86th Academy Awards Predictions

The Oscars take place on Sunday, March 2nd this year. All predictions are made based off of the nominated pictures for each category listed below.

Best Picture

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

The field for best picture is nine films this year. The favorite is 12 Years a Slave, a dramatic powerhouse project. It took the best picture-drama award at the golden globes, as well as the BAFTAS, and has been a favorite of the guilds. American Hustle seems to be its biggest threat, taking home best picture-comedy/musical at the globes, and best comedy at the critic’s choice. But, the Academy doesn’t usually favor its grand prize to movies with any such comedic tone. Gravity could be a dark horse winner, as its director continues to reap praise and awards elsewhere. The other nominations are all strong films, but are longshots. It looks like 12 Years will come out on top though.
Predicted Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor

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

It’s a tough race for Best Actor this year. An argument can be made for each of these gentlemen to take home the statute. Ejiofor had the momentum all Fall, but McConaughey never went away. There had been talk of his physical transformation and transcendent performance nabbing him nominations. It became real this awards season, as McConaughey has picked up the best actor award from SAG, the critics, and the golden globes. At this point, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t win the Oscar. If not him, it’s going to Ejiofor, for his strong, emotional work in Slave. Ejiofor won the BAFTA, probably because of his British roots (Oddly enough, McConaughey was not nominated there. Bale yet again gave a stellar performance in Hustle, and Dern was a pleasant surprise this year with Nebraska. Unfortunately, DiCaprio yet again seems to be on the outside looking in, as his career high performance in Wolf came at the same time as McConaughey’s incredible career resurgence, and Ejiofor’s major breakout. One day, he will get his. At least, he should. With his luck, he’ll come up against Daniel Day Lewis next time, which is the acting equivalent of meeting Jordan and the Bulls in the 90’s finals: no chance. As much as I’d like to see Leo win; McConaughey is the guy.
Predicted Winner: Matthew McConaughey.

Best Actress

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

Best Actress seems to be a one horse race. Amy Adams was incredible in American Hustle, but she has won her awards so far under the comedy category. Blanchett has been winning under the drama distinction, again, what the Academy favors. (They don’t separate categories into genres) Bullock has continued her stellar career with another universally praised turn in Gravity, essentially a one woman show. Dench earns another nod, and Meryl Streep continues to follow suit with her annual nomination. No actor, male or female, has ever been nominated as much as her. Eighteen total nominations, three wins over her career. But this time around, the award is Blanchett’s to lose.
Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett

Best Supporting Actor

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

Another loaded category, but seemingly already decided race. Abdi is a first time nominee, as Phillips was his first ever acting role. He took home the BAFTA award, but it just seems too good to be true to win the Oscar. Cooper nails another role under the direction of David O Russell, who guided him to a lead nomination last year. Fassbender is downright despicable and wretched as a plantation owner during slavery, and Hill surprised everyone by garnering another nod. He didn’t receive recognition anywhere else; the Academy seems to have a big liking for him. Jared Leto, however, has been sweeping up this award at all the other ceremonies, for his work as a transgender AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. He seems to be a shoe in here as well.
Predicted Winner: Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, for Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence, for American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o, for 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts, for August: Osage County
  • June Squibb, for Nebraska

The stage seems to be set for new face Lupita Nyong’o to snag this award, for her performance as an abused slave. Once again, she has garnered all the dramatic category awards, while Lawrence has snagged the comedy category supporting awards. In my opinion, Lawrence could very well sneak out with the statue. She won the BAFTA over Nyong’o, and she is an Academy favorite. Quite frankly, the argument can be made that she is the most coveted female actor around. I’m going to go with her on this one, but don’t be shocked if Nyong’o wins.
Predicted Winner: Jennifer Lawrence.

Best Director

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

This is a tough, stacked field of directors this year. There could have been an argument made for several others to make this list, but the voters settled on these five. O. Russell continues his red hot streak, Payne sneaks in with Nebraska, and McQueen makes the cut with only his third project. The legendary Scorsese rounds them out, despite all the controversy surrounding his latest picture. However, it his Cuaron who has won many of the accolades so far this awards season. His groundbreaking movie Gravity is being heralded as one of the most innovative space movies yet. He looks to be the favorite, but the Academy has long been picky when it comes to anything with space. However, this seems to be the year where they dispel that label.
Predicted Winner: Alfonso Cuaron.

