The Plumber’s Ledger Predicts The Oscars

 

BEST PICTURE

The nominees:

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

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

While American Hustle, the 70’s crime comedy-drama got a lot of love at the beginning of the awards season, grabbing the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical and the Screen Actors Guild ensemble award, it’s now lost quite a bit of steam, coming up empty handed at the Directors, Producers and Writers Guild awards. The true frontrunners for the big prize are space thriller/huge commercial success Gravity and the touching historical-drama 12 Years a Slave. And what a tight race it is. For the first time ever, the films tied at the producers guild award, an award that is usually a good predictor for the best picture Oscar. In the past couple of years historical-dramas have beat out 3D box office powerhouses in this category (think Argo vs. Life of Pie, Hurt Locker vs. Avatar), and although The Academy could go modern this year with Gravity, here’s hoping it doesn’t- 12 years a Slave, the pre-civil war story of a free man who was sold into slavery is a beautiful, important film that is absolutely deserving of the award, and not just because it fits into the typical oscar mould.

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees:

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

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

While this could go to Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) or David O’Russell (American Hustle) Cuaron’s technical achievements in the visually stunning sci-fi space film pretty much make him a shoo-in for this award. He’s got the Golden Globe, the Critics Choice, and the Directors Guild under his belt; it would be a huge surprise to see him lose this one.

BEST ACTRESS

The nominees:

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

Will Win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett is the favourite to win for her role as a spoiled upper class housewife who loses everything in Woody Allen’s latest flick. Amy Adams could very much steal the award as the only actress in the category who hasn’t already won (although she has been nominated five times).  This could be her year, and it could be a way to pay tribute to “American Hustle” and it’s amazing ensemble cast-Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, all of whom were also nominated but have been overshadowed by other performances.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees:

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

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey

This is an incredibly stacked year for the best actor category. So staked in fact that Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), Robert Redford (All is Lost), Forest Whitaker (The Butler) and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), all of which had amazing performances didn’t even get nominated! Matthew McConaughey is the clear front runner here, he’s dominated the awards thus far, and has had a great year with Mud,  Wolf of Wall street, and his new HBO drama True Detective already getting good reviews.  Losing close to 50 pounds for this role, McConaughey plays a homophobic electrician who gets diagnosed with AIDS and tries to get unapproved medication to patients who desperately need it. There is no denying that we are in a “McConaughaze,” and the once rom-com star has certainly proven that he deserves a spot in the big leagues. Still, it will be sad to see the other nominees, all of whom are worthy of the award, walk away empty handed, especially Leo, who had the performance of his career in The Wolf of Wall Street.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Nominees:

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

Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o

Young, beautiful, ridiculously talented, and loved by all, Lupita Nyong’o is the starlet of this awards season. In “12 Years a Slave”, her first feature film, she plays a tormented and tortured slave named Patsey who befriends Ejiofor’s character, Solomon Northup. She does much more than support Ejiofor, however; she absolutely shines in this role by delivering a heart wrenching performance that is a must see this year. She’s up against Jennifer Lawrence, whom she lost the Golden Globe to. As beloved as Jen may be, chances are the Academy won’t want to give the 23 year old two oscars in two years.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The Nominees:

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

Will Win: Jared Leto

If there is something that the Academy likes to reward, it’s transformative roles. Leto, who plays a transgender struggling with aids and a drug addiction in the Dallas Buyer’s Club, certainly falls into that category. He has won every precursor thus far so he’s pretty much got this in the bag. If someone were to take it, it could be Bradley Cooper, for the same reasons that Amy Adams could take the best actress award.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:

American Hustle Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine Written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club Written by Craig Burton & Melisa Wallack
Her Written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska Written by Bob Nelson

Will Win: Spike Jonze, Her

Screenplay’s are always tough to predict, and this year is no exception. It seems to be in between American Hustle and Her. Her took home the Writers Guild Award, which gives it a pretty good chance, but, American Hustle which was nominated in 10 categories but isn’t the frontrunner for any of them thus far, may come out empty handed, unless it wins this. Both are great scripts; American Hustle has a heavy plot that keeps you on your toes, not to mention, it’s hilarious. Her on the other hand, is a unique, modern and fascinating love story between a man, played Joaquin Phoenix and his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Although it would be sad to see “Hustle” lose out on all major categories, the ingenuity, quirkiness and rawness of Her is too hard to say no to.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:

“Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

There isn’t much of a competition here, it seems like it will go to “12 years a Slave”, which was adapted from Solomon Northrup’s book of the same name. The best picture winner almost always wins best screenplay as well. However, there is a potential upset here with “Philomena”, the only Harvey Weinstein film to get nominated this year, or “Captain Phillips”, which took home a Writers Guild Award a few weeks ago.

Ali Dutrut

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