86th Academy Awards Picks and Predictions (2014)

Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions.  I did pretty well last year, getting 16 correct, but this year will be more of a challenge.  Not only is this year one of the most up in the air group of nominees in recent memory, but I’ve seen very few of the major nominees. (There are a variety of reasons for that.) So this year’s predictions might be way off.

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Prediction: Aquel no era yo (That Wasn’t Me)
My Pick: N/A

Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: Get a Horse!
My Pick: Get a Horse!
Get a Horse! may not have been the most beautiful or deep or meaningful or profound animated short in recent years, but it was fun, clever and creative, and being attached to Frozen probably doesn’t hurt.

Best Documentary, Short Subject:
Prediction: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life 
My Pick: N/A

Best Documentary, Feature:
Prediction: The Act of Killing
My Pick: N/A

Best Foreign Language Film:
Prediction: The Hunt
My Pick: N/A

Best Animated Feature Film:
Prediction: Frozen
My Pick: Frozen
It’s hard for me to imagine this going to anything except Frozen. The Academy does love Miyazaki, so The Wind Rises is always a possibility for an upset, but Frozen has been so successful in every way a movie can be successful, that I would expect it to win here. As much as I enjoyed The Croods and Despicable Me 2, I don’t think they have any chance.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Prediction: Gravity
My Pick: Gravity
Gravity seems destined to sweep all of the technical awards, though it’s possible The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could pull an upset because of the titular dragon. But with Gravity vying for Best Picture, I’d expect it to clean up.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Prediction: Gravity
My Pick: Gravity

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Prediction: Gravity
My Pick: Gravity

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:
Prediction: The Lone Ranger
My Pick: The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger was nominated for two awards, the other being Best Visual Effects, and I think it stands its best chance of winning here. The more likely winner is probably Dallas Buyers Club, as it’s a more serious film and a contender for some of the bigger awards. However, I thought the old age makeup on Tonto in The Lone Ranger was seriously fantastic, as was the styling in general on villain Butch Cavendish, so I’m picking an upset here.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Prediction: “Let It Go” – Frozen
My Pick: “Let It Go” – Frozen
Boy if this doesn’t go to “Let It Go” I’m going to be seriously pissed. Honestly, I think this category could easily be filled with nothing but songs from Frozen (“Love Is An Open Door,” “For The First Time In Forever,” and “Fixer Upper” are all deserving), but I think Disney probably did the smart thing in only submitting one song for this category in order to avoid splitting votes. It’s possible U2 and their song from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom could pull an upset like it did at the Golden Globes, but I doubt that’ll happen. One song I would have loved to see nominated would be Joss Whedon’s adaptation of “Sigh No More” for Much Ado About Nothing, which used Shakespeare’s words and gave them a jazzy musical accompaniment that fit perfectly with the film.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
Prediction: Saving Mr. Banks
My Pick: Much Ado About Nothing
The conventional wisdom says that this award will go to Steven Price for Gravity, but I’m going with an offbeat prediction. I though Thomas Newman did a spectacular job using the well known music of Mary Poppins to set the tone in Saving Mr. Banks, and I’m calling an upset here. As for my pick, I adored Joss Whedon’s jazzy soundtrack to Much Ado About Nothing, though I could also easily go with Hans Zimmer’s perfect score for The Lone Ranger and his masterful use of the William Tell Overture, or Christophe Beck’s score for Frozen.

Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Prediction: American Hustle
My Pick: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Best Achievement in Production Design:
Prediction: The Great Gatsby
My Pick: The Great Gatsby

Best Achievement in Editing:
Prediction: Gravity
My Pick: Gravity

Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Prediction: Gravity
My Pick: Much Ado About Nothing

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published or Produced:
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
My Pick: Much Ado About Nothing
I seriously doubt that Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing would have been eligible for this award, given that he used dialogue that was entirely Shakespeare’s, but the way he adapted it for the modern era and did so much in terms of setting and staging was absolutely brilliant.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Prediction: Her
My Pick: Saving Mr. Banks
Can you imagine if this went to Woody Allen, after all of the recent (renewed) allegations from Dylan Farrow? Holy crap, what a firestorm that would set off. As for my pick, I loved the way Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith crafted a brilliant screenplay for Saving Mr. Banks that was both honest/critical of Walt Disney while also being supportive of his ideals. I would have loved to have seen Lake Bell nominated for In a World… though, as it was such a clever and well-written film.

