The Big Screen

The Big Screen: Who Will Win the Oscar this Weekend?

February 28, 2014 

I was so close to writing a review for every single film nominated for Best Picture, but alas I miscalculated the weeks and have fallen short with a review missing for “Captain Phillips,” which is good, you should watch it. That’s as much detail as I’ll go into so I have plenty of room to write out my Oscar 2014 predictions.

The last few years have been a race against emerging movie technologies and old school film making. Think “Avatar” versus “The Hurt Locker” or “The Artist” versus “Life of Pi.”

Each year old school has won out but this year’s tight race will come down to “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” Who should win? My vote goes to “12 Years A Slave” – the film is absolutely breathtaking, with cinematography that is unparalleled by any of the other contenders, which makes the ugliness of Soloman Northup’s story all the more devastating. And having won the award at nearly every film festival and major awards show, it’s pretty much a shoo-in.

The awards for Best Actor and Best Actress will be a little less contentious. Matthew McConaughey knocked Chiwetel Ejiofor out of the race with his surprise win at the Golden Globes, and will most likely take the award on Sunday also. The Oscars love giving out awards to actors in transformative (both physically and emotionally) roles. The only possible upset could be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is long overdue for a statuette. Best Actress is written in stone; critics crowned Cate Blanchett the day “Blue Jasmine” was released, and an underdog hasn’t emerged since.

The Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories are where some surprises may happen, although still fairly unlikely. The most likely surprise would come from the Best Supporting Actress category, Lupita N’yongo probably will and should take home the Oscar for her quiet, nuanced performance in “12 Years a Slave,” but Hollywood’s favorite young actress Jennifer Lawrence could prove a formidable underdog, as the Academy likes to award lighter roles in the supporting categories.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say I am really rooting for Jonah Hill to win for his performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and I know it’s not going to happen, but it was the most original performance in the category. The favorite is Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Leto is physically unrecognizable, but for a character that had so many skeletons I for one didn’t feel any emotional attachment to Rayon. There are a lot of whispers of Barkhad Abdi or Michael Fassbender shocking everyone, but it seems too farfetched this late in the game.

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