The 86th Annual Academy Awards premiere Sunday, March 2. Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting the awards for the second time, so it should prove to be an entertaining night. There have been many well-deserving movies and actors nominated this year, which gives the Academy, as usual, plenty of tough decisions to make.
Although I’m not a mind reader, I have put together a list of those I believe deserve to win Oscars. Undoubtedly, I will most likely be wrong on more than one, since I am one individual attempting to predict how an entire group will vote. Having said that, in a few categories, there will be an occasional second or third (or fourth) pick, because I feel that more than one nominee is deserving of the esteemed award.
Best Motion Picture
This category is one of the hardest to pick. Obviously, all nine of these movies are equally deserving of the Oscar or else they wouldn’t have been nominated. With that said, it is basically impossible for me to choose just one film. My picks: American Hustle, Her, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street. My reasoning for choosing these films over the other five is the pure provocativeness and/or innovativeness of these particular films. American Hustle may win because David O’Russell has been a favorite of the Academy for the past couple years. Her’s interesting concept and plausibility of the events in this film could have the Academy voting for this one. 12 Years a Slave is very emotionally and masterfully done, and it is sure to draw a lot of votes from the academy. Finally, The Wolf of Wall Street is so provocative, not to mention it’s directed by Martin Scorsese, that it has a really good chance of being chosen for the coveted award.
All five of these men are stellar. Their acting ranges from highly emotional to hilariously comedic, and it is clear that these gentlemen worked hard to sell their performances as authentic. My picks: Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejoifor, Christian Bale. I’m gonna come right out and say it—Leo deserved an Oscar over a decade ago, and if he doesn’t win this year for his performance, at least a small portion of the Internet (namely Tumblr) will erupt in protest. However, DiCaprio is up against some heavy competition. Ejoifor’s amazing and powerful portrayal in 12 Years a Slave could easily garner him a win, and Bale’s amazing physical transformation in American Hustle could win him his second Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor
My picks: Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Barkhad Abdi. These three men are all in great movies and the performances they give are spot on. I can’t really choose who will win, because Cooper is great in practically anything he’s in (and his perm in American Hustle is simply hilarious), that he could be the favorite of the Academy. Also, Fassbender is such a hot commodity in film these days—not to mention he’s starring in the emotional rollercoaster of a film 12 Years a Slave—it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him capture the award. Finally, because Abdi is virtually unknown (and it has been seen that the Academy sometimes like to vote for new faces), he too has as good a chance as any to win for his role in Captain Phillips.
My picks: Meryl Streep, Judi Dench. Both these ladies are top-notch actresses whose acting credits are years and successful movies long, and yet these women still turn out flawless performances in just about anything they’re in. It is interesting to note that both of these women play matriarchal characters, although on decidedly opposite spectrums. In August: Osage Country, Streep portrays the unpredictable mother of Julia Roberts in this tension-filled film. Dench’s heartfelt interpretation of a woman trying to find the son she never knew in Philomena is a stark contrast to Streep’s. Regardless of who wins, whether it be Streep or Dench, or even Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett or Sandra Bullock, all these women did spectacular work this year.
Best Supporting Actress
My picks: Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o. Jennifer Lawrence, the “it girl” actress that everyone loves, is simply on fire right now in Hollywood. So it would make perfect sense to award her the Oscar two years in a row for this year’s role in American Hustle. On the other hand, Lupita Nyong’o blew audiences away with her performance in 12 Years a Slave, and it also is very possible that she will win.
Best Animated Feature Film
My pick: Frozen. Sorry, guys, I am extremely biased on this one. With the explosive success of this film, I just can’t bring myself to see how any other movie deserves to win. The Disney filmmakers’ ability to blend lightheartedness and musical fun with heartfelt drama and seriousness while taking audiences on a fun yet emotional journey simply amazes me.
Best Original Song
My picks: “Let It Go,” “Ordinary Love,” “Happy.” Personally, I think that “Let It Go” should win (Idina Menzel is just so amazing); however, U2’s inspiring anthem, “Ordinary Love,” for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom could edge out the Disney hit. Also, the sheer catchiness of Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy” in Despicable Me 2 could increase its chances of running away with the Oscar.
Best Animated Short Film
My pick: Get a Horse! This Disney short is without equal. Who else could seamlessly blend an original Disney short with new, updated animation and still create something magical?
Thus ends my predictions for who should win the coveted Oscar. Having given my spiel on who should win, I’d love to hear from all you movie lovers on who you think should leave with the gold statuette at the end of the night. Enjoy your Oscar weekend!
Claire Farrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org