Oscar Nominations: Final Predictions - Time for a 'Hail Meryl'?

Meryl Steep in August: Osage County
My confidence in the award predictions game is shot after the bombshell of this week’s Canadian Screen Awards nominations. If directors like Louise Archambault (Gabrielle) and Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) aren’t safe, then who is? If the Canadian field of awards feels competitive, though, then the Academy Awards race seems especially tight. It’s so jam-packed that esteemed veterans like Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, both performing at the top of their games in August: Osage County and All is Lost, respectively, might be squeezed out of the race. Factor in campaigning and the Oscar race of 2013-2014 is especially cutthroat. It might be time to say a “Hail, Meryl”!

Hail Meryl, full of grace, Oscar is with thee; blessed art thou amongst actresses, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Julia Roberts. Holy Meryl, Mother of Acting, pray for those who vote for otherwise, now and at the hour of their death. Amen.
Amy Adams in American Hustle
The conversation in the Oscar race has largely shifted since the Merylgate of Sunday’s Golden Globes, which wasn’t a surprise since even I predicted Amy Adams to win, from asking which films will be nominated for Best Picture (does The Wolf of Wall Street endorse the bad behaviour it depicts?) to asking which actress among the six heavy hitters will be left off the ballot (Will Meryl or Amy be left in the dust?). Why don’t they allow for a flexible number of nominees? Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, and Emma Thompson all seem safe to land a nomination. Streep and Adams have had a bit more variability in the precursors. Much of the sense that Amy Adams has pulled ahead of Streep is, from my point of view, attributed mostly to the undeniable momentum that American Hustle has in the race right now and to Adams’ standing as one of Oscar’s bridesmaids who might finally become a bride. People really want Adams to win and she’s doing the work to make it happen. One could apply the same logic to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Golden Globe win for The Wolf of Wall Street to argue why he might push out Robert Redford or maybe (but less likely) Bruce Dern. (Redford earned the SAG nomination, but The Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t ready in time to show to SAG voters.)

Admittedly, an equally strong chorus says Streep has received enough love from the awards circuit. Streep herself might be the biggest proponent of this notion. The fact that she doesn’t seem to care about a nomination when Adams clearly does care could swing the few votes that might be necessary in such a tight race.

Support for Streep, on the other hand, has been based mostly—if not solely—on her performance. Read the reviews, read the trades, and such. I might be biased, but Streep seems to have enough people who recognize the significance of her performance in August: Osage County. Support for the performance itself is what really matters. (Unless you're Michael Fassbender and Demian Bichir is hosting a champagne lunch.) The so-called “Streep fatigue” doesn’t seem to exist in the Academy. They’ve nominated her eighteen times. There’s probably enough of a “Yay, Meryl!” contingent to get her the #1 votes she needs, especially since this performance is arguably better than that for which she won in The Iron Lady. If anything, a field as competitive as this one could yield a nomination for someone like Brie Larson who has a comparatively smaller group of supporters, but all whom are putting her at #1.

The voting for the Academy Award nominations and the Golden Globe winners were both due January 8th, so there’s as much reason to assume that Adams’ win came too late in the game or that her win is a sure sign of a shift in favour. On the other hand, one knows that it was a really strong year for movies if performances as good as Streep’s and Adams’ might not make the cut. It’s a good reminder that awards really aren’t the be-all-end-all of quality. Just look to the gaps in this year’s list of the nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards and see how much the predictions game can be a pointless endeavour.

Without further ado, here are final Oscar predictions for entertainment purposes.

What do you think will make the cut?

*New or moved

 Best Picture:

What about: Her*  Rush, Saving Mr. Banks*

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips*
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Almost put: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis*
What about: Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine;  Stephen Frears, Philomena*, Spike Jonze,Her*, Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor

Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost

Almost put: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
What About: Christian Bale, American Hustle; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity 
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Almost put: Amy Adams, American Hustle
What about: Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color; Brie Larson, Short Term 12, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said*

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Almost put: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
What about: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street, Matthew McConaughey, Mud.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia RobertsAugust: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Almost put: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine,
What about: Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street*, Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle - David O. Russell, Eric Singer
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
Her - Spike Jonze *
Inside Llewyn Davis - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Nebraska – Bob Nelson

Almost put:  Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener)*
What about: Dallas Buyers Club*, Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón), Mud (Jeff Nichols), Saving Mr. Banks – Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
Captain Phillips – Billy Ray
Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Philomena – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street -- Terence Winter

Almost put: August: Osage County – Tracy Letts
What about: Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix)

Best Cinematography


Best Film Editing:

Alt: Rush* (this really should be nominated here...)
What About: Dallas Buyers Club*, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks,

Best Score:

Best Costumes:

The Invisible Woman

Alt: Oz: The Great and Powerful*
What About:  Blue Jasmine, The Hobbit: Desolation of SmaugInside Llewyn DavisLee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Production Design:

Best Visual Effects:

The Hobbit 2
Iron Man 3

Alt: Star Trek Into Darkness*
What about: Man of Steel, Oblivion

Best Make-up and Hair:

American Hustle*
Jackass: Bad Grandpa*
The Lone Ranger

Alt: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire*
What about: Dallas Buyers Club*
Shortlist of eligible films at Coming Soon.

Best Song:

List of eligible songs at Awards Daily.

Best Documentary Feature:

The Act of Killing
The Square

Almost put: The Armstrong Lie
Shortlist of final fifteen contenders

Best Animated Feature:

Monster’s University
The Wind Rises
What about: The Legend of Sarila (go Canada!)

-List of submitted features at Awards Daily.

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Great Beauty - Italy
The Hunt - Denmark
Two Lives - Germany

(We now proceed to the stage of random guessing.)

Best Sound Mixing

Inside Llewyn Davis*
Lone Survivor*

Alt:  The Great Gatsby*
What About: All is Lost*, American Hustle*, Rush*

Best Sound Editing

All is Lost
Captain Phillips*
Lone Survivor*

Alt: 12 Years a Slave*
What About: The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Star Trek into Darkness

Best Animated Short:

Get a Horse!
Gloria Victoria 
The Missing Scarf
Mr. Hublot
Subconscious Password

Best Live Action Short:

n/a (I have nothing on which to base this category.)

Best Documentary Short:

n/a (I have nothing on which to base this category.)

What are your Oscar predictions?