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Oscar Watching: The End is Near

Aren’t we ready for next year – our own year-in-advance picks we know we’ll laugh at in several months’ time, the obvious Oscar bait that fizzles out for one reason or another, the films that catch fire at the last minute, the campaign chicanery? But we still have this Oscar season to finish.

OK, let’s get this over with: Without any further ado, my official thoughts on what will happen when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences closes out the final chapter of 2013 in film tomorrow night.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s drama about a free man sold into slavery, in my book, strikes a delicate balance between artistic, bold filmmaking and telling a powerful story. It’s also the front-runner, I suppose, with its picture wins from the Golden Globes, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and Producers Guild of America (PGA).

Quite a few voters seem to feel this way, too – well, the ones who bothered watching it. Some didn’t attend screenings (or throw it into their Blu-ray players) because they feared it would be too brutal.

Only two other films matter in the race – American Hustle, which took the Globe for best comedy or musical and the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) award for motion-picture cast, and Gravity, which won with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and tied with 12 Years at PGA. But those felt too “lightweight” for some voters. It’s a close race with no obvious winner, but voters who picked 12 Years likely patted themselves on the back, so…

1. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

2. American Hustle (David O. Russell)

3. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

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)

Should win: Her (Spike Jonze)
Should have been nominated: Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)

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Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón has led this category for months, but some are unaware that he’ll make history with his win, so some looking to make history probably pulled for McQueen. Also, David O. Russell clearly has fans within 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

Should win: Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
Should have been nominated: Spike Jonze for Her

The lead acting races feel like a done deal, don’t they?

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The Author

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.