Oscar Predictions

Updated 2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director

Hustle falls, Slave rises, Banks hunting

2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The precursor awards are underway and I waited until seeing the likes of American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks and Love Survivor before rushing to update my predictions once again. That said, after the Gotham Awards, New York Film Critics Awards, and National Board of Review announcing their favorites it's time to start offering some updates as the only major Oscar player I have yet to see is Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, but even that we have some advance buzz concerning and even more is on the way as additional New York and Los Angeles critics will be seeing it over the weekend.

Now for today's action where I'll be updating all the major categories from Best Picture to Best Animation over the course of the day. First off, we'll begin with Best Picture and Best Director, 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 Picture

So far, once thought major front-runners by most -- 12 Years a Slave and Gravity -- haven't done so well in the early awards season while the first Best Picture winners belong to Inside Llewyn Davis (Gothams), American Hustle (New York Critics) and Her (National Board of Review).

My previous #1, American Hustle, simply doesn't have what it takes to win the Oscar in my estimation and after winning with the New York critics it's complete absence from the National Board of Review is notable. 12 Years a Slave is now faced with what will be a rising tide in Saving Mr. Banks while Gravity will slowly settle to the middle of the pack and take home several technical awards.

Films to keep an eye on, however, are Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis and The Wolf of Wall Street, though something tells me the latter of the bunch may be a bit too edgy to truly compete for the big prize, though Jonah Hill may prove a strong competitor in Supporting based on early buzz.

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Saving Mr. Banks
  3. Gravity
  4. Nebraska
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street
  6. American Hustle
  7. Inside Llewyn Davis
  8. Captain Phillips
  9. Lee Daniels' The Butler

Find my complete, ranked list of 27 contenders right here.

Best Director

steve-mcqueenWhile American Hustle isn't out of it, after seeing it I now know it isn't the frontrunner I assumed it would be and David O. Russell has some work to do to overcome the large amount of talent that already started making waves long before anyone got a glimpse of his latest. This moves Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) into a virtual tie for the top spot with John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks) nipping at their heels.

I've yet to see The Wolf of Wall Street so my placement for Martin Scorsese is simply based on the advanced buzz and the fact he's been nominated for four of his last five films. As a result, it's hard to tell what to do with the likes of Paul Greengrass (Captain Philips), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and Russell while Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) has been making waves in early awards as Breakthrough Director.

Lastly, Spike Jonze (Her) won Best Director from the National Board of Review, which is helpful considering the last three directors they've given such an honor went on to be nominated as well as six of the last ten, but it's a film I'm not sure will truly resonate with the Academy over the competition in front of it.

  1. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
  2. Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  3. John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks)
  4. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  5. Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Find my complete, ranked list of 23 contenders right here.

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  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Greengrass absolutely should be nominated for Best Director. Will be a shame if he is not.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Am I the only one who found The Butler significantly better than 12 Years A Slave?

    • GobleGableOneOfUs

      you leave the theater feeling better after The Butler, but 12 Years was a much more ballsier artistic effort that also had much better acting performances

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

    I don't think The Butler should get a nomination. Very overrated with all the awards talk surrounding it. It was a very sloppy film.

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

    While I agree that 12 Years a Slave should be the frontrunner, I still maintain that I need to be shown the Academy is willing to go a different direction than they have the past five years. But in addition to Saving Mr. Banks, I also think they'll salivate all over Nebraska, which might be a more compelling vote than Disney's syrupy sweet looking self congratualtion.

    1. Saving Mr. Banks
    2. Nebraska
    3. 12 Years a Slave
    4. Gravity
    5. Inside Llewyn Davis
    6. American Hustle
    7. Captain Phillips
    8. The Butler

    I still consider the above likely nominees, though American Hustle, Captain Phillips, and The Butler are slipping and I no longer consider them locks (the top five are). I'm still iffy on the next three, but they're the only other contenders I currently see.

    9. The Wolf of Wall Street
    10. Her
    11. August Osage County

    For Best Director the top four mirror the top four Best Picture contenders, with the last spot totally wide open. I'm putting Scorsese there for now even though I'm not convinced the movie will get a Best Picture nomination.

