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Who Should Win, Who Will Win: The Playlist's Final Oscar Predictions

by Oliver Lyttelton
February 27, 2014 1:08 PM
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Best Adapted Screenplay

"Before Midnight" - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
"Captain Phillips" - Billy Ray
"Philomena" - Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
"12 Years A Slave" - John Ridley
"The Wolf Of Wall Street" - Terence Winter

Should Win: It's not my favorite of the trilogy, but the writing in "Before Midnight" is admittedly exquisite, with a third-act extended argument that should be studied in writing classes.
Will Win:
A three-way race between Ray, Ridley and Coogan & Pope, and it's going to be close. "Philomena" is well-liked enough that it could pick up the consolation prize here, while Ray won the WGA award for "Captain Phillips." In the end, despite his controversial status in the writing community due to actions dating back to the writer's strike (which could have hampered his nomination, but which voters at large will likely be unaware of), my gut says Ridley and "12 Years A Slave" here.

Best Original Screenplay

"American Hustle" - Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell
"Blue Jasmine" - Woody Allen
"Dallas Buyers Club" - Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
"Her" - Spike Jonze
"Nebraska" - Bob Nelson

Should Win: "Her," the richest and most distinctive of the five nominees, and in some ways the most dialogue-driven; so much of the film is made up of conversation between Phoenix and Johannson.
Will Win:
Again, this category is often used as a way to reward original and distinctive fare that doesn't pick up anything elsewhere. And for that reason, I give "Her" the edge over "American Hustle"—even those who don't quite get Spike Jonze's film kind of like it, and it's the most original of the five films. But if they're not voting for 'Hustle' in other categories, Academy members could lean towards it here as a consolation prize as well. But ultimately, it's a little more familiar than "Her," and isn't quite the awards juggernaut that could have carried it with sheer momentum either.

Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins in "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o in "12 Years A Slave"
Julia Roberts in "August Osage County"
June Squibb in "Nebraska"

Should Win: Nyong'o is fantastic, but I'd love Sally Hawkins to win, as she's utterly superb in "Blue Jasmine" (I'd argue even better than Cate Blanchett) and should have been at least a nominee a few years back.
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
and Lupita Nyong'o have been almost alternating wins with critics' groups and precursor awards: Lawrence took the Globe and BAFTA, Nyong'o the SAG win. But I think that the Academy will hesitate to give someone as young as Lawrence back-to-back Oscars, even if they love the performance, so my money's on Lupita Nyong'o. Could still go either way, though.

Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi in "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper in "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender in "12 Years A Slave"
Jonah Hill in "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
Jared Leto in "Dallas Buyers Club"

Should Win: A strong line-up, for the most part, but I'd actually place my vote for Jonah Hill. Some are still disbelieving that he's a two-time Oscar nominee, but he's great both in "Moneyball" and, in particular, this, carrying a lot of the comic weight of the movie on his shoulders.
Will Win
: This is my annual potentially crazy roll of the dice. Jared Leto dominated the precursor awards, but I've sensed his heat fading a little late, and Barkhad Abdi gathering steam, not least after his BAFTA victory (they can be a good predictor of this category, as with Christoph Waltz last year). Of all my picks, I'm aware that this is the riskiest, but I'm guessing a shock upset for Barkhad Abdi in the end.

Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role

Amy Adams in "American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"
Judi Dench in "Philomena"
Meryl Streep in "August Osage County"

Should Win: I'd honestly be happy with anyone but Streep, who I thought was legitimately terrible in "August Osage County." Sandra Bullock might be my favorite performance of the five, when I think about it; there's an extent to which she hasn't got the credit she deserves for a film that, for all its bravura, needs her presence to connect emotionally.
Will Win:
Unless you've been in a coma for the last nine months, you'll already know the answer: Cate Blanchett.

Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role

Christian Bale in "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern in "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years A Slave"
Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club"

Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, who's been my favorite actor for a decade, and delivers the performance of his career so far in this film. Unshowy and unsentimental, he makes the difficult dialogue sing, and pulls the film along with him.
Will Win:
Arguably the most interesting race in an interesting year, it's possible to imagine anyone but Bale winning this year (Dern hasn't got many column inches of late, but has a lot of love). DiCaprio's had some late momentum, but perhaps not enough, and Ejiofor's absolutely in the running. But Matthew McConaughey has the best narrative (the career revival, his current outstanding turn on "True Detective"), a gift of a role, and the demonstrable commitment of a whopping great weight loss. It's not quite in the bag, but this feels like it's in the stars.