Best Original Screenplay

  • American Hustle
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Her
  • Nebraska

American Hustle was an outstanding piece, elevated by its director and cast. Jasmine is another Woody Allen hit, and Dallas Buyers Club was an acting carried movie. I think the winner here will go to Her. It resonates with the ever relevant theme of love, relationships, companionship, and what they all mean. It connects these themes with a near future setting of Joaquin Phoenix and his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Phoenix develops a strong relationship with the OS. Although some are calling the movie weird, I think such a concept couldn’t have come at a better time, as society is obsessed, addicted, and dependent on technology.  The tying in of that to our basic human emotional needs, to me, is brilliant.
Predicted Winner: Her

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Before Midnight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

This year, it seems that Solomon Northup’s adapted memoirs will win the gold for 12 Years a Slave. The other nominations are deservedly so, but I think the closest competitors won’t break through. Too many have shot down Wolf, and the rest just seem to be a second fiddle to McQueen’s ugly tale of American pastime.
Predicted Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Best Animated Feature

  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Croods
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises
  • Ernest and Celestine

I think this race between the arts of animation comes down to the minions of Despicable Me 2, and Frozen. In the end, my predicted winner is Frozen.

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown
  • The Great Beauty
  • The Hunt
  • Omar
  • The Missing Picture

Predicted Winner: The Great Beauty. The Italian feature that is sweeping awards elsewhere.

Best Cinematography

  • Gravity
  • The Grandmaster
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners

Predicted Winner: Gravity, due to its revolutionary filming techniques and methods, and captured look.

Best Editing

  • Gravity
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • 12 Years a Slave

Predicted Winner: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Production Design

  • Gravity
  • American Hustle
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave

Predicted Winner: Gravity

Best Costume Design

  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman
  • 12 Years a Slave

Predicted Winner: The Great Gatsby. American Hustle makes a strong case with its 70’s hairdos and outfits, but this award is all about flash and costumes galore, which is Gatsby.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger

Predicted Winner: Dallas Buyers Club. Jackass could sneak this Oscar statue out for the major makeovers. Lone Ranger flopped, but it wasn’t due to makeup and hair. Dallas featured major makeovers and transformations. Along with the glory elsewhere, I’ll say it wins.

Best Original Score

  • The Book Thief
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Philomena
  • Saving Mr. Banks

Predicted Winner: Saving Mr. Banks. I thought for sure this movie would have garnered other nominations, but it didn’t. I think it wins this lone nod here though.  If not, Gravity will.

Best Original Song

  • Despicable Me 2
  • Frozen
  • Her
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Predicted Winner: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It has won elsewhere. I thought the Lana Del Rey song “Young and Beautiful” might garner a nod for Gatsby. The lyrics, tone, and dark yet heartfelt nature fit the story perfectly.

Best Sound Mixing

  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor

Predicted Winner: Lone Survivor

Best Sound Editing

  • All is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor

Predicted Winner: Gravity

Best Visual Effects

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

Predicted Winner: Gravity

Best Documentary Feature

  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square
  • 20 Feet from Stardom

Predicted Winner: The Act of Killing

Best Documentary Short

  • The Lady in Number 6
  • Cavedigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karam Has No Walls
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Predicted Winner: Facing Fear

Best Animated Short

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Predicted Winner: Get a Horse!

Best Live Action Short

  • That Wasn’t Me
  • Just Before Losing Everything
  • Helium
  • Do I Have To Take Care of Everything?
  • The Voorman Problem

Predicted Winner: Helium

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Frank is an Elmhurst College graduate with a BA in Communications. Acting is the life passion; loves movies of all genres, and creative writing in his spare time. An avid sports fan and an old school music connoisseur, also enjoys the occasional gin and tonic. Read more about Frank on his website,

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