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Oscars: The Playlist's Final Predictions For The 2014 Academy Award Nominations

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 14, 2014 2:22 PM
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Oscars: Final predix, 2014

After almost six months of debate, backbiting, speculation and guesswork (and yeah, it is close to six months—awards season got underway officially with the debut of "Gravity" in Venice in August, though some could trace it back even earlier to the arrival of "Blue Jasmine in the summer), we're almost there: we're less than 48 hours from the announcement of the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards.

We've been documenting the rise and fall and rise of the various contenders over the last few months, but now it's time, to borrow an expression from the Dalai Lama, to shit or get off the pot. Below, and over the next few pages, you'll find our (and by our, I mean mine) final, irrevocable predictions for what'll be nominated for what on Thursday morning. Take a look, and check back bright and early on the 19th to find out how wrong we were.

Lady In Number 6

Best Documentary Short

"Jujitsu-ing Reality"

"Karama Has No Walls"

"The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life"

"Prison Terminal: The Last Days Of Private Jack Hall"


As ever, these nominations are the trickiest to call because so few outside of the nominating committees have seen the film, which haven't really popped up outside the festival circuit. But it's also possible to make some educated guesses fairly accurately based on the eight-strong shortlist. I reckon that "SLOMO," about a neurologist who gives up his life to become a Pacific Beach rollerblader, is a little too lightweight in subject to make the cut, while "Facing Fear," about a gay man confronting the neo-Nazi who attacked him, could seem too familiar. But I'm confident that "Jujitsu-ing Reality," about a paralyzed screenwriter, will connect with voters, while "Karama Has No Walls," about a protest in Yemen that led to 50 deaths; "The Lady In Number 6," about a 109-year-old Holocaust survivor and practicing pianist; and "Prison Terminal," about a WW2 vet and murderer dying in prison, all seem to be made of the right stuff. Beyond that, I've gone for "Recollections," about survivors of the Japanese tsunami.

Dark Horse: Don't rule out "CaveDigger," about an artist in New Mexico who digs "art caves"—it might not be as issue-driven as some of its rivals, but it ticks the artistry box.

Get A Horse

Best Animated Short

"Get A Horse!"

"Gloria Victoria"

"Mr. Hublot"

"Requiem For Romance"

"Room On The Broom"

Unlike the other short categories, Best Animated Short can feature some big names in contention, and barring a serious upset, we should see Disney's Mickey Mouse-starring "Get A Horse!" and the charming "Room On the Broom," from the makers of the Oscar-nominated "The Gruffalo," among the final five. Beyond that, "The Missing Scarf" is sweet, but looks like an iPhone game, while Japanese ghost story "Possessions" and the somewhat slight "Feral" also feel like they'll be on the outside. Chris Landreth won in 2005 for his film "Ryan," but his latest, "Subconscious Password," is a longer bet, though it's distinctive (watch it in full here). So I reckon that the other three nominees will be the steampunkish "Mr. Hublot," lo-fi kung-fu break-up short "Requiem For Romance" (watch in full), and "Gloria Victoria," which is somewhat abstract, but hugely distinctive and has proved popular on the festival circuit.

Dark Horse: Stop-motion often does well, so we could see "The Hollow Land" sneaking in over "Room On the Broom" or "Gloria Victoria."

Voorman Problem

Best Live-Action Short

"Avant Que De Tout Perdre" (Just Before Losing Everything) *



"Throat Song" 

"The Voorman Problem"

Again, this is a case of process of elimination. Finnish comedy "Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa" would be fun to see whichever Hemsworth brother ends up presenting the award on Oscar night try to pronounce, but is a bit lightweight, as is the Italian "Tiger Boy." The Spanish child-soldier drama "That Wasn't Me" and Serbian dark comedy "Two" are both technically accomplished, but tread familiar thematic territory. So I've got my money on French short "Just Before Losing Everything," the directorial debut of "Au Revoir Les Enfants" star Xavier Legrand, Indian drama "Kush," a prize-winner in Venice, Fantastic Fest-winning sci-fi short "Record/Play" (which is terrific, and you can watch in full here), Canadian Genie-winner "Throat Song," about an Inuit woman leaving her abusive husband, and British short "The Voorman Problem," based on a short story by "Cloud Atlas" author David Mitchell, and with some star power courtesy of Tom Hollander and the omnipresent (but always welcome) Martin Freeman.

Dark Horse: Danish sci-fi short "Helium." Director Anders Walter made the longlist last year with "9 Meter," but could step up to be a nominee this time around.

Lone Survivor

Best Sound Editing

"All Is Lost"

"Captain Phillips"


"Lone Survivor"


To recap, in case you've forgotten the difference, Best Sound Editing rewards the design and creation of a film's soundscape, while Sound Mixing is about how they've been put together in the final track. Here, "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" both seem like locks, while the craft of the very noisy "Lone Survivor" will probably figure in both of these categories. Beyond that, the branch should recognize the very fine work in "All Is Lost," while I'd just give the edge to "Rush" over blockbuster "Iron Man 3," but it could go either way.

Dark Horse: Sometimes, the strength of support for a Best Picture nominee makes itself clear here, as with "Argo" last year, which got two sound nods. "American Hustle" is probably unlikely, but don't be surprised if "12 Years a Slave" figures in. "Pacific Rim" could also be a possibility.

Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Sound Mixing

"12 Years a Slave"

"Captain Phillips"


"Inside Llewyn Davis"

"Lone Survivor"

Again, "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" will be in, as will "Lone Survivor." Music-related films often perform well here, so "Inside Llewyn Davis" should be a safe-ish bet here, if not in other categories. As for the fifth slot, it's trickier to call, but "12 Years a Slave" might have a better chance here than in the Editing category.

Dark Horse: "All Is Lost" was mostly stagebound, with the sound generally being created in post, which makes it a less likely nominee here. But if the branch go for the film, it could still double up.

Jackass: Bad Grandpa

Best Makeup And Hairstyling

"American Hustle"

"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"

"The Lone Ranger"

With likely bets "Rush," "The Hobbit," "The Butler," "12 Years a Slave" and "Prisoners" left off the Academy's seven-strong shortlist, it opened up the category quite a bit. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" probably isn't quite classy enough (though this is the branch that nominated "Norbit"), and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" will be hurt by being a sequel, despite some of those gravity-defying hairpieces, but look for "American Hustle" to make it in, becoming the first film since "Hairstyling" was added to the category name last year to make it in purely on the basis of its hairdos. Meanwhile, the old-age make-up on, of all things, "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," is likely to be recognized, and I'd take the impressive work on "The Lone Ranger" over the shinier "The Great Gatsby."

Dark Horse: "Dallas Buyers Club" is probably the least showy film on the list, but again, the movie is well liked across the board, and given its surprising achievements with the guild, don't be totally shocked if this makes it in.

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  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 9:23 AMReply

    Not bad. On the last page it seems you only missed one in each category.

  • Sean | January 15, 2014 8:12 PMReply

    Best Original Screenplay : Inside Lleywan Davis or Her or Blue Jasmine (for Winners)
    Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 years a slave (for Winners)

    Best Supporting Actress: please dont have Julia over in there! UGH. Anyone but Julia. FUACK
    Best Supporting Actor: if Jonah Hill gets 1 the Academy are freakin biased. Def doesnt deserve one at this point in his career.

    Best Actress: OH SOOO TOUGH! Cate B (YES winner) but seeing Streep not nom if that happens, well wow that would be shocking. I really dont see how she would get in! Once again WOW.
    Best Actor: ONCE AGAIN SOOO TOUGH! I'd love to Oscar Isaac in there (def doesn't seem like it'll happen :( ). Or even for Forest Whitaker (whose performance hugely undervalued in my opinion). I think its between Bale & Leo. I also see Bale taking the last spot.

    Best Director: AGAIN AAAAHHHH! So tough! Seeing Marty Scorsese shut out?!?! Well wow, even the content of the film whatever one's opinion is, is amazingly directed. I see it between Payne & Greengrass as well, with Payne taking the last slot.

    Best Film: FUARRKK. This is sooo tough! I really want to see The Butler in there! That would be great!
    Gravity, 12 years, American Hustle, Nebraska, Captain Philips = locked in.
    Her, Dallas Buyers Club = most likely
    Savings Mr. Banks, Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena, The Butler = the shaky ones. I say
    (def dont see Blue Jasmine getting a nod nor it should)

    Sheeeit this is tough!

  • Bob | January 15, 2014 3:40 PMReply

    This whole thing was a joke. Saving Mr. Banks is better than the Wolf of Wall Street???
    Christian Bale over Leonardo DiCaprio???

