Updated 2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor and Actress

2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor and Actress

We continue today's updated 2014 Oscar predictions with Best Actor and Best Actress, one of which is entirely up for grabs where the other was long thought to be in the bag, but such is never the case in the Oscar race (rhyming!).

I've gone into more detail below, but in the actor race I'm sticking with Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) all while Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Robert Redford (All is Lost) continue to bounce all around my rankings.

On the Best Actress side, what was long thought to be an open and shut case for Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) may soon become quite the race as Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) will soon apply some pressure.

I'll be updating all the major categories today as I've already posted my Best Picture and Director predictions and continue with my leading actor categories, which are detailed below along with links to browse my complete, ranked field of contenders.

Also, be sure to stay up-to-date with my Awards Calendar as the Los Angeles Film Critics will hand out their awards this Sunday, December 8 and next week on December 11 and 12 we'll have the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations.

Best Actor

chiwetel-ejioforSometimes it pays to live in New York and Los Angeles where you can have your ear closer to the ground with these things. Considering I live in Seattle I am going to have to depend on what the so-called "buzz" is telling me and with this category it tells me Bruce Dern (Nebraska) wants the win far more than Robert Redford (All is Lost) and with Nebraska performing well in early precursors Dern gets a bump.

For now I'm sticking with Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) in the top spot while the only name sliding out of my top five is Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler).

  1. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
  2. Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
  3. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  4. Robert Redford (All is Lost)
  5. Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)

Find my complete, ranked list of 19 contenders right here.

Best Actress

2014-oscar-predictions-best-actress-featHere we have what will surely be one of the most hotly contested categories on the board, both at the top and at the bottom as it's going to be a race to see who not only wins, but who gets nominated.

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) has long been the frontrunner and remains so today following her Best Actress win with the New York critics, but don't overlook the National Board of Review awarding Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) with their Best Actress award. Thompson is excellent in Saving Mr. Banks with a final act that blows the doors off and she very well could overtake Blanchett's long-assumed lead.

Then we have the bottom of the board where Brie Larson (Short Term 12) could possibly find herself with a nomination as she must face powerhouses in Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) and Amy Adams (American Hustle), two actors with 21 nominations between them along with Streep's three wins.

  1. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  2. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
  3. Judi Dench (Philomena)
  4. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
  5. Amy Adams (American Hustle)

Find my complete, ranked list of 13 contenders right here.

  • http://guiltypleasuresradio.net Tom Knoblauch

    I went to a Q&A with Dern, Squibb, Payne, and Forte a couple weeks ago and Dern discussed how little the Oscars matter to him. He said he's in acting to get better, not win awards. Then Squibb said getting nominated would be "the coolest thing in the world," and told the audience Dern cares more than he lets on. It was cute.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

      Dern has only been nominated once before in 1972 for Supporting. I doubt he cares that much. It would definitely be cool to win it, but it's not like he's Peter O'Toole who was nominated 8 times and snubbed each time.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

      In the past Ive noticed that if the Academy gets wind of comments like Dern’s, they take it VERY personally. I wonder if that will be the case here?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Arjuna/ Arjuna

    In a dream world we'd see Di Caprio and Phoenix in there maybe at the expense of Redford and Dern but I think Dern has too much momentum and it really is just a strong year, I can't imagine Hanks, McConaughey or Ejiofor not making it, so that's two spots for 5 great actors (Dern, Redford, Phoenix, Di Caprio, Bale)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Arjuna/ Arjuna

      Forgot about Michael B Jordon, Witaker and Isaacs, I mean that's 11 best actor nomination worthy performances, that doesn't happen every year

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Arjuna/ Arjuna

    Awesome seeing how a 39 yr old is the youngest of the best actress field, and everyone says only the young starlets get the great roles! got vets!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

      I was thinking the exact same thing. It makes me wonder if the Academy will look past the age and beauty factors that they usually live by when it comes to Best Actress.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Seeing Nebraska tonight, so will have better thoughts on Dern. In my opinion though, Ejiofor, McConaughey, and Hanks are lock nominations. You could probably put Dern, Redford (still haven't seen All Is Lost either), DiCaprio, or Whitaker in the final two slots.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Kind of surprised you're not liking Phoenix's odds that well for Her, although the competition is obviously fierce and he's prob on the Academy's naughty list.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    Best Actor is so competitive for a nomination. I still see Ejiofor, Redford, and McConaughey as locks, and Dern is getting close given how much the old white men are loving Nebraska. I'm no longer completely sold on Hanks, especially since he's a lock for a supporting nomination. But either he or Whitaker would be my pick for the last slot, given that all the other contenders seem to have some sort of baggage...the Academy doesn't like DiCaprio, American Hustle is getting mixed reviews, Isaac and Jordan are too young and their movies are too small. Phoenix is probably the most interesting case; I'm still amazed he was nominated for The Master because of what he said about awards last fall, but maybe that's a reason to leave him out this time around.

