Andy Buckle’s 2013 Academy Award Nominee Predictions

oscar-nominees

The Academy Award nominations are set for January 16 (a week later than last year). They are usually revealed online at about midnight here. Between now, though, we have the Guilds (the DGA, PGA, WGA), whose nominees will likely all-but complete the picture for this year’s representatives.

But, I am going to jump the gun and offer my predictions already. I am prepared to be wrong, and surprised. Remember the Best Director field last year? No one predicted that.

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BEST PICTURE

The Top 8. Listed in order of likelihood. The Wolf of Wall Street is certainly the shaky one.

12 Years A Slave

Gravity

American Hustle

Nebraska

Captain Phillips

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Wolf of Wall Street

If there are 9/10:

Saving Mr. Banks

Philomena

Others that could surprise:

Dallas Buyers Club

Blue Jasmine

Fruitvale Station

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Saving Mr Banks will be riding Emma Thompson’s likely nomination for Best Actress, and potentially others for Hanks (Supporting Actor) and Newman (Score). Conservative Academy voters will love this film, and its charm alone could earn it a place. I enjoyed it a lot, but how many ballots is it realistically going to land #1 on?

Philomena will likely receive nods for Judi Dench (Lead Actress), and Adapted Screenplay, which could be enough to propel it into the Best Pic field. Similarly, Woody Allen (Original Screenplay) and Cate Blanchett (Lead Actress) could be the sole representatives for Blue Jasmine. Dallas Buyers Club has been well received critically and McConaughey and Leto are amongst the favourites in their Acting categories. It could certainly claim a low spot.

Last year the similarly debut-directed Beasts of the Southern Wild came from Sundance acclaim and a Cannes victory to make it into the Best Picture field. For me Fruitvale Station is a much better film, with a breakthrough performance from Michael B. Jordan, and impeccable direction from Ryan Coogler. This year’s field simply looks too strong. It is out of consideration in almost every category. Despite the SAG nominations for Ensemble, Oprah Winfrey and (surprisingly) Forest Whitaker Lee Daniels’ The Butler has lost serious traction. A here nomination would surprise.

I’m sticking with the 8, but with The Wolf of Wall Street receiving polarizing reviews. Those who love it…LOVE it, but I understand that some voters have been disgusted by the film’s content, and celebration of Belfort’s debauchery. I wonder how many are going to place it at #1.

GRAVITY

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne – Nebraska

Spike Jonze – Her

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Joel and Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis

John Lee Hancock – Saving Mr Banks

An absolute lottery. Look through that top eight and you see eight fantastic directors vying for just five slots. The DGA nominees will reveal the favourites, but I would expect Cuaron and McQueen to be the only real locks here. At this point I have Russell, Payne and Greengrass, but Jonze’s work is for many, his greatest to date, and Marty, at age 71, may impress voters for helming what must have been a physically demanding shoot. I’d personally drop out Russell (I had him to win last year for Silver Linings Playbook, and I still think he should have) because American Hustle isn’t up to some of the others (namely Her). I think he’ll be there, though.

nebraska

BEST ACTOR

Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Joaquin Phoenix – Her

Robert Redford – All is Lost

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis

Christian Bale – American Hustle

This category is also really competitive. Having just watched Her I can’t leave Phoenix out of this line-up, and I am placing him in there in favor of Redford, whose performance wasn’t honoured by the SAG, and I haven’t yet seen. Hanks hasn’t been awarded by any of the critical bodies (Dern/Ejiofor seem to be locks judging by these), so his position certainly isn’t guaranteed, and with DiCaprio again causing a stir for what many are claiming to be amongst his best performances, it’s pretty open. Even Bale could find his way in (hey, he deserves it!) if American Hustle receives a lot of love.

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BEST ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

Amy Adams – American Hustle

Brie Larson – Short Term 12

Adele Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color

Julie Delpy – Before Midnight

I am almost certain these will be the final five. Meryl is perhaps the most likely to drop out, but Adams, if anyone, will snatch that spot up. I’d personally nominate Larson, Exarchopoulos and Delpy (along with Blanchett and Bullock), but the veterans will have the support of aging Academy voters. It’s hard to argue with them, really. Blanchett is the clear favourite, so it may not even matter who is nominated.

