Predicting 86th Oscars: Best Picture

Someone can tell that predicting Academy Awards nominees in late May is just waste of time. Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Agree that there are lots of films,  potential nominees, that we have no idea and which premiere mostly very late December. But I'd say that academy has pretty predictable taste, especially when it comes down to Best Picture nominees. Total shut-outs do not happen frequently.

I'll predict 10 nominees for Best Motion Picture, however 9th and 10th place are those who have 50/50 chance getting in the list. So, let's start!

10. Foxcatcher - directed by Bennett Miller, an Oscar nominee director of Moneyball and Capote 
Speaking about him, Bennet has directed two motion pictures, both Best Picture nominees. Himself got node for directing Capote. Miller directed three actors to Oscar nominations: Catherine Keener, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill and one to triumphal win - Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Perfect record for young movie maker. The same time, academy loves new-comers.

Foxcatcher is a true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John duPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz. John duPont is wealthiest person ever to be convicted of murder. 

Comedian Steve Carell stars as Du Pont, with Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, and Sienna Miller in the cast. It really seems to be a great Oscar material with dramatic plot and real-life story.

9. Fruitvale Station - a film by debuting director Ryan Coogler 
Ever noticed that since 2010 every big hit of Sundance made final list? Latest example is Beasts of Southern Wild - another directing debut that marched at Oscars with Directing and Best Picture nominations. Fruitvale Station won both - jury prize and audience award at Sundance, which most probably brings a great love of viewers and critics. It tells a true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. This film seems to be quiet, emotional and thrilling - perfect match for nominee.

8. Inside Llewyn Davis - directed by Brother Coens 
Coens are one of the Academy's favorites. Their films have won (No Country for Old Man) or got Best picture nominations lately. The last one, True Grit was listed in 10 nominations, but winning none. Both of them won 4 Oscars each, including directing and writing nods.

Inside Llewyn Davis follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

7. Nebraska - directed by two times winner Alexander Payne 
Two years ago, Alexander Payne lost to Michel Hazanavicius but won nomination for best adapted screenplay. He seems to be likable for academy members giving him second writing award.

This movie is about a road trip of aging alcoholic father and his son taking the trip from Montana to Nebraska in order to claim the prize the father thinks he has won. Starring Bruce Dern as the father and  Will Forte as his son, Payne’s original vision for the film was a black-and-white drama. 

It's original story with pretty unfamiliar actors and comedy-drama mixed plot, which sounds a lot promising for future awards season.

6. The Butler - directed by academy award nominee Lee Daniels 
Daniels's Precious was one of the most critics beloved movie of 2009, He ended up in directing and BP nominations and brought first win for Mo'Nique. For me, The Butler looks to be even more emotional and beautiful movie. It is a look at the life of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents as the White House's head butler from 1952 to 1986, and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made. I know what you think, another story about racial discrimination. But believe me, the trailer looks so amazing, that you feel emotions in you skin.

The Butler has everything to get in top ten: an original and true story and a brilliant cast which includes: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Alan Rickman, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. This is totally an invitation to Academy Awards. Even more, Forrest and Oprah look like potential acting nominees, which even boosts chances for nomination.

5.  Saving Mr. Banks - directed by John Lee Hancock 
Tom Hanks is Walt Disney. John Lee directed previous nominee film The Blind Side leading Sandra Bullock to her first Oscar win.

This is a story how 5 academy awards winner movie Mary Poppins was made. It's interesting truly. However movies about making movies are not always successful (Hitchcock) but movies about movies also can be a great deal (The Artist).

4.  American Hustle - directed by David O. Russell 
Russel has perfect Oscar record - two directing nominations for The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. Both of them had a huge number of acting nominations. The Fighter won two - supporting actor and actress, SLP was nominated in ALL acting nominations - Jennifer Lawrence winning best actress. It seems he makes movies, that are academy's favorites.

It is a true story of a con artist and his partner in crime, who were forced to work with a federal agent to turn the tables on other cons, mobsters, and politicians - namely, the volatile mayor of impoverished Camden, New Jersey. The same time, American Hustle includes David's all big names: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Robert De Niro and others. This movie has everything for nomination: Russell, huge cast and catchy story.

3. The Monuments Men - directed by George Clooney 
Directed and acted by George Clooney, The Monuments Men tells a story of crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. This film has things that Academy loves - plot escalates during WWII, it's directed by George and has a great cast: Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, and Bob Balaban.

It's kind of shoo-in!

2. The Wolf of Wall Street - directed by Martin Scorsese 
Can something with Scorsese and DiCaprio's names miss best picture nomination? Mostly no! The only thing I remember is Shutter Island. But The Wolf of Wall Street promises a lot. It's an adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s autobiographical book of the same name. Belfort was a corrupt Wall Street stockbroker crashing down a midst an FBI investigation. Belfort’s firm already served as the inspiration for one film, Boiler Room, but Martin is gonna make this movie far more successful with A-list supporting players like Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin.

1. August: Osage Country - directed by John Wells 
An adaptation of Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Tracey Letts, which she adapted herself into the film’s screenplay, the movie tells the story of an Oklahoman family during a time of crisis.

I have no idea about the play itself. But what I am sure about is one of the most amazing casts this year - academy award winners: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper. Oscar nomineesSam Shepard, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis and brilliant new-comer - Benedict Cumberbatch. Also, most underrated but talented  Ewan McGregor.

The trailer looks quite smart. It seems Julia & Meryl are shoo-in for best actress nominations (Roberts maybe for supporting). Also, Benedict has an outstanding act, which makes him potential front-runner. All in all, I think August: Osage Country is going to be loved by public and critics the same time. Then why not include it in top 10 of Oscars?!

This is my predictions for best picture, which will be followed by acting and later technical category predictions.

What's on your mind? Who is gonna make the final list?

See Also:

Predicting 86th Oscars: Best Actress

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