    I don't see how anyone can take Meryl Streep out of consideration, since she's just about guaranteed a nomination if she acts in a movie that isn't a bad comedy (Hope Springs). Same for Judi Dench, who I still see as the frontrunner, though her "unless" is a Bond movie. Blanchett, Thompson, and Bullock are the others. I really don't see anyone else breaking in.

  • Jack Tylers

    1. Leo DiCaprio
    2. Bruce Dern
    3. Chiwetel Ejifor
    4. Robert Redford
    5. Matthew McConaghey

    1. Blanchett
    2. Thompson
    3. Bullock
    4. Dench
    5. Meryl

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

      I don't think Leo is a lock. I think him and Matt will fight out for the #5 spot while Hanks to me is a definite lock.

      Bullock's momentum has died down. I think she'll have to fight Dench and Adéle for that 5th spot. Amy is a lock.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    Any chance DiCaprio could sneak in a Best Actor nomination?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/aroncido/ aroncido


    I don't think Slave will be a huge contender, so I think Dern will come out on top.


    Blanchett gave a performance that I think will surely be awarded. Gravity could come in very strong, meaning Bullock can create some heat.
    Adams will get in, because they will like Hustle enough, as well as they want to award her with something after 3 noms but 0 wins.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    Top 15 nominees for each category ordered by past Academy success:

    1. Tom Hanks: 2-time winner, 5-time nominee (all for Lead Actor)
    2. Robert Redford: 1-time winner (for Directing), 1 Honorary Award, 3-time nominee (1 for lead actor, 2 for directing)
    3. Forrest Whitaker: 1-time Academy Award winner (his only nomination)
    4. Christian Bale: 1-time Academy Award winner (for Supporting, only nomination)
    5. Leonardo DiCaprio: 3-time Academy Award nominee (all for Lead Actor)
    6. Joaquin Phoenix: 3-time Academy Award nominee (1 for Supporting, 2 for Lead)
    7. Hugh Jackman: 1-time Academy Award nominee (for Lead)
    8. Bruce Dern: 1-time Academy Award nominee (for Supporting)
    9. Mark Wahlberg: 1-time Academy Award nominee (for Supporting)
    10. Chiwetel Ejiofor: NEWCOMER
    11. Idris Elba: NEWCOMER
    12. Oscar Isaac: NEWCOMER
    13. Michael B. Jordan: NEWCOMER
    14. Matthew McConaughey: NEWCOMER
    15. Isaiah Washington: NEWCOMER

    1. Meryl Streep: 3-time winner (2 for Lead, 1 for Supporting), 17-time nominee (12 more for Lead and two for supporting)
    2. Emma Thompson: 2-time winner (Lead and Writing), 5-time nominee (2 more for Lead and 1 for Supporting)
    3. Kate Winslet: 1-time winner (for Lead), 6-time nominee (4 Lead, 2 Supporting)
    4. Judi Dench: 1-time winner (for Supp), 6-time nominee (4 Lead, 2 Supporting)
    5. Cate Blanchett: 1-time winner (for Supp), 5-time nominee (2 Lead, 3 Supporting)
    6. Sandra Bullock: 1-time Academy Award winner (Lead, only nomination)
    7. Amy Adams: 4-time Academy Award nominee (all for Supporting)
    8. Berénice Bejo: 1-time Academy Award nominee (for Supporting)
    9. Scarlett Johansson: 1-time Academy Award nominee (Original Song)
    10. Adèle Exarchopoulos: NEWCOMER
    11. Greta Gerwig: NEWCOMER
    12. Brie Larson: NEWCOMER
    13. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss: NEWCOMER
    14. Amy Seimetz: NEWCOMER
    15. Shailene Woodley: NEWCOMER

    • Marc Alen Lim

      Leo is 2 Lead, 1 Supporting. He's tied with Phoenix, only Phoenix's noms are way better I think.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    My predictions:
    1. Robert Redford
    2. Chiwetel Ejiofor
    3. Tom Hanks
    4. Bruce Dern
    5. Leonardo DiCaprio
    Spoilers: Matthew McConaughey, Joaquin Phoenix

    1. Emma Thompson
    2. Amy Adams
    3. Cate Blanchett
    4. Meryl Streep
    5. Adéle Exarchopoulos
    Spoilers: Judi Dench, Brie Larson

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/sofasobad/ sofasobad

    Will the wave of love and grief for Nelson Mandela currently sweeping the globe result in a nomination for Idris Elba?

