Tight race predicted for this year’s Oscars

With the Oscars only weeks away Mary Strother presents her predictions for this year’s winners.



Mary Strother, Writer



With just four weeks to go until the culmination of film awards season, the race to the Oscars has been full of surprises and exciting new introductions to cinema. Between groundbreaking technologies used in the making of “Gravity” and a career turnaround for actor Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club,” this year’s categories are packed with nominees who are all deserving of the prize in their own right. In a rundown of the major categories, we will highlight the frontrunners and choose my winners. Tune in to the awards ceremony on March 2 to see who takes home the top prize.

Best Picture
American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
Captain Phillips

My pick: Several industry bloggers and film aficionados think that this year’s crowded Best Picture race could result in the category’s first ever tie: between “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle.” I would say the odds of this happening are good, since critics have universally adored “Hustle,” but “12 Years” has still picked up most of the major drama awards in this year’s circuit.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alexander Payne – Nebraska

My pick: This race really seems to be Cuaron’s to win, but look to McQueen for a possible upset. Given the Academy’s proclivity to “American Hustle,” Russell could sneak in as a surprise, but initially I would go with Cuaron.

Best Actor
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Christian Bale – American Hustle

My pick: Earlier in the year, I would have told you that Chiwetel Ejiofor was surely taking home the statuette for Best Actor. Now, however, the winds have shifted in favor of Matthew McConaughey. Picking up the Golden Globe and SAG Award for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” I would be surprised if he did not pick up the Oscar as well.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

My pick: Seems impossible to see how it could be anyone other than Cate Blanchett, who has also picked up a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her role in Woody Allen’s latest film. If anyone will upset, it would be Amy Adams for her role in the critics’ darling, “American Hustle.”

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

My pick: Every single male in this category gave such a memorable and stellar performance that I wish the award could simply be divided between them all. However, I feel confident this award will go to Jared Leto, who has picked up every other award this season for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Best Supporting Actress
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
June Squibb – Nebraska
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

My pick: It’s hard to resist the appeal of Jennifer Lawrence, and her performance in “American Hustle” was undeniably good. However, she picked up the Oscar for Best Actress last year, and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o was sensational in “12 Years a Slave.” I think the edge lies with Nyong’o, if only slightly.

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