In the past, most film award seasons have been extremely predictable and boring. That is certainly not the case with the 2014 Oscar nominees. Many media outlets begin predicting by starting with industry buzz, critic choice selections, various guild wins, and the illustrious Golden Globe victories leading up to Oscar nominations. It’s interesting to see early favorites at the end of the year become obsolete, while new ones take their place.
One Oscar prediction site worth noting is Gold Derby. Launched in 2000, the Gold Derby is considered Hollywood’s original go-to place on anything related to awards, primarily the Oscars. The experts at this award site comprise of journalists from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and other A&E periodicals, plus its own top 24 users.
Each week Gold Derby reports on predictions and results of film awards leading up to Oscar night. Early in the season many Oscarologists (as they like to call themselves) were certain one film was a complete shoo-in. It may still be, though others are creeping into that field now. The Gold Derby has been and continues to be my guide in helping me with deducing my own Oscar predictions. Here now is a better overview, along with my final outlook, on three categories that have not followed the standard method to absolute certainty in winning an Oscar statuette.
Best Original Screenplay
Currently it seems to be the films “Her” and “American Hustle” for the Oscar win. Each film has won significant awards that help determine an educated prediction. “Her” won the Golden Globe for a combined screenwriting category of original and adapted works over “American Hustle.” In a shocking win at the Writers Guild Awards, “Her” won over the heavy favorite “American Hustle.” Going three for three, Spike Jonze’s “Her” won for best original screenplay at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
“American Hustle” did recently win, as predicted, in this category at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts). Naturally it did win since “Her” wasn’t even nominated for a BAFTA. Based on “American Hustle’s” track record, it’s more likely to win an Oscar in one of the acting categories versus a craft category in writing.
My prediction is “Her” wins an Oscar for best original screenplay, simply based on its prestigious best writing wins. “Her” is a unique film with heavy dialogue between the virtual assistant, a la Siri, and the main human character.
Best Supporting Actress
History could be made with Jennifer Lawrence winning back-to-back Oscars in different acting categories, as well as become the youngest actress to win two Oscars. That’s just a bit of sidebar trivia. “American Hustle” is a strong acting film, with its cast winning the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. All acting categories have at least one cast member from “American Hustle.”
According to Gold Derby’s Oscar history blog, 14 films in Oscar’s 86-year run were nominated in all categories of best acting and best supporting. Twelve of those films had at least one actor win the Oscar. Only two films were completely shut out, “My Man Godfrey” (1936) and “Sunset Boulevard” (1950). Virtually all of the acting categories are complete locks going to Cate Blanchett (Best Actress), Matthew McConaughey (Best Actor), and Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor) based on their past stellar wins. That leaves Jennifer Lawrence as the likely candidate for an “American Hustle” acting win.
Lupita Nyong’o of “12 Years a Slave” is Lawrence’s only serious threat. Nyong’o won a SAG Award and Critics’ Choice for best supporting actress. Whereas Jennifer won a Golden Globe and most recently the BAFTA. My prediction is Jennifer Lawrence will win this category, as “American Hustle” is most likely not winning Best Picture. That will more than likely go to “12 Years a Slave.”
In the history of Oscars there have been ties in the acting categories, but never for Best Picture. Take the case of the recent Producers Guild Awards where it came down to a tie between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” The PGAs have an illustrious history of whoever wins their guild award is all but guaranteed an Oscar for Best Picture. If that’s the case, it could end up a tie, though highly unlikely.
Throw in another potential threat of “American Hustle” winning a Golden Globe for best musical or comedy motion picture. A majority of films winning either category at the Golden Globes goes on to Oscar glory. Some pundits at Gold Derby believe “Gravity” will win due to its director, Alfonso Cuaron. He has won every best director award out there.
Both “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” are sweeping epics that Oscar voters love to see win. “American Hustle” is a bit too satirical and not fitting a Best Picture-win mold. My prediction is on “12 Years a Slave” winning Best Picture, simply for its strong track record overall.