The Oscars are the biggest night of the year when it comes to the award season. This year looks like another exciting one, with a number of categories up for grabs after some surprises in the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Some of my favorite films this year have fallen short, with Inside Llewyn Davis seemingly ignored, and 12 Years a Slave missing out on some awards I thought were in the bag. I’ve highlighted the films in green that I think will win, while I’ve put the films in red that I would like to see take the trophies. Here are my picks for the 2014 Academy Awards.
This category has been my toughest decision. I think that 12 Years a Slave was easily the best movie of 2013. Unfortunately, the awards this season seem to indicate that American Hustle is going to take the big prize.
a. David O. Russell – American Hustle
b. Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
c. Alexander Payne – Nebraska
d. Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
e. Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
I think my personal preference and the best possibility are the same in this category. I expect this one to go to Steve McQueen for his exceptional work on 12 Years a Slave.
a. Christian Bale – American Hustle
b. Bruce Dern – Nebraska
c. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
d. Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
e. Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
The fact that McConaughey won the SAG this year really makes things more interesting. Despite his recent win, I think this could go to one of several people. I am pulling for Ejiofor, but I think this is likely to go to DiCaprio.
a. Amy Adams – American Hustle
b. Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
c. Sandra Bullock – Gravity
d. Judi Dench – Philomena
e. Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
This award seems destined to go to Cate Blanchett. She’s already taken the Golden Globe and the SAG. I’m pulling for Bullock, but I’m expecting Blanchett in this category.
Best Supporting Actor
a. Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
b. Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
c. Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
d. Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
e. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
I can honestly say that I’d be happy to see any one of these talented actors win this award. I think it’s likely to go home with Jared Leto, but I’ll be pulling for Bradley Cooper.
Best Supporting Actress
a. Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
b. Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
c. Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
d. Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
e. June Squibb – Nebraska
Once in a while my hopes and reality seem to come together. After winning the SAG award I think Nyong’o could very likely be taking home an Oscar as well.
Best Animated Feature Film
a. The Croods
c. Ernest & Celestine
e. The Wind Rises
I think I must have enjoyed Monsters University far more than anyone else. I’m shocked that it was not recognized in this category. That being said, I’m taking Frozen as the likely pick. My personal hope is that The Wind Rises wins, giving Miyazaki a nice retirement gift.
a. Philippe Le Sourd – The Grandmaster
b. Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
c. Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
d. Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
e. Roger A. Deakins – Prisoners
I’m coming into this category without having seen the majority of the films. I have taken some time to educate myself and I’m hoping this one goes to Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis. Despite my hopes, I think this could likely go to Emmanuel Lubezki for the great work on Gravity.
Best Costume Design
a. Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
b. William Chang Suk Ping – The Grandmaster
c. Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
d. Michael O’Connor – The Invisible Woman
e. Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
Best Film Editing
a. Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten – American Hustle
b. Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips
c. John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa – Dallas Buyers Club
d. Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger – Gravity
e. Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave
I think this is really a battle between Gravity and Captain Phillips. These two films seem like the most likely winners in this category. I’m sticking with Captain Phillips as a personal choice, but expecting Gravity to win.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
a. Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews – Dallas Buyers Club
b. Stephen Prouty – Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
c. Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny – The Lone Ranger
Best Music – Original Score
a. John Williams – The Book Thief
b. Steven Price – Gravity
c. William Butler and Owen Pallett – Her
d. Alexandre Desplat – Philomena
e. Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
This is always a hard category for me to judge. I love music and I think each of these films benefited from the score written for them. I’m taking Gravity to win this one, but I’ll be hoping for Saving Mr. Banks.
Best Music – Original Song
a. Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel – “Alone Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone
b. Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams – “Happy” from Despicable Me 2
c. Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – “Let It Go” from Frozen
d. Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze – “The Moon Song” from Her
e. Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson – “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
I don’t like my options this year when it comes to original song. I think it’s likely to go home to “Ordinary Love” and I’m not sure that I have a personal favorite in this category. I think this is another place that Inside Llewyn Davis really got snubbed.
Best Production Design
a. Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration) – American Hustle
b. Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration) – Gravity
c. Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration) – The Great Gatsby
d. K.K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration) – Her
e. Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration) – 12 Years a Slave
I think this award will likely go to the team from 12 Years a Slave for their excellent recreation of the Southern plantations during the slavery era. I would be happy with a win for them, but I’ll also be pulling for The Great Gatsby team which excellently recreated the world of the classic novel with a unique flare and style.
Best Sound Editing
a. Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns – All Is Lost
b. Oliver Tarney – Captain Phillips
c. Glenn Freemantle – Gravity
d. Brent Burge and Chris Ward – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
e. Wylie Stateman – Lone Survivor
Talk about a tough category. I think this one will likely go to Wylie Stateman for Lone Survivor. This is also a film I would love to see recognized in general, so I’ll make it my pick.
Best Sound Mixing
a. Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro – Captain Phillips
b. Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro – Gravity
c. Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
d. Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland – Inside Llewyn Davis
e. Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow – Lone Survivor
Best Visual Effects
a. Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould – Gravity
b. Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
c. Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick – Iron Man 3
d. Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier – The Lone Ranger
e. Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton – Star Trek Into Darkness
I think award will likely go to Gravity, which is my personal pick as well.
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
a. Before Midnight – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
b. Captain Phillips – Screenplay by Billy Ray
c. Philomena – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
d. 12 Years a Slave – Screenplay by John Ridley
e. The Wolf of Wall Street – Screenplay by Terence Winter
This is an interesting category for me to choose, especially since I haven’t read any of the original works from which these stories were adapted. Based on the films I’ve seen I think this will likely go to Philomena. My personal favorite in this category is 12 Years a Slave. Either way I’ll be happy with this category.
Best Writing – Original Screenplay
a. American Hustle – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
b. Blue Jasmine – Written by Woody Allen
c. Dallas Buyers Club – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
d. Her – Written by Spike Jonze
e. Nebraska – Written by Bob Nelson
I think this category has some interesting nominees and I’m not really confident in my choices in this one. I think the award will likely end up with Blue Jasmine writer Woody Allen. My hope is that it goes to Bob Nelson for writing Nebraska.
This is all I’ve got for the 2014 Oscars. This season was another series of tough choices. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking with these awards and my choices. If I can see a few more of the films I’ll make sure to update any picks that might have changed. The 86th Academy Awards will air on March 2, 2014 on ABC.