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The Hudsucker Takes on the 86th Annual Academy Awards: Predictions, Hopes and Snubs

The Oscars 2014

Image Credit: AMPAS

The 86th Academy Awards are this Sunday, and as awards season winds down, it’s once again time to see who will take home the top honors in acting and film. Here at The Hudsucker we try our hand at predicting the winners in some of the major categories. A few of our lovely writers and resident cinephiles – Bo DietrickCathie Dillard, Meg Quinn, Janna JeffreyKatherine HernandezTania Hussain, and Elizabeth The – also share their thoughts on who they’d vote for if they were members of the Academy and who they feel got snubbed.

Best Picture

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her

Katherine says: At first, “Her” sounds like a ridiculous premise for a movie, but it manages to be so much more than just a man falling in love with his operating system. The relationship between Theodore and Samantha is completely genuine, and the ending is emotional and brilliantly acted. The movie is about love, but also makes a commentary on how we as a society communicate with others, and it is absolutely fantastic.

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight

Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

12 Years a Slave

Bo says: I was absolutely floored by this film. From direction, to acting, to cinematography, to score, this film embodies the most complete work of high quality visual storytelling that we have seen released this year. It’s an essential piece of cinema for this era.

Predicted Winner: 12 Years A Slave
The Hudsucker’s Choice: 12 Years A Slave (also receiving votes: American Hustle and Her)

Best Actor

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Tania says: I’m really glad Leo got a nomination because he really took on such a different kind of role, and that’s what’s always so important when evaluating the depth of character an actor can dive into. The role of Jordan Belfort in this Martin Scorsese film was such an interesting one because Leonardo played a debauched, drug-fueled New York trader and that’s nothing like anything we’ve ever seen of his. He plays a man who rises to fame in a cautionary sort of tale about our modern culture with that dark side we rarely see. I do think a nomination is well deserved because he really did let go. And though he is up against Matthew McConaughey this year, I think he has a good chance of picking up this award.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Image Credit: Focus Features

Bo says: Poor Leonardo DiCaprio. Let’s take this time to acknowledge that he absolutely CARRIED “The Wolf of Wall Street“, has been well deserving of a Best Actor award time and time again, and will once again go home empty handed. But look what he’s up against! McConaughey went through a career revival in 2013, and “Dallas Buyers Club” was his swan song. He put everything into this performance. An amazing story that required an absolute physical performance from start to finish. Most times the audience completely forgets that the ghost of a man on screen once starred in films such as “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” and “Failure To Launch. This was a promising career turn for McConaughey, and one that should put him in Oscar history books.

Predicted Winner: Matthew McConaughey
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Matthew McConaughey (also receiving votes: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Bruce Dern)

Best Actress

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Katherine says: Amy Adams was fantastic in the otherwise mediocre “American Hustle”. Not many actresses can make a morally ambiguous character sympathetic in the way she did. Adams deserves an Oscar for almost every role she’s played as of late, and this one is no exception.

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Bo says: All political controversy aside, Woody Allen does amazing things for women in Hollywood by writing great characters. “Blue Jasmine” is a prime example of giving an actress an open opportunity to put in a strong emotional, physical, and mental performance. What Blanchett does for this film through the character that she creates drives the narrative. It’s timely, it’s powerful, and it’s the type of female role that should be commended. She’s at the top of her game and already has a career that demands an Oscar. This is the commanding performance that needs recognition, and will rightfully receive it.

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Cate Blanchett (also receiving votes: Amy Adams)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Katherine says: It’s hard not to root for Barkhad Abdi. He delivered a great performance and held his own against Tom Hanks, and this was his first ever movie role! After seeing how grateful and humble he was after winning the BAFTA, it would be wonderful to see how he’d react to winning the Oscar.

Tania says: I’m rooting for Barkhad. With this being his first ever movie role, I think he really did a great job, especially with such a heavyweight in the film industry like Tom Hanks. His character’s presence in the film is just as strong as Hanks’ Captain Phillips. It would be great to see him win come Sunday night!

