BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Predicted Five
1. Labor Day – Jason Reitman – The movie may sound a bit odd, but Reitman has yet to have one of his movies disappoint. His two previous screenplays have been terrific and nomination-worthy, and after his ridiculous loss for Up in the Air, the Academy may be eager to finally award him.
2. The Spectacular Now – Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber – The writing team behind (500) Days of Summer returns with an indie adaptation that won over wide audiences at Sundance. This will likely be the endearing indie hit of the year if it garners a decent release.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter – Being directed by Scorsese, this seems like a shoo-in contender in all categories. Being written by the creator of Boardwalk Empire is even more intriguing. This should be gold.
4. Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy – The first film in the series has only gotten better with age. The sequel swept everyone off their feet. This one has been called the best one yet. I cannot wait for this. A screenplay nom should be easy for this film if it truly is that good.
5. Therese – Charlie Stratton – The story of Therese Raquin has been told several times, but this cast is great and could prove to be the classic literature adaptation to break through this year.
Others in contention
6. The Monuments Men – George Clooney, Grant Heslov – The movie sounds amazing and has one of the more impressive casts in recent memory, but I can’t help but feel like this is too Blockbuster-ish, sort of like The Ides of March. But then again, that was nominated here as well. I will happily be proven wrong about this.
7. Much Ado About Nothing – Joss Whedon – This movie was filmed in secret with an interesting cast. If the Academy wants to throw Whedon some love for his work on The Avengers and such, then this would be a really cool inclusion in the major categories.
8. The Young and Prodigious Spivet – Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant – These types of family-friendly movies have been Academy hits recently. Amelie was nominated for screenplay, so this is certainly a possibility if given the right type of campaign.
9. The Butler – Lee Daniels, Danny Strong – Lee Daniels directed an Oscar nominee and a complete failure in the last 4 years. The inclusion of Danny Strong on the screenwriting team certainly gives this merit, along with the massive and random cast.
10. The Invisible Woman – Abi Morgan – This movie is about Charles Dickens (starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes), which seems like something Oscar will love. Fiennes clearly has a love for classic literature, but his last movie Coriolanus flopped. Let’s see if he can rebound.
11. The Fifth Estate – Josh Singer – This movie, about the founders of WikiLeaks, sounds terrific, but it may be a bit too much like The Social Network to really capture audiences enough to get major awards love. Directed by Bill Condon with a November release date may prove otherwise.
12. August: Osage County – Tracy Letts – The last John Wells movie (The Company Men) disappointed, but this one sounds like more of a sure thing with the cast he assembled. The Academy doesn’t normally like plays adapted by its own writer, but we will just have to see with this one.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Predicted Five
1. Fruitvale – Ryan Coogler – The Sundance winner has been nominated for screenplay 4 of the last 5 years, so this nomination is assured. It was bought by Weinstein, so it will be seen. This seems like the type of movie that could make a run at the major awards.2. Out of the Furnace – Scott Cooper – Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart won over the Academy in the acting categories, but this movie could be his ticket to the big time if it is good enough to warrant the cast he has assembled. Keep an eye out for this one.
3. Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman – Reuniting Bennett Miller and Dan Futterman is something to look forward to. This movie sounds fantastic, and the cast is even more intriguing. This could be the frontrunner in several categories if they can pull it off.
4. The Way, Way Back – Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – The writing team on The Descendents breaks away from Alexander Payne for their first feature film, another hit at Sundance. The cast is great, so this coming-of-age story has the inside-track to being our comedy inclusion in the category.
5. Captain Phillips – Billy Ray – On paper, this sounds like it could be this year’s Zero Dark Thirty or at least Hotel Rwanda. With Paul Greengrass at the helm, it will be seen for sure. Billy Ray is a talented writer, so a nom here seems likely.
Others in contention
6. The Past – Asghar Farhadi – Coming off A Separation, this filmmaker cannot be overlooked. The movie sounds like another devastating drama. If it captures an audience like his previous feature, then look for this Berenice Bejo-starring film to make another big splash.
7. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – David Lowery – This was a big hit at Sundance, and with the intriguing cast, this could be one of those underdog hits that makes a bunch of money and steals away some Oscar noms.
8. Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen – The movie sounds fantastic, and everything the Coens touch turns into Oscar nominations. The movie was sort of delayed, though, which is my only hesitation in predicting it for a nom here.
9. Saving Mr. Banks – Kelly Marcel – I am not completely sure what to make of this movie, about Walt Disney and the making of Mary Poppins, but its cast will ensure its status as a threat. Hitchcock and My Week with Marilyn weren’t exactly megahits, but this one (starring Tom Hanks) could be different.
10. The Rover – David Michod – Westerns have become revived in the past decade, and this one could be the Australian western that becomes popular in America. Michod’s last film was Animal Kingdom, so the Academy may want to keep an eye on him.
11. Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen – No plot details on this one yet, but I would be foolish to not at least consider Woody Allen movies every year on the off chance it becomes Match Point or Midnight in Paris.
12. Untitled David O. Russell Project – Eric Singer – The reuniting of many of the actors Russell has directed to nominations is intriguing for sure. I am not sure this is truly serious enough to be considered, but Russell is on a hot streak. This will be a contender.
13. Her – Spike Jonze – This is the category where the bizarre can be noticed. Jonze isn’t exactly a polished screenwriter, but this movie just sounds too cool to ignore.
14. The Third Person – Paul Haggis – Haggis hasn’t really been taken too seriously since Crash, but this movie is getting back to what made that film so great. The Academy has become somewhat immune to interlocking stories recently, but this could be really good.
15. About Time – Richard Curtis – He is basically 1 for 2 with audiences so far. This movie sounds very strange, but I could see this turning into a classic story if it lives up to its potential.
16. Rush – Peter Morgan – The Peter Morgan-Ron Howard formula has worked before. This seems like a less serious work by the duo, but any time that Morgan picks up a pen, we ought to pay attention.
17. The Bling Ring – Sophia Coppola – This movie does not exactly scream Oscar, but being written by a former winner and with a cool young cast, this could be a sleeper comedy if it is more Virgin Suicides and less Lifetime, who made a previous version of the story.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Jennifer Garner – Dallas Buyers Club – The movie may or may not be a hit, but it certainly has my attention. Garner is such a well-liked actress that she just might ride her husband’s momentum to a nomination and win for this crucial part of the story.
2. Nicole Kidman – The Railway Man - The Academy is so desperate to nominate her that they almost did for The Paperboy. This movie sounds pretty heavy, and she will likely have some juicy scenes to secure another nom.
3. Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine – The Woody Allen supporting female is a staple at the Oscars. She is the type of actress who could own in one of those quirky, furious roles.
4. Catherine Keener – Captain Phillips – She is always in contention, and this seems like a deviation from her normal types of movies. She is playing the wife role, so she will definitely have her scenes to shine.
5. Jessica Lange – Therese – She hasn’t gotten a nomination since her second win in 1994, so this will be a refreshing return to form if the film is as good as it could and should be.
Others in contention
6. Hailee Steinfeld – Can a Song Save Your Life? – Being directed by John Carney in his first major movie since Once will be a great follow-up to Steinfeld’s nominated debut performance in True Grit. It would be historic if she can get nominated for her first 2 movies.
7. Penelope Cruz – The Counselor – She is one of the most liked actresses out there, and playing Cormac McCarthy script will surely give her room to show off her range.
8. Zoe Saldana – Out of the Furnace – She is in one of the frontrunners, and with 4 major movies getting released this year, she will be in the spotlight all year. She could wind up with a 2011 Jessica Chastain-type nomination.
9. Oprah Winfrey – The Butler – She hasn’t been a significant part in a live action movie since 1998. No wonder that the one who brought her back was the director who she helped push to an Oscar nom for Precious. The Academy may want to validate her 1985 nomination and draw a big audience by including her.
