Film Feature: 2014 Oscar Predictions

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CHICAGO – Get your scorecards and pencils out, because this is the last stop you’ll need for all your 2014 Academy Award predicting needs…except for the 10 million other media outlets in the age of information. Why is better? Because our experts have insider information that we completely make up!

Two veterans – Brian Tallerico and Patrick McDonald – plus our contributors Nick Allen, David J. Fowlie and David Canfield, all will be predicting Sunday’s big film night, all while debating which tuxedo host Ellen DeGeneres should wear. The crew will opine on BEST Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress, Director and Screenplays (Original and Adapted). As in previous years, the prognostications are broken down into thoughts on who WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN and SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED (for one last gasp of dissent). The predictors will also take on a wild card guess for several other categories, and the latest odds on the rest of the field will be highlighted to fill out your ballot for Sunday.

PREDICTOR GUIDE: Patrick McDonald = PM, Brian Tallerico = BM, Nick Allen = NA, David J. Fowlie = DJF and Dave Canfield = DC.

Will Win: “12 Years a Slave” (PM, BT, NA, DJF, DC)

Should Win: “12 Years a Slave” (PM, NA, DJF, DC), “Her” (BT)

Should Have Been Nominated: “Before Midnight” (PM), “Inside Llewyn Davis” (BT, DJF) “All is Lost” (NA) “The Art of Killing” (DC)

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

It’s a clean sweep for “12 Years a Slave,” and Mr. Tallerico is the only dissenter for the SHOULD WIN designation. “’Slave’ has been everywhere from the BAFTA coverage to the magazines around the world. It’s time.” (BT) “’Philomena’ is making me more nervous than I would have been three months ago …” (NA) “’12 Years A Slave’ takes the concept of a historical bio pic and strips it down to its most empathetic and powerful.” (DC)

Will Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor “12 Years a Slave” (PM, DC), Matthew McConaughey “Dallas Buyer’s Club” (BT, DJF), Leonardo DiCaprio “Wolf of Wall Street” (NA).

Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, (PM, NA), Leonardo DiCaprio, (BT, DJF), Matthew McConaughey, (DC).

Should Have Been Nominated: Oscar Isaac “Inside Llewyn Davis” (PM, BT), Robert Redford “All is Lost” (NA, DC, DJF).

12 Years a Slave
Chiwetel Ejiofor in ‘12 Years a Slave’
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

It’s a tougher category, but the three front runners switch sides between WILL and SHOULD WIN. No shockers in the SHOULD HAVE BEEN category, as Redford’s snub speaks to the torch of generations passing. “Bruce Dern picked the wrong year for the old actor tribute award.” (PM) “You know who’s really overdue? Leo. And I still hold a little hope that he’ll steal it from Matthew.” (BT) “ The momentum around McConaughey’s role has increased over the past several months…I’d say he’s a sure thing.” (DJF

Will Win: Cate Blanchett “Blue Jasmine” (PM, BT, DJF, DC), Judi Dench “Philomena” (NA)

Should Win: Cate Blanchett (PM, NA, DJF, DC) Sandra Bullock “Gravity” (BT)

Should Have Been Nominated: Greta Gerwig “Francis Ha” (PM, NA), Adele Exarchopoulos “Blue is the Warmest Color” (BT, DC), Brie Larson “Short Term 12” (DJF).

Blue Jasmine
Cate Blachett in ‘Blue Jasmine’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

It’s Mr. Allen outside the box with the Judi Dench prediction, as Cate stays true to her path. Great variety in the SHOULD HAVE BEEN category, a tribute to the outsider performances that women want to take on. “Cate survives the Woody family matters, while Greta waits in the wings.” (PM) “This is one of the more sound nominee lists this year.” (NA) “If Streep gets it, I’ll throw my laptop at the television.” (DJF)

Will Win: Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club” (PM, BT, NA, DJF), Michael Fassbender “12 Years a Slave” (DC)

Should Win: Jonah Hill “Wolf of Wall Street” (PM, DC), Barkhad Abdi “Captain Phillips” (BT, DJF), Michael Fassbender “12 Years a Slave” (NA).

