Oscar Predictions: Todd’s December Take

Well, folks, we’ve arrived at my December predictions for the six major categories at the Oscars! And there’s been significant changes in some categories. There’s not one category that’s remained the same from my last go-round of guesses. A lot has happened since my November predictions. Every major contender has now screened with critics. Golden Globe and SAG nominations have been announced. And, per usual, things are unclear. Don’t get me wrong – there’s certain films and actors that seem destined for nominations. However, no field is close to being set. Not even close.

For the first time in making my predictions, I am predicting the winner in each race. I would expect at least one more round (more likely two) prior to nominations being announced in mid January. Here we go!

BEST PICTURE

Todd’s Predictions –

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Gravity

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

Saving Mr. Banks

12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

Analysis: Yes, I am keeping the number at nine predicted pictures (there could be anywhere from five to ten). This new round of predictions brings in three new films – Her, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks – and takes out three – All is Lost, Blue Jasmine, Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Other possible nominees include Dallas Buyer’s Club, August: Osage County, Lone Survivor, Philomena, Rush, Prisoners and Fruitvale Station.

Predicted Winner: Conventional wisdom is that the race is between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, with The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle as potential spoilers. My gut tells me (at least for now) that 12 Years a Slave is in the driver’s seat and it is my current prediction to win.

BEST DIRECTOR

Todd’s Predictions –

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O. Russell, American Hustle

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Analyis: As I see it, only Cuaron and McQueen are surefire nominees and should compete with each other for the win. Let’s not forget that last year’s Director nominees were a total shocker to everyone when Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) did not pick up expected nominations. My predictions today reflect putting Payne and Scorsese in and taking J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) out. Chandor seems highly unlikely to get a nod at this point, but any combination of Greengrass, Spike Jonze (Her), the Coen Brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis), or John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks) could get in.

Predicted Winner: As mentioned, Cuaron and McQueen are the frontrunners. I could easily see a scenario where 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture and Cuaron still nabs Director for the amazing technical achievement that Gravity was. It’s tempting, but for now, my prediction is that Picture and Director will match up and McQueen wins.

BEST ACTOR

Todd’s Predictions –

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Analysis: This is shaping up to be by far the most fascinating race to watch. My current predictions put Dern and DiCaprio in and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) and Joaquin Phoenix (Her) out. And don’t count out Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Christian Bale (American Hustle), or Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis). Frankly, I would say Ejiofor is the only nominee I would be shocked at if he’s not nominated. The crazy thing is – I could see any one of the five predicted nominees actually win and that’s rare. This is an extraordinarily tough call, but right now I’m staying on the 12 Years bandwagon and going with Ejiofor.

BEST ACTRESS

Todd’s Predictions –

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Analysis and Predicted Winner: Just one change here – Amy Adams (American Hustle) out and Emma Thompson in. This looks to be a showdown between Blanchett (who’s picking up the majority of critics awards) and Bullock (the most popular actress starring in a wildly popular film). The fact that Bullock won four years ago leads me to give Blanchett a slight edge and she’s my prediction. Other contenders not predicted: Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said), as well as Adams.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Todd’s Predictions –

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks

Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Analysis: Of the five predicted, I am only confident about Fassbender and Leto. My current predictions have Hanks in and his Captain Phillips costar Barkhad Abdi out. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Abdi, John Goodman (Inside Llewyn Davis), Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Will Forte (Nebraska), Harrison Ford (42), or the late James Gandolfini (Enough Said) nominated.

Predicted Winner: A 12 Years sweep could give Fassbender the prize. However, my prediction is Jared Leto for his acclaimed work in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Analysis: Voters might not be able to resist nominating Julia so she’s in and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) is out. Other not predicted contenders could be Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) and Margo Martindale (August: Osage County). This race appears to be coming down to Lawrence and Nyong’o.

Predicted Winner: Much like Supporting Actor, a 12 Years night should include Nyong’o. And then came Jennifer Lawrence, who’s having an incredible film year with her Best Actress Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook and headlining the massive hit The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Her performance in Hustle is garnering raves. Could she win two years in a row? Between her and Nyong’o, this seems like a coin toss at this juncture. For now, I’ll predict the 12 Years momentum gives Nyong’o the win.

And there you have it. To recap, my current winner predictions:

PICTURE – 12 Years a Slave

DIRECTOR – Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

ACTOR – Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

ACTRESS – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

SUPPORTING ACTOR – Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

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