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Image Credit: Focus Features

Bo says: Honorable Mention to Michael Fassbender for his haunting performance in 12 Years A Slave, but Jared Leto absolutely killed it in “Dallas Buyers Club“. Coming out of nowhere, he absolutely owned the roll of a homosexual man fighting AIDS at a time when little was known about the disease. The scene in which a suffering Leto confronts his estranged father in the hopes of bettering the cause to fight AIDS wins it for him alone. As viewers, we often forget that’s the front man for 30 Seconds to Mars on screen, but it can be attributed to the power of Leto’s performance. Welcome back to Hollywood. Please don’t stay away so long this time.

Predicted Winner: Jared Leto
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Barkhad Abdi (also receiving votes: Jared Leto and Bradley Cooper)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Bo says: She certainly wins Woman of the Year in the popular vote. The scene in which she cleans to “Live and Let Die” might be the best moment in American Hustle. But at the end of the day, Lawrence is an Oscar darling who gets positive attention from both young and old audiences, a real plus for Hollywood. We will watch her career with great interest.

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave 

Image Credit: FOX Searchlight

Bo says: Probably the most emotional performance we were given this year comes in the form of the tragic slave girl in 12 Years A Slave. Through the eyes of the main character, we are able to witness both the physical and mental deterioration that happens to an individual when singled out on a cotton plantation. This is real, gritty stuff, and it’s all due to the strength of her performance.

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Predicted Winner: Jennifer Lawrence
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Lupita Nyong’o (also receiving a vote: Jennifer Lawrence)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Bo says: Gravity was incredible, and it’s all due to the tireless efforts of one individual. If a director is the factor that separates an OK movie from a great movie, Cuarón did it better than anyone else. He took a short script and turned it into an immersive theatrical experience.  Five years of his life working to invent new technology and push the boundaries of computer graphics—you’re damn right he’s going to win this one!

Tania says: This was the more visually stunning and breathtaking film of the year. Cuarón did an amazing job, considering 90% of it is all CGI and he directed against the backdrop of a green screen and closed, confined set. Great eye for film-making!

Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Predicted Winner: Alfonso Cuarón
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Alfonso Cuarón (also receiving votes: David O. Russell and Steve McQueen)

Best Animated Feature

Image Credit: Disney Pictures

The Croods 
Despicable Me 2 
Ernest & Celestine

Frozen

Elizabeth says: One of the most visually-stunning and heart-warming films of 2013, “Frozen” is destined to become a Disney classic enjoyed by families for years upon years. The sisterly bond between Elsa and Anna is the highlight of this story about letting love in and overcoming your fears.

Bo says: Disney took their animation quality to a new level with this refreshingly original story. At the heart of this category, there’s no arguing that “Frozen” has gotten people back to the movie theater. Young and old, this film was a surprise hit that gave the box office the boost it needed during a time of video-on-demand ruling the news.

The Wind Rises

Image Credit: Studio Ghibli

Bo says: The final film from legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki is not only his finest artistic work, but it is also the truest to human emotion and relationships. He takes this final opportunity to move closer to reality than previously done, and in a way that gives the people of Japan a bit of national history to embrace. This award should be a celebration of a great storyteller and the imagination that he has put forth onto the silver screen time and time again.

Tania says: I’ve always been a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. I feel they are not only magical and charming, but showcase a very different sort of animation to audiences without losing the art of such a cherished style of filmmaking. He creates entertaining plots, in-depth and realistic characters, and always embraces history and human emotion which is so vital to the connection with the audience.

Predicted Winner: Frozen
The Hudsucker’s Choice: Frozen (also receiving votes: The Wind Rises and Ernest & Celestine) 

Best Original Song

“Happy” (Despicable Me 2)

“Let It Go” (Frozen)

Bo says: Disney really knew what they were doing with this one. “Frozen” just screamed Broadway musical from start to finish, so no surprise that power-singer Idina Menzel was able to carry this memorable track into the Academy Awards. Consider this a representation of the music for an entire picture. It’s catchy, beautiful, has a great message, and is currently on every 15 to 30 year-old girl’s Spotify playlist. And that’s what the Academy needs to take into consideration.

“The Moon Song” (Her)

“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Image Credit: Decca/Universal Music

Bo says: As it should. U2 were absolutely the right group to compose a song for the legacy of Nelson Mandela. With his recent passing, the film and song become much more relevant, so consider this award a tribute to one of the most influential individuals of our time.

