Oscar Predictions (86th Academy Awards)

Here is my official selection for the 86th Academy Awards!

Oscars

Best Visual Effects

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

And the winner is… Gravity

This is not only the obvious choice, it is the right choice. The visual effects displayed in Gravity are unprecedented. In 3D especially, the film’s thematic and aesthetic tropes are complimented by the use of visual effects.

Gravity

Best Sound Mixing

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

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity

Without a campaign, Inside Llewyn Davis, the only real contender here, is sure to get snubbed. Despite Captain Phillips‘ technically virtuous shifts in ambient sound, Gravity is the sole film to truly make inseparable what sounds are live and what are post-produced.

Gravity

Best Sound Editing

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

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity

Perhaps even more admirable for its sound editing than its sound mixing. All Is Lost’s use of location shooting gives it a bit of an edge, but not enough to overthrow this powerhouse. Captain Phillips again is the only real contender against Gravity.

Gravity

Best Production Design

American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her
12 Years a Slave

And the Oscar goes to… The Great Gatsby

For a prize that tends to award elaborate sets and luxurious displays, it would be amiss to neglect Gatsby. American Hustle’s period kitsch gives it a run for its money, but Her’s nuance and subtlety make it truly most deserving of this award.

GG

Best Original Song

Happy (Despicable Me 2)
Let it Go (Frozen)
The Moon Song (Her
Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

And the Oscar goes to… Frozen

The most uncontroversial and therefore most likely winner. Also the most POPular song.

Frozen

Best Original Score

The Book Thief (John Williams)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Her (William Butler, Owen Pallet)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity

With the three strongest contenders (Place Beyond the Pines, Inside Llewyn Davis, 12 Years a Slave) not even nominated, Gravity’s big, bold, thrilling sound track is sure to raise the Academy’s attention. Though not Desplat’s best work, Philomena gives it a run.

Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

And the Oscar goes to… Dallas Buyers Club

Clearly, the academy would love to be able to award the contentious Dallas Buyers Club a prize for something other than acting performances. This is the only category where they can do this. With two complete jokes for competition, Dallas Buyers Club is an almost certain winner here.

DCB

Best Costume Design

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

And the Oscar goes to… The Great Gatsby

Again, American Hustle is the strongest competition for Gatsby, whose major achievement is clearly in its lavish costume design.

GG

Best Documentary Feature

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

And the Oscar goes to… The Act of Killing

With Sarah Polley’s critically acclaimed Stories We Tell out of the running, it comes down to the three films directed by students  of Robb Moss (Professor at Harvard University). While The Act of Killing may see the most resistance, it is also the most definitive choice. The Square sits on fairly equal ground, though.

The Act of Killing

Best Foreign Language Film

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

And the Oscar goes to… The Hunt

It’s a little unbelievable that the French Palme D’or winning Blue is the Warmest Colour is not included here. With this omission, Vinterberg’s The Hunt, starring much-loved Hannibal star Mads Mikkelson is most likely to win. While The Great Beauty boasts astounding visuals, the slow pace of the film will likely repel many of the academy members.

Hunt

Best Film Editing

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

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity

Despite Captain Phillips‘ ACE steal, Gravity should pull this one out. The editing serves context, while the rapid cuts of Captain Phillips are a testament to the film’s mediocrity.

Gravity

Best Cinematography

The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity

This one’s in the bag, though I’d love to see Prisoners (Roger Deakins) get the win here. If Lubezki had been nominated for To The Wonder, he’d have both the first and second rank in the category.

Gravity

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

And the Oscar goes to… American Hustle

Woody, as usual, is on point. The most original work is surely found in Her. But, American Hustle definitely boasts the most seamless and carefully crafted script.

Ah

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

And the Oscar goes to… 12 Years a Slave

A faithful rendering of a valuable historical document. McQueen pulls the book out of the dust to show it to others. A great achievement which the Academy will recognize.

12-Years-A-Slave-4

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

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

And the Oscar goes to… Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

For an iconic role that will be remembered for years.

Jennifer

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

And the Oscar goes to… Jared Leto

This race was over before it began. I don’t sense any surprises coming along in this category.

JL

Best Actress

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

And the Oscar goes to… Cate Blanchett

No doubt. By far the best thing about Blue Jasmine. A revelatory performance.

Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine

Best Actor

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

And the Oscar goes to… Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

With all his amazing recent work, including current recognition for his role in True Detective, Matthew McConaughey is most likely to secure his first Oscar here. Perhaps not as deserving as Bale or DiCaprio, the recent McConaissance and his recent rise above mediocrity should earn him enough momentum to take the victory.

A disheveled Matthew McConaughey gets arrested in scenes for 'The Dallas Buyers Club' in New Orleans

Best Directing

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

And the Oscar goes to… Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron)

Though I wish Derek Cianfrance received the recognition he deserves for Place Beyond the Pines, the obvious competitors here are the three stalemates for Best Picture. In this case, Directing and Cinematography will likely walk hand in hand, with Gravity taking the win.

AC

Best Picture

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

And the Oscar goes to… 12 Years a Slave

Though Gravity will practically dominate the Oscars, 12 Years a Slave won’t be denied the ultimate title. In one of the strongest and most highly debatable Oscars ever, three films are stalemated for the prestigious prize: American Hustle, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave. None of these features winning Best Picture will come as a surprise, and it really could go in any direction. When it comes down to it, though, the academy will recognize 12 Years a Slave as the most significant film of the year.

Best Picture

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About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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