Should Have Been Nominated: James Franco “Spring Breakers” (PM, BT), Daniel Oyelowo “The Butler” (NA), James Gandofini “Enough Said” (DJF, DC)

Dallas Buyers Club
Jared Leto in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
Photo credit: Focus Features

It is a fair consensus that although Jared Leto WILL WIN, it doesn’t follow that his performance was the best. “Jared Leto’s performance was way overrated, but I guess they give awards for that ” (PM) “Twenty years from now, people will still be talking about Franco’s Alien in ‘Spring Breakers’ and won’t remember the name of Jared’s character. ” (BT) “Jonah Hill brings his shark toothed loser to brilliantly amusing life.” (DC)

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle” (PM, NA), Lupita Lyong’o “12 Years a Slave” (BT, DJF, DC)

Should Win: Lupita Lyong’o “12 Years a Slave” (PM, BT, NA, DJF, DC)

Should Have Been Nominated: Scarlett Johansson “Her” (PM, BT, DC), Octavia Spencer “Fruitvale Station” (NA), Amy Steinmetz “Upstream Color” (DJF).

American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence in ‘American Hustle’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

The first clean sweep in the SHOULD WIN category, with Mr. Tallerico, Mr. Fowlie and Mr. Canfield correcting it to WILL WIN. The SAG Award may bring the momentum of a gold man win for Ms. Lyong’o, but the popular money is on Ms. Lawrence. “Considering the love train for Lawrence, I am just going to accept that they’ll choose an old favorite instead of a new talent.” (NA) “The performance of Lupita Lyong’o is both captivating and striking to watch – she’s the easy winner. ” (DJF) “Since when has a voiceover performance evoked real poignancy like Johansson’s performance in ‘Her.’ I’m also throwing in the Jersey Girl she portrayed in ‘Don Jon’ ” (PM)

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón “Gravity” (PM, BT, NA, DJF), Steve McQueen “12 Years a Slave” (DC)

Should Win: Martin Scorsese “Wolf of Wall Street” (PM), Alfonso Cuarón “Gravity” (BT, NA, DC), Steve McQueen “12 Years a Slave” (DJF)

Should Have Been Nominated: Spike Jonze “Her” (PM, BT, NA), Joel and Ethan Coen “Inside Llewyn Davis” (DJF), Joshua Oppenheimer “The Art of Killing” (DC)

Alfonso Cuarón directs ‘Gravity’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

This category will honor the scope and majesty of “Gravity,” rewarding the visuals and the composition. Mr. Canfield and Mr. Fowlie switch places between WILL and SHOULD WIN, and go rogue on SHOULD HAVE BEEN. “If Ang Lee can take what was largely a directorial award for technical achievements, they should give it to Alfonso too” (BT) “Cuaron made a visual masterpiece but ‘12 Years a Slave’ has a stronger resonance. ” (DJF) “Joshua Oppenheimer made one of the most important documentary films ever and risked his life. To come away with a masterpiece while doing so? Simply incredible.” (DC)

Will Win: “Her” (PM, DJF), “American Hustle” (BT, NA, DC)

Should Win: “Her” (PM, BT, NA, DJF, DC)

Should Have Been Nominated: “Don Jon” (PM), “Inside Llewyn Davis” (BT, DJF, DC),”Place Beyond the Pines” (NA).

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

It’s “Hustle” versus “Her” in this match-up, as each screenplay brings something different to the table. There is consensus love in SHOULD WIN is for the Spike Jonze science fiction (or is it prediction?) and the SHOULD HAVE BEEN has honor for the Coen Brothers. “I feel like they’re going to want to give David O. Russell a prize for his last two years of Oscar glory.” (BT) “’American Hustle’ may be funny, but it holds none of the lingering wisdom or longer expiration date of ‘Her.’” (NA) “This will be the only award Spike Jonze’s excellent film will receive. That’s a shame, but at least it’s a worthy win.” (DJF)

Will Win: “12 Years a Slave” (PM, BT, NA, DJF, DC)

Should Win: “Before Midnight” (PM, BT, DJF, DC), “12 Years a Slave” (NA)

Should Have Been Nominated: “Mandela” Long Walk to Freedom” (PM), “The Spectacular Now” (BT, NA, DC),”Short Term 12” (DJF).

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Finally, in our group effort, the closest to total agreement on WILL and SHOULD WIN fronts. It’s interesting that the emotional power of “12 Years” can supersede the superior dialogue work in “Before Midnight.” “The Spectacular Now” also impressed the forum. “’Before Midnight,’ and the previous films, remains a true exploration of relationship consciousness.” (PM) “The surprising element of ‘12 Years a Slave’ for me was its screenplay. It has an almost lyrical quality to it that found me paying attention even closer as I watched it.” (DJF) “Has there ever been a triple tour de force like ‘Before Midnight’? This provided perfect closure.“ (DC)

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