Tania says: Beautiful song. Seriously one of my favorites from this awards season. This song, which is not only a memory to the legacy of a great leader like Nelson Mandela, but it will definitely stand as one of the best songs film has brought us in the past decade. And how lucky for us that a great band like U2 were the group to compose and sing such a song!

Predicted Winner: “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
The Hudsucker’s Choice: “Let It Go” (also receiving votes: “The Moon Song”, “Happy”, and “Ordinary Love”)

Snubs

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Prisoners

Janna says: I thought it was captivating and thrilling. Though it was a long movie, it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I thought the entire cast was stellar, especially Hugh Jackman and Paul Dano. I’m very pleased that it received a Cinematography nomination—Roger Deakins is one of the best living cinematographers today, and his work is consistently stunning. But I would have loved to see Dennis Villeneuve receive a nomination for Best Director, and Paul Dano receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Her

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Katherine says: A fantastic movie and it’s a shame that the cast was shut out of all the acting categories. Joaquin Phoenix gave a wonderful, emotional performance and was more than deserving of a nomination for Best Actor. Though it was just her voice, Scarlett Johansson completely captured her role and made what could have just been a voice from a computer into a three dimensional character. Scarlett and Joaquin had amazing chemistry even though they didn’t actually share the same physical space, and they both deserve to be recognized. Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, and Rooney Mara were also all spectacular in their supporting roles and deserved recognition as well.

Saving Mr. Banks

Meg says: 

I think that Emma Thompson was snubbed in the Best Actress category.  I was pretty shocked when she wasn’t nominated originally and the shock hasn’t lessened at all – she is phenomenal and she should’ve been included this year.

Cathie says:

Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

I feel that Emma Thompson was snubbed for her role as P.L. Travers in “Saving Mr. Banks”. The film as a whole was worthy of acknowledgement, however in a year of excellent films something was going to be left out. Emma always embodies her characters, however nothing about this cold and often crotchety author should have been endearing, and yet it was. You could see the icy layer of her heart melting and a hint of joy striving to surface. It was a heavy film, touching on the bond of fathers and daughters beautifully. I don’t know if she would have won the category, but feel that Emma’s performance was strong enough for a nomination.

Bo says:

Call it politics. Call it religion. Whatever you call it, the fact that this film was tossed aside can only be tied to the controversy of Walt Disney and his alleged anti-Semitic ways. After all, everyone knows who represents a majority of the Hollywood votes. Regardless, a very powerful story with great performances from its leads was left out.

Elizabeth says: 

The cast of “Saving Mr. Banks” was snubbed hard by the Academy. Colin Farrell was completely overlooked, while Emma Thompson, a favorite going into the Oscars nomination race, was unjustly shut out of the Best Actress category. Both actors gave strong performances that deserved to be recognized. I hope to still see the entertaining Emma at the Oscars—she’s been a riot on both the red carpet and at the awards shows, so I hope she goes all out for this final soiree!

Inside Llewyn Davis

Image Credit: StudioCanal

Tania says:

Even though it received nominations in the Sound Mixing and Cinematography categories (rooting for Bruno Delbonnel!), I strongly feel Ethan and Joel Coen were snubbed for their film, “Inside Llewyn Davis”. It topped so many best film lists by critics in 2013, and even awarded Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics, and Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. It wasn’t a flashy film at all and I felt, perhaps ironically, that independent touch would bring more attention to this beautifully crafted film about a down-on-his-luck folk singer. It’s a simple and subtle story, but very thoughtful at that. It should have had nominations in the Best Director category for sure; as well as Best Actor for Oscar Issac (portraying an anti-hero of sorts), and Best Picture. It could have nicely filled in the 10, as opposed to the 9 coveted nominations. I’m not sure if the Academy is getting bored with the Coens and their usual formula for creating lost characters who are defined by futility, but they were at the top of their game with this film. It’s a lovely story that is evocative and hugely atmospheric, thanks to the cinematography. It’s a pitch-perfect cast too, and an absolutely breathtaking soundtrack produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Some Final Thoughts on the Nominees Before the Show:

Janna says:

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

I’ll be most upset if Jennifer Lawrence wins for Best Supporting Actress. I think Jennifer is a fine young actress, but that’s just it—she’s young. I’ve enjoyed her in several things, and thought her first nomination for “Winter’s Bone” was absolutely deserved. However, not all of her performances are consistent, and her performance in “American Hustle” was not. She was enjoyable to watch in that film, as she was one of the louder, wilder characters, but she was horribly miscast and far too young for her role as Christian Bale’s wife. Her accent was also all over the place. Don’t get me wrong—I often enjoy Jennifer Lawrence’s work, but this year, when she’s up against the performances of Lupita Nyong’o, Sally Hawkins, June Squibb, and Julia Roberts? She doesn’t deserve that Oscar.

