You can tell it's awards season again because ... no one will stop telling you it's awards season. For example, the Golden Globes were last Sunday, and even after all the drunken jocularity and unfortunate screen captures, we didn't learn a whole lot. 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle nabbed the two Best Picture trophies, while the rest of the awards were spread across a wide range of films. One could argue Hustle was the winner of the evening, with three awards.
Then again, these are the Golden Globes we're talking about. If a bunch of starstruck, coked-up entertainment "journalists" crap an award out with your name on it, is that really "winning" anything?
But the season of speculation really kicks into high gear this Thursday, when the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards are announced. My completely unscientific analysis and predictions for the winners follow. Log on to your totally not monitored by the government offshore "gaming site" and place your bets.
Best Supporting Actress Don't look for Jennifer Lawrence to repeat. It's not that she didn't deserve the Golden Globe, it's that the HFPA is notorious for honoring attractive, buxom females in order to - I assume - get them to show up to their awards show (see also: Angelina Jolie in The Tourist).
Likely Nominees Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave Julia Roberts - August: Osage Co. June Squibb - Nebraska Oprah Winfrey - Lee Daniel's The Butler
Who Wins? Nyong'o - I mean, Lawrence was good, but Rosalyn was clearly meant to be played by someone 10 years older. Plus, it seems unlikely the Academy gives her another Oscar a year after winning for Silver Linings Playbook.
Who *Really* Wins? Fans of Julia Roberts bitchface.
Best Supporting Actor The top four of this category are pretty much shoo-ins, and I went with Gandolfini due to the Academy's love of slapping themselves on the back for recognizing dead genius. It could just as easily be Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) or Daniel Bruhl (Rush).
Likely Nominees Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips Bradley Cooper - American Hustle James Gandolfini - Enough Said
Who Wins? Leto - Fassbender has years to get his props, while - given his erratic past behavior - this may possibly be the last time we see the former Jordan Catalano ever again.
Who *Really* Wins? Barkhad Abdi. How many times has this guy used the line "I'm the captain now" while having sex with hangers-on since Captain Phillips was released>?
Best Animated Feature Really one of the weaker years in this category, and not just because no one outside of critics' groups saw The Wind Rises
Likely Nominees The Croods Despicable Me 2 Frozen Monsters University The Wind Rises
Who Wins? Frozen - I didn't care for it, but my children watched this eight times in three days over the holidays and sing that goddamn "Let it Go" song in the car. Ask them about The Croods, on the other hand, and you'll be met with the same glazed expression I make when somebody starts talking about HBO's Girls.
Best Actress Every potential nominee here has already won at least one Academy Award, while a few (Thompson, Streep) have won multiple times, so expect the final win to be decided in the only logical way possible: with a no-holds barred, full contact Brazilian jiu-jitsu match.
Likely Nominees Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine Sandra Bullock - Gravity Judi Dench - Philomena Meryl Streep - August: Osage County Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks
Who Wins? Blanchett - Bullock is building up a head of steam, but the buzz on Blanchett's Blue Jasmine performance is nigh insurmountable. And since she's a potential candidate for the next Mrs. Vonder Haar, I need to get on her good side.
Who *Really* Wins? Hey, what's Kenneth Branagh up to these days? Directing the latest Jack Ryan reboot, you say? That's nice.
Best Actor Man, six months ago I'd have said Ejiofor would win this without breaking a sweat, but McConaughey is putting the Wood(erson) to the doubters, all right all right all right. Fun fact: Redford has never won an Academy Award for acting, but he won Best Director in 1980 (for Ordinary People).
Likely Nominees Bruce Dern - Nebraska Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club Robert Redford - All Is Lost
Who Wins? Ejiofor - I still think his was the best performance of last year. If not him, quite honestly, I'd vote for Dern.
Who *Really* Wins? People deluding themselves into thinking this means a sequel to Serenity will subsequently be greenlighted.
Best Director More interesting might be a list of likely non-nominees: Woody Allen, the Coens, and Spike Jonze. Hell, I don't even think Alexander Payne makes the cut.
Likely Nominees Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave David O. Russell - American Hustle Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Wins? Cuaron - I base this solely on the "making of" special I watched about Gravity. That shit was cray cray.
Who *Really* Wins? Everybody who feels grossed out whenever Woody Allen's name is spoken at one of these things.
Best Picture I'm hedging by listing 10 nominees, even though there's nothing requiring that many (there were only nine BP nominees in 2012 and 2013, for example). Though to be safe I should probably go with 15.
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Likely Nominees 12 Years a Slave American Hustle Captain Phillips Dallas Buyers Club Gravity Her Nebraska Inside Llewyn Davis Saving Mr. Banks The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Wins? 12 Years a Slave - I don't think anyone wants to be reminded that basically everyone in Hollywood looked like Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in American Hustle And this way the Academy can experience no guilt in ignoring Lee Daniels' The Butler.
Who *Really* Wins? All of us who watch the Oscars, because who isn't looking forward to an interpretive dance number incorporating space travel, Somali pirates, Mary Poppins, and slavery?