  • Tony | January 15, 2014 1:50 PMReply

    Wow, the anti Wolf of Wall Street sentiment in these predictions is ridiculous. And American Hustle for all four wins?? Clearly someone's letting their personal biases take over objective predictions. What a joke.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | January 16, 2014 6:40 AM

    I like Wolf Of Wall Street more than I like American Hustle. So, uh, no.

  • Des Brown | January 15, 2014 12:56 PMReply

    Interesting you don't have Greengrass in the Best Director, despite DGA and BAFTA nods. I think the Oscars will follow the DGA and BAFTAs. Alfonso Cuaron won the Golden Globe Best Director award. Don't take that as an indication that he'll win the Best Director Oscar. The last 4 winners of the Golden Globe for Best Director were: Ben Affleck (Argo), Martin Scorcese (Hugo), David Fincher (The Social Network) and James Cameron (Avatar). None went on to win the Best Director Oscar.

    Christian Bale is emerging as a surprise Best Actor contender (maybe stealing Robert Redford's slot). He got a Best Actor nom at both the Golden Globes and BAFTAs and American Hustle is doing great business, so he could very well be in there.

  • Maruthi | January 15, 2014 9:01 AMReply

    I think that RUSH is gonna make it to the best picture nomination and adapted screenplay nominations

  • A SERIOUS ERROR | January 15, 2014 7:43 AMReply

    ...and A Serious Man should have won too. Still butt-hurt about that.

  • Budd | January 15, 2014 6:56 AMReply

    What was Before Midnight adapted from?

  • Dudi | January 15, 2014 12:36 PM

    From what i read, it qualifies in that category ( Best Adapted Screenplay...) as a part of "the triology" (The Before... triology) . So basically it's based on two previous installments of the triology according to those rules. (Before Sunset & Before Sunrise)

  • Gage Kent | January 15, 2014 4:02 AMReply

    "Dark Horse: "Inside Llewyn Davis." Most have dismissed it, and it clearly hasn't connected with audiences at large."

    Of course most have missed it! It hardly got released anywhere!

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 8:37 PMReply

    I would've thought Inside Llewyn Davis would have been more of a certainty for Best Picture than Philomena? I mean, I could easily see it getting a Best Actress nomination but not a Best Picture. Whether I could ILD getting a Best Picture nomination but not a Best Actor/Director.

  • Lawrence | January 14, 2014 8:11 PMReply

    I find it sad that in such a great year, "Saving Mr. Banks" is a stronger contender than Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street."

  • Jim | January 14, 2014 6:23 PMReply

    Wolf of Wall Street is a better movie than all of these but it's gonna get snubbed because the people that work for the academy are bitter old people .

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 6:17 PMReply

    I would've thought Inside Llewyn Davis would have been more of a certainty for Best Picture than Philomena? I mean, I could easily see it getting a Best Actress nomination but not a Best Picture. Whether I could ILD getting a Best Picture nomination but not a Best Actor/Director.

  • Juan | January 14, 2014 5:36 PMReply

    I'd give the edge to Julia Roberts instead of Oprah in the best supporting actress category. I think Julia was way better and if someone misses the cut IMO it should be Oprah. I don't think Leo will be snubbed but it's certainly a possibility given his track record with the Academy.
    Very good predictions in the other categories.

  • lee | January 14, 2014 5:14 PMReply

    Maybe I've missed it but you guys should run your own awards, seems so much space is given to working out what the academy is going to do with the same old pool of awards season movies, be a nice change to get your own Playlist nominations etc based on a broader, non campaign heavy perspective.

  • Eric | January 14, 2014 8:36 PM

    I second this. I'd be very interested and I'm guessing it would probably differ very much from most other awards groups.

  • Rob | January 14, 2014 5:12 PMReply

    Excellent predictions... I'm surprised at some parts but I see where you are coming from.
    Wolf in tenth position for Best picture?

    I wouldn't be shocked either if O.Russell "hustles" another 4/4 acting nods

    I would love to see Brühl, Adams, Arcade Fire and Hawkins get nods

  • tailor | January 14, 2014 4:04 PMReply

    Pathetic list. No Wolf and no DiCaprio? LOL I'm unfollowing you on twitter. What a waste of time you are.

  • Ken | January 14, 2014 4:17 PM

    Yeah, you do know how predictions work right? It has nothing to do with personal taste. If you really think the Academy is gonna go big on Wolf of Wall Street, you're gonna be sorely disappointed. Perhaps the reports regarding the Academy screenings were overstated, but since this is such a strong year, it's very possible that it will get snubbed.

