In this post, we go through the major categories, pick who we think will will, and who has the best chance for an upset. This way, all of our bases are covered (unless, of course, we are wrong). We’ll even give you our odds for an upset. So, here we go!
Best animated feature film of the year
- The Croods
- Despicable Me 2
- Ernest and Celestine
- The Wind Rises
And the Oscar Goes to: Frozen
Unless it goes to: The Wind Rises
Chance of Upset: 0.5%
By now, regular readers of the site are probably sick of me talking about Frozen (which I still think should have been nominated for Best Picture) but it should be a lock here. However, Oscar locks aren’t always all that binding.
If Frozen doesn’t win, the only one I would accept winning would be The Wind Rises. That’s Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki’s last film (supposedly) and if he’s going to go out, it would be fitting if he went out with an Oscar. I’d still be upset, but not as livid as if any of the other films won. Still, if another film is going to win, this one has the best shot
Best Original Song
“Alone Yet Not Alone,” Alone Yet Not Alone
- “Happy,” Despicable Me 2
- “Let It Go,” Frozen
- “The Moon Song,” Her
- “Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
And the Oscar Goes to: “Let It Go,” Frozen
Unless it goes to: “Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Although, there’s a chance it might go to: “Happy,” Despicable Me 2
Chance of Upset: 10% (6.5% for Ordinary Love, 3.5% for Happy)
Frozen is only nominated for two Oscars, and is the overwhelming favorite in each category, yet the cynic in me thinks it could be upset twice. Granted, it lost the Golden Globe to U2’s “Ordinary Love.” You could write that off as that award being run by the foreign press and the boys from Dublin having great international appeal, but it is a cause for concern. Just as big a concern is Pharrell’s “Happy” which is growing on popularity, airplay and downloads months after the film it was released has left theaters. That might sway Oscar voters as well.
- Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke
- Captain Phillips, screenplay by Billy Ray
- Philomena, screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
- 12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley
- The Wolf of Wall Street, screenplay by Terence Winter
And the Oscar Goes to: 12 Years a Slave
Unless it goes to: The Wolf of Wall Street.
Chance of Upset: 15%
In “categories I have a rooting interest in that Frozen is not nominated in,” we have this one. John Ridley has wrote comic books (including the excellent The American Way) and I think he deserves the award here. The only competition I can see is from Terence Winter, but not all that much.
- American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
- Blue Jasmine, written by Woody Allen
- Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
- Her, written by Spike Jonze
- Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson
And the Oscar Goes to: Her
Unless it goes to: Blue Jasmine
Chance of Upset: 39%
This is a tough category, where all scripts have a shot (although, what is American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club doing here? They were based on true stories?). If I had to pick one the Academy will recognize, It’d be Her. I think they’d tip the hat to Jonze for his originality. Allen is deserving for his script, but I think conventional wisdom states the Academy will shy away from honoring him with all the controversy swirling around. However, there are enough of Hollywood in his camp that he might score an upset. Then watch the media firestorm begin anew.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
- Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
- Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
- Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
- Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
- June Squibb, Nebraska
And the Oscar Goes to: Jennifer Lawrence
Unless it goes to: Lupita Nyong’o
Chance of Upset: 21%
Typically, the Academy gives awards to stars, especially female ones, who put themselves the most physical and emotional punishment on screen. That is probably why Nyong’o is being picked as a victor in this contest for her role as a horribly abused slave in 12 Years a Slave. But lest we for get that the Academy, like much of the world, loves Jennifer Lawrence. She’s just 23 and is already on her third Oscar nomination, with one win under her belt. If she has the career longevity of a Meryl Streep or Kathryn Hepbern, she’s going to set Oscar records. I bet against her last year. I’m not going bet against her again.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
- Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
- Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
- Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
- Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
- Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
And the Oscar Goes to: Jared Leto
Unless it goes to: Barkhad Abdi
Chance of Upset: 1%
This seems to be Leto’s award to lose. His stunning physical transformation brought attention to solid work that is the trademark of his career. Can’t see him losing. But if he does, I think it would be to Abdi. While I believe Fassbender will get an Oscar eventually, it think Abdi’s unique performance will be the one to get most attention from the Academy if they go in another direction from Leto.
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Amy Adams, American Hustle
- Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
- Sandra Bullock, Gravity
- Judi Dench, Philomena
- Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
And the Oscar Goes to: Cate Blanchett
Unless it goes to: Sandra Bullock
Chance of Upset: 3%
This was Bullock’s to lose until Blue Jasmine was released. The Blanchett gave a performance for the ages and blew Sandra’s chances out of the water. I gave her 3%, because she appears to be well liked in Hollywood, but Blanchett should run away with this.
Performance by an actor in a leading role
- Christian Bale, American Hustle
- Bruce Dern, Nebraska
- Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
- Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
- Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
And the Oscar Goes to: Matthew McConaughey
Unless it goes to: Bruce Dern
Chance of Upset: 5%
Once again, this was Chiwetel Ejiofor’s to lose before Dallas Buyers Club came out. Then McConaughey’s career resurgence hit full speed and he became a serious actor overnight. I don’t see him losing the Oscar to anyone based on his performance in that film.
But if he does, it will be to Dern, not Ejiofor. Bruce Dern has given some great performances over his long career, most have escaped the Academy’s notice. This might be payback from all those snubs.
Achievement in directing
- David O. Russell, American Hustle
- Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
- Alexander Payne, Nebraska
- Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
- Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
And the Oscar Goes to: Alfonso Cuarón
Unless it goes to: Steve McQueen
Chance of Upset: 27%
I think this comes down to a battle between technical achievement versus dramatic achievement. Both men tackles subject many though couldn’t be done, but each made it work. I just think Cuarón has the edge.
- American Hustle
- Captain Phillips
- Dallas Buyers Club
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Wolf of Wall Street
And the Oscar Goes to: Gravity
Unless it goes to: 12 Years a Slave
Chance of Upset: 42%
In my mind, this is basically a three horse race between Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, with the latter a distant third. Gravity hasn’t been getting as much love this awards season as the others have, but I think it is the one that has the best chance to walk away with an Oscar. But don’t rule out 12 Years a Slave, a harrowing film about an important subject. It has a very good chance to upset.