10. Juliette Lewis – August: Osage County – She hasn’t been nominated since her breakout in 1991, so an ambitious movie like this playing opposite Streep among others may be her best shot at getting back.
11. Julianne Moore – Don Jon’s Addiction – I am not sure what her part entails, but the movie sounds like it may have her in a Boogie Nights-type role. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is in the running in several categories, maybe like this year’s Magic Mike or something.
12. Toni Collette – The Way, Way Back – She is due for another nomination, so being in what could be another Little Miss Sunshine-esque hit could be her easiest route back to the awards circuits.
13. Mary Elizabeth Winstead – The Spectacular Now – She gathered raves for the last time she was in a James Ponsoldt film (Smashed), so this supporting part could be her ticket to the major awards.
14. Cate Blanchett – The Monuments Men – She is always brilliant, so it would seem pretty obvious if she were to garner buzz for a film with the aspirations as high as this film’s.
15. Melissa Leo – The Butler – When in ensemble pieces, she normally overacts to the point of getting singled out. I expect no different when she plays Mrs. Eisenhower in this loaded cast.
16. Shirley MacLaine – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Ben Stiller has directed an actor to a nom, and MacLaine hasn’t been invited back since her Oscar win in 1983. This could be the token veteran choice in the category.
17. Tilda Swinton – The Zero Theorem – The movie sounds crazy and amazing, but while Gilliam has not had an actor nominated since 1995, this sounds like the kind of film that returns him to Twelve Monkeys and The Fisher King form. Swinton should have a money supporting part.
18. Amy Adams – Untitled David O. Russell Project – She is always in and around getting nominated, so her part in the reunion of the team from The Fighter is well within reason.
19. Rooney Mara – Her – The movie is not Oscar stuff, but Spike Jonze has directed two supporting females to nominations in the past. His actors are always in the running due to their crazy, amazing characters.
20. Amy Adams – Her – If the movie can come together, then this could be another chance for her to get nominated and not win.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Josh Brolin – Labor Day – He is likely to have the most buzzed role of the movie, and with Reitman we know that he writes his roles specifically for the actors cast. Look for a career-best performance by the overdue character actor. He may even be lead for all we know.
2. Jean Jujardin – The Wolf of Wall Street – He is said to have the best part in the film, and being directed by Scorsese should mean fireworks. He also has The Monuments Men, so he will be in the spotlight once again this year.
3. John Goodman – Inside Llewyn Davis – After appearing in the last two Best Picture winners, it is his time for his first nomination. Who better to direct him to that nom than the guys who basically made his career?
4. Mike Epps – Nina – Playing Richard Pryor will either be amazing or a disaster. I am betting on the side of amazing because I love the idea of this project.
5. Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher – His role will likely push him further than we have ever seen him go, and with his film as one of the frontrunners, this could prove to be an easy nomination choice.
Others in contention
6. Woody Harrelson – Out of the Furnace – Perhaps one of our best character actors, Harrelson is a contender with every movie he appears in. This seems like his best bet in 2013.
7. Javier Bardem – The Counselor – He seems to be one of the more popular and likeable actors right now, so if his part is anything at all, he will kill it and likely make another run at a fourth nom.
8. Scoot McNairy – The Rover – He had a near breakout year in 2012, so being directed by a talent like Michod could be his ticket to the mainstream.
9. John Goodman – The Monuments Men – I feel like he will get in this year, so if Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t any good, then this would seem like a certainty to garner him some buzz.
10. Joaquin Phoenix – Lowlife – In a movie that sounds as offbeat as this one, there must be something great to have attracted his smug face to it. His partnership with James Gray has yet to really fail, so this could be another great role for him.
11. Dwight Henry – Twelve Years a Slave – After receiving a snub for the beloved Beasts of the Southern Wild, Henry might have found his chance at redemption in this Steve McQueen film. If he can stand out with Fassbender, Pitt, Dano, and Giamatti in the film, then he should certainly get in.
