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Oscar Predictions: Who’s walking away with gold?

Oscar Predictions: Who’s walking away with gold?

Oscar Predictions: Who’s walking away with gold?
February 27
00:44 2014

Preston Barta // Film Critic

The 86th annual Academy Awards, otherwise recognized as the “Super Bowl for movie fans,” airs on Sunday. The nominees have racked up different awards all season long, so we’re taking that into consideration, but not without a few gut feelings.

So, before the March 2 event wraps up awards season, here are our final predictions for the biggest show of all.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey had some stiff competition when this whole race started, but over the past few months, he has sped past Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) as the frontrunner. He has taken home the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice awards for his role as Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club.” While I would personally love to see Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) walk away with the statue, you can wager good money that McConaughey is not leaving empty handed Sunday.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

Blanchett is a lock for Best Actress. She’s brought in every major award for her show-stopping performance in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” While the film itself may be a bit of a drag, Blanchett’s performance as an alcoholic woman on the verge of a breakdown is far from it. No one has been able to touch her. Unless Sandra Bullock comes in and snags it by surprise, expect to see Blanchett win her second Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

Along with Blanchett, Leto has been an awards season juggernaut. His gentle portrayal of a cross-dressing AIDS patient in “Dallas Buyers Club” is a touching and transformative performance. It’s hard to believe that the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars will be an Oscar winner, but his performance must be recognized.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o

This category comes down to two great, young actresses: Nyong’o of “12 Years a Slave” and Jennifer Lawrence of “American Hustle.” Like many, I am on the Lawrence bandwagon. Ever since her roles in “Winter’s Bone” (2010) and “Like Crazy” (2011), we already knew she was an actress to watch. However, while she won the Oscar last year for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and kicked butt in “American Hustle” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” it’s her year to lose.

Nyong’o gives a gut-wrenching breakout performance as a young, repeatedly brutalized slave named Patsy.

Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave”

“12 Years a Slave” may not have swept the previous award shows for this accolade, but it walked away with the important ones, such as the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture Drama and Critics’ Choice award. So it’s no question we believe it has the best odds at winning Oscar’s beloved top prize and, for what it’s worth, it wholeheartedly deserves to. It’s an exhausting but effective depiction of plantation life that will be remembered for years to come.

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Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Apart from its towering technical achievements in the visual and sound department, “Gravity” is a great piece of storytelling that serves as a benchmark in cinema history. Its director, Cuarón, snagged statues for Best Director at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and recently at the BAFTAs, otherwise known as the British Academy Awards. If anyone deserves to be honored for their directing efforts it’s Cuarón. He achieved the impossible by making “Gravity” one of the purest examples of extremely tense cinema done right.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze

“Her,” about a dude who falls “head-over-keyboard” for his computer in the near future, could’ve been a catastrophe, but Jonze’s screenplay is so well-written and appealing that it should win Best Original Screenplay. With its unusual and frightening look at where the future might be heading in a technology-obsessed world and its Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice award wins, it has a pretty good shot at landing this honor.

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley

Regarding the fact that Ridley wrote 2002’s “Undercover Brother,” that fun piece of information might cause a few people to think this gentleman holds no luck. But if you saw “12 Years a Slave” and witnessed its cinematic brilliance, you may think differently. Ridley has grown into quite a talented screenwriter and we’re betting that not only will “12 Years a Slave” win Best Picture, it’ll also take home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The story of Solomon Northup is an extraordinarily well-told one that brought the autobiography to life.

The Academy Awards will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and will air Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Center photo: Academy Award nominees Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in “12 Years a Slave.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Feature photo: Unrecognizable actors Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey may win Oscars on Sunday for their performances in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Photo courtesy of Focus Features.

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