TMH makes predictions for Oscars

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The Oscar season is overwhelming for even the biggest film buffs to keep up with, let alone the casual viewer. For all the college students too cash-strapped and busy to make it to the movies, The Miami Hurricane has a guide to this year’s big races:

 

Best Picture

“American Hustle”

“Captain Phillips”

“Dallas Buyers Club”

“Gravity”

“Her”

“Nebraska”

“Philomena”

“12 Years a Slave”

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

No other film this year was as strong across the board as “12 Years a Slave.” The “based on a true story” struggle of Solomon Northup to return to his family after being forcibly enslaved is tailor-made for a best picture win, with emotionally resonant, complex performances, intelligent directing and powerful images that remain fresh months after viewing the film.

 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale

(“American Hustle”)

Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”)

Leonardo DiCaprio

(“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

Chiwetel Ejiofor

(“12 Years a Slave”)

Matthew McConaughey

(“Dallas Buyers Club”)

Sorry Leo fans, but your favorite leading man is going to come away empty-handed for yet another year. McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof was charming, dynamic, and practically pulsating with his sheer zest for life. He took home the trophy at both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, and although Ejiofor has an outside chance of unseating him, a sweep looks likely for McConaughey’s performance as the HIV afflicted cowboy.

 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams

(“American Hustle”)

Cate Blanchett

(“Blue Jasmine”)

Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”)

Judi Dench (“Philomena”)

Meryl Streep

(“August: Osage County”)

Bullock’s performance as an astronaut desperately trying to reach Earth after her satellite is destroyed by space debris is remarkable for its genuine pathos and strength. Not many actresses can carry an entire film on their shoulders, but Bullock does just that, even with the added obstacle of a CGI world. Still, Blanchett could coast to victory on a wave of awards season success, and Adams’s slick con-woman could sneak in an upset.

 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi

(“Captain Phillips”)

Bradley Cooper

(“American Hustle”)

Michael Fassbender

(“12 Years a Slave”)

Jonah Hill

(“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

Jared Leto

(“Dallas Buyers Club”)

The performances in this category are so diverse that selecting a winner is partially a matter of personal taste. But Leto distinguished himself from the pack with his fearless portrayal of Rayon, a transgender AIDS patient. Like his co-star McConaughy, he already has the Golden Globe and SAG award under his belt, and his brutally honest depiction of a compassionate, yet deeply troubled drug addict should garner a third statue.

 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”)

Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”)

Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”)

Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”)

June Squibb (“Nebraska”)

It’s impossible to watch Nyong’o’s portrayal of Patsey – a desperate, broken slave-woman blessed and cursed with her master’s favor – without being deeply moved by the horrors she endures. This should be a close race with Lawrence, but America’s newest sweetheart took home the Best Actress statue last year under the same director and for too similar a role for the Academy to reward her twice in a row.

 

Best Directing

“American Hustle” (David O. Russell)

“Gravity” (Alfonso Cuarón)

“Nebraska” (Alexander Payne)

“12 Years a Slave” (Steve McQueen)

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

(Martin Scorsese)

The directing field is incredibly strong this year, with all five men highly deserving of recognition. However, “Gravity” was far and away the most visually stunning film of the year, and Cuaron coaxed moving performances out of his stars despite the challenges of acting in an environment which was mostly created in post-production.

 

Best Animated Feature

“The Croods”

“Despicable Me 2”

“Ernest & Celestine”

“Frozen”

“The Wind Rises”

Has anyone been able to escape the “Frozen” signature tune, “Let It Go” since it was released in November? This heart-warming tale of an ice princess and her sister is a sure-fire win.

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