My first Oscar predictions! Plus thoughts on this years race.

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So it’s officially the start of Oscar season! And I wanted to give a whack at it by talking a little about who I think will be nominated this year. Considering this time of the year, it seems that the race is hotter then its ever been in recent Oscar memory. Being that it’s only October and already we have some solid front runners. Cate Blanchett has been on fire since “Blue Jasmine” hit theatres a couple of months ago. “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” are getting stellar reviews, Best Picture maybe? More on all of this later.

Just a disclaimer though, it’s really early to be making legit and solid predictions so I’m pretty sure a lot of this will change by the time December and the critics start handing out there awards. But based on reviews, word of mouth and “undeni-ability” (excuse my wording), here’s what I’ve got so far.

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BEST PICTURE

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity   
3. The Butler
4. Captain Phillips 
5. American Hustle

POSSIBLY: Nebraska

I think it’s stupid NOT to predict 12 Years a Slave as the ultimate frontrunner. It’s got an irresistible cast and director that is so Oscar friendly. Plus, respected director Steve McQueen comes back with Fassbender, after being snubbed multiple times. It’s reviews are killer, and I think everyone knows that it’s this film’s to loose. Gravity’s popularity and box office will get it in there too, so will The Butler. The cast of The Butler alone will get enough support for a couple of number 1 votes on the Oscar ballot. Captain Phillips is apparently Tom Hanks’ best (and we all know how much the Academy loves him, not awarding him for awhile will definitely push the entire picture, which he’s most definitely the lead in).  Though American Hustle hasn’t had wide screenings yet, good word of mouth (and an intriguing trailer and cast) seems to be gold for David O. Russell which the Academy is gaga for.

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BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

1. Chiwetel Ejofor, 12 Years a Slave
2. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
3. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
4. Robert Redford, All is Lost
5. Bruce Dern, Nebraska 

POSSIBLY: Forest Whitaker, The Butler 

Ejofor leads the top Best Picture contender. And it’s not just a bust, because his reviews of the film seem to single him out. And as we all know, statistics point that the lead actor of the top best picture contender, usually win. Hanks is a given with Captain Phillips, and so it nomination less McConauhey who’s filmography has been growing in prestige. Redford is a Hollywood legend and has only been nominated for acting once (in 1973) so he’s a safe bet for his one man show in All is Lost. Bruce Dern in Nebraska is Payne’s About Schmidt Part 2. If the Academy loves The Butler as much as I think they will, then Whitaker can easily sneak in there.

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BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
3. Judi Dench, Philomena
4. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
5. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

POSSIBLY: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Starting now, till the end of the year, I’m pretty sure it’s Cate vs. Sandra. Blue Jasmine and Gravity have full-on leading lady performances that are so undeniable, that reviews have been more then stellar for the two. They scream Oscar. I really do think Cate Blanchett will win though. It’s impossible she won’t. She’s the next Meryl Streep, for God’s sake. She’s got so much respect from the industry, and her comparisons to “Streetcar” can only be a good thing. Plus, Jasmine has been out the longest, and she’s still on fire. It’s impossible that she won’t win. Sandra will loose by a hair though, because damn she’s good. But I don’t think strong enough yet. Reviews for Dench seem fitting for another nomination. Thompson is a respected actress and could easily sneak in for Mr. Banks. Streep is Streep, in another baity role.

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE 

1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
2. David Oyelowo, The Butler
3. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
4. Daniel Bruhl, Rush
5. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

POSSIBLY: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips 

Jared Leto is a really talented actor, no matter what people say. And for some weird reason, I think this is his year to be awarded. The commitment, the risk, everything that reads in paper or photographs for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club seems everything Oscar. Oyelowo is getting good notices and I think it’s about time that Fassbender is awarded a nomination already, after so many snubs. But I don’t think he’ll win yet, despite everyone’s wishful thinking. He seems like the type who’ll win a Lead Actor Oscar a few years from now.

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BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

1. Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
2. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
3. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
4. Cameron Diaz, The Counselor
5. Carey Mulligan, Inside Llewyn Davis

POSSIBLY: Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

I haven’t seen the movie, but I seem to be against Oprah winning an Oscar. Maybe it’s the entire category all together this year? I’m part of the few who was really, really against Anne Hathaway winning last year for Les Miserables. But we’ll see. Oprah is Oprah. She’s like Streep (not in acting calibre of course) in terms that her name alone will secure her nomination and possible win. Nyongo’s has a big chance too being that 12 Years a Slave is the front runner. But is she not popular enough? I think Lawrence may surprise everyone by getting another nomination fresh out of her win. But it’s very possible. Everyone in Hollywood LOVES her.

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
2. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
3. Paul Greengrass, Captain Philips
4. David O. Russell, American Hustle
5. Alexander Payne, Nebraska 

POSSIBLY: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

THE BIG QUESTION MARK 

There are still so many question marks in terms of Oscar season. But hey, it’s only October right? For example, will The Wolf of Wall Street be ready for their newly targeted December 5 release? I pray, cause I love Scorsese. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Oscar eats up DiCaprio and Scorsese all the time. But it’s hard to predict without seeing it. American Hustle is still so vague as well. Yes, it’s getting good notices but that’s just word of mouth. We don’t know how the rest of the world – more importantly, the critics – will really, really think about it. It’s chances can disappear in a snap. Saving Mr. Banks has the same case. Those who have read the script or have seen the previews says it’s beautiful. But who knows right?

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