12. Willem Dafoe – A Most Wanted Man – Being directed by Anton Corbijn is great for him. I am not sure about his role, but he can steal a movie effortlessly if given the part.
13. Daniel Radcliffe – Kill Your Darlings – In one of the most interesting casts of the year, Radcliffe may finally find that role to shed the rest of that predetermined Harry Potter image.
14. Channing Tatum – Foxcatcher – His part in the movie is not likely as juicy as Ruffalo’s, but I am sure he will have his moments. If the Academy can take him seriously like they were able to with Jonah Hill in Miller’s last time, then he could get swept in.
15. Stellen Skarsgaard – The Railway Man – He is one of those veteran actors who is in everything yet has never had that role that gets him singled out. This movie just might give him that chance.
16. Ben Foster – Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – He needs to get nominated soon. His role here is likely very secondary to the leads, but if it is as good as it promises, then he could get swept in with the momentum.
17. Louis CK – Blue Jasmine – Who knows what his part is, but he is the kind of actor who could turn in a classic performance with the right writing.
18. Robin Williams – The Butler – Playing President Eisenhower sounds ridiculous on paper, but I bet under the right direction he could steal the show.
19. Shia LaBeouf – Nymphomaniac – Playing in a Von Trier movie is always dangerous, and his part has already developed some sort of infamy. Look for this movie to make some waves and maybe get Von Trier’s first acting nominee since 1996.
20. Naveen Andrews – Diana – Playing Princess Diana’s love interest should be a good role for the popular TV actor.
21. Matt Damon – The Zero Theorem – Damon should always be in the running. Depending on the merit or the movie, he could either prove to be a shoo-in for a nomination or one of my worst picks ever. Gotta love Terry Gilliam.
22. Tommy Lee Jones – Malavita – Playing opposite De Niro in a crime drama could mean great things for one of the go-to veteran actors right now. Being directed by Luc Besson is intriguing, since he really doesn’t make too many serious movies anymore.
23. Liam Neeson – The Third Person – Neeson has not been invited back since Schindler’s List, so this second pairing with a good director could be the role he has been searching for between his badass action movies.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks – She gets the main character that doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch from what we have come to expect from her. The movie will be one of the most talked about of the year, and she will probably steal the show from Hanks and the rest of the cast.
2. Elizabeth Olsen – Therese – She should have gotten a nomination for MMMM back in 2011, and this is her best role since that breakout part. The film will likely be a contender come Oscar time, so she could make a run at a win.
3. Meryl Streep – August: Osage County – Playing the patriarch role is going to be great for Streep, who somehow made a movie and wasn’t nominated last year... She will make a comeback with this or some other film.
4. Kate Winslet – Labor Day – She hasn’t been nominated in 5 years now? Only 3 movies, but still. Reitman will do wonders for one of our best actresses.
5. Marion Cotillard – Lowlife – The character is a stripper, which always has the Academy’s attention. The movie also sounds deep and beautiful, so this nomination seems about as safe as any in March.
Others in contention
6. Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion – Playing Emily Dickinson is intriguing, but being directed by Terence Davies is awesome. This could be for Nixon what Transamerica was for Felicity Huffman.
7. Meryl Streep – The Homesman – The role seems like a definite contender, but who knows which of the two movies she will be pushed for serious awards consideration? I am betting on August, but this could prove to be a DiCaprio in 2006 scenario and come down to the wire.
8. Zoe Saldana – Nina – She is going to get the chance to show off some musicianship, which is always a good thing with the Academy. With this and Out of the Furnace, she could very well sneak into one of the races.
9. Naomi Watts – Diana – Playing Princess Diana is a dream role for the actress, but getting nominated back-to-back is difficult. She is going to be in the running, but I fear she just misses out.
10. Berenice Bejo – The Past – The recent nominee is blessed here with a terrific role that could show us what she can really do as an actress. If her silent work is any indication, then we could be in for a knockout performance here.
11. Jessica Chastain – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers / His – This interesting two-film project could be either like Three Colors and get awards love or like Che and get ignored completely. I am hoping at least for something in the middle.