    1. John Lee Hancock
    2. Alexander Payne
    3. Steve McQueen
    4. Alfonso Cuaron
    5. Martin Scorsese.

    Brad I know you don't like to divulge tidbits from your reviews early, but I'll ask anyway: do you think Mr. Banks is actually a contender because it's a great movie or because it's just something the Academy will devour? Personally I don't think I could bring myself to see it even if you give it an A+. It just looks like Disney masturbating itself while pleading for Oscars.

  • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

    I love Nebraska, but I think is too small for a best picture win, don't know if that makes sence...

    • GobleGableOneOfUs

      I agree. I think Squibb, the screenplay, and Payne are the only ones who get nominated.

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

        I don't even think Payne will be nominated.

  • Jack Tylers

    PICTURE:
    1. The Wolf of Wall Street
    2. 12 Years a Slave
    3. Gravity
    4. Saving Mr. Banks
    5. Nebraska
    6. American Hustle
    7. Captain Phillips
    8. Inside Llewyn Davis
    9. The Butler
    10. Her

    DIRECTOR:
    1. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
    2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
    3. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
    4. Spike Jonze, Her
    5. John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks

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

    No one thinks Frozen has a chance?

    • World’s Finest Comments

      For Best Picture?? Absolutely not. Guess you can say it has a "Snowball's chance".

      • Ben Rittenhouse

        If The Blind Side and District 9 got in... anything can happen lol

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/bridgetoash/ Nathan

    I'm surprised to still see Secret Life of Walter Mitty so high on the list. There haven't been too many good reviews for that one.

  • PJ Edwards

    You shouldn't do predictions based off personal feelings. the 100% on RT and 85 MC for Hustle spite you.

  • http://themoviegurusblog.blogspot.com The Movie Guru

    Right now, my predictions are at this:

    1. 12 Years a Slave
    2. American Hustle
    3. Gravity
    4. Saving Mr. Banks
    5. Captain Phillips
    6. The Wolf of Wall Street
    7. Nebraska
    8. Her
    9. Inside Llewyn Davis
    10. Philomena

    On the director front:

    1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
    2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
    3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
    4. Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
    5. Spike Jonze, Her

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

    I would go with:
    1. Gravity
    2. Saving Mr. Banks
    3. American Hustle
    4. 12 Years a Slave
    5. The Wolf of Wall Street
    6. Nebraska
    7. Inside Llewyn Davis
    8. Her
    ------------
    9. Captain Phillips
    10. Philomena
    11. The Butler

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

    I would go with:
    1. Gravity
    2. Saving Mr. Banks
    3. American Hustle
    4. 12 Years A Slave
    5. The Wolf of Wall Street
    6. Nebraska
    7. Inside Llewyn Davis
    8. Her
    -------------
    9. Captain Phillips
    10. Philomena
    11. The Butler

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

    How I currently see it...

    Twelve Years a Slave
    Gravity
    The Wolf of Wall Street
    Saving Mr. Banks
    Her
    Captain Phillips
    American Hustle
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Nebraska

    Director...

    Steve McQueen
    Alfonso Cuaron
    Martin Scorsese
    Spike Jonze
    Joel and Ethan Coen

    I see both The Wolf of Wall Street and Her catching steam while American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks are dying off. I do not see Gravity dropping to the middle of the pack though. I can definitely see it win Best Picture.

  • Mailan Tran

    It's Lone Survivor, not Love survivor. :)

  • Guest

    I would prefer this:

    Best Picture
    1. Gravity
    2. 12 years a slave
    3. American hustle
    4. Captain Phillips
    5. Inside LLewyn Davis
    6. Nebraska
    7. The wolf of Wall Street
    8. Fruitvale station
    9. Her

    Best Director
    1. Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)

    2. Steve McQueen (12 years a slave)
    3. David O Russell (American hustle)
    4. Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
    5. Joe& Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis)

  • Lionel Fox

    I would prefer this:
    Best Picture
    1. Gravity
    2. 12 years a slave
    3. American hustle
    4. Captain Phillips
    5. Inside LLewyn Davis
    6. Nebraska
    7. The wolf of Wall Street
    8. Fruitvale station
    9. Her

    Best Director
    1. Alfonso Cuaron
    2. Steve McQueen
    3. David O Russell
    4. Paul Greengrass
    5. Joe& Ethan Coen