Oscar Picks – 15 November 2013

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
Fruitvale Station
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf of Wall Street

Falling off: The Monuments Men
Rising star: Dallas Buyers Club

The skinny: We’re still waiting on four of these films to open properly, so there’s not much movement, other than The Monuments Men, which has been shuffled to February.

Alfonso Cuarón directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Falling off: None
Rising star: John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks

The skinny: Same as above, though Saving Mr. Banks is now a legitimate contender.

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost

Falling off: None
Rising star, still: Bruce Dern, Nebraska

The skinny: I’m still not convinced, despite Alexander Payne’s Oscar history, that this will be enough for Bruce Dern to get an acting nod. I’m sticking with Michael B. Jordan until the reviews from the general press get in and even then, I may not be convinced until SAG.

Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Falling off: Amy Adams
Rising star: Brie Larson, Short Term 12

The skinny: A strong slate of former winners. Larson is a stand-in for any woman leading an independent title that will need a whole lot of help to crack the final five.   

Daniel Brühl in Rush
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Falling off: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Rising star: John Goodman, Inside Llewyn Davis

The skinny: I’m leaving it in the Best Picture race for now, but even though The Wolf of Wall Street is going to make its Christmas Day release, I’m starting to doubt this dark comedy’s chances with Oscar. Scorsese never does anything half-assed, but I’m starting to think it won’t be the Academy’s cup of tea. I still say Brühl is the front-runner. As we saw last year, screentime can be a huge determining factor in this category.

Oprah Winfrey in The Butler
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Carey Mulligan, Inside Llewyn Davis
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

Falling off: Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
Rising star: Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

The skinny: I have a feeling, but it’s nothing more than that, Jennifer Lawrence is a lock for a nomination. We all just love her so much. She’s about to have an amazing opening weekend for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and she’s just about the most wonderful woman on earth. But she’s still going to have to beat out the potentially history-making trio of Nyong’o, Spencer and Winfrey.

The cast of American Hustle
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Fruitvale Station
Inside Llewyn Davis

Falling off: Nebraska
Rising star: Enough Said

The skinny: In this most adventurous category, I think they’ll reward Spike Jonze’s Her over first-timer Bob Nelson’s Nebraska. Nicole Holofcener came mighty close in 2010 for Please Give. If there’s enough goodwill for her and what might be James Gandolfini’s final on-screen performance, she could make it.

The cast of 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
August: Osage County
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street

Falling off: None
Rising star: Short Term 12

The skinny: What I said above about Brie Larson, that applies to other indie screenplays as well.

The moose and snowman of Frozen
Ernest and Celestine
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

Falling off: None
Rising star: O Apóstolo

The skinny: The five listed above are the right mix the Academy is looking for, with big Disney hits, a clever outsider and two foreign indies. The claymation O Apóstolo might become one of those indies.

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