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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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The Act of Killing

Best Documentary Feature

"20 Feet From Stardom"

"The Act of Killing"


"The Square"

"Stories We Tell"

Though their shortlist was less controversial than the foreign language branch, there were still some surprises in store with the documentary narrowing-down process: "At Berkeley" and "After Tiller" being among the notable absences. Still, many of the big dogs were included, and there's a certain amount of consensus on the nominees: popular hits "20 Feet From Stardom" and "Blackfish" look good for a nod, along with the acclaimed "The Square." I've already talked about my worries that one or both of "The Act of Killing" and "Stories We Tell" will be snubbed, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for the moment that they'll make it in.

Dark Horse: Should our worries about Joshua Oppenheimer or Sarah Polley's films turn out to be true, "Tim's Vermeer" is the one to watch.

The Wind Rises

Best Animated Feature

"The Croods"

"Ernest & Celestine"


"Monsters University"

"The Wind Rises"

Not much has changed here since we ran these down, although Globes and BAFTA nods for "Despicable Me 2" have some wondering if that might make it in, but given the lack of love from the Academy for the first film, we'd be surprised. Otherwise, expect a Pixar, a DreamWorks, a GKIDS foreign indie, and a Studio Ghibli, the latter of which is the only thing that might potentially beat the frontrunner, Disney megahit "Frozen" for the win.

Dark Horse: Gothic stop-motion Spanish film "O Apostolo," if enough voters saw it. But "Despicable Me 2" is more likely to cause the upset, probably over "Ernest & Celestine."

Captain Phillips

Best Film Editing

"American Hustle"

"Captain Phillips"


"12 Years a Slave"

"The Wolf of Wall Street"

It's famously hard for a Best Picture winner to miss out on an editing nomination, and as such, this category is likely to be dominated by Best Picture frontrunners "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle," with "Captain Phillips," which is arguably in fourth position behind them for the big prize, being a certain nominee too. Beyond that, it gets trickier. Most had figured that the very strong craft of "Rush" would make it in, but it's worth noting that Thelma Schoonmaker's picked up four nominations (and two Oscars) for her work on the last five Scorsese movies (and might well have gotten one for "Shutter Island" too had it come out in awards season). Unless those who complain about the film's length intervene, she's probably a nominee again.

Dark Horse: Don't discount "Lone Survivor," which has some strong craft to it. The similar "Black Hawk Down" won back in 2001, and that was without a Best Picture nomination too. "Her" could pull a surprise too.


Best Cinematography

Sean Bobbitt - "12 Years a Slave"

Emmanuel Lubezki - "Gravity"

Bruno Delbonnel - "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Phedon Papamichael - "Nebraska"

Roger Deakins - "Prisoners"

Likely to be one of the more competitive categories in terms of grabbing a nomination, though we can all be pretty certain that Emmanuel Lubezki will be taking the prize home in March for "Gravity." Alongside him, Sean Bobbitt is looking good to pick up his first nomination for "12 Years A Slave" and I'm confident that, even if the film itself is mostly snubbed elsewhere, "Inside Llewyn Davis" will be a nominee here. There's probably been no better-shot film in the last year than "Prisoners," and so Roger Deakins will almost certainly join those three. All four were ASC nominees, and the fifth slot will be taken by one of the three remaining films that got nods from the cinematography guild—"Captain Phillips," "Nebraska" and "The Grandmaster." I'd be surprised if the Wong film made the cut, but it could be either of the others. I'm leaning towards Phedon Papamichael's drab work on "Nebraska" over Barry Ackroyd's in "Captain Phillips," but it could go either way.

Dark Horse: Hoyte Von Hoytema will probably have to wait until Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" next year for a nod, but there's a small chance he could sneak in this time for "Her." 

Her, Joaquin Phoenix

Best Original Screenplay

Eric Warren Singer & David O. Russell - "American Hustle"

Woody Allen - "Blue Jasmine"

Spike Jonze - "Her"

Joel & Ethan Coen - "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Bob Nelson - "Nebraska"

A rare year in which this category's been more competitive than the Adapted one, but this has pretty much crystalized in the last few weeks. "American Hustle," "Nebraska" and category regular Woody Allen for "Blue Jasmine" are all certainties, and Golden Globe winner Spike Jonze could join them (and might even win). Despite the WGA going for "Dallas Buyers Club," our confidence remains in "Inside Llewyn Davis"—this category often serves as a consolation prize for things that miss out elsewhere, and that should be the case here. "Saving Mr. Banks" is also just about viable, but having missed out with the precursors, probably won't figure in this time.

Dark Horse: "Gravity." The script might have come in for criticism from some, but writers are more likely to see its value, and they're the ones doing the nominating here. It did get a BAFTA nomination, which could be more telling.

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley - "12 Years a Slave"

Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater - "Before Midnight"

Billy Ray - "Captain Phillips"

Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope - "Philomena"

Terence Winter - "The Wolf of Wall Street"

With both "Philomena" and "12 Years a Slave" ineligible for the WGA Awards, we're likely to see more of a departure from the guilds here, as both of those films feel like safe-ish bets in this category. Beyond that, Billy Ray will be a nominee for "Captain Phillips," and a WGA nod likely sealed the chances for Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy to repeat their "Before Sunset" nod with "Before Midnight." I'd tipped "August: Osage County" at one point, but with the film getting such middling reviews, I'd be surprised if Tracy Letts got an Oscar nod. Instead, look for Terence Winter and "The Wolf of Wall Street" to take that fifth slot.

Dark Horse: Well, "Lone Survivor" got a WGA nod, so we suppose it's probably that. But if it gets that, then it's probably getting a Best Picture nomination too, and that feels very unlikely.

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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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