Achievement In Directing

"American Hustle" - David O. Russell
"Gravity" - Alfonso Cuaron
"Nebraska" - Alexander Payne
"12 Years A Slave" - Steve McQueen
"The Wolf Of Wall Street" - Martin Scorsese

Should Win: Another tough one, but I'd just give Alfonso Cuaron the edge. No film here is as much of a directorial tour-de-force, and it would also serve as a long overdue recognition for one of our finest filmmakers, and one who was left out in the cold for a while.
Will Win:
It's been theoretically a three-way race for a while, and though Russell's overdue at this point, it's unlikely to be his year (next time, he'll be a force to be reckoned with), and McQueen hasn't campaigned as much as his rivals. Regardless of what happens in Best Picture, this should safely go to Alfonso Cuaron.

Best Motion Picture Of The Year

"American Hustle"
"Captain Phillips"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"12 Years A Slave"
"The Wolf Of Wall Street"

Should Win: "12 Years A Slave." Yes, partly because of the meaningfulness of its win, but also because it's the best film of a mostly strong line-up (I really like all of the nominees bar "Nebraska" to some degree). For all of the power and craft of the other movies on display, this one feels like it'll sit in the hall of Oscar fame.
Will Win:
Assuming that I'm right, and "American Hustle" misses elsewhere, it's probably stuck in third place here. "Gravity" is a major force, though, as it's an easier watch than 'Slave,' will do well with the preferential voting system, and has history on its side, in terms of Oscar shying away from the more 'difficult' choice in order to go for the more watchable (and it would be a great winner too—either would probably be the best film to take the prize since "No Country For Old Men"). It'll be very, very close, but I'm ultimately going with "12 Years A Slave," even if voters didn't like it, they likely respect it enough, and feel it deserves the win.

You've a couple of days of free rein in the comments section to make your own predictions if you fancy, or to call us out on our more outre picks (Barkhad Abdi) and don't forget to check back here Sunday night for the results, commentary and booze-fueled live-tweeting.

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  • newyorker | March 2, 2014 3:56 PMReply

    my final predictions are
    Best Picture-12 Years A Slave, film i wish wins Wolf Of Wall Street
    Best Actor-Matthew McConaughey-Dallas Buyer's Club. who i wish win Leonardo Dicaprio-Wolf Of Wall Street.
    Best Actress-Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine, who i wish wins Amy Adams-American Hustle.
    Best Supporting Actor-Jared Leto-Dallas Buyer's Club, who i wish wins Jonah Hill-Wolf Of Wall Street
    Best Supporting Actress-Lupita Nyong'o-12 Years A Slave, who i wish wins Jennifer Lawrence-American Hustle.
    Best Animated Feature-Frozen,(defently routing for Frozen)
    Best Cinemtography-Nebraska, who i wish win Prisoners.
    Best Costume Design-American Hustle, do hope American Hustle win for that.
    Directing-Alfonso Cuaron-Gravity, who i wish wins Martin Scorsese-Wolf Of Wall Street.
    Best Documentary-20 Feet From Stardom,
    Best Foreign Language-The Great Beauty. not routing for the documentary or foreign language stuff. or the short categlory.
    Film Editing-12 Years A Slave, who i wish wins American Hustle.
    Makeup & Hairstylist-Dallas Buyer's Club, who i wish wins Bad Grandpa.
    Music-Her. who i wish win Saving Mr. Banks.
    Best Music-Let It Go by Idina Menzel-Frozen, defently hopin let it go wins.
    Production Design-12 Years A Slave, who i wish win Her.
    Sound Editing-All is Lost, who i wish wins Lone Survivor.
    Sound Mixing-Gravity, who i wish win Inside Llewyn Davis.
    Visual Effects-Gravity, who i wish win Iron Man 3(wish pacific rim and man of steel were nominated)
    adapted screenplay-12 Years A Slave, who i wish wins The Wolf Of Wall Street.
    Original Screenplay-Her, who i wish wins American Hustle.

  • Kal-El | March 2, 2014 2:04 PMReply

    Gravity is still the best movie i've seen last year. Extremely better than 12 years, it seems like its now cool to hate on Gravity and a lot people like to say its over hyped and over rated. Well I strongly believe 12 years a slave was over hyped and incredibly over rated. Gravity deserves best picture, I never had the same feeling emotionally watching that film as i did with the other nominations.

  • harlan | March 1, 2014 10:17 AMReply

    Why do the so-called "experts" slam Johnny Depp? I think Mr. Depp brings something to the rolls of his characters that most other actors could not, excitement!

    Do you even remember an Indian in the first long ranger? I think the horse may have gotten more billing the co-star of the television series.

