By SAM NEWMAN
Glitz and glam, actors and actresses, nominees and winners, the Academy Awards is the undisputed award show of awards shows. Ellen DeGeneres returns to the stage as host for the second time since 2006. With an especially intense race this year for the top award categories, Sunday night’s Oscars could go to any one and any movie. Here is your guide to who’s going to win and who’s going to lose (in my opinion, of course):
(Picture is a fancy way of saying film, and film is a fancy way of saying movie!)
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
What: Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. 12 Years a Slave follows his journey as he fights to survive the harsh conditions inflicted by his owners and the unexpected kindness found in a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist.
Why: Emotional and traditional
Who: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt.
Should Win: Gravity
What: On her first mission to space, Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer faces disaster when debris from a destroyed Russian satellite separates her from her spaceship. The film follows Dr. Ryan Stone as she struggles to survive in space.
Why: While this is an emotional thrill ride with amazing special effects, the majority of the voters in the Academy are over the age of 60 and therefore do not recognize special effects as award-worthy (yet!).
Who: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
What: Dallas Buyers Club – In 1985 Dallas electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help HIV/AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed.
Why: His performance is the culmination of his 20-year career. McConaughey also lost over 50 pounds to play the part, and the Academy often rewards actors who go through massive physical challenges for their roles. Matthew McConaughey is back, and there is no better way to celebrate his return to the spotlight than with an Academy Award!
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
What: The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, chronicles the protagonist’s rise to wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption, and the federal government.
Why: IT’S TIME! After being repeatedly snubbed by the Academy including last year’s performance in Django Unchained, I think the Academy should deliver Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar.
Will Win: Cate Blanchett
What: Blue Jasmine – Jasmine French used to be on the top of the heap as a New York socialite, but is now returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco utterly ruined. Jasmine tries to recover as she struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities. Unfortunately, it all proves a losing battle as Jasmine’s narcissistic hang-ups and their consequences begin to overwhelm her. In doing so, her old pretensions and new deceits begin to foul up everyone’s lives, especially her own.
Why: She is amazing. It’s a Woody Allen film, and the director is known for giving his female actresses extremely complicated, funny, and intelligent characters. In fact, the majority of Woody Allen’s leading women have received Oscar nominations.
Should Win: Sandra Bullock
Why: Sandra Bullock is the only person on screen for two thirds of the movie. Her minute facial expressions deserve a reward of their own, and Bullock should be honored for just allowing the director, Alphonso Curon, to get that close to her face with a camera. She is outstanding.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Jared Leto
What: Dallas Buyers Club
Why: First of all, he plays a woman. Secondly, he plays a woman. And finally, he plays a woman (and very well, I would add).
Should Win: Jared Leto
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
What: American Hustle – A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive “British” partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey power brokers and Mafia crime.
Why: She’s Jennifer Lawrence. (Enough said! Rent it now on demand.)
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Will Win: Alphonso Curon
Why: Besides the 10 minute continuous shot at the beginning of the film as the satellite is blown up, Alphonse Curon deserves to win this Academy Award because this film takes a simple idea and makes it a masterpiece. A two hour emotional journey during which one feels as if the oxygen is being sucked out of the room. (In my defense I only felt that way because I hadn’t eaten for a few hours.)
Should Win: Alphonso Curon
While I could continue with descriptions of each category and winner, I will save you the struggle of caring about Best Sound Mixing by just listing the categories and my predictions below:
Best Original Screenplay: Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Best Foreign Language Film (haven’t seen any of them, so it’s just a guess): The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Documentary Feature: The Square
Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Best Cinematography: Gravity
Best Film Editing: Gravity
Best Costume Design: American Hustle
Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Best Original Score: Gravity
Best Original Song: “Let It Go” (Frozen)
Best Visual Effects: Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity
Best Sound Editing: Gravity
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: JackAss Presents: Bad Grandpa (No joke!)
Best Animated Short: Get a Horse
Best Live Action Short: The Voorman Problem
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6
With performances from Pharrell Williams, P!nk, U2, Idina Menzel, and Bette Midler, as well as presentations by Amy Adams, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Kerry Washington, Zac Efron, Viola Davis, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more, the 86th Annual Academy Awards airs at 8:30 p.m. this Sunday, March 2nd on ABC.