12-years-a-slave-posterIt’s Oscars Predictions for 86th Academy Awards time!

This blogger’s oscars predictions strategy has been to avoid what should win (which is a matter of opinion, anyway), and look at which movie is most likely to win. Focusing on oscars awards precursors has been a habit, but the last year has thrown a wrench into what was once an otherwise easy thing to do.

In 2013, Argo won for Best Picture, but the elected Best Director at the Director’s Guild Awards, Ben Afflect, wasn’t even nominated for the same category at the 85th Academy Awards. Thus, the DGA as a reliable precursor was wrecked, though the damage may not be permanent.

This year, the Sandra Bullock movie Gravity and its director Alfonso Cuaron are up for Best Actress, Best Picture, and Best Director respectively at the Academy Awards. Given the precursors, Gravity could realize a clean sweep in all of those categories, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Still, it’s a weird, sinking feeling to do a lot of statistical homework, only to see the results go far afield of your selections – but that’s life.

And that said, the Best Picture winner will be 12 Years A Slave, but that doesn’t mean it’s director, Steve McQueen, will win Best Director. I’m predicting a split this year. The reason is, the precursor awards have went that way, with Alfonso Cuaron taking best director and 12 Years A Slave landing best picture. I can’t see why that trend will stop at The Oscars.

The Nominations for the 86th Academy Awards are below, with this blogger’s selection of the winner in bold, and an explanation of the choice where necessary to provide one.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” – for the win.

Matthew McConaughey has actually won fewer precursor awards than Chiwetel Ejiofor, but he cleaned up in the one’s that statistically have had the best performance as predictors, the SAG Award and the Golden Globes, both which clock in at over 80 percent. (Remember that 66 percent is a sure thing in stats.) So take Mr. McConaughey for the win.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” – for the win.

This is easy, because with awards in the SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, NYFCC, BOFCA, LAFCA(Tie), NYFCO, Houston, Austin, Toronto, Southeastern, DFW, St. Louis, DC, Phoenix, San Diego, Detroit, Chicago, and Florida, Jared Leto is the best, and there’s no close second from a precursor wins perspective.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Amy Adams in “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”
Judi Dench in “Philomena”
Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”

While Sandra Bullock was outstanding in Gravity, from a precursor standpoint, Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine stands head-and-shoulders over all other candidates and should walk away with the golden guy without a problem.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” – for the win.
Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
June Squibb in “Nebraska”

This is where things get a bit dicey. The race is between Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave, but Ms. Nyong’o essentially splits the major precursor awards wins with Ms. Lawrence (Jennifer got the BAFTA and the Golden Globe, where Lupita gets the SAG and the Critics Choice), but Lupita ads wins in BOFCA, LAFCA, NYFCO, Kansas City, Hoston, Chicago, Austin, Southeastern, DFW, Phoenix, DC, St. Louis, Florida, and Online. Add to that the fact that the SAG is the best predictor here, and you have to select Ms. Nyong’o.

Best animated feature film of the year

“The Croods” Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
“Despicable Me 2” Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
“Ernest & Celestine” Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
“Frozen” Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho – for the win.
“The Wind Rises” Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

With wins at the BAFTA, ANNIE, PGA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, BOFCA(Tie), San Francisco, Houston, Kansas City(Tie), Austin, Phoenix, Southeastern, St. Louis, DFW, DC, Florida, and Utah, plus a box-office take of $985,400,143 Worldwide, Frozen is the obvious winner here.

Achievement in cinematography

“The Grandmaster” Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki – for the win.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska” Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” Roger A. Deakins

Achievement in costume design

“American Hustle” Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster” William Chang Suk Ping
“The Great Gatsby” Catherine Martin – for the win.
“The Invisible Woman” Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave” Patricia Norris

Achievement in directing

“American Hustle” David O. Russell
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón
“Nebraska” Alexander Payne
“12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese

Now here’s another dicey place. You have to pick Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, because he’ won the BAFTA, DGA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, NBR, LAFCA, Kansas City, Houston, San Francisco, San Diego, DFW, Phoenix, Detroit, DC, Austin, Toronto, Online, Utah, and Dublin. But that doesn’t mean his movie will win Best Picture, even though 70 percent of the time in history that’s the case. There’s a weird split here where while Alfonso Cuarón has won at the BAFTA’s and the Golden Globes, his movie did not, and lost to Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. The upset here would be if Steve McQueen won it, as he’s not far behind in awards wins, and his movie is the best picture favorite. Picking Steve McQueen would sustain the statisical pattern, but I’m betting the split continues.

Best documentary feature

“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen – for the win.
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

Best documentary short subject

“CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq – for the win.
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

This is the hardest to predict because it’s devoid of precursor awards. So, you have to do content analysis, and this is what comes up: Karama Has No Walls.

Achievement in film editing

“American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger – for the win.
“12 Years a Slave” Joe Walker

Best foreign language film of the year

“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy – for the win.
“The Hunt” Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
“Omar” Palestine

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny – for the win

The precursor winner, American Hustle, isn’t even here, and there was no clear second, so you have to go with Johnny Depp dressed as an indian.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“The Book Thief” John Williams
“Gravity” Steven Price – for the win.
“Her” William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena” Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks” Thomas Newman

This is another hard one because a powerful case could be made for Philomena and Alexandre Desplat – but the precursor points to Gravity.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
– for the win.
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

I know you think I’m nuts for picking the Frozen song, but the awards precursor record points to it. Nothing against Pharrell Williams at all; he’s a genius.

Best motion picture of the year

“American Hustle” Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Captain Phillips” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
“Dallas Buyers Club” Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
“Her” Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
“Nebraska” Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
“Philomena” Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
“12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers – for the win.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Nominees to be determined

And for the reasons I stated above – otherwise, we have to pick Gravity.

Achievement in production design

“American Hustle” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
“The Great Gatsby” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

You’d think Gravity, but with wins at BAFTA, Critics Choice, St. Louis, DC, San Diego, and Florida, The Great Gatsby is the giant here.

Best animated short film

“Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
“Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
“Possessions” Shuhei Morita
“Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

A hard one with no precursors – Get A Horse is the most viewed one of all.

Best live action short film

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
“Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
“The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

This is one of those where it’s hard to see where the Academy will go.

Achievement in sound editing

“All Is Lost” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips” Oliver Tarney
“Gravity” Glenn Freemantle – for the win.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor” Wylie Stateman

There’s no precursor here so I’d pick Gravity, but I have a feeling it’s going to lose out to The Hobbit – but it’s just a small feeling.

Achievement in sound mixing

“Captain Phillips” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
“Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro – for the win.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

Achievement in visual effects

“Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

No contest.

Adapted screenplay

“Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley – for the win.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter

With wins at the Critics Choice, Houston, San Francisco, Kansas City, Phoenix, DC, DFW, Chicago, Austin, Southeastern, St. Louis, Online, Florida, and Capr, it’s got to be 12 Years a Slave.

Original screenplay

“American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” Written by Spike Jonze – for the win.
“Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson

Before you blurt out “GRAVITY” consider that Her has won at WGA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, NYFCO, Kansas City, Chicago, San Diego, Austin, DC, Southeastern, DFW, St. Louis, Toronto, Detroit, Florida, and Online.

Well, that’s my list. What’s your take. Again, this isn’t who I want to win, but where the stats take me. It just so happens that, this year, the two areas of heart and mind match up.

Stay tuned.

By Zennie Abraham

Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.