Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oscars 2014 Predictions: Best Picture

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to a new year and here is my first post of 2014. For this one, I will finally make my predictions for what 9 or 10 films will be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars now that the Critics' Choice, Globes, and SAG nominations are out. Here we go:

12 Years A Slave: One of the biggest frontrunners in this race, 12 Years A Slave looks to be a lock for a nomination. A win I am unsure about due to the film's controversial nature. Last year's Best Picture winner Argo had a bit of controversy surrounding its historical accuracy, but that's nothing new since that is something that always hits films based on true events. Plus, even though there were two films last year nominated dealing with the topic of slavery: Lincoln and Django Unchained, they both offered different takes on the topic, just like 12 Years does.

American Hustle: One of the late bloomers in this Oscar race as it just came out and screened with critics, American Hustle looks to battle it out with 12 Years A Slave in this Oscar race as they both each have 13 Critics' Choice nods and 7 Golden Globe nods. If a Best Picture nod comes to fruition, then this will be director David O. Russell's third straight movie to get nominated. I'm sure this will make actors want to line up to star in his pictures. That would make sense since he manages to score nods for his actors as well.

Captain Phillips: Much like Argo, Captain Phillips may have a bit of controversy surrounding its historical accuracy, but like I said, that's hardly anything new or surprising. The film may be losing a little buzz but because it scored Best Picture nods at two of the first three precursor awards and nods for two of its actors, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, it's definitely not out. After seeing that film, I can certainly hope its not out.

Dallas Buyers Club: In the Best Picture category, there are usually three types of indie films: The Quirky Indie, The Little Indie That Could, and the Edgy Indie. Dallas Buyers Club falls between the second and the latter category. I would put it under the latter category due to its heavy subject matter involving AIDS, but I think this year's Edgy Indie is without a doubt 12 Years A Slave. Anyhow, I feel that they could nominate this film for Best Picture to increase the chances of its two lead actors, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, a shot at getting nominated for their performances and because the film deals with heavy subject matter. Much like how 12 Years A Slave is this year's Schindler's List, Dallas Buyers Club could be this year's Philadelphia.

Gravity: Earlier in this race, it was said to be a battle between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, until American Hustle stepped in. I could definitely see Gravity getting nominated for Best Picture, as well as Best Actress and Best Director. But when it comes to wins, I feel it might suffer Avatar fate, and just get recognized for its technical achievements, which it should as they have accomplished a film-going experience that is different from anything I've ever seen.

Her: I would say that if there is any film that 12 Years or American Hustle should watch out for, it is this one. It won a few critics' awards for Best Picture, including the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Society. Not only that, but Her seems to be a film that is a social commentary about how we have become too attached to technology, and the Academy does love films that have some kind of message. I have yet to see Her, but when I do, who knows whether I'll feel that 12 Years and Hustle have a good reason to look over their shoulders this awards season.

Inside Llewyn Davis: Next up is a film directed by two well-known Oscar darlings: The Coen Brothers. Inside Llewyn Davis is, while about musicians, not based on a real-life musician or anything like that, but seems to be rather about the harsh realities of a struggling artist, which could touch a nerve on Academy voters. Who knows if a win will be possible, but the Academy is sure that if the Coens keep making movies, they'll be back at the ceremony again.

Nebraska: Nebraska looks to be this year's Juno or The Kids Are All Right, or in other words, the Quirky Indie of the Best Picture category. One thing that benefits this film is its director, Alexander Payne, who has become an Oscar darling, like the Coens, since he burst onto the scene with one of my favorite movies, 1999's Election which stars Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. I unfortunately missed Nebraska in theaters so I can't really comment on whether I think it should win or not, but I do think it will have a shot at getting nominated and potentially winning the Globe for Best Picture- Musical or Comedy.

The Wolf of Wall Street: Like American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street is another late bloomer in this Oscar race since it just came out and screened for critics. After seeing the film, I can definitely see why it is a strong contender as I really enjoyed it and thought it was another masterpiece by the team-up of Scorsese and DiCaprio. Scorsese, much like Alexander Payne and the Coens, is an Oscar darling and it would be impossible for the Academy to ignore him, especially if the film is getting stellar reviews. Plus, with Scorsese taking new approaches to his storytelling by making films different from the crime films he's famous for, the Academy could continue to reward him for his efforts and highlight his impressive range as a director.

Now onto the "dark horses" that could trot their way into the final 9:

Lee Daniels' The Butler: It scored three SAG nods including Best Cast in a Motion Picture, so it may be down, but not out.

Rush: Scored a surprising Golden Globe nod for Best Picture- Drama. Plus, Ron Howard is behind it.

Philomena: Scored a Best Picture-Drama nod at the Globes, but hardly anybody has seen it, so we'll see.

August: Osage County: Long shot, but you never know. It has a Best Cast nod at the SAG awards, so we'll see.

Saving Mr. Banks: May not have a nod for Best Picture at the Globes or Best Cast at the SAGs, but it is nominated for Best Picture at the Critics' Choice Awards, so like The Butler, it may be down, but it's not out.

So, those were my prediction on who I think will get nominated for Best Picture and who could sneak their way into the final 9. If there is any film you would like to see get nominated for Best Picture, of if you agree or disagree with any of my picks, please feel free to write in the comments section. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!