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Oscar Watching: The Awards Season is Boiling Down

This weekend saw the release of the early front-runner to win the animated feature film Oscar next year, but we still have to put this Oscar season to rest. Unfortunately, we can’t do that until Mar. 2 because the Olympics pushed back the ceremony and with it the whole awards season. And studios won’t let their films go down without a fight – even the original song race is heating up.

But hey, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) unveils its picks on Sunday, so lets hope the Brits throw some curveballs our way. I offer my guesses on those alongside this week’s Oscar picks.

Best Picture

Another day, another reordering of spots four through nine – but do those contenders matter much? (And should we read too much into Christopher Rouse winning the ACE Eddie Award for Captain Phillips?) Despite the massive campaigns behind each picture nominee, this race boils down to 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity.

12 Years tackles an unfortunate but important era in the history of the United States, but does are voters too weak to handle it? Thrills about in Gravity, but do voters see it as anything more? Voters like Hustle and find it safe – that usually seals the deal, but momentum for Hustle oddly died the film took the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) award for motion-picture cast, as the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) respectively picked 12 Years and Gravity… and Gravity.

I expect BAFTA to pick Gravity for British film and 12 Years for best film.

1. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

2. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

3. American Hustle (David O. Russell)

4. Philomena (Stephen Frears)

5. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)

6. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

8. Her (Spike Jonze)

9. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón should be the easy winner with BAFTA and the motion-picture academy.

1. Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity

2. Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

3. David O. Russell for American Hustle

4. Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

5. Alexander Payne for Nebraska

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett likely takes BAFTA and Oscar, though an upset from Judi Dench or Amy Adams at the former ceremony might foreshadow a surprise on Oscar Night.

1. Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

2. Amy Adams for American Hustle

3. Judi Dench for Philomena

4. Sandra Bullock for Gravity

5. Meryl Streep for August: Osage County

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Matthew McConaughey has so much going for him this season, it’s difficult to imagine him losing. However, he and Dallas Buyers Club failed to launch with BAFTA, so I imagine either Chiwetel Ejiofor or Leonardo DiCaprio wins there.

1. Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

2. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street

3. Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave

4. Bruce Dern for Nebraska

5. Christian Bale for American Hustle

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Lupita Nyong’o for BAFTA and Oscar: Her closest competition, Jennifer Lawrence, just won last year. Maybe June Squibb pulls off a Brenda Fricker-style upset?

1. Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave

2. Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

3. June Squibb for Nebraska

4. Julia Roberts for August: Osage County

5. Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Fassbender should take BAFTA since, again, the Brits shut Dallas out of their race; Jared Leto still gets the Oscar even if his persona feels like an odd fit for the motion-picture academy.

1. Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

2. Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave

3. Bradley Cooper for American Hustle

4. Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street

5. Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips

Best Original Screenplay

Spike Jonze won with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), but the motion-picture academy is all about David O. Russell right now. Further complicating this race is that Jonze failed to make the grade with BAFTA – who wins there?

A BAFTA win for Hustle makes sense until we remember that the Brits just honored Russell last year. Gravity is a major player there, so maybe Jonás Cuarón and his father take this home (despite missing with Oscar)?

1. Spike Jonze for Her

2. David O. Russell and Eric Singer for American Hustle

3. Bob Nelson for Nebraska

4. Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club

5. Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine

Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley feels like a done deal for BAFTA and Oscar, but will the blitzkrieg for The Wolf of Wall Street change anything?

1. John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave

2. Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street

3. Billy Ray for Captain Phillips

4. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena

5. Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater for Before Midnight

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Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.