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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Original Screenplay

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

To shove the elephant out of the room right off the bat, two actually relevant things are working against Woody Allen’s chances for a win here, despite having extended his record for most nominations ever in this category. First, the justifiable but still faintly ludicrous categorization of Blue Jasmine as an original screenplay despite its obvious debt to A Streetcar Named Desire. Second, the tangible evidence recently pointed out by Mark Harris that suggests the Academy’s expansion of the Best Picture lineup has consequently made the screenwriting category more adjuvant to the main race than ever before. In other words, with Blue Jasmine the only nominee here not also competing for the top prize, voters were already likely to leave Allen babbling on a park bench while whoever’s sitting next to him thumbs through the editorial page of The New York Times.

Oscar Prospects: Anna Karenina

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Oscar Prospects: Anna Karenina
Oscar Prospects: Anna Karenina

Any major-race hopes that Focus Features may have had for Anna Karenina were basically dashed this week, as the film failed to place in any top categories for the SAG, Critics’ Choice, or Golden Globe Awards. The virtual shutout is a particularly nasty blow for Keira Knightley, who began the season as a formidable Best Actress contender, only to fall behind amid the rush of love for competitors like Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Emanuelle Riva, and Naomi Watts. It’s a good thing Knightley is reportedly breaking away from her comfort zone of period romance. As fetching as the British beanpole looks in a tight corset, and as fine as she is in her third—and arguably best—collaboration with director Joe Wright, viewers of all walks seem slightly fatigued of her penchant for acting in age-old regalia. She couldn’t even drum up love for her work in 2011’s A Dangerous Method, which showed off the actress at her fierce, feral best, but, again, in ruffles and lace. With only a Satellite nod for her turn as Leo Tolstoy’s ill-fated antiheroine, Knightley needn’t fret too much about what to wear to the Oscars.

Oscar Prospects: The Tree of Life

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Oscar Prospects: The Tree of Life

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar Prospects: The Tree of Life

Few would argue against The Tree of Life being one of the very best films of the year, but it remains the biggest wild card of awards season, a massively beloved masterpiece whose impressionistic style and ostensible inaccessibility have presumably prevented it from surging forward as a sure thing. Since claiming the Palme d’Or (which does mean something despite the common lack of Cannes/Oscar overlap), the film has landed on scads of top ten lists and picked up Best Picture wins and nominations from the BFCA, the OFCS, the Chicago Film Critics, the Detroit Film Critics, the Houston Film Critics, the San Diego Film Critics, the San Francisco Film Critics, the Toronto Film Critics, and the Gotham Independents. It has not, however, managed to declare itself an all-but-certain holder of a Best Picture slot a la The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, War Horse, Moneyball, The Help, and Midnight in Paris. Its complete Golden Globes shutout is hardly surprising, ditto its SAG snubs, but yesterday’s diss from the Producer’s Guild was a bit more unexpected, and a lot more crucial in terms of its overall Oscar hopes. Even with all the resounding support, can The Tree of Life stay in the big race?