12. Shailene Woodley – The Spectacular Now – She nearly secured a nom for The Descendants, so this leading role in an indie darling could be her makeup nomination. She already received raves and a special award at Sundance with costar Miles Teller.
13. Sandra Bullock – Gravity – The movie doesn’t seem like Oscar material, but she and Clooney will have a ton of room to shine.
14. Jennifer Lawrence – Serena – After her win, she will either sputter or be in the spotlight forever. Seeing how her projects are stacking up in the next few years, it will be the latter. She will be an Oscar threat with every movie she appears in.
15. Rooney Mara- Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – This role seems like one that could make or break the movie. She needs to bring it, and she always does. I am pulling for her to pick up her second nom here.
16. Julie Delpy – Before Midnight – Before Sunset garnered her some Oscar buzz, so why not the third film in the series?
17. Ziyi Zhang – The Grandmaster – I hyped up this movie last year only to see it not released. I still have faith in it/her.
18. Naomie Harris – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Playing the wife of Nelson Mandela will likely require a lot of the actress, and if she nails it, then watch out for her.
19. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Nymphomaniac – She is constantly pushing herself with these ridiculous Von Trier parts. Will this one breakthrough for her?
20. Kristen Wiig – Girl Most Likely – The movie is directed by the American Splendor duo, which could mean good things. Wiig is so popular right now that I can see her getting an acting nom one day. Why not for this film?
21. Chloe Grace Moretz – Carrie – This could prove to be an absurd inclusion, but Kimberley Pierce can make a good movie. She directed two actors to nominations already, and Moretz is one of the most impressive young actresses out there. I can see a scenario where she gets in just like Sissy Spacek did in the role in ’76.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Idris Elba – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Elba is a fascinating actor, and playing Nelson Mandela seems like something designed strictly for the Oscars to recognize him. He will be extraordinary; it all depends on the film’s release.
2. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher – Maybe I am reading too far into the description, but a drama about a murdering paranoid schizophrenic directed by Bennett Miller? Both of his leading men have been nominated in the past. Carell beat out Gary Oldman for the role. If he pulls this off, then he will sail to the nomination and maybe win.
3. Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale – After Chronicle reminded us of how good he was in The Wire, Jordan gets the breakthrough role of a lifetime. It won huge at Sundance, so like Sidibe, Wallace, and Lawrence before him, he will ride that train all the way to the Oscars.
4. Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club – He pushed himself further last year than anyone thought he could, and this appears to be a role that will push him even further than that. This should be his ticket.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street – He was snubbed big time for Django Unchained, so he returns to his comfy Scorsese characters for another go-round and hopefully a nomination and win this time.
Others in contention
6. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Don Jon’s Addiction – He has been knocking on Oscar’s door for a while now, so directing himself in a seemingly difficult role could be the thing the Academy is looking for.
7. Tom Hanks – Saving Mr. Banks – Playing Walt Disney is going to be gold, but I just feel like John Lee Hancock will make the movie a bit too light for his part to really blow us away.
8. Guy Pearce – The Rover – Pearce will get a nomination at some point. If this film has the quality that it promises to, then he could finally secure that long elusive nod.
9. Daniel Bruhl – Rush – He is getting good early marks for Rush, and adding in the handful of other films he has this year, he could be our biggest breakout star of 2013.
10. Casey Affleck – Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – He is going to have a nice year, and this role appears to be filled with emotion. He could secure his second nom here without too much trouble.
11. Liam James – The Way, Way Back – He has really only had a decent part in The Killing, but his seemingly lead role in one of the indie frontrunners could be the young actor that AMPAS embraces this year. He would be the second youngest ever in this category if nominated. Eh, they will throw him in supporting probably.
12. Ralph Fiennes – The Invisible Woman – Playing Charles Dickens will be his best role in years and his best chance at a nomination since his last one for The English Patient.
13. Forest Whitaker – The Butler – He has the role that seems to bring the whole movie together, and he can certainly pull it off.