  • PJ Edwards

    So Ejiofer is gonna win when he cant win a single critic award? How does that work?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      New York is the only critic organization to vote so far and critics don't vote for Oscars. So, I guess that's something to take into consideration.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seren/ seren

    For Best Actress, my prediction is Blanchett, Bullock, Thompson, Dench and Streep. I'm afraid that if AMPAS members only watch "Gravity" on dvd, it may hurt Bullock's chance, but I still think she'll get in because, while "Gravity" seems to be quiet now, I assume WB will start pushing it strongly again considering Bullock is the only possibility for WB in the Best Actress category, and also she seems to be popular enough. If any of the above five goes down, I think it would be Streep. The movie doesn't seem to be getting much buzz, and they know Streep will have another chance soon.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

    % Chance that Leo will get at least a nom for his work in The Wolf of Wall Street. Academy better not screw him again. Two snubs in a row.

    • Marc Alen Lim

      There wasn't any snub. It was overestimating of his chances.=)

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

        He deserved a nom for J. Edgar, and deserved a win for Django. He was so great, and even better then Christoph Waltz, who we all know ended up winning.

        • GobleGableOneOfUs

          Waltz should have gotten the nom for lead actor anyway not supporting. Either DeNiro or Leo should have won supporting last year.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

            Definitely agree with you about Waltz. DeNiro has won before, and Leo went very far with his character so I would have voted for Leo. The infamous scene where he gashed his hand...'nough said.

  • voncastle

    Ooooh no no no nooooo, don't EVER count Meryl out :)

  • Tevin Christopher Phelps

    My Best Actor Oscar Nomination Predictions:
    1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (2013)

    2. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

    3. Robert Redford, All Is Lost (2013)

    4. Bruce Dern, Nebraska (2013)

    5. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips (2013)

    My Best Actress Oscar Nomination Predictions:
    1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (2013)

    2. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

    3. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County (2013)

    4. Amy Adams, American Hustle (2013)

    5. Judi Dench, Philomena (2013)

  • GobleGableOneOfUs

    I really don't see why Dern and Redford should get nominated. If anything wouldn't Dern be supporting with Forte being the lead? Both Dern and Redford weren't even asked to actually act in both their roles.

    • Brian

      The fact that you don't think Dern was acting is what makes his performance truly spectacular.

      • GobleGableOneOfUs

        I just feel like literally anyone that age could have have played that role considering the script and direction were top notch.

        • Brian

          I agree that Payne's direction and Bob Nelson's script were amazing, and should receive nominations as well. However, we'll just have to agree to disagree about Dern's performance. His nasally voice, sharp change of tones, wide-footed hunched walk and suble nuances were pitch perfect. No, I cannot see Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman (who I hear the studio, despite Payne's objections, wanted to coax out of retirement), or "literally anyone that age" in this difficult role. As someone who has a lot of experience in the America being portrayed in the film, Dern's performance was one I can only describe as "perfect," which is something movie fans don't often see.

    • Brian

      Also, simply because Forte speaks more lines does not mean he's the lead. The movie is about Dern's character, Woody; his journey, his past, and his faults. The emotional weight of the film is squarely on Dern's shoulders, which makes him the lead. Remember, Anthony Hopkins had a mere 16 minutes of screen time in Silence of the Lambs, but it's the 16 minutes we all remember most.

      • GobleGableOneOfUs

        Funny that you mention Hopkins. If that isn't a textbook supporting role I don't know what is. What do we remember the most about the Dark Knight? The Joker.

        • Ben Rittenhouse

          Exactly! Heath Ledger should have won Best Actor then for TDK.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

    I really hope that Brie Larson gets recognition for Short Term 12. She is one of the only young and beautiful female actors.

    • Craig Strahorn

      So, not because she gave a worthy performance but because she's aesthetically pleasing? Superficial much?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

        No, no of course not! I must have been tired when I wrote that!
        I just know that the Academy is drawn to “young and beautiful”. I am in no way one of those shallow, superficial types. I promise you.
        It was indeed, her performance that was staggering. If it takes her looks to draw attention to her performance, I’m ok with that. Unfortunately, that is often the reality of how the Academy functions.
        I just hope that Brie gets recognized for her talent once she is on their radar.