Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best Picture Predictions

I see eleven movies seriously vying for the Oscars, but with ten potential slots a lot can happen.  I am tempted to consider many films out of the race but there is always a slim chance.  Rush surprised with a Globe nomination. Prisoners was named as one of the ten best movies by the National Board of Review.  August: Osage County has Meryl Streep, Harvey Weinstein, George Clooney and Grant Heslov all backing it.  All is Lost is the type of small film that enough voters could latch on to.  Enough Said has enough Oscar ingredients to keep it in mind.  Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom could be a way to acknowledge the accomplishments of Nelson Mandela.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty could be recognized for its impressive visuals.  It has a chance if the box-office does well and the ambition may play with some voters.  Labor Day may end up being less divisive and a bigger contender than anyone thought.  Do not put any money behind these movies, but there is always a chance they could show up.

The strength of Philomena's script and Judi Dench could help it surprise here like it did at the Globes.  Lone Survivor is a late entry that sometimes does well.  Mud, Before Midnight and Blue Jasmine are all very well received early releases that sometimes surprise.  Dallas Buyers Club has a couple of precursor notices and an ideal release date that will help it to be remembered.  However all of these are missing important Best Director contenders.

The Butler is still very much an Oscar movie that has an incredible box-office and backing by Weinstein.  But based on the precursors things are not looking very good.   Inside Llewyn Davis has the advantage of being associated with the Coens, but it is not as popular of a nominee as others and seem almost too low key.  Also CBS Films distributing it does not bode well as the studio is very inexperienced.  Fruitvale Station has the Sundance credentials and relatively good box-office that makes an early released movie make it a nomination.  Saving Mr. Banks has sentimentality that is missing from the other films.

Captain Phillips, Her, Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips has been cited by all of the Guilds and is backed by a strong box-office.  Her has done well with many precursors and people have been relating to it strongly.  Wolf of Wall Street has a lot of controversy surrounding it, but that means people are seeing it and talking about it.  All of these should receive nominations, but won't have enough to win.

Nebraska, American Hustle, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave
After missing at the Guilds Nebraska probably won't win, but it stands a slight chance and will definitely earn a nomination.  American Hustle is a strong late contender.  David O. Russell's career has enough steam to carry it to a potential win combined with its box-office, respected cast and screenplay.  Gravity's buzz has waned since it released, but it is far and away the most financially successful film that will do well in technical categories.  These big CGI spectacles have been doing better at the Oscars every year (Life of Pi won best director last year).  However unlike Avatar, Inception or Hugo this movie is coupled with a strong acting contender.  The frontrunner for a majority of the race has been 12 Years a Slave which is a frontrunner in many contenders and has been doing the best with the precursors.  This is clearly one to beat.

Predicted Nine (because the Oscar voting system is weird since they changed it and nine seems like the most likely number):
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips
Saving Mr. Banks
Fruitvale Station
Runner-Ups: The Butler, Inside Llewyn Davis

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