2014 Oscar Predictions: Will '12 Years a Slave' or 'Gravity' Win Best Picture?
2014 Oscar Predictions: Will '12 Years a Slave' or 'Gravity' Win Best Picture?
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
The 86th Academy Awards is coming up this Sunday, March 2. The hilarious Ellen DeGeneres is set to host for the second time, following her first stint in 2007.

That year, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett were all up for awards but lost -- this time around, it's likely at least one of them will walk away a winner. Alfonso Cuaron was up for Best Adapted Screenplay for Children of Men, and it looks like 2014 will be his lucky year because Gravity is about to walk away with a lot of Oscar statues.


Who will win this year? Like I said, I'm predicting Gravity will be one of the biggest winners on Sunday night, but can it win Best Picture or will 12 Years a Slave stop it from taking the top prize? Here are my 2014 Oscar predictions:

BEST PICTURE
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: 12 Years a Slave. With a movie like Best Picture, a lot of times you have to look at which film has the biggest momentum heading into Oscar Sunday. Gravity had the buzz early on, and while everyone expects it to win in many of the technical categories, Best Picture will elude the big budget flick. Not only does history back up this sentiment (including when Avatar lost out to The Hurt Locker in 2010), but 12 Years a Slave has a Golden Globe and BAFTA on its side. But speaking of awards, so does American Hustle (with Globe and SAG awards). If anything upsets this two-way race, it'll be Hustle.

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Prediction: Matthew McConaughey. At this point, it's McConaughey's to lose. He gave a brilliant performance in Dallas Buyers Club, and lost 50 pounds to play this role as a man living with HIV/AIDS. Now, that's not to say he's 100% got it in the bag, even though I'm pretty confident in this prediction. Leo also won a Golden Globe, but the Globes aren't always an indicator of the Oscars. And most recently, Ejiofor's profile has risen with a recent BAFTA win. (McConaughey can currently be seen on HBO's True Detective.)

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Prediction: Cate Blanchett. She's got everything going in her favor right now, racking up win after win after win. The only thing that might set her back is the recent controversy surrounding Blue Jasmine director Woody Allen. It's unlikely that'll stop her from taking home an Oscar, but controversy has derailed movies before.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Prediction: Jared Leto. However many times I say this person or that person has it in the bag, the biggest upset of them all would be if Jared Leto lost Best Supporting Actor for his beautiful and moving portrayal of a transgender AIDS patient. The transformation from Leto as a member of 30 Seconds to Mars to Rayon in Dallas is truly stunning.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Prediction: Lupita Nyong'o. Jennifer Lawrence deservedly won an Oscar last year (Best Actress) for Silver Linings Playbook; I still can't get over how brilliant she was in that film. It would be cool to see her take home the trophy two years in a row, and while that's not out of the question (she did win a Golden Globe and BAFTA), this is Lupita Nyong'o's year. Her SAG win cemented her as the frontrunner, which continues to this day.

BEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron. David O. Russell lost out in this category last year, and it's about to happen again because here comes Alfonso Cuaron. There's no denying how breathtakingly spectacular Gravity is, a film that changes the game for technological advancement. And Cuaron was there to help see it through to fruition. The thing about this director is he always infuses his films with such artistry and creative skills, and he's about to cap off an amazing year with an Oscar.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

Prediction: Her. It seems like a two-way race between American Hustle and Her. But it's obvious that the most deserving is Her. The word 'original' is in this category's title for a reason: the originality of this Spike Jonze directed film can't be matched.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Prediction: 12 Years a Slave. There's a reason why 12 Years is heading towards a Best Picture win. Not only are the performances some of the best of the year, but the writing is the best in a long while -- a win here seems like a given considering the big prize it'll take home. But don't count Philomena out just yet, because it's been given a last-minute push from a recent BAFTA win.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

Prediction: Frozen. The easiest prediction of the year. None of the other four films stand a chance against the Disney feature that continues to rake in more and more money every day. A musical sing-along version was recently released in theaters, and it's now available to buy digitally.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
Omar, Palestine

Prediction: The Great Beauty. Has anybody actually seen these movies? With a category like this, you kind of just have to go based on what everyone's talking about online, as well as looking at what awards they've won. So let me do just that: The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Great Beauty are the only ones being talked about, and the latter has won a Golden Globe and BAFTA award -- so I'm sticking with the latter.

