We’re finally here! Oscar Sunday 2014 is upon us, and the best and brightest of Hollywood will be at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles to honor the best of this past year in cinema for the 86th Academy Awards. We here at hapless geek are excited to see what unfolds, but it wouldn’t be a party without some bets and predictions for who will take home the golden statue.
We’ll be making our guesses on the top categories of the night: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Lead Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, and Best Original and Adapted Screenplay. For news on who won these and the remainder of the night’s awards, log on to the Academy’s official website, www.oscar.com!
Best Original Screenplay
I’m giving this one to Spike Jonze for Her. While I loved Dallas Buyers Club a lot, the banter and overall writing of Her—especially for and between the two lead actors—was much fuller and richer than Dallas.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Richard Linklater could be due after not scoring for Before Sunrise/Sunset, but my money’s on John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave. Believe it or not, the slavery film is the least controversial of the litter in this category, with Captain Phillips, Wolf of Wall Street and Philomena all taking arguably unpopular liberties with the source material. That may hurt them all.
Best Supporting Actor
This is a tough category. The newcomer Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips throws a monkey wrench into the two-horse race between Jared Leto and Jonah Hill, in my opinion, but Leto was just amazing in Dallas Buyers Club and showed ridiculous range as Rayon. It pains me to say it, because Jonah Hill has been on a roll over the last three years, but my pick goes to Jared Leto.
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence was the most entertaining out of the very funny ensemble of American Hustle, but Oscar just can’t ignore Lupita Nyong’o and her masterful performance. June Squibb may get a mention because she was the most colorful character in Nebraska, but if I was a betting man I’d say 12 Years a Slave wins this one.
Best Lead Actor
Matthew McConaughey, hands down. Leonardo DiCaprio was salaciously awesome in Wolf of Wall Street, but McConaughey completely transformed himself for this role, which the Academy rewards more often than not. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oscar finally comes to Leo after being overlooked twice before in this category, but it was just too striking a performance in Dallas Buyers Club for McConaughey to lose.
Best Lead Actress
Many people may have Cate Blanchett taking this home, but I wasn’t as floored by her performance in Blue Jasminethan in other roles she’s done, so I’m going to give this one to Sandra Bullock for Gravity. She carried 90% of this film, and while it wasn’t the most dialogue or plot-heavy work she’s done, it was captivating on-screen work nonetheless.
This is another tough one. Because of the sheer breadth of work that needed to be done for this film just to get made, smart money is on Alfonso Cuarón to win this one for Gravity. My heart wants it to be Steve McQueen, but my gut believes it’s Cuarón’s to lose.
After all the reviews were said and done and I had to choose which of these nine films was best of 2013, the strongest performances and most deserving accolades go to 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen was fearless in his approach to this material, and the actors he commissioned for it brought their A-game from top to bottom. The Wolf of Wall Streetgets honorable mention but I feel McQueen did much more with less in 12 Years than Scorsese did.