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Dallas Buyers Club (#110 of 28)

Oscar 2014 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2014 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2014 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Picture: Gravity
Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Original Screenplay: Her
Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Foreign Language: The Great Beauty
Documentary Feature: Twenty Feet from Stardom
Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Animated Short: Mr. Hubolt
Live Action Short: Helium
Film Editing: Gravity
Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Cinematography: Gravity
Costume Design: The Great Gatsby
Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club
Score: Gravity
Song: “Let It Go,” Frozen
Sound Editing: Gravity
Sound Mixing: Gravity
Visual Effects: Gravity

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Picture

Like anyone who’s been covering what’s become, as the party line goes, “the closest Best Picture race in recent memory,” I’ve gone through many mental rewrites of this top-prize breakdown. The one I clung to the longest involved the word “bullshit.” It took shape, of course, after American Hustle, formerly known as American Bullshit, strutted through steam clouds of victory on nomination morning, collecting 10 nods before also claiming the SAG award for Best Ensemble (not to be confused with any costume-design kudos the film enjoyed throughout the season). Was this awfully great, unrepentantly tacky crime caper really the new frontrunner? If so, then the filmic narrative peddled by pop-culture journos since early 2013—that the year’s wealth of black-centric cinema was bound for unprecedented Oscar glory, capped off with a crown for 12 Years a Slave, the most confronting and “important” flick of the bunch—would have to be thrown out. What’s more, Steve McQueen’s insta-contender, a historical indictment many perceive as being as deep as young Patsey’s (Lupita Nyong’o) abyss of despair, would be overtaken by an epic of unadulterated shallowness. American Hustle’s win would insist, with all the fuck-it-all thump of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” that the notion of Oscar wins signifying some sort of sociopolitical responsibility is, indeed, bullshit.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Editing
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Editing

In the absence of a de facto Best Picture frontrunner, the Oscar here usually goes to the slickest contender. This certainly explains the recent victories for The Bourne Ultimatum, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, three films whose respective visual canvases hinged heavily on their varying ranges of unorthodox editing techniques. Given this trend, the weak Best Picture favorite in this year’s race, 12 Years a Slave, will likely not garner any attention for Joe Walker’s understated work. Likewise, the acting showcase Dallas Buyers Club gains little from its nondescript editing and can also probably be ruled out. By contrast, the frenzied rhythms of American Hustle’s editing, though stylistically derivative of the Martin Scorsese films to which the crime caper owes a significant debt, fit the mold of previous winners rather comfortably. An even stronger contender, however, is Christopher Rouse’s masterfully compact cutting for Captain Phillips. Coupled with his previous Oscar win for Paul Greengrass’s The Bourne Ultimatum, Rouse’s recent ACE Eddie Award triumph for dramatic feature editing would seem to present a solid case for him coasting to a victory here, particularly given how much Captain Phillips derives its tension from his maximum-impact cutting. Standing in his way, however, is the technical titan Gravity. Editing may not be the film’s primary showcase, but its fluidly breathless compositional sense is as much a credit to Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger’s intuitive splicing techniques as any anything else. How far the film’s benchmark-defining pedigree will take it beyond the technical categories remains the million-dollar question, but it’s safe to say that the honors the Academy bestows on the film on Sunday will also encompass this one.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

Dear Jared:

I don’t expect you to read this, and you have every right not to. After all, I did refuse to receive the note you wished to send me, by way of your publicist, in response to my admittedly bitchy Village Voice review of Chapter 27. But given the patience and urgency with which you’ve responded to those who’ve taken umbrage with your flat-at-best, grossly-oblivious-at-worst performances on the awards circuit this year, suggesting that your ears are very much open to the concerns of the ostracized group that you represent in Dallas Buyers Club, perhaps you’ll drape those fabulous arms of yours around my neck and let me try and clear the air.

Ranking Oscar’s 2014 Nominees

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Ranking Oscar’s 2014 Nominees
Ranking Oscar’s 2014 Nominees

This week, the polar vortex will make an encore performance in the United States, but this upcoming Sunday, when Ellen DeGeneres signs off as host of the 86th annual Academy Awards, the collective nightmare known as awards season will be effectively over. This year, 57 56 films received nominations across 24 categories, and with the exception of The Invisible Woman, I’ve seen them all. Below is a ranked list, from most euphoric to most pungent, of those 56 films.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Actor

If this year’s Best Actor race is all about which nominee brandishes the most compelling story, then Christian Bale faces some mighty long odds. Not only is the actor only two years removed from his Oscar win for The Fighter, but the consensus is that he gained enough of a victory by being nominated this year. Not faring much better is Leonardo DiCaprio, whose “always the nominee, never the winner” stasis—admittedly a sexier narrative—still needs about 10 more years of ripening before voters begin to sympathize. And as if those reasons weren’t enough, the cheating, swindling characters Bale and DiCaprio play, in American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street respectively, are the two that Academy voters will surely find most unlikable, which effectively guarantees their losses.

Bruce Dern’s case is admittedly more complicated. While his confused character from Nebraska elicits more pity than outright contempt, the actor’s emergence from nearly two decades of relative obscurity for “one last shot” at Oscar gold almost certainly played a part in awards prognosticators deeming him the early favorite after the Cannes Film Festival last May. But as the Best Actor campaign took shape through the fall and into the winter, it has whittled down to a two-way race between Chiwitel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey, a development no doubt aided by the charged racial and gender politics of their respective films.

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 2014 Winner Predictions Makeup and Hairstyling

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Makeup and Hairstyling
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Makeup and Hairstyling

With countless headlines devoted to Bruce Broughton’s nominated-yet-not-nominated Original Song, and Dylan Farrow’s steadfast assault on Blue Jasmine’s nods for Actress and Original Screenplay, this year’s Makeup and Hairstyling category is hardly Oscar’s most scandalous. If you ask me, though, it’s easily the most repellant of all 24 lineups, and one of the more shameful nominee crops in recent Academy history. I suppose Peter Jackson’s furry Middle-earthians can’t get lauded every time out, and it’s probably best that this voting branch didn’t recognize American Hustle, thus fanning the flames of the hater-coined moniker Explosion at the Wig Factory. But, hell, even The Butler’s quasi-campy, half-baked prosthetics would have been a step up from what made the shortlist here: the waxed and bewigged transformation of Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, Johnny Depp’s repurposing of a white artist’s vision of a Native American in The Lone Ranger, and Johnny Knoxville’s dangly ears and Stretch Armstrong scrotum in Bad Grandpa. Since the bulk of Leto’s agonizing acceptance-speech torrent has involved vain, ignorant chatter about his physical travails, odds are his movie, the “prestigious” comer to boot, has this win in the bag. And while it’s plausible that voters may kick back and overlook The Lone Ranger’s senseless racial appropriation, the film that could and should dig a spur into Dallas Buyers Club’s lead is Jackass’s latest, which, despite its myriad flaws, boasts a mean team of faux-appendage appliers.