    Unfortunately like most accomplished actors and actresses I think Mr. Depp’s brilliance may never be acknowledged or celebrated in his lifetime. But I appreciate his craft and seek his movies to relieve the symptoms of mundane life I must live each day.

    Thank you Mr. Depp

  • jay | March 3, 2014 9:53 AM

    That's LONE Ranger, mainly because he isn't that tall. You're right, it's a shame that Depp didn't get the price he deserved: The Golden Raspberry! He lost even that against Will Smith junior. :-((((

  • Robyn | March 1, 2014 2:46 AMReply

    Best Film: 12 Years A Slave
    Best Director: Steve McQueen
    Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
    Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto
    Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o
    Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley (12 Years A Slave)
    Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze (Her)

    Misses: Gravity and American Hustle, just didn't change my life or create deep feelings in me.

  • kary | February 28, 2014 1:37 PMReply

    I can't believe someone can say "Sandra Bullock deserves the Oscar for Gravity and "I'd honestly be happy with anyone but Streep, who I thought was legitimately terrible" in the same sentence... Are you kidding right?

  • Frances | March 1, 2014 12:04 PM

    I agree. I watched Gravity last night and fell asleep in the middle. had to rewind to complete.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | February 27, 2014 10:24 PMReply

    It was a great year filled with great films. No one should hang their head for going home empty-handed. I only hope that 2014 is even more bountiful -- and diverse.

  • oogle monster | February 27, 2014 9:44 PMReply

    I agree with your Supporting Actress wish-win. Sally Hawkins deserves it over Lawrence and especially Nyongo. In fact, I don't understand how Nyongo is considered a front runner... it's a great performance but so was Sarah Paulson who was somehow snubbed.

  • gerard kennelly | February 27, 2014 9:29 PMReply

    "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2"
    "Let It Go" from "Frozen"
    "The Moon Song" from "Her"
    "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"
    there should be 5 nominees not 4
    if i was in charge
    and I'm not
    i would include ''one two'' from 'Paranoia'

  • jahbi | February 27, 2014 7:08 PMReply

    Willy, every geezer in the world wants to bugger Jennifer Lawrence, THATS A GIVEN ! ! !.

  • willy jerk-off | February 27, 2014 7:07 PMReply

    I want to bugger Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Annie | February 27, 2014 7:05 PMReply

    Fassbender should win. He should have at least a few nominations already, and it's shocking that he doesn't. But he should definitely win this one, because he gave the best performance in the most difficult role.

  • brad pitt 5 4 3 2 1 | February 27, 2014 9:30 PM

    his performance was the exact same as fiennes in SCHINDLERS LIST
    so far he deserved two noms
    2-fish tank

  • Jahbi | February 27, 2014 6:55 PMReply

    So many absurd comments on this board. Go Jennifer Lawrence! You gave the best performance in tgis category. I don't care if you won last year...I am for the best performance. ..nothing else! No sentiments 'cos someone went to a drama school and played a pitiable character (quite well I must say), no silly arguments that you're too young to get back to back oscar wins (I believe records are made to be broken and Jlaw is a worthy record holder with her immense talent).

    She didn't campaign. ..she is no fashion icon...she didn't even show up at some award shows, yet, she won the Golden globe and BAFTA and is a serious threat, a tough o
    Contender to the new 'most beloved' talented girl in Hollywood (Lupita). Her performance would always speak for her at the end. We will surely see who wins the almost 6000 voters won't get it wrong.

    In a nutshell, Lupita should get ready for an isn't an's a well deserved win!

  • Dan | February 27, 2014 2:11 PMReply

    Best Film: 12 Years A Slave
    Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron
    Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
    Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
    Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto
    Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o
    Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley (12 Years A Slave)
    Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze (Her)


  • Sean | February 27, 2014 4:09 PM


    This writers opinions (some of them) are a lil outfield for my taste...

    All I know is.
    Best Actor & Best Supporting Actress are the shaky ground (for some dumbass reason). It better be.....
    Matthew McConaghey (not Leo or Bale WTF. It better be Matthew or Chiwetel, it is their time not the others)

    Supporting actress better be Lupita (no Jennifer no Sally, they are great and will get chances again there's no doubt about that but it is not their time)
    - Lupita her 1st film role, straight out of Yale Drama & her beautiful acceptance speeches already & flawless tragic performance, there wont be a role like this (& so beautifully done) in a very long long long time, if ever again.

  • jz | February 27, 2014 3:40 PM


  • Emile | February 27, 2014 1:52 PMReply

    Between Leo and Matthew McConaughey's performances, both of which were outstanding, it's tough. I have not seen Hustle, 12 Years, or Nebraska - planning to do so this weekend hopefully over here - but it could go either way. It's also a tough one between Abdi and Leto. I do suspect a few SHOCKING upsets Sunday. And, I kinda agree with many of these predictions. That's just me though...

