Oscars 2014 predictions: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and American Hustle go head to head

Film critic Kaleem Aftab reckons McConaughey and Blanchett will win

There is no doubting that this year has been a great year for film. It's the first year in which the Academy's decision to nominate more than five films for Best Picture seems justified (scroll to see predictions).

The three films with the most nominations are 12 Years a Slave, Gravity and American Hustle - all three have been winning the most Best Picture awards in the run-up to the Oscars.

Unfortunately some very good films - Nebraska and The Wolf of Wall Street to name just two - are unlikely to take home any of the major prizes.

Oscars 2014 nominations in full

While a lot of media weight is given to the Golden Globes, it makes a big splash because it's the first major ceremony out of the blocks. The votes are cast by a closed-circle of around 100 foreign film correspondents working in Hollywood and the results are often skewered towards star names.

Better indicators for the Oscars have proved to be the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the acting prizes (won in January by Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett) and the Producers Guild of America Awards for Best Picture.

 

The PGA Awards were the major ceremony to plump for eventual winner Crash over Brokeback Mountain in 2005, but this year ended in a tie between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. It's that battle that will likely play out at the Oscars if one thing is certain, Gravity will end the night with the most awards because of the technical achievements of its crew.

Best Film - Gravity

12 Years a Slave has been the front-runner for the top prize since it won Best Film (Drama) at the Golden Globes. When the nominations were announced, according to the bookies its main competitor was American Hustle, which had won Best Film (Comedy) at the Golden Globes.

This may be one that the bookies completely misread, however, as heading into the final furlong it's a third film, space adventure Gravity, that seems to have most pull. My hunch is that Gravity will prove the irresistible force.

Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey

I must admit if it were up to me, Matthew McConaughey would be my bottom choice of the five actors nominated for the Oscars. No that his performance isn't good, but he seems to be getting plus points for his transformative abilities (dubbed the McConaissance).

Oscar voters love it when actors lose or gain pounds or put on prosthetics for a role – and for his collective body of work, including a scene stealing turn in The Wolf of Wall Street and new TV series True Detective.

If there is to be a surprise my hunch is that it will be Scorsese's muse Leonardo DiCaprio who benefits, rather than the Bafta-winning Chiwetel Ejiofor.

McConaughey as Aids patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club McConaughey as Aids patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club Best Actress - Cate Blanchett

If there is one award you can bet your house on, it's Cate Blanchett winning for Blue Jasmine. Not even the controversy over director Woody Allen will be enough to sway enough votes from the Australian actress. Her magnificent performance is deserving of the prize.

Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto

Dallas Buyers Club looks like it will take both of the male acting awards with Jared Leto a clear favourite for his performance as trans woman Rayon.

At one stage his main competition was believed to be Michael Fassbender, nominated for his dramatic performance as a plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave.

But any hopes that Fassbender might pull off an upset were well and truly quashed when Bafta members plumped for the hitherto unknown Barkhad Abdi, who played a Somalian pirate in Captain Phillips.

Best Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o

This award seemed destined to be won by 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o until American Hustle star Jennifer Lawrence added a Bafta trophy to the Golden Globe she won in January.

However, Best Supporting Actress is a category that black actors usually fare well in. The result will be close but my hunch is that on what might otherwise be a disappointing night for12 Years a Slave, Nyong'o will bring home the goods.

Lupita Nyong'o plays cotton picker Patsey in 12 Years a Slave Lupita Nyong'o plays cotton picker Patsey in 12 Years a Slave Best Director - Alfonso Cuarón

Unlike the Best Picture category, which is a genuine battle between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, it seems pretty much nailed-on that Cuarón will win the Oscar for Best Director.

Cuarón is being singled out for praise because of the technical achievement and visual effects seen in Gravity, rather than his work with the actors. The acting performances are stronger in both 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle.

Best Documentary - The Act of Killing

The only thing that will stop Joshua Oppenheimer and his unnamed co-director winning for this film, which includes reenactments of atrocities committed in Indochina, is if members are turned off by its brutality and have not sat through it.

There could be a surprise if that's the case, with the beneficiary being 20 Feet from Stardom about back-up singers living just beyond the spotlight.

Best Animated FeatureFrozen

Best Cinematography - Gravity

Best Film EditingAmerican Hustle

Best Foreign Language FilmThe Great Beauty

Best Adapted Screenplay12 Years a Slave

Best Original ScreenplayAmerican Hustle

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
    Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

    Secrets of comedy couples

    What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
    Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

    Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

    While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
    The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

    The best swimwear for men

    From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
    Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

    Mark Hix goes summer foraging

     A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
    Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

    With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

    Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
    Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

    Aaron Ramsey interview

    Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
    Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

    Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

    As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
    The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

    Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

    Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms