Better Late Than Never: Night Film Review’s Final Oscar Predictions & Thoughts

Never in the history of the Oscar’s inception has a race been so tight. Between Amerian Hustle, 12 Years A Slave & Gravity, the Academy Award’s looks to have its work cut out for them Sunday. But, like anything else, the show must go on, winners must be announced, and hearts must be broken. So without further ado, below is Night Film Review’s final list of the predictions and thoughts for this years Academy Awards. Stay tuned and come back for updates throughout the evening. Enjoy the show folks! 

Best Motion Picture of the Year
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Could Take It: 12 Years A Slave. It was recently announced that the film will officially be inducted to the Public High School Curriculum in the United States–so a film as essential as this could be the winner.
Who Should Take It: her. There is no film released this year that is futuristic and sic-fi with as much deep rooted reality in it as her. The film is tender and sweet  in ways that allow the medium to grow, but will not take him the top prize.
Who Will Take It: Gravity. This year has been one of the hardest clear front-runner Best Picture years in the history of the prestigious awards. My bet is on a commercial and critical success, and a hope that the first science fiction film will win the coveted prize.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Chiwitel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Leonardo DiCaprioThe Wolf Of Wall Street
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Who Could Take It: Leonardo DiCaprioDiCaprio is infamous for being snubbed by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science, but perhaps his Wolf of Wall Street controversy could turn that around.
Who Should Take It: Chiwitel Ejiofor. Ejiofor transforms himself to render a character who is broken, battered and beaten, and still comes out triumphant–for me, that spells Best Actor.
Who Will Take It: Matthew McConaughey. Right now, there is no stopping the McConaughey freight train, no matter who is in his way.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate BlanchettBlue Jasmine
Meyrl StreepAugust: Osage County
Judi DenchPhilomena
Sandra BullockGravity
Who Could Take It: Amy Adams. Adams is our generation’s Streep. Constantly transforming and reinventing herself in roles, she is the only admirable adversary to Blanchett. 
Who Should Take It: Sandra Bullock. A few years ago, Bullock won a Best Actress Oscar for a disgusting American, cookie-cutter film The Blind Side. Call it pity, call it timing or call it ignorance, there is no doubting that this was the award that she DESERVED to win and had she not won recently, would have seen herself on the podium accepting for a role that gives new meaning to acting in a heavy-laden 3D epic.
Who Will Take It: Cate Blanchett. Blanchett gives a new meaning to crazy, and frankly, crazy will never be the same again for her performance as a woman pushed to the edge, and eternally hopeless.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips 
Bradley Cooper American Hustle
Jonah Hill- The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

Who Could, Should and WILL  Take It: Jared Leto. If there is one category I could bet everything on, it’s this one. Nevermind McConaughey, Leto transformed himself mind, body and soul for his role as Rayon and will rightly be awarded Oscar night.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Julia RobertsAugust: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine

Who Could Take It: Jennifer Lawrence. If there is someone who has been on fire longer than McConaughey, it’s Jennifer Lawrence. Between dominating both the indie world and the blockbuster world with her roles, Lawrence is an acting force to be reckoned with and might make history Oscar night.
Who Should Take It: Lupita Nyong’o. There is no one better in the category than Nuong’o. Sadly, the actress and her film are climbing an uphill battle for wins, and should the film do well overall throughout the night, expect Nyong’o to come away with it.
Who Will Take It: Jennifer Lawrence. This is one category that I am literally waiting until my final ballot to call, and although I would rather Nyong’o take it, we might see something we saw last year, again this year.
Best Achievement in Directing
Alfanso CuarónGravity
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin ScorceseThe Wolf of Wall Street
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Who Could Take It: Steve McQueen. As an artist, there is no one better behind the lens than McQueen. Sadly, he might be in the shadow of a pioneer of filmmaking for the last decade or so.
Who Should Take It: Alfanso Cuarón. Cuarón amazed with his latest directing effort, and amazing just might be enough for the Academy.
Who Will Take It: Alfanso Cuarón. Our money is on Cuarón and like the Academy’s decision to award Mr.Lee with a Best Director Oscar for Life of Pi, we are guessing they are not going to break the trend of fantastic use of 3D.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
David O. Russell & Eric Warren Singer – American Hustle
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze – her
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Who Could Take It: David O. Russel & Eric Warren Singer. Russell & Singer have been gaining huge praise as of recently for their script that was hardly used during the filming process, so depending on how late those ballots were sent, watch out for an upset here.
Who Should Take It: Spike Jonze. There was no script this year that was better and engaged audiences as much as her did. It was the perfect mix of loving, caring and comedy in ways that films aspire to be everyday.
Who Will Take It: Spike Jonze. Sometimes, the most advantageous part of writing a script for the first time is the honour the Academy likes to give to first time screenwriters, even if they are veteran directors. This award usually goes to the runaway hit indie of the year, and her has critics singing and dancing all over the place. Consider this a lock for the evening, and if it’s not, this is one category I will get really mad about.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave 
Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy – Before Midnight
Steven Coogan & Jeff Pope – Philomena
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Could Take It: Steven Coogan & Jeff Pope. Philomena is making its way atop voters minds and could seriously win the award come Oscar night. If it does win, consider it the only win for the Winestein features–an always looming Oscar threat.
Who Should Take It: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy. The first indie trilogy to debut in the festival circuit, the film should win simply for the time, care, and craftsmanship of Linklater and his fellow collaborators. This should be an honour to the indie world, but sadly, will be shut out March 2nd.
Who Will Take It: John Ridley. Ridley does an incredible job at adapting a story of tragedy into one that focuses on hope and finds happiness by the end. For this alone he deserves the award.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Jagten) (Denmark)
Omar (Palestine)
Who Could Take It: The Broken Circle Breakdown. The film is gaining high praise for its unorthodox filming style and narrative form, which is always a plus for Academy voters.
Who Should Take It: The Hunt. The film has been making its rounds throughout festivals since 2012, and has not been out of voters minds–perhaps it may be the film to upset the heavy favourite.
Who Will Take It: The Great Beauty (Italy). Anything ‘kinda-sorta’ Fellini is always going to make an impression on Academy Voters, so look out for the film Oscar night.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Croods
The Wind Rises
Who Could Take It: The Wind RisesHayao Miyazaki is a legend in the film world, and after announcing The Wind Rises as his last film, it might just be his send off present from the Academy.
Who Should Take It: The Croods. There was no animated film this year that was more fun than this one, so that kind of has to count for something..right?
Who Will Take It: Frozen. Since Pixar was absent this year from the Best Animated Feature list, look for Disney to dominate as they have in the box office.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Roger Deakins – Prisoners
Philippe Le Sourd – The Grandmaster
Who Could, Should and Will Take It: Emmanuel Lubezki. Like Leto, Lubezki has been long overdue for his work and an March 2nd is sure to be his night.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score 
The Book Thief – John Williams
Gravity – Steven Price
her – William Butler & Owen Pallett
Saving Mr. Banks – Thomas Newman
Philomena – Alexandre Desplat
Who Could, Should and Will Take It: Steven Price. A score is something that is as memorable and lasting as a film, and this year, best original score will surely be given to Gravity’s defining composer Price. 
Best Original Song
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Ordinary Love (U2)
her – The Moon Song (Karen O. & Spike Jonze)
Despicable Me 2 – Happy (Pharrell Williams)
Frozen – Let It Go (Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez)
Who Could Take It: Ordinary Love. Bono has an impeccable track record anywhere, so watch out for him when he storms the Oscars.
Who Should Take It: Happy. Pharrell Williams is the Jennifer Lawrence of music right now, and given his happy-go-lucky song full of great vibes and fun emotions, the Oscar ceremony might get a bit of a hope when it’s time to announce the winner of this category.
Who Will Take It: Let It Go. If there is one thing more annoying than a sure-fire Disney winner, its an annoying and over-done Disney song. But the Academy does love the House of Mouse, to watch out for it to win in this category.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Captain Phillips
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor 
Who Could Take It: Captain Phillips
Who Should Take It: Gravity
Who Will Take It: Gravity

Best Achievement in Sound Editing 
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Samug
Lone Survivor
Who Could Take It: Captain Phillips
Who Should Take It: Gravity
Who Will Take It: Gravity

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Who Should, Could and WILL: Gravity. There was only one film that wowed me on the big screen this year, and since Avatar, that’s all you need to win this award, so watch out!

