OSCAR TRACKER: First Attempt at 2014 Oscar Predictions

12 Years a Slave - 2014 Oscar Predictions

“The official start to Oscar season.”

That is a phrase that is often tossed around in reference to different landmarks in an annual movie calendar. For most, the official start of Oscar season is right now with the first major fall film festivals in Venice, Toronto, and Telluride giving us a glimpse at the films that studios will be campaigning this year. For more casual followers the season doesn’t start until December or January when the first awards shows take place and nominations are announced. For some die-hards, the season probably begins the day after the previous year’s ceremony.

Over the years my opinion of the official date of Oscar season has gradually been pushed closer to the actual ceremony. Part of this is because I prefer to spend my limited free time talking about current movies instead of speculating about movies that are months away. Another reason for this is because early spring Oscar predictions are wildly inaccurate and often highlight films that don’t even have release dates or distribution yet. The main reason, however, is that spending time early in the year talking about mainstream studio movies that are coming in the fall ignores the great small movies that come out in the Spring and likely won’t be getting much awards attention.

Fruitvale Station - 2014 Oscar PredictionsFor more detailed thoughts on a relationship with an evolving relationship with the Oscars that is similar to my own, read Duncan’s excellent piece Playing from the Bleachers: Reentering Oscar Season from a Safe Distance. In the meantime, let’s get to this year’s races shall we?

With the year half over already there is already a semblance of a narrative beginning to emerge in the cinema. It seems like this Summer, blockbusters have been less relevant than ever with small movies like Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels’ The Butler dominating more of the mainstream conversation. Articles about race have been dominating news feeds as Americans reexamine the challenging and constantly evolving class system in our country. Hollywood has stepped forward to reflect the zeitgeist and the Oscars, always striving for relevance, will likely recognize films that contribute to this discussion. Along with the aforementioned films, look for titles like Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to factor into this year’s awards season. If films like these catch on like I expect, this may turn out to be the least white Academy Awards ceremony in history.

American Hustle - 2014 Oscar PredictionsThere are plenty of established filmmakers with projects this year that will appeal to the more conservative members of the Academy, who tend to have favorites that they recognize frequently. David O. Russell’s last two films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) have received Best Picture nominations and some would argue that both were the runner-ups in their respective years. His latest film American Hustle is packed with stars and likely to be another winner for the upcoming Academy favorite. Bennett Miller has only directed two narrative films (Capote, Moneyball) and both have received Best Picture nominations. His latest film Foxcatcher tells a true-life, Oscar-friendly story about a wrestler whose brother is killed by a man with paranoid schizophrenia. Will the third time be the charm for either of these directors?

A few films have already been seen by a limited number of critics at festivals, so we have some initial reactions to them and can speculate based on that. The Coen Brothers, who rarely miss, received raves for their newest film Inside Llewyn Davis at the Cannes Film Festival. That could be a multiple category monster with reportedly great performances, script, and direction. Margin Call director J.C. Chandor also received positive notices for his sophomore effort All is Lost, which features a highly praised performance from Robert Redford.

The Wolf of Wall Street - 2014 Oscar PredictionsIt’s hard to discount The Wolf of Wall Street from Martin Scorcese, who seems to get an Oscar nomination every time the studio positions him for one. Leonardo DiCaprio will seek his first Oscar with what appears to be a bold performance in Scorcese’s film and the film has a slew of actors who could end up with supporting nods.

Two films that are directed by their stars will be premiering in the festival circuit and looking for some awards buzz. Ben Stiller takes the helm for an adaptation of the classic tale The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which he also stars as the title character. George Clooney also will direct himself for the World War II drama The Monuments Men. The Academy has a long history of nominating stars who direct their own movie (and vice versa), but I have not bought into these two yet. Both Clooney and Stiller are capable directors with friends in the Academy, but early buzz on these aren’t strong enough to inspire me to raise their profiles.

Chances are good that some of the Oscar nominees are films that we haven’t even heard about yet. Now that the festivals are underway, we will be getting endless information and Film Misery will be keeping you updated throughout. We have edited our Oscar pages this year so that each category has its own page with a small amount of analysis. Check out the ones that are up so far:

Stay tuned for more category updates throughout the week.

What are your initial thoughts on the Oscar race? Which films stand out to you?

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Duncan Houst

    Those are actually pretty excellent predictions. I could easily see that being the eventual slate of Best Picture nominees, sans ‘The Butler’, because I don’t think it’ll maintain through the rest of the season. I’ve got a feeling ‘Labor Day’ could be a major player, though its late December release date doesn’t do it any favors.

    I’d love to see Cuaron and McQueen finally given some recognition. I think DiCaprio, Carell and Bale will move their way into the Actor race with their showy, but hopefully stunning, performances. In the Actress race I’d trade Naomi Watts for either Sandra Bullock or Nicole Kidman. Both are in great form for nearly all their films this year, but Kidman has Weinstein to back her, and Harvey rarely fails his leading ladies.

  • Calvin Philips

    Loving these, Alex. Good to have these back. What are your views on Amy Adams’ chances for “American Hustle” in Lead and/or rumors of a push for Meryl Streep in Supporting?

    • Honestly I have no idea. It’s impossible to say until we see some reviews of both films. I have learned from years of experience that length of time on screen, and even narrative focus have no bearing on whether a performer ends up in lead or supporting. It all has to do with how the studio decides to campaign and that is usually based on where they think they have the best shot.

  • Jose

    Good to see this feature back. The only serious prediction I’m making (aside from a nomination for Cate Blanchett) is Wolf of Wall Street.

    This is going to sound silly, but the main reason why my Oscar expectations for The Wolf of Wolf Street are so high is because Kyle Chandler is in it.

    In 2010. The Hurt Locker won Best Picture and that film had Guy Pearce. The following year, The King’s Speech won and that also had Pearce.

    The Artist and Argo meanwhile both had John Goodman so I’m wondering if maybe this will continue a weird tradition where the best picture winner had a small role from someone back-to-back. Kyle Chandler was also in last year’s Argo and he’s also in Wolf of Wall Street, so maybe that movie will continue the tradition?

    • That is a brilliant theory. I love it!

  • First of all, its good to have this feature back. I have a pretty despise it/can’t live without obsessing over it… relationship with the Oscars. I don’t have any actual predictions, will have to wait for Telluride to end. But it is always fun to just speculate, no one takes these seriously enough. But fall festival season is officially the start.

    I am thinking as of now, American Hustle is going to have more of a presence than The Monuments Men.
    Labor Day might pick up some momentum.
    Nebraska as well…
    12 Years a Slave is how Academy going to embrace the ‘talent’ of McQueen!

    Your predictions seems perfect to me. Very legit!

  • Mirko Billi

    I predict these nominations for Saving Mr Banks: best picture. actress in a leading role (Emma Thompson), actor in a supporting role (Tom Hanks), original screenplay, art direction, costume design and original score. It’s strong contender in original screenplay of Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. I am almost sure in the victory original score of Thomas Newman.

Privacy Polcy | Contact Us