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Oscar Predictions: Labor Day Edition

It’s never too early for Oscar predictions. We are still a couple months away from awards season officially starting, but the big Oscar contender films are going to start rolling out at the end of September. Also, many films that will be contenders in November/December are getting early screenings at major film festivals. So we are getting more information about what’s good, who has a lot of screen time, etc. Here’s my early predictions…

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Best Picture:
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave

*I’m predicting 10 nominees right now just to keep things in order. The actual category will likely still have 9 nominees. I have a decent mix of big Hollywood pictures with smaller films that will likely be supported by critics. I think I’m being a little safe with some of these, but it’s still too early to make risky predictions without seeing how hard the campaigns are going to hit and who the critics are going to support. I had Labor Day initially in the lineup but dropped it when I didn’t have it anywhere else outside of Screenplay. Also watch out for The Monuments Men. It has George Clooney behind it, but it’s a competitive year and the comedic tone could leave the film off of Oscar voters’ ballots.*

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Best Director:
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Spike Jonze, Her
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
David O. Russell, American Hustle

*I’m definitely going risky by predicting some newer, more experimental filmmakers. But I don’t see any prestigious filmmakers with big contenders films. And some of the films that look likely to be nominated for Picture don’t have a legendary director behind it or don’t seem like films that would be recognized for their direction.*

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Best Actor:
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

*McConaughey is the only sure thing here. It seems like Dern and Redford will be fighting it out for the legendary actor spot. I should only predict one but right now I think both of them have a decent shot. Bale is the shakiest nominee here, but I think American Hustle will be the biggest nominee of the year and the love for it could sweep Bale right along with it. Even though I’m predicting Foxcatcher and Her for Picture, I don’t have their stars Carell or Phoenix. Both of them are still very much alive though.*

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Best Actress:
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

*4 former winners and Amy Adams. It should be a clear path to victory for Adams, but her role might be borderline Supporting and might not stand well next to the others. Meryl Streep could tie Katharine Hepburn for most Oscar wins. The other people waiting in the wings are also former winners: Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, Judi Dench for Philomenia, Kate Winslet for Labor Day and Nicole Kidman for Grace of Monaco. Maybe the voters will go searching for independent films to find new actresses to nominate?*

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Best Supporting Actor:
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
Matthew McConaughey, The Wolf of Wall Street
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

*I’m not going to go too in depth with this category. This is always the hardest one to predict, even after all of the precursors are said and done. I’ll just say that it’ll be interesting to see if McConaughey is able to pull off two nominations this year, even if The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t as well received as I expect it will be.*

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Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, Her
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

*Another tough one to predict. I think Amy Adams might be better off going supporting for American Hustle, but that might prevent a double nomination from happening. It would also be the third time she was nominated with someone else from the same film, (Doubt and The Fighter were the others). She might want to spare herself. Oprah has been EVERYWHERE promoting The Butler and its box office is going strong. She won’t get much critical support, but she needs the Globes and SAG to keep her in the mix.*

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Best Original Screenplay:
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Fruitvale Station

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Best Adapted Screenplay:
August: Osage County
Before Midnight
Labor Day
12 Years a Slave

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Best Animated Feature:
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Monsters University
The Wind Rises