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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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Pacific Rim

Best Visual Effects


"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

"Iron Man 3"


"Pacific Rim"

"Gravity" is the obvious front-runner for the win, and the other nominees can quite happily get stinking drunk in the limo on the way without fearing that they'll be called on stage. Of the ten-strong shortlist (which snubbed "Man of Steel" to the surprise of many), "Thor: The Dark World" is probably the least likely, along with "Elysium." "Star Trek Into Darkness," is more feasible, given that its predecessor was a nominee, but I think it'll miss out this time, too. Alongside "Gravity," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is likely a lock (all the Middle Earth films to date have been nominated), while "Iron Man 3" should follow its predecessors in. For the final two slots, I'm putting my money on "Oblivion" and "Pacific Rim," which might not be the most realistic, but they're more characterful, and I think that's something the branch will award.

Dark Horse: We hear "World War Z," perplexingly, went down well in early voting, so don't rule that out completely. And we have a funny feeling that "The Lone Ranger" could make it in, if only for the train sequences.

Bachchan Great Gatsby Header

Best Production Design

"12 Years a Slave"


"The Great Gatsby"

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

"The Invisible Woman"

Quietly one of the toughest categories to call this year, with a wealth of possibilities, and only a handful of slots. The safest lock is probably "The Great Gatsby"—Baz Luhrmann's film might not be the awards juggernaut it was hoped to be, but Catherine Martin's design work is always a safe bet here. We thought that "Gravity" taking place in open space might hurt it, but a BAFTA nomination suggests that won't be the case, while its Best Picture competition "12 Years a Slave" should tick the right boxes as a period film. I'm not quite sure the same is true for "American Hustle"—the '70s look is meticulous, but so much of the film takes place in unshowy offices and hotel rooms (the same could also be said of "Saving Mr. Banks," though that might be a better bet). So instead, I'll roll the dice on 'The Hobbit,' given that its predecessor, and all "The Lord of the Rings" films, made the cut, and on "The Invisible Woman." British period fare like "The Duchess," "The Young Victoria" and "The King's Speech" has a tendency to over-perform in this category, even if the film goes unloved elsewhere.

Dark Horse: I wonder if the work in "Her" is too subtle for recognition, and shooting in Shanghai did do some of the heavy lifting, but it's more than worthy, and it's not unfeasible that it shows up on Thursday morning in this category.

Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman

Best Costume Design

"12 Years a Slave"

"American Hustle"

"The Great Gatsby"

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

"The Invisible Woman"

A little less wide-open than Production Design, this category essentially has four locked nominees, all period pictures to varying degrees: "12 Years a Slave," "The Great Gatsby," "The Invisible Woman" and "American Hustle." If any of them miss out, it'd be something of a surprise (though 'Hustle' might be the wobbliest). Beyond that, it's tougher to say what could make the fifth slot, but either "Saving Mr. Banks" or "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" feel like the likeliest. I'd go for the latter, if only because it's a little more interesting.

Dark Horse: Don't rule out "Oz The Great & Powerful," which had some garish, but attention-grabbing outfits that might figure in (don't forget that "Alice In Wonderland" was a winner a few years back).

Short Term 12

Best Original Song

"Let It Go" - Idina Menzel - "Frozen"

"The Moon Song" - Karen O - "Her"

"in The Middle Of The Night" - Fantasia - "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

"Ordinary Love" - U2 - "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"

"So You Know What It's Like" - Keith Stanfield - "Short Term 12"

This category has been in flux the last few years after the disaster of a couple of years ago, when there were only two nominees, and now five nominees are guaranteed, which opens the field up somewhat. Rule changes also mean that closing credits numbers might have a better chance than they did before, which I think will favor U2's "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" over the Ed Sheeran track from 'The Hobbit.' Meanwhile, there's a couple of options from "Lee Daniels' The Butler," of which I think Fantasia has the best chance. Beyond that things get more interesting, with the rap from "Short Term 12" building critical swell (though don't be surprised if it misses), and the Karen O-penned "Moon Song" from "Her" also viable. But really, any of these (and other potential contenders like Lana Del Ray's "Young & Beautiful" from "The Great Gatsby" and "My Lord Sunshine" from "12 Years a Slave") are likely to be overshadowed by "Frozen" track "Let It Go," which is something close to a surefire winner.

Dark Horse: "Doby" from "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is probably too silly (though don't forget that "Blame Canada" was a nominee), but do keep an eye on songs from "Black Nativity." Aside from "Frozen," it's the only true musical on the longlist. "He Loves Me Still" might be the most obvious one.

All Is Lost

Best Original Score

Hans Zimmer - "12 Years a Slave"

Alex Ebert - "All Is Lost"

John Williams - "The Book Thief"

Steven Price - "Gravity"

Thomas Newman - "Saving Mr. Banks"

Not the strongest year for this category in recent memory, but that at least means that it's trickier to guess. "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" are essentially locked in, while John Williams could collaborate with Ke$ha on a score and still get nominated, so "The Book Thief" could pick up a nod here too. Beyond that, precursor love for Randy Newman's "Monsters University" score never materialized, and "Nebraska" was disqualified, which is good news for Alex Ebert's "All Is Lost" score—its Golden Globes victory suggests it's made at least something of an impression on the season. Beyond that, it comes down to two rather bland scores by composers who've done far better and work, and I'd wager that Thomas Newman's "Saving Mr. Banks" will ultimately beat out Alexandre Desplat's "Philomena" for the fifth slot.

Dark Horse: Henry Jackman's "Captain Phillips" could also figure in, potentially over Ebert or Newman.

The Broken Circle Breakdown header

Best Foreign Language Film

"The Broken Circle Breakdown" - Belgium

"The Great Beauty - Italy

"The Hunt" - Denmark

"The Missing Picture" - Cambodia

"Omar" - Palestine

As ever, the foreign language branch threw some curve balls, with nine-strong longlist that didn't include many of the presumptive favorites, including "The Past," "Wadjda" and "Gloria." Don't exclude the possibility of more to come (though we can probably assume that Danis Tanovic's "An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker" won't be in the final five), but this feels more guessable than usual: Playlist favorite "The Broken Circle Breakdown" is a likely nominee, as are "The Hunt" and "The Great Beauty." Middle Eastern fare often ends up with a nomination, so "Omar" (from the director of "Paradise Now," which was nominated a few years back) will probably figure in too. Beyond that, it's less predictable, but the fascinating Cambodian documentary "The Missing Picture" is what I'd put my money on.

Dark Horse: Wong Kar-wai's never been nominated in this category (or, indeed, at all), but "The Grandmaster" could be the one, and potentially sneak in over "The Missing Picture."

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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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