Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An early look at Oscar frontrunners...?

And you get an Oscar, and you get an Oscar, and you get a...nomination!

Alright, so if Josh and I weren’t already crazy enough trying to predict the nominees this far out, we’re also tackling who we think is going to take home to gold, based on our early predictions.  I have to say, we are extremely varied here, which is pretty awesome.  We agree on a few names, but overall it is clear where our bullish predictions lie and which films we are either assuming will hit hard with AMPAS, or maybe secretly hoping and praying will.

Let’s take this one category at a time…

Unbroken vs. Into the Woods

As you are about to see, I’m pretty certain that Unbroken is going to be THE film of 2014.  I just have a really strong feeling that it is going to go all the way.  My strong feelings don’t always pan out, so there’s no telling, but I can’t ignore my gut.  Josh, on the other hand, is pretty sure that Into the Woods is going to be a HUGE Oscar hit, and he may be onto something.  I read the script a few months ago and was immediately on the fence.  It has potential to be either massively successful or a pretty giant critical flop.  How funny would it be though, for Marshall to direct another musical to the Oscar but fail to win the Directing Oscar himself?

Speaking of…

Angelina Jolie vs. Christopher Nolan

I’ll be honest, as bullish as I am on Unbroken, I was almost tempted to predict Nolan here.  The ONLY thing holding me back was not the fact that AMPAS has snubbed him so many times now, but the fact that Cuaron just won this year.  Science Fiction is not a genre that AMPAS embraces on a regular basis (I know, Gravity was not necessarily Science Fiction, but you know what I mean) and so I’m not that confident that they’ll be willing to do that here, two years in a row.  Jolie is obviously very popular with them.  She just won their Humanitarian Award this year and I think they respect her not only as an artist but as a person.  You can point at Affleck as a reason they’ll snub her all you want…and then I can point you in the direction of Gibson and Redford and Costner as a reason they’ll embrace her.  One thing she does have that NONE of them do is an Acting Oscar.

Unbroken vs Inherent Vice

The fact that Unbroken is a biopic adapted by the Coen Brothers from a critically acclaimed biography gives me a lot of confidence in a win here, even if the film fails elsewhere.  It just feels right to me.  That being said, The Coen’s already have an Oscar, and Paul Thomas Anderson does not, so he could very well find himself in Oscar’s good graces if Inherent Vice becomes a really big player.  I have heard that the story isn’t the flashiest, but then I have also heard that Anderson has made some important tweaks, so you never know.

Interstellar vs Foxcatcher

I’ll admit, this was the hardest category for me to personally whittle down.  I honestly wanted to go with Josh’s choice, Foxcatcher, but wound up leaning towards AMPAS rewarding Nolan here instead.  Yes, AMPAS didn’t even nominate Gravity, but Interstellar looks to have a far more intricate (at least obviously so) plot and development of that said plot, and they like Nolan’s breed of twists and turns (as they’ve shown in the past) so I could very well see them extending him a bone here.  That being said, I almost went the way of Josh here, and part of me thinks he’s more right than me here.

Emily Blunt vs. Viola Davis

I was initially going to go with Emma Stone, who in my eyes is probably only a few short years from an Oscar win, but I decided to go with Blunt solely because I’ve read the script and this role is incredibly, incredibly baity.  In fact, it defines bait.  Viola Davis is a great choice for the sole reason that she is considered due by many, but this film just looks so…bad, and I’m pretty much convinced that she’ll be the only nominee from the film, which means she’s have to be the CLEAR favorite going into Oscar night in order to win.

Edward Norton vs. Channing Tatum

Early word is that Edward Norton is hilarious in Birdman.  He’s the comic relief and has a pretty large role, and this could be seen as a tremendous comeback for him.  On the other side, Tatum has the largest role in Foxcatcher (he’s the true lead) and his star is rising so high that this could be seen as the true breakthrough for him.  I was tempted to predict him as well.  For me, this far out, these are the top two to consider for the win here.

Steve Carell

I love that we both predicted Carell.  This is such a transformative role.  He doesn’t even look like himself, and Oscar loves when comedic talents break away from their roots and try something more dramatic.  Miller is GREAT with his actors, and this looks to be no different.  I have a feeling he’ll be winning at Cannes this year, and I think that will springboard him to the frontrunner status this year, making his film a greater force (in fact, I came close to predicting it for Picture, Director and Screenplay).  This is certainly one of my most anticipated performances of the year.

Amy Adams

I almost went with Michelle Williams, who I’ve been predicted since last year, but after seeing the response to Adams’ Oscar nominated performance in American Hustle and seeing how much everyone wanted her to be the runner up, I have a feeling that she was and that Oscar is ready to reward her.  The fact that she’s in a biopic that looks to be something unique and visionary only means to me that this could very well be her deemed Oscar ticket.  Unless Suite Française becomes a major player, I think Williams attempt at Oscar glory (well, more like Weinstein’s) may have to wait a year.  And this is coming from someone who thinks Williams is a better actress than Adams.

Foxcatcher vs Interstellar

The only reason I am not predicting Interstellar is because I stupidly didn’t predict it for a nomination based on the fact that Inception was snubbed.  When you are trying to compile a list of five contenders in a field that includes 700, you make whatever reasons you can to cut however many films you need to.  Still, it was dumb on my part because now that Josh is predicting it to win here, it sounds about right.  I’m going with Foxcatcher, from what I’ve predicted, for the sole reason that it has the potential to be a pretty flashy contender, and I’m already predicting Unbroken for so much.


