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my 2014 academy awards predictions!


Watching the Academy Awards is akin to a religious experience to me.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic – in keeping with the subject matter – but it is my favorite night of the year and one that I take seriously. I turn down viewing parties, and the only people I will watch with are my family members. And even they have to be quiet.

I actually love living in California on Oscar night because it’s on at 5 p.m. here. That means we bring in dinner – nothing that needs to be tended to in an oven, though, because I only get off the couch during commercials – and, it doesn’t matter if the telecast runs late because we’re still done at a decent hour.

Michael, the kids, my parents, my sister’s family and I all fill out our ballots ahead of time (although someone is always emailing it just as the opening number is being cued) and we vote for every single category. I told you this is serious.

I – the one who cares about this the most, the one who reviews movies for a living – never win. Never.

With that in mind, here are my predictions:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

IMHO, this was a terrible year for movies. Although there are some good films here, not one of them deserves a Best Picture award except Her, which was the most original, touching and relevant story of the year and which has absolutely no chance of winning. I think it’s going to come down to 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, both of which I wanted to love – but didn’t. I did love the reunion of the Silver Linings Playbook gang and the excellent ‘70s soundtrack but American Hustle is so over the top, it feels more like a caricature of the story it tells than an actual story. 12 Years a Slave brings much-needed attention to an important topic and the graphic brutality makes it powerful – but, I’m sorry, it doesn’t make it a great movie. I think the Academy will ultimately honor it, though, to compensate for the shame it feels over our country’s despicable history.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron

This could go in any direction. Personally, I thought Gravity was boring and was basically a one-sentence movie: “Astronaut gets stranded in space and attempts to get home.” The only way to find anything redeeming about it is to watch it in IMAX 3D, and even then, it’s only exciting for about ten minutes when you truly feel you’re alone in the universe with Sandra Bullock. That’s when you appreciate the technical marvel achieved by Cuaron, although the feeling definitely wasn’t sustainable for me. I think the Academy will give him the award to encourage other filmmakers to get creative and bring audiences back to theaters. On the other hand, they may give it to David O. Russell who should have gotten it last year but was robbed by Ang Lee for his TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT with Life of Pi. Or they could reward Steve McQueen, who older voters might be confusing with the actor they still consider the King of Cool. If nothing else, I pray this award doesn’t go to Martin Scorsese for the indulgent and appalling The Wolf of Wall Street, which I wish I’d never seen.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

I’m afraid this could go to Leo, who I’ve lost a few layers of respect for between The Wolf of Wall Street and his mispronunciation of Philomena on the Golden Globes, but I think the Academy has been so blown away by Matthew McConaughey’s 40 pound weight loss for Dallas Buyers Club that they’ll want to get him onstage so they can take another look and figure out how to achieve the same success.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

What she did in Blue Jasmine was so breathtaking, it was impossible to leave the theater without a stunned expression on your face and a compulsion to gush over her performance. Woody Allen should be bowing at her feet for providing probably the only positive association with his name right now.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

This is the one sure bet of the night. In Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto absolutely transforms himself into Rayon, a transgendered AIDS victim who steals the movie with purity, dignity and sassiness. The performance is so seamless, I didn’t even realize until the credits that it was Jared Leto in that mini skirt and high heels. I was so touched by Rayon, I wanted to reach into the screen to give her a hug. I’d like to do the same with Leto.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Hmm. Lupita Nyong’o is definitely a contender for 12 Years a Slave but I think the Academy has a soft spot for Jennifer Lawrence, who’s kind of America’s Sweetheart. I adore her, too, and, although I think her performance in American Hustle was a little hammy, it’s always fun to hear her speak. What she’ll say is totally unpredictable.

And, honestly, so are many of these awards.

Who do you think will win?

Enter to win a copy of the American Hustle soundtrack here.

And watch one of my favorite Jennifer Lawrence moments after last year’s Oscars:


  1. I must have played that clip of Jennifer Lawrence being wowed by J-A-C-K a zillion times, because it’s so fresh, honest and so, well, her!

    I agree with all of your predictions, even though I haven’t seen 12 Years or Dallas. But I agree with your reasoning.

    So, here goes another night of telling my family that if they utter one word during the telecast they are banned from my Kingdom!

    Here’s we go!

  2. I haven’t seen all the movies but agree that Cate Blanchett is incredible in Blue Jasmine; she ought to win. I like your description of American Hustle; I liked it but wasn’t blown away like I’d hoped to be. Personally, I really enjoyed Captain Phillips, which has no hope of winning; and I LOVED Saving Mr. Banks – which wasn’t even nominated. I may spend the afternoon watching Dallas Buyers Club On-Demand. Neat that you make the awards a family event. I wish they’d come on at 5:00pm here in the Midwest!

  3. I totally understand your feeling regarding the Academy Award show.Since the Academy has forgotten to put me on their list, I have not seen all the movies and true be told, I don’t really watch the Show for the films being honored but for everything else, including the red carpet! I will be glued to the screen Sunday.

    I did not like Blue Jasmine and although Kate Blanchett was good my dislike for the movie got in the way of my appreciating her performance.

  4. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    My predictions are usually wrong. I’m disappointed that Tom Hanks didn’t get nominated for Captain Phillips. We haven’t seen all the nominated films, but most f them, and I liked them but didn’t love them. My favorite was Philomena.

  5. I loved that lclip of Jennifer and Jack, he’s such an old lech 🙂 I think you’re right about most of these. I liked Philomena a lot, it was really moving. Haven’t seen Slave, I don’t think I can bear to watch it on a big screen but will watch it at home when it comes out on demand. Can’t wait to watch tonight, it’s always fun.

  6. Sigh – I STINK. I Haven’t seen any of these movies, so I am totally clueless. Are the Oscars this weekend? I am so out of the loop with this.

  7. Gravity was excellent! If it wins I agree! It was the fastest movie ever for me! I was glued to the TV watching it!

  8. Ever since I had kids, I’m the type who doesn’t see any of the Oscar-nominated films until after the awards show. So thanks for the heads up. Because of my focus on older adults, I’m hoping June Squibb gets the best supporting actress award. But all the people nominated in that category are great.

  9. Agreed about Mathew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

    But my opinion may be skewed, as it’s the only Oscar-nominated film I’ve managed to see!

    It’ll be interesting to see how close you are with your predictions, Lois!

  10. I love those cookies, and your picture is so funny & cute! Love that! Great predictions – enjoy!

  11. Great predictions! We’re watching it right now and it’s a great show so far.

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