Awards season is here, the time when the movie industry comes together to recognise the best of the last year in film. Sometimes the best and most deserving nominees are victorious and sometimes politics wins out and we’re left with yet another Oscar scandal. This year’s Academy Awards will air on 2 March; here are The Saint’s predictions.
The best actor in a leading role award is one of the more difficult to predict this year. Usually the Golden Globes are the best indicator as to who will win this prize, however they have two awards recognising both comedy/musical and drama performances. It is often the winners of these two categories who end up competing for the Oscar. Leonardo DiCaprio, to the surprise of no-one, won the award for best actor in comedy/musical and Matthew McConaughey won it for drama at this year’s globes. DiCaprio has been overlooked many times by the Academy for roles that have been better than his role in The Wolf of Wall Street, so he may lose out again. On the other hand, the Academy has been known to recognise not only a single performance but also an overall career achievement, giving out their awards when it’s someone’s ‘time’. So this year might finally be DiCaprio’s time. Another contender we mustn’t forget is Chiwetel Ejiofor for his lead performance in 12 Years a Slave. The film has generated a lot of Oscar buzz and received five stars from The Saint.
The best actress in a leading role award has a similar affiliation with the Golden Globes, with the earlier awards being a useful barometer for Oscar success. This time the competition is between Cate Blanchett and Amy Adams. Both were great in their roles, in Blue Jasmine and American Hustle respectively, but I believe Blanchett will take home the award. That being said, you never know what can happen; Amy Adams has been nominated five times for an Oscar, never winning, and the Academy might decide that this is in fact her ‘time’.
Jared Leto made a comeback to film this year after a long hiatus spent focusing on his music career. He won the Golden Globe for his role as a trans woman with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, and seems to be this year’s favourite for best support- ing actor.
Jennifer Lawrence will, in all likelihood, take home the Oscar for best supporting actress in American Hustle, having already taken home a Golden Globe for her fantastic performance. She has also won over the hearts of most audiences in the last year with her performance in Catching Fire, as well as with her witty interviews. The Academy might play their cards differently though, and honour the fresh-faced Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o for her performance in 12 Years a Slave.
I haven’t seen any of the contenders for animated feature film but in all likelihood Frozen will win. Pixar and Dreamworks have always won the best animated feature film award but this time Disney might take it home.
The list of nominees for best director this year is a who’s who of Hollywood’s greatest talents. David O. Russell has kept busy making films back to back including the award-winning Silver Linings Playbook and now American Hustle. Alfonso Cuarón already won the Golden Globe for best director for Gravity, so he may win again. Alexander Payne has previously won many awards and has now gone back to his Nebraskan roots and shot Hollywood legend Bruce Dern in black and white, while Steve McQueen has displayed a unique talent in filmmaking, earning his first Oscar nomination in the process. It might not be his ‘time’ to win but the Academy has honoured first time nominees before and could do it again this year. Martin Scorsese has previously been nominated for eight Oscars for directing and only won for The Departed in 2007. The Wolf of Wall Street might not be his best film to date, nor the most typically Scorsese-like of his works, but he is definitely in the race.
Nine films have been nominated for best picture this year, a recent tradition introduced in 2010. Despite the wider field of nominees, however, the real competition still appears to be between a few big contenders. This year the main competition seems to be between 12 Years a Slave, Her, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street. Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Nebraska, while all critically adored, seem unlikely to win.
Of the major players, American Hustle was enjoyable, but lacked substance in plot. The Wolf of Wall Street was enjoyable but quite long, and has been called out on its misogyny which could harm its chances. Her won a Golden Globe for best original screenplay, and so could be a dark horse. I haven’t seen Dallas Buyers Club but as it is covers a highly political issue – the smuggling of pharmaceuticals in order to treat AIDS patients, it may stand a chance. 12 Years a Slave, probably the standout contender for this year, also has the benefit of a highly politicised subject, in its case the harrowing tale of Solomon Northup, a free man tricked into slavery in the southern US during the 19th century.
We will have to wait and see what the Academy has in store for us, but as always the Oscars are sure to deliver, at the very least, drama, couture and a memorable interview with Jennifer Lawrence.