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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Actor

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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Actor

While basking (or is it wallowing?) in the afterglow of last night’s Golden Globes, which hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler admitted was—and I’m paraphrasing—the mess they hoped it would be, it’s tempting to discuss potential Oscar ripple effects for the winners, like cocksure Matthew McConaughey, who, in preaching his glee in reaping the benefits of Dallas Buyers Club’s serial shelving, implied he might be akin to the Southern-fried pricks he’s recently been playing. But Oscar nomination ballots have already been submitted, and despite news outlets’ annual insistence that the Globes are an Oscar indicator, the Hollywood Foreign Press has nothing to do with the Academy. Still, if there’s any prescience to be taken away from last night’s proceedings, it’s that the industry at large isn’t afraid of the big, bad Wolf of Wall Street, and that McConaughey’s fellow Best Actor victor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s been charmingly campaigning arm in arm with Martin Scorsese, is a bona fide threat this year. It seemed virtually impossible that All Is Lost star Robert Redford would go from presumed frontrunner to the season’s biggest snubbee, but after being passed over by both BAFTA and SAG, the living legend may indeed be out, with DiCaprio stepping in to fill the void.

In his Globes acceptance speech, DiCaprio offered a wise, if requisite, hat tip to Nebraska’s Bruce Dern, whose prickly work as a would-be prizewinner may prove enough to meet voters’ veteran-honoree quota in this race. And of the men vying to join McConaughey, DiCaprio, and Dern in the final five, including SAG nominee Forest Whitaker of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and BAFTA nominee Christian Bale of American Hustle, the no-brainer picks seem to be Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave and Tom Hanks of Captain Phillips. In my mind, the former is still the man to beat for spearheading the enduring movie of the moment, and the latter, in just a few climactic minutes, offers some of the best acting of not just last year, but his whole career. With respect to Redford, I’m thrilled to predict a DiCaprio advancement, and I’d love to see him joined by Hanks, Her’s transcendent Joaquin Phoenix, Inside Llewyn Davis’s revelatory Oscar Isaac, and The Great Beauty’s eloquently melancholic Toni Servillo. Sadly, unlike Fey and Poehler, we can’t all get what we hope for.

Will Be Nominated: Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave; Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.

Should Be Nominated: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street; Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Toni Servillo, The Great Beauty.