This time next week, it’ll all be over – the countdown, the speculation, the betting and, indeed, the 2014 awards season. Because the Academy Awards will have taken place and that, for this year anyway, will be that. Of course, the Spirit Awards and the Razzies happen on Saturday but, ultimately, the big one is on the following day.
This year’s Oscar ceremony is later than usual – to avoid a clash with the Winter Olympics – and that timing meant that Academy members were still casting their votes while the BAFTAs were taking place in London. Which ups their influence on the Oscar results. Doesn’t it?
Truth is, it’s almost impossible to know. But we do know that BAFTA has a habit of going its own way and there are certain Oscar nominees who simply didn’t figure on the BAFTA shortlist – two for sure.
So who’s going to walk away with the little gold men this year? Here’s my predictions …….
Should win: 12 Years A Slave. For a whole host of reasons, cinematic and otherwise.
Will win: 12 Years A Slave. It’s a staggeringly close category this year, but it will a massive shock if the film doesn’t win – even bigger than when Crash incomprehensibly won back in 2006.
Should win: Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Will win: Alfonso Cuaron. Gravity deserves to win more than just the statuette for special effects and Cuaron was the man at the helm.
Should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave. It’s a great piece of acting and it would be typically political choice by the Academy in a horribly tight category this year.
Will win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club. He’s been leading the field and only reason he didn’t win the BAFTA was that, for some unaccountable reason, he wasn’t nominated!
Should win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. Her performance was a winner from the day the film was released.
Will win: Cate Blanchett. It would be a major upset if she lost out to one of the other nominees, but it’s increasingly unlikely to happen.
Best Supporting Actor
Should win: Michael Fassbender gets my sympathy vote for a superb piece of acting in 12 Years A Slave which has, so far, won him little or nothing. I’d love to see him win, but I don’t think he will.
Will win: Jared Leto is the reason why. Ditto what I said about McConaughey.
Best Supporting Actress
Should win: Lupita Nyong’o, an excellent debut in 12 Years A Slave.
Will win: Lupita Nyong’o. She’s upped her campaign for the Oscar over the past few weeks, it’s politically correct for the Academy – and her performance is pretty good too!
Best Original Screenplay
Should win: Nebraska, Bob Nelson’s impressive debut, an act of faith by Alexander Payne that really paid off.
Will win: American Hustle, David O Russell and Eric Warren Singer. This could easily be the film’s only award of the night. David O is up against much more competition than last year for Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Should win: 12 Years A Slave, which creates near poetry from the archaic, biblical language of the book.
Will win: Philomena. I’m sticking my neck out, but this is the film’s only chance of a gong and the BAFTA win will have done its chances a power of good. Plus the Academy loves us Brits!
So, yet again, I’m predicting a good night for 12 Years A Slave but, as far as the major trophies are concerned, Dallas Buyers Club won’t do badly either. Which, at the risk of sounding horribly cynical, will suit the Academy just fine. A film about slavery, another about an AIDS activist ….. they both tick the political boxes. Thankfully, they also happen to be excellent films, 12 Years A Slave especially so. And, in case anybody’s wondering about creativity and cinematic excellence, Gravity’s in there as well, and so is Blue Jasmine. The recent controversy about Woody Allen’s private life may scupper the film’s chances of winning anything else.
I predicted something similar for the BAFTAs and it didn’t quite come off. This time the chances are better, as 12 Years A Slave is a film with a stronger emotional resonance in the States than the UK and that’s more than likely to tip the balance.
I’ll be following the results as they come in during the wee small hours of Sunday night and Monday morning, so check out The Coops Review then for my round-up. And to see if my predictions for this year’s Oscars are better than my ones for the BAFTAs!