Best Achievement in Editing 
12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker
American Hustle – Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
GravityAlfanso Cuarón & Mark Sanger
Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club – Matin Pensa & John MacMurphy

Who Could Win: Matin Pensa & John MacMurphy. Editing is just as important as anything in a film, and Dallas Buyers Club relies on its great editing to allow its fantastic storyline to show.

Who Should Win: Joe Walker. 12 Years A Slave was riveting and paced perfectly during long takes, long shots and everything else. The film is a real exercise and practice of impeccable editing and should be rewarded.
Who Will Win: Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers. There is something very difficult about editing the improvisational skills of actors, especially when the script is being disregarded as a whole. So when editors are left to tackle the rants and monologues of actors and cohesively put them into a film, watch out!
Best Achievement in Production Design 
12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen & Alice Baker
American Hustle Judy Becker & Heather Loeffler
GravityAndy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin & Joanne Woollard
The Great GatsbyCatherine Martin & Beverley Dunn
her – K.K. Barrett & Gene Serdena

Who Could Win: The Great Gatsby. Usually, this category translates “bigger” as “better”, and there was no film grander than Gatsby. 
Who Should Win: Gravity. Production wise, Gravity is a marvel, let’s just see if the Academy agrees.
Who Will Win: The Great Gatsby. When it comes to grandiose filmmaking, never count out Baz Luhrmann. 
Best Achievement in Costume Design
American Hustle Michael Wilkinson
The Great Gatsby Catherine Martin
12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris
The GrandmasterWilliam Chang
The Invisible WomanMichael O’Connor

Who Could Win: Catherine Martin. As mentioned above, bigger is better, and this is another category that proves it.
Who Should Win: Michael O’Connor. Costume designs are incredibly done during period pieces, and this one is no exception.
Who Will Win: Michael Wilkinson. From the moment the film starts, we are left alone with our character as he fixes and perfectly places his outfit into high gear. I am sure the Academy will know this and add this to a very slim Win Count for American Hustle. 
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling 
Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee & Robin Matthews. 
Jackass Presents: Bad GrandpaSteve Prouty
The Lone RangerJoel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua Casny

Who Could Win: Joel Harlow & Gloria Pasqua Casny. Hollywood productions always seem to do well in this category.
Who Should Win: Steve Prouty. Just for the transformation of Knoxville alone.
Who Will Win: Adruitha Lee & Robin Matthews. Although the aforementioned two may be great, critically, Dallas Buyers Club makes sense.
Best Documentary Feature
Cutie and the Boxer
The Act of Killing
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet From Stardom

Who Could Win: 20 Feet From Stardom
Who Should Win: Dirty Wars
Who Will Win: The Act of Killing
Best Documentary, Short Subject
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6
Personal Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Who Could Win: Cavedigger
Who Should Win: Karma Has No Walls
Who Will Win: The Lady in Number 6.

Best Short Film, Animated
Get a Horse!
Room on the Broom

Who Could Win: Feral

Who Should Win: Mr. Hublot

Who Will Win: Get A Horse!
Best Short Film, Live Action
Aquel no era Yo
Just Before Losing Everything
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
The Voorman Problem

Who Could Win: The Voorman Problem
Who Should Win: Helium
Who Will Win: Helium

So there you have it, Night Film Reviews’ picks, predictions and thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards. There has not been a tighter race in the history books for so many categories this year, which will make for a surely entertaining show March 2nd. Stay tuned for live updates of the winners. Enjoy!

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