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Thursday, July 24, 2014



2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Picture

12 Years a Slave poster

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. We wrap up our look at the prestigious categories with the most prestigious of them all: Best Picture. Like last year, there were nine nominees. Unlike last year, none of them were completely out of left field. That's not to say they all have a legitimate shot at winning; there's definitely a favorite. However, politics could become an issue. I don't mean politics as in Democrat vs. Republican. I mean behind-the-scenes issues might play a bigger role than what is on the screen.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave
Tomatometer Score: 96% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Nine
Golden Globe Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: As I previously said, 12 Years a Slave is the quintessential Oscar-bait movie. It's a drama based on real life events that tells the story of someone overcoming great adversity. It also earned stellar reviews and picked up more major Awards Season nominations than nearly any other film. On the other hand, it has had a lot of trouble turning those nominations into wins. That said, a lot of people think it will win the big prize earning the Best Picture Oscar. If it does, no one will be talking about the other wins it missed out on.

American Hustle
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Ten
Golden Globe Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Wins: Three
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: American Hustle is the dark horse in this race. I don't think it is the favorite, or even the second favorite to win, but if it were to win, it would likely not be the biggest shock of the night. It led the way in terms of Oscar nominations, including earning nods in the more prestigious categories, so that's a good sign. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical, and that certainly helps its chances a little. That said, it is still an underdog, just not one of the longest of the long shots.

Captain Phillips
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: The film earned six Oscar nominations, which puts it near the top of the list. On the other hand, it earned four Golden Globe nominations and went home empty-handed and only won one of the four guild awards it was up for and its one win came in a category where the favorite was deemed ineligible. It's chances of winning are nearly zero.

Dallas Buyers Club
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Two
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: Dallas Buyers Club has earned a ton of Awards Season buzz, but it has almost all been going to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. I think both actors will earn Oscars on Sunday, but those might be the only two Oscar Dallas Buyers Club wins. (It could also earn Best Makeup.)

Gravity
Tomatometer Score: 97% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Ten
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: Gravity is one of two films that have a good shot at winning the Best Picture Oscar. It led the way in Oscar nominations and tied for the PGA win with 12 Years a Slave. On the other hand, the film lost out on the Best Drama Golden Globe to 12 Years a Slave and many of its Oscar nominations were in the technical categories. I think it will earn the most Oscar wins on Sunday, but I don't think Best Picture will be among them.

Her
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Two
Guild Wins: One
Notes: Her did amazing with critics and has been a player throughout Awards Season; however, it has been a second-tier film in this regard. It deserves the nomination, but it is a huge long shot for the Best Picture Oscar. In fact, it might get shut out on Oscar night entirely.

Nebraska
Tomatometer Score: 92% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film was one of six films to earn six or more Oscar nominations, which is a point in its favor. However, it also earned five Golden Globe nominations and was shut out and it was also shut out during the Guild Awards as well going zero for four. I loved the movie, but it is a long shot to win Best Picture, or indeed any of the six Oscars is it nominated for.

Philomena
Tomatometer Score: 92% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: One
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film is possibly the longest of the long shots for the Best Picture Oscar. It only earned four Oscar nominations, which is the lowest of the nine nominees. It has also been shut out at the Golden Globes and during the Guild Awards. All the evidence points to being shut out on Oscar night as well.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Tomatometer Score: 77% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Two
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: None
Notes: Another film that might be the longest of the long shots. Its reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but far below the other films on this list. It only earned two Golden Globe nominations and while Leonardo DiCaprio did win for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy or Musical, but that's a small sliver of hope among a lot of negatives.

Conclusion: I think this is a two-horse race between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, with American Hustle being a long shot with a shot. Gravity will likely win more Oscars overall and should dominate the technical categories, but I think 12 Years a Slave will walk away with the top prize, because it feels more like an Oscar-winning movie than Gravity does.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-27

Movies 
 12 Years a Slave
 American Hustle
 Captain Phillips
 Dallas Buyers Club
 Gravity
 Her
 Nebraska
 Philomena
 The Wolf of Wall Street