Cathie says:

Admittedly I haven’t seen all films in the Best Picture category, however I have seen “American Hustle” nine times. I became obsessed with this film, which goes beyond my adoration of a certain actor. It’s pure entertainment with a smart and rhythmic flow of rich characters that always keep you guessing. If you’re not wondering what will happen next, you’re wondering why they do things or feel a certain way. The characters get into your head and you really want to get into theirs. David O. Russell writes character for actors, and gets the most out of them down to very specific details. I was very excited to see the screenplay included in the category and will be really disappointed if it’s overlooked on Oscar night.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Katherine says:

American Hustle” was a decent film, but it definitely doesn’t deserve to win the Best Picture category, nor do most of its actors deserve to win their respective categories. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper, along with the film’s soundtrack, were the bright spots in a movie that suffered from lazy storytelling and scenes that dragged on much longer than they should have, among other things. The movie had its funny moments, but there wasn’t really anything special about it. The weak plot gave the opportunity for the actors to shine, but only Adams, Cooper, and Jeremy Renner, who wasn’t nominated, seemed willing to take it. I have to wonder if David O. Russell hadn’t won everyone over with the vastly superior “Silver Linings Playbook” last awards season, if “American Hustle” would have received any nominations this year.

Meg says:

I will be most upset if Matthew McConughey doesn’t win his category.  He was mindblowing in “Dallas Buyers Club” and out of all of the films & performances this year, his is going to be the one that sticks with me the longest.

Image Credit: FOX Searchlight

Bo says: 

By now I probably sound like a broken record, but “12 Years A Slave” is incredible from start to finish. Some of the strongest performances we’ll ever seen, masterfully helmed by one of modern filmmaking’s great talents, Steve McQueen. I wouldn’t be disappointed if this film won every award it’s nominated for, but I will if it fails to walk away with Best Picture.

Elizabeth says:

Lupita Nyong’o is one of the favorites to win in the Best Supporting Actress category, and I really hope her first nomination is followed by her first win. She is the darling of this awards season, as everyone has been transfixed by both her powerful breakout performance in “12 Years in Slave” and her stunning inner and outer beauty. Regardless of what happens come Oscars night, I look forward to seeing this shining star’s career continue to rise!

Tania says:

I will be most, most upset if Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke don’t win for Best Adapted Screenplay for their adaptation of “Before Midnight“. As someone who grew up with “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset“, I feel a win would do justice to the beautiful film-making and writing of this dynamic team. All three films were just so gorgeously crafted. The love and life that they so eloquently and realistically captured is remarkable. It is an amazing script and such a great film that evolved most naturally with its core audience, while welcoming new viewers onto this journey the two characters, Jesse and Celine were on.

Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Before the conclusion, both films burned with the belief of true, pure love. This last film is exciting and thought-provoking in such aspects as it questions that very belief the two explored and that ‘true love’ is more much about committed choices than destiny. The first film was such a romantic touchstone for young viewers, with the second evolving into a rather emotional yet brokenness of both characters; and this third film was just so lovely in everything it encapsulated. It was funny, honest, blunt and incredibly well-acted of the three with a great genuine feel that these two people are really in love. I think that dialogue speaks greatly in relation to the audience, thus they should win for Best Adapted Screenplay. I loved this final script so much and reading it back, it’s just one of my favorites. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic.

 * * * * *

Now that we’ve given you our thoughts, it’s time for you to share your thoughts and predictions about the Academy Awards with us! Leave us a comment and let us know who you think will take home the golden statue this year! And feel free to come back on Sunday after the show and discuss the results with us.

The Oscars air live on Sunday March 2nd at 7pm EST/4pm PST on ABC.

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