14. James McAvoy – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His / Hers – I feel like this is a hit-or-miss, so McAvoy and Chastain are in the same boat here. They are either both going to threaten getting nominations, or the movie will never really surface.
15. Christoph Waltz – The Zero Theorem – Suddenly the best character actor in the world, the two-time winner is faced with a lead role in a Gilliam picture. I can’t wait to see that. Seems like a perfect pairing.
16. Robert Redford – All Is Lost – The movie, by the director of Margin Call, is said to be completely without dialogue. Redford has been without an acting nom since his sole nom back in 1973. This would be an amazing comeback if he gets in.
17. Jeremy Renner – Lowlife – He plays the hero and romantic interest of Cotillard’s character. He will become a staple at the Oscars in the coming years.
18. Philip Seymour Hoffman – A Most Wanted Man – He is likely going to be able to experiment with an accent in this movie, and the last time we really saw a real noticeable one was Capote, so this is definitely a possibility.
19. Miles Teller – The Spectacular Now – He is bound to have a big breakout role eventually, and this could be it. I am just not sure if the two young actors can carry momentum all the way to the ceremony.
20. Hugh Jackman – Prisoners – Being directed by the filmmaker behind Incendies is intriguing for sure, but the movie may be a bit too mainstream for the Academy’s liking.
21. Will Forte – Nebraska – It would be an unconventional choice, but being directed by Alexander Payne brings out the best in actors.
22. George Clooney – Gravity – The plot details imply isolation, so who better to watch drifting in space than Clooney and Bullock? If one gets in, they both will get in.
23. Tony Leung – The Grandmaster – He is one of the best actors without a nomination, and this could be a hit in America if given a chance.
24. Brad Pitt – Twelve Years a Slave – He is more popular now than ever, and this is another case of him making his rounds with the best directors working today. A nomination here wouldn’t shock me.
25. Michael Fassbender – Twelve Years a Slave – It seems appropriate that his first nom should be for a McQueen film, so we will just have to wait and see how the Academy responds to this picture.
26. Colin Firth – The Railway Man – The script implies that he will be out for blood in this movie, which is the opposite of any persona ever put on him. If he owns it, he could go far.
27. Joaquin Phoenix – Her – Spike Jonze directing Joaquin Phoenix…I can’t wait to see what that entails. This has got to be one of the must-see characters of the year.
28. Ben Foster – Kill Your Darlings – I have no idea who is lead or supporting in the film, but Foster playing William Burroughs seems like a heavenly casting choice.
29. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Fifth Estate – He is set to have a monster year, and this seems like his best role and best chance at a nomination.
30. Bradley Cooper – Untitled David O. Russell Project – Fresh off his Oscar nom for a Russell film, he might just make a run at a second.
31. Robert De Niro – Malavita – Being reunited with Besson is cool, and playing a member of a crime family again will be refreshing. I hope it can live up its potential.
The Predicted Five
1. Jason Reitman – Labor Day – I thought he was going to get his due for Up in the Air, but he somehow even lost out on screenplay. This could be the film that finally validates him as being one of the most important and distinguished voices of our generation in film.
2. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher – He has gone from a nomination on his first film to a much more conventional film that still got nominated for Best Picture. It is his turn to take the podium if this film lives up to it.
3. Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street – He makes a film, and he normally gets nominated. Shutter Island is his lone miss in his last 5 films in this category.
4. Ryan Coogler – Fruitvale – He is probably going to ride his film’s wave of momentum for 12 months all the way to a nomination.
5. Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips – If the film stands a chance at being as good as it sounds, then Greengrass’s direction will be a major part of that, as it is with all of his films.
Others in contention
6. Charlie Stratton – Therese – His film is going to be among the ones to beat, but directors of these types of film are easy ones for the Academy to leave off.
7. James Ponsoldt – The Spectacular Now – The film is going to be battling with Fruitvale for the indie votes, but I have confidence that this could have a The Perks of Being a Wallflower-type appeal and make a run at the major awards anyway.
