2014 Oscar Predictions – Ben’s Picks

It’s Oscar time again and it has been a roller coaster of a year with no clear front-runner for best picture and several of the categories ripe for potential upsets. While not as strong a line up of films as last year, there are still some great films and performances that will make for a very exciting night. Here are what I see as the most likely winners and of course who the winners should be.

Some acronyms: SAG (Screen Actors Award) BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) DGA (Directors Guild of America) PGA (Producers Guild of American).

Oscars Logo

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi ‒ Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper ‒ American Hustle
Michael Fassbender ‒ 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill ‒ The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto ‒ Dallas Buyers Club

Will Win: Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club

Should Win: Michael Fassbender ‒ 12 Years a Slave

Dallas Buyers Club Movie Still 3

Analysis: Jared Leto has swept the majority of the critic awards including the Critics’ Choice Award, The Golden Globe, and the SAG. The momentum for him has been overwhelming, add to that his film did a lot better than expected, nomination wise, getting into Best Picture, Best Editing and Best Screenplay, and his own personal narrative about taking a five year break before his return to acting for this film. This combination will be hard to beat.

Personal Bias: This is very good lineup of nominees, with the exception of Bradley Cooper, who had several character quirks but no real depth or connection with any of the other characters, which is the problem I had with all the acting performances in American Hustle. So, to save time in the other acting categories, I will refer you back here for my bias. Jonah Hill did solid work playing off of DiCaprio, but not going beyond that. Leto does good work getting us into the world of a transgender individual, but I thought he was overshadowed by Matthew McConaughey and didn’t leave the impact that his praise has gotten. Barkhad Abdi did magnificent work for his first role showing the pressures a Somali pirate has in his home country while also being terrifying. Yet I do not understand how Michael Fassbender hasn’t swept this year. He creates one of the most horrifying characters this year while also getting into the deeper levels of his own self loathing. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and he left the greatest impact of any of the characters in this intense, brilliant film.

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence ‒ American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o ‒ 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts August: Osage County
June Squibb ‒ Nebraska

Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave

Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave Movie Still 3

Analysis: I am not as comfortable with this pick as I would like to be. Lupita Nyong’o has won several critic awards and the SAG and Critics’ Choice Award, but she lost the BAFTA and the Golden Globe to Jennifer Lawrence. She is further hurt by the fact that if American Hustle is going to win anywhere, this is the most likely category and it has been over fifty years since a film nominated in all the acting categories has gone home without at least one win. Yet Lawrence just won, which could mean they do not want to give her another win so soon, or they love her and can’t wait to reward her again—take your pick. There are several things in Lupita Nyong’o favor, though. This is her first movie, and has been called by many the best performance in the film which is remarkable for one so young and new. She also has been promoting herself strongly throughout the year giving great speeches when she wins and is also 12 Years a Slave‘s best chance at winning an acting Oscar. This really is a toss-up, but the daring of Lupita Nyong’o’s performance and her personal journey to the role should push her through for the win

Personal Bias: Julia Roberts was the most bland character for me in a film. I hated Jennifer Lawrence (See Supporting Actor). June Squibb played the inappropriate older women well and was a nice source of humor in Nebraska, but did little else for me. Sally Hawkins was a wonderful surprise nomination, being a great contrast to the insanity of Cate Blanchett, holding her own against Blanchett, while having her own intriguing narrative. Lupita Nyong’o didn’t blow me away as best in the film like she did for many others, but she brings another level to the slavery narrative of the sexually and physically abused slave and she does it with the strength of a seasoned actress. If that doesn’t deserve recognition what does?


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Benjamin is a film connoisseur and Oscar watcher who lives in Minneapolis and, when not reviewing movies, works at the Hennepin County Library.

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