Monday, 16 December 2013 11:48 Written by  Brett Gursky
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Believe it or not, it’s already time to predict the Oscars. The year in movies is winding down and the 86th Academy Awards are less than three months away. The race is on, with front-runners taking the lead and others in the mix hoping to shake things up. A few movies have still not yet been released, but every film that hopes to qualify for the Oscars will be in theaters by the last day of December. Here is how the six major categories are taking shape, with the top contenders fighting for the five coveted slots (or, in the case of Best Picture, up to ten).


12 Years A Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
Fruitvale Station
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf Of Wall Street

In The Mix:
All Is Lost, Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Enough Said, Inside Llewyn Davis, Philomena, The Place Beyond The Pines, Rush, The Way Way Back


Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze, Her
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

In The Mix:
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine), Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond The Pines), Joel & Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks), Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), John Wells (August: Osage County)


Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
Forest Whitaker, The Butler

In The Mix:
Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bradley Cooper (The Place Beyond The Pines), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom), Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond The Pines), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Hugh Jackman (Prisoners), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), Michael Shannon (The Iceman)

Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are the sentimental favorites for nominations- Neither has ever won an Oscar for acting. Redford did win Best Director in 1981 for Ordinary People, and was previously nominated for Best Actor in 1974 for The Sting. Dern was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1979 for Coming Home. Both actors are long overdue. Leonardo DiCaprio is also overdue, having been nominated three times before- in 1994 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 2005 for The Aviator, and 2007 for Blood DiamondTom Hanks and Forest Whitaker are both previous Oscar winners in this category. But this would be the very first Oscar nominations for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey, and newcomer Michael B. Jordan.


Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

In The Mix:
Berenice Bejo (The Past), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Color), Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha), Kate Winslet (Labor Day)

This year, the Best Actress race is Cate Blanchett’s to lose. She has been the frontrunner since Blue Jasmine was first released back in July. Her closest competition: Sandra Bullock for Gravity. Blanchett and Bullock have each won an Oscar before – for The Aviator and The Blind Side, respectively – but Blanchett has yet to win in the lead category. Now’s her chance. As for Amy Adams, she’s been nominated four times before as Best Supporting Actress – in 2006 for Junebug, 2009 for Doubt, 2011 for The Fighter, and 2013 for The Master – but now she has a shot at entering the lead category.


Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Chris Cooper, August: Osage County
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey, Mud
Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back

In The Mix:
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Josh Brolin (Labor Day), Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine), George Clooney (Gravity), Paul Dano (Prisoners) Andrew Dice Clay (Blue Jasmine), Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), James Franco (Spring Breakers), Harrison Ford (42), John Goodman (Inside Llewyn Davis), Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners), Woody Harrelson (Out of the Furnace), David Oyelowo (The Butler), Jeremy Renner (American Hustle)

Best Supporting Actor seems to belong to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. His closest competition: Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave. Leto and Fassbender are both looking at their first-ever Oscar nominations. I would also love to see Sam Rockwell and Will Forte receive their first Oscar nominations. It’s possible that James Gandolfini will receive his first Oscar nomination, posthumously, for Enough Said. Interesting to note – Tom Hanks and Matthew McConaughey could each find themselves nominated in both the lead and supporting categories this year.


Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Juliette Lewis, August: Osage County
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Margot Robbie, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

In The Mix:
Viola Davis (Prisoners), Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station), Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom), , Allison Janney (The Way Way Back), Scarlett Johansson (Her), Nicole Kidman (Stoker), Margo Martindale (August: Osage County), Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis), Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County), Adepero Oduye (12 Years A Slave)

The two stand-out performances of the year come from Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave – her very first movie – and 84-year-old June Squibb in Nebraska. In a perfect world, they would tie for the win. The category is likely to be rounded out by a trio of previous Oscar winners – Jennifer Lawrence (2013’s Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook), Julia Roberts (2001’s Best Actress for Erin Brockovich), and Octavia Spencer (2012’s Best Supporting Actress for The Help). But you can’t count out Oprah Winfrey, who has been nominated once before – for Best Supporting Actress in 1986 for The Color Purple – and could make a return this year for The Butler.

Stay tuned…

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 16, 2014
The 86th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2014.

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