Oscars® 2014: Who Should Win vs. Who Will Win

oscarsCome March 2nd, we’ll all be on the edge of our seats, dazzled by the glitter, the gowns, the glitz, and the glamour that is all things Oscars®.

Sadly for us Brits, unless we drink a ton of caffeine, we will have to wake up to the results, as the Oscars® kick off our time at around 1am. Every year, without fail, I get a little bit over-excited at predicting who will win and am then stunned at how personally I take it when my favorite actor/film/director doesn’t get his/her hands on the golden statue. Why didn’t the Academy agree with me?!

After all, the Academy have been known to get it wrong. You don’t agree? Well in my defense I give you Dances with Wolves taking Best Picture over the inimitable Goodfellas in 1990. How was that possible? Goodfellas (perhaps Marty’s best ever film) will go down in cinematic history as one of the greatest films ever made and Dances with Wolves … er … who was in that again?

Or how about in 1994  when Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption lost out to the risible Forrest Gump? I could throw in slushy Titantic winning over the far superior LA Confidential in 1997 (a travesty that still upsets me all these years later) or Brokeback Mountain losing out on Best Picture to Crash in 2006. But perhaps the best illustration of the Academy misjudging the correct winner was last year when Argo took best picture and poor old Ben Affleck hadn’t even been nominated in the Director category. Go figure…

But enough of all that from yesteryear. Instead let’s focus on the crop of brilliant films that are up for awards this year. As usual there are a mixed bag; we have seventies con artists, 19th century slaves, a man falling in love with a voice, and a female astronaut having a really, really bad day. American Hustle and Gravity lead the way with 10 nominations each, but who will take home the coveted Best Picture prize?

Below is your comprehensive list to the biggest categories, and in my humble opinion, who will take home the gold man, and who SHOULD take him home — because there often is a difference. You still don’t believe me? How about The Social Network losing out to The Kings Speech in 2011. Okay okay, I’ll be quiet….

So, on the 2nd of March when Ellen Degeneres takes up hosting duties for the second time (hoo-rah!) who do you think will be the winners??

  • Best Supporting Actor 1 of 8
    jared

    Nominees:

    Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
    Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
    Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
    Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
    Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

     

    Who will win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

    Who should win: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

     

    Jared Leto has already picked up a Golden Globe for his role as transgender AIDs victim Rayon in The Dallas Buyers Club. Having taken a 6-year sabbatical from films to concentrate on his music career, Leto returns to the big-screen giving his best performance since he played a robber in Panic Room. He admits that his weight loss and de-fuzzing his entire body were challenging. His nomination is deserved and yet, I can't help but champion Fassbender for his unflinching cruelty in 12 Years a Slave. In his only scene with Brad Pitt, it is clear who the more accomplished actor is. Fassbender's eyes tell the true story — our loathing of his inhumane acts cannot hold a candle to how much he hates himself. It is a shame this year he will leave empty-handed, but I am confident that within the next few years he'll have a little statue of his own. 

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

     

  • Best Supporting Actress 2 of 8
    patsey 1

    Nominees:

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

     

    Who will win: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

    Who should win: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

     

    Please, please, please let the Academy do the right thing and reward Lupita's extraordinary performance as a raped, beaten, whipped and abused slave in 12 years a Slave. Her courage, passion, fear and loathing are a sight to behold. For such a fragile slip of a girl, she gives a monster of a performance. Yes, we all know Jenn Lawrence is incredible and she steals every scene in Hustle that she's in, but she was the belle of the ball last year. Give the newbie the award. I cannot wait to see what Lupita does next... 

     

    Photo credit : Twitter

  • Best Actor 3 of 8
    dallas

    Nominees:

    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

     

    Who will win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

    Who should win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

     

    The Academy loves those who pile the pounds on (Charlize Theron in Monster) or transform themselves in some significant way for a role. McConaughey famously lost 45 pounds for the part of Ron — a promiscuous, chaotic electrician and rodeo-rider — diagnosed with HIV in 1985. Prescribed a cocktail of pills, his health improves and he decides to cash in on the legal drugs and sells them to the gay community — forcing him to confront his homophobia. Let us remember that McConaughey showed he was worth far more than the romantic clap-trap that has been shoved his way in the past 10 years when he first stormed onto our screens in the brilliant Time to Kill. Spare a thought though for Chiwetel Ejiofor who is superb in 12 Years a Slave. Shame they can't give out two of the gold men, because this year is as close as it ever has been. 

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Best Actress 4 of 8
    cate

    Nominees:

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

     

    Who will win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

    Who should win: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

     

    Cate will undoubtedly take home her second Oscar® for her startling portrayal as Jasmine, a Park Avenue princess who's hit the skids. With echoes of Blanche DeBois in her starling performance, it is safe to say that Blanchett carries the film. However, Bullock gives a career best in her Gravity performance — carrying a film that is both tense and moving in equal measure. If Amy Adams wins I'll eat my computer, mainly because I alone seem to feel she phoned her part in. Watching her alongside any scene with Jennifer Lawrence was excruciating, as Jen stole every one... 

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Best Director 5 of 8
    steve mcqueen

    Nominees:

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

     

    Who will win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

    Who should win: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave 

     

    If only Steve McQueen could be the first black man ever to win Best Director, but I fear he will be defeated by Cuaron. That's not to say that Gravity isn't astonishing and that his win wouldn't be deserved. Occasionally the Academy Award takes not just the current nominated film into account, but also what has gone before (see: Scorsese's The Departed win), and with this in mind, Cuaron has produced some wonderful work (see: Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Prisoner of Azkaban). Even so, could he hold a candle to the challenging work of McQueen? Hunger and Shame are both mesmerizing and yet difficult to watch — what other director can produce such opposite reactions in his viewer? 12 Years a Slave has great beauty amongst the scenes of extreme brutality. In my mind, McQueen is an unrivaled artist — but will the Academy agree? 

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Best Picture 6 of 8
    12 years

    Nominees:
    American Hustle

    Captain Phillips

    Dallas Buyers Club

    Gravity

    Her

    Nebraska

    Philomena

    12 Years a Slave

    The Wolf of Wall Street

     

    Who will win: 12 Years a Slave

    Who should win: 12 Years a Slave

     

    A brave, bold, brutal, and — dare I say it — beautiful film, 12 Years a Slave is a must-watch. Adapted by screenwriter and novelist John Ridley from the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, it is the tale of a black man born free in New York state who is kidnapped in Washington and sold in chains into slavery in the south. At times so harrowing, one can't bear to look at the screen, it also features stunning cinematography (Sean Bobbitt you deserved an Oscar® nomination) and spell binding performances. Fassbender gives a whole new meaning to the word "chilling." A hot potato of a topic — one that America has been accused of hushing over, it is none-the-less a tale that will go down as a modern classic — one that everyone should see. 

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Best Original Screenplay 7 of 8
    her

    Nominees:

    American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

    Blue Jasmine, written by Woody Allen

    Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

    Her, written by Spike Jonze

    Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson

     

    Who will win: American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell 

    Who should win: Her, written by Spike Jonze

     

    Her picked up best screenplay at The Golden Globes, but will it be defeated by Hustle for the Oscar®? Spike Jonze's first screenplay centers on a man who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system (OS) with a female voice and personality. Quirky, funny and though-provoking, it has delighted critics across the globe ... and deserves to win. David O. Russell's American Hustle for me, is an act too long and has a slightly rambling plot that gets all too neatly resolved at the end. Fabulous performances yes, but script-wise, it isn't anywhere near as memorable as Silver Linings. Fingers crossed the Academy prefers substance over style.

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Best Adapted Screenplay 8 of 8
    before m

    Nominees:

    Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke 

    Captain Phillips, screenplay by Billy Ray

    Philomena, screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

    12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley

    The Wolf of Wall Street, screenplay by Terence Winter

     

    Who will win: 12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley 

    Who should win: Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke 

     

    If there is a more honest portrayal of marriage and all the challenges it throws at a modern day unit, then I have yet to see it. I have made no secret of my love of the third in the Before Sunrise trilogy. However, Academy voters could be accused of picking their winning film and working backwards — so if 12 Years a Slave picks up Best Picture (deservedly so) then it would be odd not to win in this category, too. Philomena is surprising as second to 12 years in the bookie's odds and some predict it might be the surprise win...  

     

    Photo credit: Twitter

Photo credit: Twitter

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