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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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Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong'o - "12 Years a Slave"

Jennifer Lawrence - "American Hustle"

Julia Roberts - "August: Osage County"

June Squibb - "Nebraska"

Oprah Winfrey - "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Another category that was in flux for some time, but has settled down a bit of late: Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence are the frontrunners, with June Squibb and Oprah Winfrey also likely nominees. Julia Roberts was the fifth SAG nominee, but we've felt a bit of a groundswell towards Sally Hawkins in recent weeks. That said, I figure if that happens, it suggests a wider group of support for "Blue Jasmine" which would also result in a Best Picture nomination, and I'm not prepared to go that far, so Roberts it is for me.

Dark Horse: Jennifer Garner in "Dallas Buyers Club." Mostly ignored by precursor awards, but well liked, and certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender - "12 Years a Slave"

Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle"

Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips"

Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club"

James Gandolfini - "Enough Said"

Much more difficult to call than the Supporting Actress race, this has three locks—Fassbender, Leto and Abdi, and then a revolving door of potentials for the other two. Daniel Bruhl got a second wind with an SAG nomination, but I'm still not sure he's making the cut, with the potential of a posthumous James Gandolfini nomination for "Enough Said," and Bradley Cooper for "American Hustle" building momentum. Similarly, there was a moment where it seemed like Jonah Hill could get a second nod for "The Wolf of Wall Street," but he's an outside bet at best now.

Dark Horse: It wouldn't be entirely shocking if Will Forte for "Nebraska" got in.He's another when who's had a bit of a boost as more and more people saw the film. It'd be over Gandolfini, most likely, though, and the latter's still the better bet for now.

Best Actress

Amy Adams - "American Hustle"

Cate Blanchett - "Blue Jasmine"

Sandra Bullock - "Gravity"

Judi Dench - "Philomena"

Emma Thompson - "Saving Mr. Banks"

This category seems to have been set in stone for months: Cate Blanchett is the obvious winner, with Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep in "August: Osage County" seemingly pre-destined to join them. But the tides have been shifting recently, with the momentum behind Amy Adams for "American Hustle" building as the film grew in power, and I think that she'll beat out Streep for the fifth slot, though other prognosticators are divided as to whether that'll be the case.

Dark Horse: Almost the biggest shock would be if Dench, Bullock or Thompson fell out, but it seems very unlikely. Beyond Streep, we'd love for Brie Larson or Greta Gerwig to pull a shock, but the chances are virtually none.

Best Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor - "12 Years a Slave"

Christian Bale - "American Hustle"

Tom Hanks - "Captain Phillips"

Matthew McConaughey - "Dallas Buyers Club"

Bruce Dern - "Nebraska"

What was once a wide-open race has tightened up a fair bit: Chiewetel Ejiofor, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern are all pretty much dead certs (Hanks perhaps a little less so, but it'd still be the biggest shock of the day if he missed out). The fifth slot is one of the toughest calls to make, with at least five actors in competition for it. Forest Whitaker has the SAG nod, but very little other buzz; Robert Redford had the early heat, but has mostly fallen away; and Leonardo DiCaprio has a late boost from the Globes and from the heat around the film. But I have a funny feeling that Christian Bale will surprise, making a second clean sweep of the acting nods for David O. Russell. 

Dark Horse: In a way, Bale is the dark horse, but I'd love for Oscar Isaac to shock and make the final five (though it's not happening).

Best Director

Steve McQueen - "12 Years a Slave"

David O. Russell - "American Hustle"

Alfonso Cuaron - "Gravity"

Spike Jonze - "Her"

Alexander Payne - "Nebraska"

Again, a tricky one to call, given the unpredictability of the director's branch last year (virtually no one called the nominations for Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin). Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen are locked, along with David O. Russell, and beyond that, it's generally seen to be Spike Jonze, Paul Greengrass and Alexander Payne fighting for the remaining two slots. Some have speculated that Jonze, who's well liked among other directors, could be the first filmmaker since the Best Picture field expanded to get a director nomination without the film getting one too. I think it's unlikely that that would be the case, but I also think the film's getting a Best Picture nod, so it doesn't matter much. For some reason, I'd just take Payne over Greengrass, even though the latter's a more obvious showcase for a filmmaker.

Dark Horse: It's not often that you call Martin Scorsese a dark horse in a directorial competition, but that's probably a fair term, given the strong feelings against "The Wolf of Wall Street" from some quarters. Then again, you could have accused "Amour" or "The Tree Of Life" of the same thing.

Best Picture

"12 Years a Slave"

"American Hustle"

"Captain Phillips"

"Dallas Buyers Club" 




"Saving Mr. Banks" (if it goes to 8 nominations)

"Philomena" (if it goes to 9 nominations)

"The Wolf of Wall Street" (if it goes to 10 nominations)

The theoretically fluctuating nature of Best Picture these days makes this tougher than ever to call, but it's safe to say that "12 Years a Slave" is locked, along with "Gravity" and "American Hustle." Despite a brief lull in buzz at one point, "Captain Phillips" should be fine, as is "Nebraska." Beyond that, it's less certain, but the late surge for "Dallas Buyers Club" should see it in there, while "Her" has had a lot of love, though is on shakier ground. "Saving Mr. Banks" was seen as a potential winner briefly, but has faded over time: nevertheless, it feels like a nominee. Past that, there's "Philomena" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," but those depend on whether it goes to nine and ten nominations. But don't rule out an "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"-style shock for "Lee Daniels' The Butler," or a nod for "Blue Jasmine."

Dark Horse: "Inside Llewyn Davis." Most have dismissed it, and it clearly hasn't connected with audiences at large, but it doesn't have to, necessarily. It needs to connect with 5% of Oscar voters. Given that "A Serious Man" was a nominee, that's not impossible to imagine at all.

So there we have it. Feel free to make your own predictions, or quibble with ours, in the comments section, and check back early Thursday morning for the Academy's announcements.

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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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