Predictions for 2014’s Academy Awards
By Steven Cayer, Senior Columnist
Since 1929, millions of movie-lovers have gathered to be a small part of history in the making. On March 2, they will gather again for the 86th annual Academy Awards. Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the show features the year’s best movies distributed into 24 categories. I’m going to take you through the nine major categories and tell you what film/who will probably win. We’ve also provided a ballot with the nominations in a descending order, from movies/people who I think will win at the top. Feel free to follow along on the special night and compare predictions!
First category up for discussion is the award for best visual effects. (Nominations: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Into Darkness.) All of these movies had amazing effects, but the one that blew my mind the most was Gravity. The way they filmed this movie feels like an industry game changer. The silence of space is scary enough, but when you’re thrown around like a rag doll, that’s a whole new level of terror.
The next category we’re going to be looking at is for makeup and hairstyling. (Nominations: Dallas Buyers Club, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, and The Lone Ranger.) First off, I’d like to mention just how happy I am now that I live in a world where I can say “Academy Award nominee, Johnny Knoxville.” It’s simply the best feeling in the world. Even better is the fact that he actually deserves it. I didn’t even realize Knoxville was the grandpa until the ending outtakes—the makeup was that good. My front-runner is Bad Grandpa, but I also think Dallas Buyers Club is a very close second.
People often get so focussed on certain characters in a movie that they forget about the person responsible for putting them in front of the camera. I’m talking about the best director. (Nominees: David O. Russell for American Hustle, Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Alexander Payne for Nebraska, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, and Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street.) Of all the big names nominated, the most surprising was Alfonso Cuarón, who already received the Golden Globe for directing Gravity. He is a mad genius behind the camera, responsible for making space relevant and cool again. The visuals took my breath away, making space look as realistic as it possibly could.
Next up is the award for best animated feature film. And the nominees are: The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen, and The Wind Rises. At this point in my life I tend to overlook most animated movies—unless everybody I talk to tells me that I need to see it. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened with Frozen. Everybody kept saying it was the best animated movie of 2013, so I had to see it; they were right. Frozen follows the story of two princesses, leading up to when one becomes a queen with a secret power. The ability soon grows uncontrollable and the queen is forced to flee the kingdom, with her sister tasked with tracking her down and bringing her back. I absolutely adored this movie. From the loveable snowman to the musical trolls, I journeyed through this movie with them.
On to the award for best supporting actress. (Nominees are: Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, and June Squibb for Nebraska.) Though I will always love Jennifer Lawrence in everything she’s in, I need to go with Julia Roberts. Her role as the daughter of a blatantly honest pill-popper (Meryl Streep) was amazing. You just wanted to give her a hug for putting up with her mother’s shenanigans.
Moving on to the best supporting actress’ counterpart, there are the nominations for best supporting actor. (Nominees: Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper from American Hustle, Michael Fassbender from 12 Years a Slave, Jonah Hill from The Wolf of Wall Street, and Jared Leto from Dallas Buyers Club.) I’m really happy for Jonah Hill getting a second nomination but Jared Leto definitely has this one. He already won the Golden Globe for his role, and his performance was unreal.
The nominations for best actress this year showed a diversity different roles. (Nominees are: Amy Adams for American Hustle, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Judi Dench for Philomena, and Meryl Streep from August: Osage County.) I’m rooting for Meryl Streep—I still think she deserved the Golden Globe more than Amy Adams—but I think Cate Blanchett will win. Her performance as a woman swindled out of her savings was both beautiful and tragic.
The category of best leading actor is definitely the toughest one to choose between. (Nominees are: Christian Bale from American Hustle, Bruce Dern from Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio from The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years a Slave, and Matthew McConaughey from Dallas Buyers Club.) In my mind, I’ve been going back and forth between Ejiofor and McConaughey. On the one hand there’s Ejiofor, who played the real-life slave Solomon Northup, a free man who was tricked into slavery, leaving his family behind. There are several scenes I will always remember just because of his acting. On the other hand there’s McConaughey, playing an HIV-positive cowboy in the ‘80s who partners with an HIV-positive trans-woman to help sell deregulated drugs. In the end, even though McConaughey received the Golden Globe, I’m still choosing Ejiofor because I actually felt his pain during those horrific 12 years.
Well here we are, at the final category. (Nominees for best freaking picture are: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street.) This was another tough category. Personally, my favourite movie was Her, but I highly doubt it’s going to win. A modern romance between a man and an operating system may not resonate with the judges as much as it did with me. If I had to choose what will win, I’d choose 12 Years a Slave. It has an epic story, epic cast, and epic acting.
So there you have it. Feel free to mark up the ballot with your own predictions and see how they stack up against mine. For bonus marks, turn the awards into a competition amongst your family or even a drinking game with your friends (give a drink for each prediction you get right, take a drink for each incorrect guess). And if you haven’t already, make sure you go see this year’s nominated films because, as the nomination would suggest, they’re all pretty great. I hope you enjoy the 86th Academy Awards.