BEST DOCUMENTARY -- FEATURE
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Prediction: 20 Feet from Stardom. This one could go to any of them, really. The Act of Killing has an intriguing concept, but don't count out The Square. For me, though, I have to go with 20 Feet from Stardom, a documentary about backup singers. I'm all for supporting a film that's all about music. Plus, there's a TV connection here: Judith Hill, who's one of the backup singers featured in 20 Feet, competed in season 4 of The Voice on Team Adam -- she was eliminated three weeks before the finale.

BEST DOCUMENTARY -- SHORT
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Prediction: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Here's another documentary all about music and about how important music is to us. I can't bet against something like that.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

Prediction: Get a Horse! I absolutely loved this Disney short. Incidentally, it played before Frozen. Disney could have easily put together a Mickey Mouse-starring short that was just ho-hum, but they actually invested in creating a quality film with top-notch animation, as well as a storyline that fits right in with these characters that we know and love.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Prediction: Helium. It's hard to tell what might happen here, but the safe bet seems to be either Helium or Voorman. Both have interesting storylines (the former about an ill boy being told a story about a fantasy world and the latter about a prisoner who thinks that he is a god).

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Book Thief
Gravity
Her
Philomena
Saving Mr. Banks

Prediction: Gravity. A film that's visually a work of art needs a musical score that equally complements that vision, and Steven Price's score for Gravity does just that. That's not to say the other composers are not worthy; John Williams, William Butler, Alexandre Desplat and Thomas Newman are all fantastic composers.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Happy," Despicable Me 2
"Let It Go," Frozen
"The Moon Song," Her
"Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Prediction: "Let It Go." Frozen's stature keeps rising each and every week, which will help its chances at winning Best Original Song. Its main competitor is "Ordinary Love." I correctly predicted the U2 song would win at the Golden Globes, but this time I'm siding with Frozen. If for some reason U2 wins, I'm going to be kicking myself for not sticking with my gut instinct (and personal favorite). (This category originally had five nominees, but "Alone Yet Not Alone" was disqualified because the composer sent emails to some of the Academy members lobbying them to support the song/film.)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners

Prediction: Gravity. There's no way Gravity can lose here. Every compliment I've given this film so far most aptly applies with this category.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her
12 Years a Slave

Prediction: The Great Gatsby. Both this and Best Costume Design are ripe for period pieces, so it's between American Hustle, The Great Gatsby and 12 Years a Slave. I say Gatsby has the win, but wouldn't be surprised if the others took it either.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years a Slave

Prediction: The Great Gatsby. This time, I'm narrowing it down to just American Hustle and The Great Gatsby, with 12 Years still a possibility. Again, I'm siding with Gatsby because it's easy to reward the visuals of this film for both production and costume design.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

Prediction: Dallas Buyers Club. Talk about three films that are completely different in every single way. But Dallas will take it -- I mean, have you seen Jared Leto?

BEST FILM EDITING
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
12 Years a Slave

Prediction: Gravity. How many times can I repeat myself when it comes to Gravity? Ditto everything I've said. Having said that, both Captain Phillips and American Hustle took home Eddies (which are awards for editing), so this could be more wide open that we think.

BEST SOUND EDITING
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Prediction: Gravity.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

Prediction: Gravity. I said last year that Sound Editing and Sound Mixing don't always go to the same film. But it will this year.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Prediction: Gravity. Not even the highly impressive visual effects of the dragon Smaug can overcome the work of art that is the visual effects in Gravity. The technical categories don't get as much attention, unfortunately, but here is one categories where it'll be a huge upset if Gravity doesn't come away the winner.


What are you predictions for the Oscars? Share in the comments below.

The 2014 Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 2 at 8:30pm ET (5:30pm PT) on ABC.


(Images courtesy of Fox Searchlight and Warner Bros.)



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