The Academy Awards are in town for 2014 and the competition is one of the fiercest in years, but who are the favorites to take the Oscar home this time around?
Best Actor in a Leading Role
There appear to be two frontrunners in the form of Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street.
This was recognized at the Golden Globes, which tends to be a good indicator of who will take the big prize, and where both actors won in their respective categories. Each of them has additional factors working in their favor.
McConaughey’s infamous weight loss for his role as Ron Woodroof will certainly help his chances as the Academy tends to favor actors who drastically alter their appearance for a film (think Charlize Theron in Monster or De Niro in Raging Bull). On the other hand, DiCaprio has 3 previous Oscar Nominations and has been one of the most superb actors of the last 20 years. Past nominations can often play a big part in swaying the Academy voters, which is why 2014 will most likely be Leo’s year.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
While all 5 nominees in this category were excellent, there were no performances that truly stood out amongst each other (at least for the very high standards they already set themselves), so past Academy Award wins will come into play again.
All the nominees have previously won an Oscar except for Amy Adams, who was great in her role as a con artist in American Hustle and has previously been nominated 4 times without any success. A deductive guess says that because of that and her contribution to cinema over the last few years, she will finally walk home with the award.
This is probably the toughest category to predict, especially in a year which has spoiled us for choice.
The initial favorites appear to be American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave, but there is a case for why they may not win. Dallas Buyers Club is nominated in several categories, but appears set to miss out on most of the major awards such as Best Actor and Screenplay, where in most other years it would have had a chance of sweeping them. However, to recognize the excellence of this film and make up for those other misses there’s a fighter’s chance that it surprises everyone and takes the Oscar, similarly to how Argo did it last year.