While the trend these days is to award Visual Effects here in this category by favoring effects heavy films shot in 3D, I’m hedging my bets for Deakins to finally win his Oscar, and so is Josh.  The stills for this film looks BEAUTIFUL, and this is bound to at least be a contender for some major awards, regardless if it wins or not.  Deakins has been in need of a narrative like this, and he finally has it.  This early out, this category could be this film’s most likely win.

Far From the Madding Crowd vs. Into the Woods

I debated going with Into the Woods, but something tells me that if Far From the Madding Crowd is released this year, it is going to become a clear lock in this category.  The garments are just going to be much prettier, and Oscar likes pretty.  From the stills we have seen from these two films, it is clear that the costumes from Madding Crowd have more light and froth to them, while the dirty appeal of Into the Woods could work against it.  They’ll both be very strong contenders, and either one could take this (or both could win to something we’re not even considering).

Into the Woods

This feels like a no-brainer at this point.  This is the type of film that is made for these categories, and it’s easy to see why.  The range of art direction fluctuations is going to make it a frontrunner based on conception alone, and if the film becomes an Oscar darling is some way or another (or just makes enough money to find itself a Best Picture nominee in an extended field) it’ll become that easy go-to win for anyone deciding what they want to award in this category.

Into the Woods

Again, this will probably win for Meryl’s face alone (not unlike another recent win in this category).  Oscar likes to go ‘new’ here, which is probably why films like The Hobbit and Star Trek didn’t fare too well here.  This will be new enough for them.


I mean, is there really any doubt that this is the clear frontrunner this early out?  This is probably going to be this year’s Gravity, at least from a technical standpoint.  The concept here is so visually broad that it is bound to be something special for the eyes, and the hype and buzz surrounding this new technology that Nolan is talking about has me really intrigued.  I have a feeling we could be witnessing something groundbreaking. 


Again, for me at least, this feels like a pretty easy win for Interstellar.  As we saw with Gravity, these films can rest so heavily on the aural experience, which completely draws in (or ties together) the whole experience.

Interstellar vs Into the Woods

I’m hedging my bets for Interstellar to take both these awards, but Josh thinks that the musicality of Into the Woods will win out here.  Musicals do tend to fair kindly in this category, but something about the power of Interstellar feels like a real winner in these categories to me.  If the fuss is made over the singing, like it was about Les Miserables, I have a feeling that Josh’s hunch could be correct though.

Unbroken (Desplat)

Much like my Deakins prediction, I have this strong feeling that this narrative was all Desplat needed to FINALLY win his Oscar.  Looks like Josh is in agreement with me.  This has the potential to be beautiful (and even obvious, which the Academy likes). 


The LEGO Movie vs. Begin Again

I know that it may seem really far-fetched, but I have a feeling that Everything is Awesome could go all the way.  Josh is predicting something from Begin Again (formerly known as Can a Song Save Your Life) to win here, but I have a feeling that the film itself could be too small. 

Trash (Brazil) vs. Spain

Josh is blind predicting Spain here.  I’m predicting Brazil ONLY because I’m assuming that they are going to submit Trash, which is said to be at least 80% in Portuguese, so it would qualify, and if it winds up being an Oscar contender in Best Picture (which I’m also predicting, as is Josh) then I have to assume that it would be the clear frontrunner in this category based on that alone.  Still, this far out, we don’t even know if the film will be good or if it will officially qualify or if Brazil will choose it.  It’s just blinder predicting!

The LEGO Movie

We don’t know how any of these films will fare, so predicting right now boils down to the preexisting reviews for the only animated film (that we’re predicting) that has been released, and seriously those reviews were alarmingly remarkable.  Unless something comes out of nowhere with beyond stellar reviews (maybe The Boxtrolls) I can see The LEGO Movie making a serious comeback into the Oscar conversation, especially since I have a feeling it’ll land on some Top Ten’s at year’s end.

So there you have it!  How many of these will actually happen…?  I have no clue, but next year is going to be fun!


  1. Love your enthusisasm for Unbroken. I would say I'm not the biggest fan of Jolie but it would be awesome to see her win something other than for her acting and charity. Plus, I would have never seen this coming.

    1. The powers behind this one film just seem so Oscary! I mean, Deakins, Coens, Desplat, Jolie...seems like an Oscar wet-dream.

  2. I'm really curious to see next year's Oscars, there's going to be some really interesting movies released this year. I'm also becoming a fan of Angelina more and more!

    1. As a person, I respect her immensely. I haven't been a true fan of her acting in a long time, even though she's always watchable for sure. I have high hopes for her direction this year though.

  3. I'd love to see Edward Norton win. How great would it be for him, Adams, Nolan, Deakins and Desplat to finally get an Oscar?

    Begin Again might just come and go unnoticed, but it has The Weinstein Company behind it. It also has the Once connection; stars three Oscar-nominated actors; and looks like it could be a solid indie crowd-pleaser. A song nod/win feels like a no-brianer in a category that appears wide open. :/

    1. The idea of Norton, Adams, Nolan, Deakins and Desplat getting Oscars is pretty freaking awesome!

      I see where you are coming from, and I did factor in the Weinstein element when predicting here, but despite good reviews it appears that he's dumping the film in theaters in summer, which makes me wonder if he'll even try and campaign for it.

      It does feel like a Globes hit though, so I'm wondering if it gains traction there.