Best Achievement in Directing:
Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron; Gravity
My Pick: Joss Whedon; Much Ado About Nothing
I would expect this to go to Cuaron, even if 12 Years a Slave wins best picture, as Gravity was much more of a directorial vision than any of the other nominated films. Not many people could have built a coherent film from the structure of Gravity without losing the audience. As for me, of course it’s Joss Whedon.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence; American Hustle
My Pick: Oprah Winfrey; Lee Daniels’ The Butler
This category is a battle between Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years a Slave, but I think Lawrence’s general popularity will win the day. I don’t usually subscribe to the notion that the Oscars are easily swayed by star power (unlike the Golden Globes), but I think this is one place where they will be. As for me, it’s Oprah Winfrey all the way. Her performance in The Butler showed once again why she shouldn’t neglect her acting career, as it was fierce and powerful and thrilling to watch. I was shocked she wasn’t nominated, but The Butler suffered from a too-early release date and an aggressive marketing campaign from August: Osage County that gave Julia Roberts her spot.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Prediction: Jared Leto; Dallas Buyers Club
My Pick: Tom Hanks; Saving Mr. Banks
This one is pretty much no contest, as everyone seems to be predicting Jared Leto will win. As I didn’t see Dallas Buyers Club, I’m going with Tom Hanks’ excellent turn as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Prediction: Cate Blanchett; Blue Jasmine
My Pick: Emma Thompson; Saving Mr. Banks
This category is also considered to be no contest for Blanchett, despite the recent Woody Allen headlines. But it’s hard for me to even think about this category without getting furious at Meryl Streep. I’ve already talked at length about how underhanded Streep’s anti-Disney speech was (while ostensibly praising Emma Thompson’s performance in Saving Mr. Banks), but I think there can be little doubt that Streep’s actions cost Thompson her spot and helped Streep sneak in. Emma Thompson was superb in Saving Mr. Banks as P.L. Travers, and deserves not only to be nominated but to win the award. (On a personal note, I could also give this to Amy Acker for Much Ado About Nothing, but I still think Thompson was more deserving.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Prediction: Matthew McConaughey; Dallas Buyers Club
My Pick: Alexis Denisof; Much Ado About Nothing
McConaughey seems to have a pretty solid lead here, but the internet is practically screaming for DiCaprio to finally win an Oscar. I like DiCaprio as an actor, but I’ve never felt he was unjustly screwed out of an Oscar he deserved, and I doubt history will show that to be the case this year if he loses again. McConaughey has really matured as an actor in recent years, and his performance in Dallas Buyers Club is supposed to be more than worthy. As for me, Alexis Denisof’s brilliant ability to straddle the line between comedy and drama, not to mention a superb knack for physical comedy, gets the award for Much Ado About Nothing from me.

Best Picture:
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
My Pick: Much Ado About Nothing
This is one of the closest Best Picture races I can remember, with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle all with a chance at the night’s biggest prize (some people even up that to include The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club). I debated with myself over what my guess would be, and I think 12 Years a Slave is going to win it (which, according to my other predictions, it will have to do without winning any other awards). A science fiction film has never won Best Picture, despite several instances where one deserved to, and I just don’t think that’s going to change this year. Gravity was such an amazing technical achievement, that for some voters that aspect of the film will (unfairly) overshadow the more artistic parts of the film. 12 Years a Slave has some advantages by being a period piece and by tackling a more intense subject matter.

Of course, in my eyes, Saving Mr. Banks should have been included, but Meryl Streep torpedoed it, but my pick is of course Much Ado About Nothing.  Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare adaption, filmed in black and white over 12 days at his house while he took a break from editing The Avengers is truly a masterpiece.  It’s fresh, funny, emotional and beautiful, filled with a cast that has more chemistry than you can find in almost any other film.  It’s inventively staged and directed, and so unlike anything else that came out this year.  It was a quiet, unique little film that feels like even if no one ever saw it the people behind it would still be thrilled with what they made.  It was something special, and while it might have been largely ignored by the masses, it’s definitely my pick for Best Picture of 2013

5 thoughts on “86th Academy Awards Picks and Predictions (2014)

  1. That is really interesting as I think completely the opposite to you in the sense that I am of the opinion that this is one of the most predictable years we have seen for some time. It is nice to read your picks against your predictions. Interestingly Kenneth Branagh was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for his Hamlet although he did not change or edit a single word.

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    • I think some things are predictable, but I feel like Best Picture (and supporting actress) are wide open.
      I totally forgot about Branagh being nominated for Hamlet! Thanks for pointing that out! There’s a lot that goes into a screenplay besides dialogue.

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  2. Good picks! I recently saw something that Buyers Club had a budget of $250 for their Make-up for that alone I think they should deserve and win! Gravity for me will come out victors over everyone, and I now think it will snatch best picture! I hope Her gets best original screenplay!

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  3. Pingback: 2014 Oscars Recap | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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