Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2014 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2013)

As always, my defense is that every year I post my Academy Award predictions within hours (well, days) after the nominations are first announced. I am not one of those critics/bloggers/opinionators who is constantly refining and calibrating my predictions right up until the minute the awards ceremony begins. Why don’t I do that? Because of principle and because of a desire to be consistent and, well, because it’s just too much work to pay that much attention to all this awards stuff for a month and a half. Yes, you heard right. I’ve brazenly turned laziness into a virtue.

Yet, my early conventional wisdom picks actually held up pretty well. The only major categories that did not line up were Best Actor, where Chiwetel Ejiofor was overtaken by the burgeoning Matthew McConaugh-naissance, and Original Screenplay, where Spike Jonze’s win was a genuine surprise. Overall, the biggest surprise in general (but a mild one, not a shock) was all the love that was showered on Gravity. Maybe it has to do with the economy. Maybe it’s a generational thing. But, more than in some other years, the voters seemed focused on the craftsmanship as opposed to The Importance of the Message. And, when it comes to male acting categories, losing a lot of weight doesn’t seem to hurt at all. No wonder host Ellen DeGeneres felt obliged to order in pizza to get through the evening. McConaughey and Jared Leto—not to mention a lot of the women in the audience—looked like they were starving.

But getting down to the important issues, I wound up eschewing my plan for a long night of martinis. I had a few long days leading up to the big night, and I was worried about being able to stay awake until five in the morning (in my time zone) if I was full of dry gin and vermouth. So I decided to drink scotch instead, hoping that the caffeine in whiskey would help keep me alert. Okay, I know what you’re yelling at your computer screen or tablet right now. “Hey, you idiot! There’s no caffeine in whiskey! Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is the total opposite of a stimulant!” Well, bravo for you, Mr. Smarty Pants, but let’s see how well you could manage to keep all that information about caffeine straight when you‘ve been drinking whiskey all night.


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win

Stuff Happens

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave

Captain Phillips

Best Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmin)

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmin)

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Alexander Payne (Nebraska)

Best Original Screenplay

Eric Singer and David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Bob Nelson (Nebraska)

Spike Jonze (Her)

Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

Best Animated Feature


The Wind Rises

Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty (Italy)

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

Total Scores

8 cases of early conventional wisdom vindicated

3 cases of c.w. coinciding with reality

2 opportunities for interesting acceptance speeches