8. George Clooney – Monuments Men – He is nominated almost every year in a different category. He has been absent from this one since 2005. That may be too long in the Academy’s eyes.
9. Scott Cooper – Out of the Furnace – His last film Crazy Heart overachieved. Is this one of our future A-listers? Possibly. We will see with this film.
10. John Lee Hancock – Saving Mr. Banks – He was left off for his Best Picture-nominated The Blind Side, so the Academy may want to make up for that.
11. Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – The Way, Way Back – If there is a comedy that is going to make a run this year, it appears that this is the one. Comedy directors are not normally recognized here, but in the recent past that has begun to change.
12. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis – The Coens are always in contention, so even if this film isn’t their best work, the Academy may still want to nominate them again and again.
13. David Michod – The Rover – Michod’s last film Animal Kingdom already broke through to the point of getting an acting nomination, so he may begin to get some notoriety if this film is a hit.
14. David Lowery – Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – The movie is filled with potential, so if the movie is as devastating as it could be, the director will be recognized.
The Predicted Ten (I predict 9 will get nominated)
1. Labor Day (Jason Reitman) – The Academy doesn’t like to split Picture and Director, so this choice is somewhat obvious after the previous category. It doesn’t sounds quite like typical Oscar stuff, but that term has been somewhat redefined in the past 6 or 7 years. Reitman will turn this into a masterpiece, I am almost certain of it.
2. Fruitvale (Ryan Coogler) – The Sundance movies are always nominated but never win. For whatever reason, this feels like one that could actually take it all. We will have to wait and see what kind of campaign Weinstein gives it.
3. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller) – Miller made a baseball movie into a beloved instant classic character study. With a story and cast as interesting as this film has, I can’t see this being anything but a contender.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese) – Scorsese is one of the few directors whose films are an event. In the last decade, he has had 4 of 5 films nominated for Picture and Director. With the subject matter, this seems like an absolute lock.
5. Therese (Charlie Stratton) – These types of domestic family dramas are treated well by Oscar voters, and with those involved, this take on the classic story could be a huge hit.
6. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock) – Last year showed that the Academy loves movies about Hollywood. This one is about Disney…pure Oscar gold.
7. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt) – I could be overestimating this movie like no other, but Sundance hits are always given a lot of chances. With the cool young cast and future star director, this could be a big time player.
8. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater) – If the film is as beloved as the previous feature in the series, then a nomination here should be a no-brainer.
9. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass) – The recent history idea is either a great or a horrible idea, but with the people involved, this seems like a sure thing.
10. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) – Comedies have surprisingly still been absent from the Best Picture lineup since they expanded, but this one has the potential to really break through if given a proper release.
Others in contention
11. Monuments Men (George Clooney) – The film doesn’t have the Oscar premise that The Ides of March had, but the cast is every bit as good. Many will consider this the frontrunner, but I ran into that trap with his last film and it only received one nod for screenplay.
12. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) – I do not have complete faith in this project, but then again A Serious Man secured a Best Picture nomination…
13. Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper) – It is just billed as a thriller at this point, but if it is more than that, then this could be one of the ones to beat. Just to be safe, I will leave it just out of the top 10.
14. Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon) – I am so baffled by the idea of a 12 day shoot at Whedon’s house during the filming of The Avengers, but it has my attention. This would be a downright shocker if nominated, but I can somehow see it happening.
15. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery) – It is stuck in a year with a lot of contending indies, but this movie could just sweep everyone off their feet. We are due for another 2005-type year with almost all contending films being independent.
16. The Rover (David Michod) – The movie is a modern western, so it could pick up where No Country For Old Men left off and secure several major nods if it gets the kind of release that it warrants.
17. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee) – The movie has a long way to go to get nominated, but with the pedigree and popularity of the actors and with the director of The Young Victoria, there is a good chance that this could be one of the big surprises at the box office and on nomination morning.
Thoughts? Which films most interest you in 2013? Did I miss any major films or directors? Let me know in the comments.