Winners of 2014 Oscars

2014 Oscar Winners Predictions

Whether you’ve spent the last few months plowing through every nominated short film and seeking out all the best foreign language film nominees or you’ve only seen Gravity, you still don’t know for sure what the Oscar winners will be on Sunday night. Nobody does! That’s what makes this season such a thrill every year—we can spend months gabbing about how one film or another is a shoo-in for a certain prize, and then poof! Like Academy fairy dust, the whole story gets overturned and a new winner is crowned.

But for now, we make the best guesses we can, and before you sit down for the Oscars—and print out your ballot to keep score—take a look at our final predictions for all the big winners of the 2014 Academy Awards. We can’t promise you’ll win your Oscar pool with these picks, but if you do, a heartfelt “thank you” from stage—after God but before Harvey Weinstein—would suffice.

Best Picture

There are as many theories about how this race will turn out as there are Oscar pundits (and there are a lot of pundits). Most have to do with the Academy's system of preferential balloting, which works like this: Members are asked to rank the nominees from 1 to 9; if no individual title claims a majority of No. 1 votes in the first round, the film with the fewest votes is eliminated and its No. 2 votes are reallocated as No. 1 votes; the process repeats until one picture reaches the magic number. Some people think this is good news for Gravity, which almost everyone at least kinda liked. Others think American Hustle has stealth support. My theory, for what it's worth, is that a lot of people will put 12 Years a Slave as their No. 2 pick, if only because (a) they know it's the "worthy" choice and (b) they want to be part of its historic win. —MH
Pick: 12 Years a Slave
Runner-up: Gravity

Best Director
In a field that’s more than half Oscar veterans—Martin Scorsese has won a best director statue, and Alexander Payne and David O. Russell are both previous nominees—it’s the newcomers at the front of the pack. Steve McQueen, a British artist-turned-director, accomplished the monumental 12 Years a Slave, a period epic that still somehow felt fresh and new. And Alfonso Cuarón, whose previous masterpiece Children of Men was ignored by the Academy, has returned triumphantly with Gravity, a passion project that’s also a massive technical achievement. In the vein of Ang Lee’s win last year for Life of Pi, that combination of quality filmmaking with eye-popping effects ought to hand Cuarón the well-deserved win. —KR
Pick: Alfonso Cuarón
Runner-up: Steve McQueen

Best Actor
It's a two-man race between Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio. Or is it McConaughey and Bruce Dern? Or could Chiwetel Ejiofor sneak in, as he did at the BAFTAs? If you want to play this category safe, bet on the McConnaissance. M.M. has had an unbelievable run of films the past two years, transforming himself from a rom-com heartthrob to perhaps the coolest actor in Hollywood today, and he's crushing it on HBO every Sunday in True Detective. And we haven't even talked about how he lost 40 pounds for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. And yet! DiCaprio has been campaigning hard, giving interviews to everyone from NPR to Ellen DeGeneres, and Bruce Dern has been kissing babies since Cannes way back in May. Meanwhile, an Oscar-watcher I know spoke to five voters, and they all said they were voting for … Chiwetel! Our advice: Make your best guess and then savor the suspense. —MH
Pick: Matthew McConaughey
Runner-up: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress
There’s been some chatter here and there that Amy Adams is surging in this category for her wild-maned work in American Hustle. But unfortunately for Adams, the fifth time (and her first in the best actress category) likely won’t be the charm, as Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett has had this pretty much sewn up since last summer. It’s possible that the Woody Allen controversy has soured opinion of Blue Jasmine as a whole, but Blanchett remains invincible, picking up her umpteenth award at the BAFTAs just a week ago. With no clear spoilers in the mix, this is probably the most fixed category of the night. –RL
Pick: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
(Very very distant) Runner-up: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Best Supporting Actor
Picking anyone other than Jared Leto in this category would be an act of pure contrarianism—the former teen heartthrob and current rock star has picked up virtually every other award this season, save the lone, surprise BAFTA win for Barkhad Abdi. (Leto wasn’t nominated) Abdi is really the only potential upset in this category, but it would be a massive and highly unlikely upset, especially given how many total nominations Dallas Buyers Club earned. A vote for Leto is an easy way for the Academy to acknowledge a film they clearly admire. —KR

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