1) The Monuments Men:
The love Clooney, and this film looks completely Oscary. Prestige historical dramas are a safe bet, and when you add this cast and Nazi’s then you have a home run; presumably.
This looks to be the technical event of the year, and if the film is as big as I assume it will be, and Cuaron is locked and loaded in director then this is a sure thing.
3) Fruitvale Station:
The indie breakout of the year? Most likely. This is a topical film with great buzz, reviews and word of mouth…and Weinstein is backing this!
4) American Hustle:
David O. Russell’s follow up to his huge Oscar ticket, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, looks to be big with Oscar. It’s topical and the cast is a who’s-who of Oscar nominees and winners.
5) The Counselor:
Ridley Scott is bound to gain Oscar traction for something soon, right? This is a script penned by the brilliant Cormac McCarthy and has a stellar cast, so here’s to hoping my hunch is right.
Bennett Miller has a GREAT track record with Oscar and this is a very AMPAS friendly subject. I should probably have this up higher, to be honest.
7) Inside Llewyn Davis:
Reviews out of Cannes are very good, and it was a big winner so I’m pretty certain that those reviews coupled with the ‘Coen’s can do no wrong’ mentality of the Academy will result in an easy nomination here.
8) All is Lost:
It may be all about Redford when it all comes down to it, and yet if he winds up being the frontrunner for Actor won’t the film need to gain traction elsewhere, especially here?
9) August: Osage County:
This could be seen as a mere actor’s film and nothing more, and yet it also could get carried right into the Best Picture field BECAUSE of those actors.
10) Before Midnight:
I’m throwing this in here mainly because those reviews are stellar right now and it may be seen as a way to reward the trilogy and its stars, especially if writing and acting nominations are forthcoming.
So, last year I was all about ‘Rush’ being at the top of the pack, but with other films surfacing and less being said about the Howard film, I’ve dropped it from my top ten, but I still feel that it is on the verge of a slew of nominations. It really (as does everything) depends on how it is received. I also considered throwing ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ in the mix, despite my better judgment. The Palme win is a big deal, but the subject matter and foreign language barriers are also a big deal. I’ve been one of the only people predicting heavily ‘The Bling Ring’, but as you can see now I’ve stripped it of all but one mention (in Cinematography). I really want to still believe, and so in the back of my mind it’s there. ’12 Years a Slave’ has so much going for it and yet McQueen’s name alone makes me wonder if it will get ANYTHING, let alone land in Best Picture. And then there is ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, which got great ink out of CinemaConn and has a slew of early supporters, but it could be deemed too light or too much fun for Oscar.
You mean I should be predicting you?
It’s probably pretty stupid of me to keep the Scorsese directed ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and the Cannes winning ‘Nebraska’ out of my top ten, but I’ve been skeptical of them from the beginning and am still on the fence. I predicted ‘Nebraska’ last month and was strongly considering predicting ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ this month but at the last minute I pulled out. I’m also pretty sure that I’m really underestimating Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. There is also the Weinstein backed ‘Grace of Monaco’ and ‘The Butler’ to consider (or reconsider) and lack of real word on ‘The Fifth Estate’, ‘Railway Man’ and ‘Labor Day’ have me hesitant to include them here or anywhere (outside of acting). I’m also wondering if ‘Captain Phillips’ will be seen as more than an action thriller. It may be hard to sell it as a serious film if the focal point is one the technical aspects.
Dark Horse Possibilities…
With Weinstein buying out ‘Philomena’, and Dench being my premature pick for Lead Actress this year, there is a real chance that ‘Philomena’ could surprise us all and become this underestimated dark horse in this category. It is Frears and the subject is VERY AMPAS. I’m also wondering if ‘The Past’ couldn’t surprise. Still, ‘A Separation’ couldn’t even make it with far better reviews so I’m thinking not. If ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ becomes more than an actor’s film it could surprise here, and ‘Elysium’ could follow in ‘District 9’s footsteps, or become increasingly irrelevant. And then there is ‘Winter’s Tale’. The scope of the source material is huge (and I’m only a few pages into the book) and so if it is done right it could be remarkable. That being said, I would probably have this in my top 10 if I were more confident in the director.
So, in recap:
All is Lost
August: Osage County
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Monuments Men
August: Osage County
The Bling Ring
The Monuments Men
Now, with regards to the Animated and Foreign categories, I’m sticking with my predicted five at the moment. It is too early to change things up until more word is had on the real contenders. All I know is that after Cannes, France is probably a shoo-in!