  • Eric | January 14, 2014 3:51 PMReply

    I'm still looking for the shock of the century - James Franco for "Spring Breakers"

  • Eric | January 14, 2014 5:35 PM

    It's ridiculous that anything that strays too far from "safe" for them is never nominated. I feel like Franco is the biggest shock that actually could happen, otherwise I'd be rooting for more from Spring Breakers, Upstream Color, even This is the End (which I feel is easily one of the best of the year). They tend to be a little more out of their safe zone when it comes to the acting nominations, but if Michael Fassbender (Shame) or Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) can't get nominated, I am not counting on Franco either. It's a damn shame too.

  • lee | January 14, 2014 5:20 PM

    You'll still be looking come July, isn't going to happen, which is a shame, far as I'm concerned Spring breakers should be up for best film and director, it was great. Once upon a time a small, edgier film might have got it's way in, no longer, and that's a bore. Ditto Upstream Color

  • Tony | January 14, 2014 3:34 PMReply

    Dicaprio is getting nominated idiots , he's the best actor alive at the moment ; American hustle was a complete bore .

  • oogle monster | January 14, 2014 7:56 PM

    They didn't really snub him for The Departed though -- he was nominated for Blood Diamond the same year. He would have gone Supporting for The Departed and I think it made sense to push him as lead in Blood Diamond and actually get a nomination out of it. If you're going to bring up snubbing Leo, you might as well go with performances that were actually snubbed (not a lack of a double nomination in one year) i.e. Django and/or Titanic. But I actually see him getting nominated this year --- his film is peaking at the right time and if the film is nominated (which it will be), Leo will be too... he IS the movie.

  • Karl | January 14, 2014 7:12 PM

    But, Ken, Leo was nominated for Best Actor for Blood Diamond the same year as The Departed, which I'd argue was a better performance anyway.

  • Ken | January 14, 2014 4:15 PM

    These predictions have nothing to do with your personal feelings on the matter. You may think AH was a complete bore; Hollywood loves it. The Golden Globes were just the tipping point. It might flame out and miss out on a BP win, but it's gonna get a slew of acting nominations and Bale may very well bump Leo out of his spot. The Academy doesn't seem to love Leo all that much. Remember they snubbed him for The Departed and this was a very strong year for Best Actor category.

  • The Dude | January 14, 2014 3:33 PMReply

    Why Abdi is a lock and Bruhl isn't when they both had the exact same nominations? I don't buy it.

    And you're kind of pushing it to have American Hustle having 4 acting nominations.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | January 16, 2014 9:06 AM


  • Dudi | January 15, 2014 12:45 PM

    You made a good point. But I think that the difference between these two performances is the momentum of their respective movies. Captain Phillips was well received by the award circle than Rush (not talking about critics or fans). The momentum of Captain Phillips could help Abdi get a nod over Bruhl, cuz Captain Phillips is (and probably will get nods for) battling for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role, Best Adapted Screenplay... While Rush is pushing only for Daniel Bruhl.

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 9:50 PM

    Oogle - Fair enough. I think she's in with a shot and may just enough to WIG-gle out Meryl Streep from the final 5. Sorry.

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 8:37 PM

    Well, hardly anyone predicted confidently that the Silver Linings Playbook would get 4/4 acting nomination categories last year. But it did. That said - I'd love to see Amy Adams miss out. She's great, but not in AH.

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 8:36 PM

    Oogle - Fair enough. I think she's in with a shot and may just enough to WIG-gle out Meryl Streep from the final 5. Sorry.

  • oogle monster | January 14, 2014 7:57 PM

    Nah Josh - she's the best part of AH next to Christian Bale's hair piece.

  • Josh Polanski | January 14, 2014 6:14 PM

    Well, hardly anyone predicted confidently that the Silver Linings Playbook would get 4/4 acting nomination categories last year. But it did. That said - I'd love to see Amy Adams miss out. She's great, but not in AH.

  • ABR | January 14, 2014 3:00 PMReply

    Anyone care to explain why "Before Midinight" is considered adapted? Wasn't wrote directly to the screen by Linklater/Delpy/Hawke?

  • Shout92 | January 14, 2014 3:31 PM

    It's a sequel. All sequels are considered adapted material (look at Toy Story 3).

  • CB | January 14, 2014 2:55 PMReply

    Looking good.

  • Dylan | January 14, 2014 2:31 PMReply

    Great picks guys! These look pretty spot on to me. And hey, just an FYI, the noms are on the 16th.

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