Oscar voting began on Friday December 27th. While the bulk of the ballots will probably not be filled out until the voting period draws to a close I don’t see much changing between now and another week or so.
Of all the prognosticators out there I think Indiewire’s predictions come closest to being accurate.
Indiewire’s Predictions for Best Picture:
1. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
3. American Hustle (David O. Russell)
4. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
5. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
Battling It Out For Whatever Slots We End Up Having Left:
6. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen)
7. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
8. Her (Spike Jonze)
9. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)
10. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee)
11. Philomena (Stephen Frears)
Obviously we can’t have eleven nominees. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, the most vulnerable to me looks to be Captain Phillips, a film that most everyone likes, but no one I know considers their number one film of the year. If the nominees come from the first cut with 9 or 10 films having gotten 5% or more of the total votes, they won’t go to a second pile and pick from second choice placements.
If there are only nine nominees I’d say the next most vulnerable is The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that people either love or hate. There are probably enough lovers to get it nominated, but this is such a crowded field, I just don’t know.
Indiewire’s Predictions for Best Director:
1. Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Six Contenders, Three Slots:
3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
4. Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
5. Spike Jonze, Her
6. Alexander Payne, Nebraska
7. Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
8. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
I wish Stephen Frears were getting more love for his leveling of the tragic elements of Philomena with comic grace but the competition is probably too intense for him to make it this year. I think Indiewire’s top five are most likely to prevail with any of the next three a possible substitute for any but Curaon and McQueen.
Indiewie’s Predictions for Best Actor:
Seemingly Locks, But There's Just So Much Competition Anything Could Happen:
1. Chiwetel Ejiofer (12 Years a Slave)
2. Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
3. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Eight Men, Five Slots:
4. Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
5. Robert Redford (All Is Lost)
6. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
7. Christian Bale (American Hustle)
8. Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
9. Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
10. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis)
I’d be happy with a combination of the top three and either Hanks, Phoenix and/or Isaaac.
Indiewire’s Predictions for Best Actress:
This Has Got To Be The Five, Right?
1. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
2. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
3. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
4. Judi Dench (Philomena)
5. Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
The (Unlikely) Threats To Break Through:
6. Amy Adams (American Hustle)
7. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color)
8. Brie Larson (Short Term 12)
This is pretty much the case. Streep is the most vulnerable due to the general distaste for her film, but she’s been nominated in the past for lesser performances so I wouldn’t bet against her.
Indiewire’s Best Supporting Actor Predictions:
1. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
2. Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Battling It Out For The Last Three Slots
3. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
4. Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
5. Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
6. Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
7. James Gandolfini (Enough Said)
The top four, yes; one of the next three, maybe, maybe not. Even though Tom Hanks has fallen off the radar for Captain Phillips, I think he still has a shot either at a double nomination or a nod here to compensate for his lack of a lead nomination in the year’s most crowded field.
Indiewire’s Best Supporting Actress Predictions:
1. Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
2. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Battling It Out For The Last 3 Slots:
3. June Squibb (Nebraska)
4. Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
5. Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels' The Butler)
6. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
I’m still not seeing Julia Roberts, but then I’ve been wrong about her before. Still, if they don’t buy Streep they won’t buy her either. Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) would be a stronger contender if she hadn’t won two years ago. Even so, she may sneak in ahead of anyone but the top two.