters way of giving that movie at least one award. I think I still favor Gravity to win, but it’s a possibility.

Dennis: For nostalgia purposes, I see Saving Mr. Banks winning this award easily. For non-nostalgia purposes, I see Saving Mr. Banks winning this award slightly less easily. It’s refreshing when movies use more than just heavy instrumentals as the music. Yes there are times when it’s appropriate, but Hollywood has really fallen in love with that style for so many films in the last decade that it’s become such a bore to hear. Saving Mr. Banks gives us that classic feeling of movie music from simpler times in the film industry and it’s a style of music that everyone can enjoy, no matter what your tastes may be.