  • alonxo harris | February 27, 2014 9:32 PM

    i bet you a million bucks poitier presents best director to.. steve mcqueen

  • John | February 27, 2014 1:50 PMReply

    "I'd honestly be happy with anyone but Streep, who I thought was legitimately terrible " what the hell

  • kary | February 28, 2014 1:31 PM

    IKR? I was like wtf? Meryl did an incredible job in AOC... for the record I don't think Jonah Hill deserves an Oscar... So, thumb up for the reply in this comment (Daniel Llanto)

  • Daniel Llanto | February 27, 2014 1:52 PM

    Take it from the person who thinks that Jonah Hill deserves an Oscar.

  • Nik G. | February 27, 2014 1:39 PMReply

    For such an unpredictable year I really hope there's more surprises than the ones you've listed there (basically, Abdi. Although The Square would legit surprise me)

    Im hoping for DiCaprio to pull off an upset as great as McConaughey is in everything, DiCaprio's is still the better performance of the two IMO. Not gonna cry if MM gets it tho.

    Hoping that Hawkins turns in a surprising win after Lawrence and Nyong'o cancel each other out.

    Best supporting actor could surprise, but not with Abdi I'd say. Hill or Cooper coz of how much campaigning they've been doing. Abdi winning would be too surreal.

    Screenplay SHOULD go to Wolf for adapted, but 12 Years will get it like you say. Original should and will go to Her.

    Still got a few days to iron out my predictions but these are solid choices overall. Except Bullock deserving actress is something I can't get behind. She was kinda awful. Streep on the other hand, doesn't know how to be terrible but she doesn't deserve the win either. Blanchett or Adams here are the most deserving.

  • V. | February 27, 2014 1:38 PMReply

    Lawrence isn't going to get her second Oscar this young so the Academy will pick Nyong'o. That means Abdi is out as very few voters will be willing to give both supporting actors to newcomers(newcomers in a much broader sense than, say, Sally Hawkins). So Leto is picking up that one.
    Secondly, Hustle is going to win screenplay as they've got no chance in Movie/Director/Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor and the voters will want to give them something (even though Hustle is incredibly overrated and appalling)

  • fassbender 7654321 | February 27, 2014 9:35 PM

    spike lee /sidney poitier will present best director to steve mcqueen
    polanski will present best screenplay to woody allen

  • Daniel Llanto | February 27, 2014 1:34 PMReply

    You lost me when I read " ... anyone but Streep, who I thought was legitimately terrible in 'August Osage County' " So I have to assume that you think that Jonah Hill gave a better performance than Daniel Bruhl in Rush or Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks ?

  • Jorge Clooneigh | March 1, 2014 2:24 AM

    Oh, Denny J - "cartoon Cate Blanchett"? You are clearly on something.. the only question is:


  • Jorge Clooneigh | March 1, 2014 1:32 AM

    Oh, Denny J - "cartoon Cate Blanchett"? You are clearly on something.. the only question is:


  • Daniel Llanto | February 27, 2014 3:13 PM

    All of us are giving personal opinions, mate. There will be always overlooked performances, or overrated ones.

  • Denny J | February 27, 2014 2:58 PM

    I began thinking that you might actually know what you're talking about when you said that Sally Hawkins was better than Cartoon Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine but then, "anyone but Streep, who was legitimately terrible in AOC. Have you seen via Google who real people think gave the best performances this year? You and Indiewire have lost all credibility to me. Since they are not going to win anything this year, why don't you expend some energy on some of the truly great and shamefully overlooked performances this year by Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larsen, Adele Ex., Margo Martindale, Sarah Paulsen, and Chris Cooper.

  • Daniel Llanto | February 27, 2014 2:48 PM

    Jonah Hill's performance was correct, I won't deny it. But there were better performances, who deserved a nomination as well like Bruhl or Will Forte or Gandolfini. Personally, I think Michael Fassbender should win.

  • Davey | February 27, 2014 2:13 PM

    I'm not the author, and I still haven't seen "Rush" (though I'm looking forward to it), but yeah, Hill would be my pick for the win among the nominees, and I think he's about a million times better than Hanks in "Saving Mr. Banks," who, like Streep in "August Osage County," I did not care for at all.

  • Ann | February 27, 2014 2:10 PM

    Not the author, but: yes, Hill easily deserved a nomination over both Bruhl and Hanks. (And Hill is far from one of my favorite male supporting performances of the year, but he's still better than the other two.)

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