LETO-ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

James Gandolfini – Enough Said

Daniel Bruhl – Rush

Tom Hanks – Saving Mr. Banks

James Franco – Spring Breakers

Fassbender (the likely winner!) and Leto are the only locks here, but how could you pass on Cooper. He is outstanding in American Hustle. Abdi deserves a nomination too for his terrific work alongside Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips. Hill is a bit of a wildcard. Who would have thought this would exist: Two-time Academy Award Nominee, Jonah Hill. But his work alongside Di Caprio in Scorsese’s debauch fest is drawing praise. Daniel Bruhl (a co-lead role?) and James Gandolfini (a posthumous nomination?) are the other contenders, but I am still scratching my head why Franco (Spring Breakers) isn’t in the discussion.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Scarlett Johansson – Her

Amy Adams – Her

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station

A pretty easy category to predict, but I’d consider Adams (in a supporting role) for Her over her lead role (kinda) in American Hustle. The one I’d drop, Roberts or Oprah. The latter is terrific amongst the whos-who ensemble in The Butler, but not a performance that lingers for very long. Roberts holds her own against Streep in August Osage County but is guilty of overacting too. Scarlett has already been disqualified for her pitch perfect voice performance in Her and unless Blue Jasmine makes it into the Best Pic field and gets widespread love, Hawkins seem set to miss out too.

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Spike Jonze – Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson – Nebraska

Nicole Holofcener – Enough Said

Spike Jonze would have to be the favourite here, but with the Coens and a script as amazing as Bob Nelson’s in the same category you can never be sure. The Academy may favor Holofcener’s screenplay to Allen’s, but the other four will be here.

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

Tracy Letts – August: Osage County

Destin Cretton – Short Term 12

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber – The Spectacular Now

 

You know who should win this category? Linklater, Delpy and Hawke. Superb writing. Their finale (?) to the amazing ‘Before’ trilogy is as perfect a culmination as one would expect. Winter’s adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s mammoth novel, and Ridley’s effort to bring the story of Solomon Northup to the screen also look likely to figure in the finish. The latter was actually the film’s weak link for me. It wouldn’t have my final vote. I can’t see any others making it in, but it would be great to see Short Term 12 or The Spectacular Now sneak in there.

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BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

Ernest and Celestine

I forgot all about Ernest and Celestine. I thought it was going to be a five film race. Frozen or The Wind Rises to take it out, though.

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BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Broken Circle Breakdown

Omar

The Missing Picture

The Grandmaster

Shrugs. When the shortlist was announced the other day there were some controversial exclusions. No Wadjda, The Past, The Rocket or Gloria. I’m not certain about this line-up at all, but if anything other than The Great Beauty wins I’d be surprised. I hope it is The Hunt if one does. The Missing Picture has zoomed up my anticipated list having heard some great things about it. I have it in there as a bit of a wildcard.

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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Act of Killing
Blackfish
Stories We Tell
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Dirty Wars

Tim’s Vermeer

God Loves Uganda

The Crash Reel

Also very tough to predict. The Act of Killing and Stories We Tell have split two precursor awards. Clear favourites. Blackfish and 20 Feet From Stardom are two of the year’s best-reviewed documentaries so I think that will translate into nominations. I’d vote in Dirty Wars (for the win, too) but it will likely miss out. The Square, I understand, is also a very important film.

HER

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Her
Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave

Roger Deakins – Prisoners

Anthony Dod Mantle – Rush

Barry Ackroyd – Captain Phillips

Frank G. DeMarco – All Is Lost

Lubezki will win this. He deserves it too. How didn’t he win for Tree of Life?

But there is some hot competition. In any other year these other nominees would be worthy of a win.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave

Jess Gonchor (Production Designer), Susan Bode (Set Decorator) – Inside Llewyn Davis

Richard Stromberg (Production Designer), Nancy Haigh (Set Decorator) – Oz: The Great and Powerful

BEST EDITING

Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity
Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips

Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave

Thelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street

Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American Hustle

Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave

Mary Zophres – Inside Llewyn Davis

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

American Hustle
The Lone Ranger

The Great Gatsby

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pacific Rim

Iron Man 3
Star Trek into Darkness

Oblivion

World War Z

BEST SONG

Atlas – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen

Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
Ordinary Love – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
So You Know What It’s Like – Keith Stanfield – Short Term 12

BEST SCORE

Steven Price – Gravity
Arcade Fire – Her

Mark Orton – Nebraska
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave (and/or Rush)

Alex Ebert – All is Lost

John Williams – The Book Thief

BEST SOUND MIXING 

Gravity

Rush

Captain Phillips

Inside Llewyn Davis

All is Lost

12 Years A Slave

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

Gravity

All is Lost

Captain Phillips

Rush

Pacific Rim

Lone Survivor

Star Trek Into Darkness

Andrew Buckle – follow Andy on Twitter here: @buckle22