Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Film Awards Clearinghouse-Oscar 2014 Predictions/Rudderless Sets Sail

Welcome to Thursday!


Well, we all know what the nominees are.  Now begins the nearly six week long process of determining Oscar winners.  The ceremony is set for Mar. 2nd (particularly late this year, reportedly to avoid conflicting with the presentation of the Winter Olympics).  Final ballots don't even go out until the middle of February.

All of that is to get to this...a first look at who or what the experts think the winners will be on Mar. 2nd.

For this first pass at predicting Oscars winners, I have drawn on six of the nine experts I have used throughout the season.  This is for a variety of reasons.  Of the three experts I usually use, some haven't updated their predictions yet or are predicting only in a limited fashion.  So, the six experts that I have used to calibrate this first set of Oscar winner predictions are:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience

Films/actors are listed in order of the likelihood that they will win that category.  I also am focused on 13 categories with the majority of the technical and shorts categories on hold for the moment.

Telluride Films are Bold.


1) American Hustle
2) 12 Years a Slave
3) Gravity
4) Captain Phillips
5) Nebraska
6) The wolf of Wall Street
7) Philomena
8) Dallas Buyers Club
9) Her

Comment:  Best Picture is perceived to be a real barn burner.  In raw numbers "Hustle" and "12 Years" were actually tied.  "Hustle" edged into the top spot on a tie breaker.  "Gravity" is also very, very close.  Personally, I still think "12 Years a Slave" is going to win the Best Picture Oscar.  You can also find someone as an advocate for the potential "spoiler" scenarios for almost every one of the other six films nominated.  My personal "left field" pick is "Dallas Buyers Club".  Its Film Editing nomination as well as its likely win in two acting categories tells me that the Academy really loves this film.


1) Alfonso Cuaron/Gravity
2) David O. Russell/American Hustle
3) Steve McQueen/12 Years a Slave
4) Martin Scorsese/The Wolf of Wall Street
5) Alexander Payne/Nebraska

Comment: This group of experts is pretty convinced that there will be a split between Best Picture and Best Direction for the second straight year.  I'm not as convinced.  I still think that there's a reasonable chance that McQueen wins.  The DGA winner may point us to the eventual Oscar winner, but I don't even think that's carved in stone.

Last note, I might be okay with Cuaron winning this instead of McQueen.  Putting "Gravity" together is an impressive feat.


1) Cate Blanchett/Blue Jasmine
2) Sandra Bullock/Gravity
3) Amy Adams/American Hustle
4) Judi Dench/Philomena
5) Meryl Streep/August: Osage County

Comment: Blanchett is the first of six nominees that are unanimous choices in their categories at this point. She's the very definition of a prohibitive favorite.  At this point, anyone else winning this category on Oscar night would rank as an historic upset.


1) Matthew McConaughey/Dallas Buyers Club
2) Chiwetel Ejiofor/12 Years a Slave
3) Bruce Dern/Nebraska
4) Leonardo DiCaprio/The Wolf if Wall Street
5) Christian Bale/American Hustle

Comment: McConaughey is a strong favorite here, but it's not unanimous.  There's a significant amount of support for Ejiofor and a Bruce Dern win isn't completely out of the question.


1) Lupita Nyong'o/12 Years a Slave
2) Jennifer Lawrence/American Hustle
3) June Squibb/Nebraska
4) Sally Hawkins/Blue Jasmine
5) Julia Roberts/August: Osage County

Comment:  I'm more than a little surprised that Nyong'o is a unanimous favorite in this category.  All six of my experts say she'll win.  Frankly, I think that it's a lot closer than that between her and Lawrence.


1) Jared Leto/Dallas Buyers Club
2) Michael Fassbender/12 Years a Slave
3) Bradley Cooper/American Hustle
4) Barkhad Abdi/Captain Phillips
5) Jonah Hill/American Hustle

Comment: Leto is the unanimous choice here.  Any other winner would be a shock.


1) American Hustle
2) Her
3) Nebraska
4) Blue Jasmine
5) Dallas Buyers Club

Comment:  This is a pretty tough category between the top three screenplays.  On Oscar night, I think that this might actually be the only Oscar that "Hustle" wins.


1) 12 Years a Slave
2) Philomena
3) The Wolf of Wall Street
4) Captain Phillips
5) Before Midnight

Comment: John Ridley's "12 Years a Slave" script is the unanimous choice to win this category.


1) Gravity
2) American Hustle
3) 12 Years a Slave
4) Captain Phillips
5) Dallas Buyers Club

Comment: "Gravity" isn't a unanimous choice, but it's pretty close.


1) Gravity
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
3) Nebraska
4) Prisoners
5) The Grandmaster

Comment: "Gravity" is a unanimous choice.


1) The Hunt (TFF #39)
2) The Great Beauty
3) The Broken Circle Breakdown
4) Omar
5) The Missing Picture

Comment:  Any of the top three could win.  The category is very, very tight.


1) Frozen
2) The Wind Rises
3) The Croods
4) Despicable Me 2
5) Ernest and Celestine

Comment: "Frozen" is the sixth film in these 13 categories that is a unanimous pick to win.


1) 20 Feet from Stardom
2) The Act of Killing (TFF #39)
3) The Square
4) Dirty Wars
5) Cutie and the Boxer

Comment:  "20 Feet" is a strong favorite.

The FAC says (in these 13 categories) that  "Gravity" wins three, "12 Years" wins two,  "American Hustle" wins two, "Dallas Buyers Club" wins two.

Should The FAC have this right (and remember , we're still over a month away) Telluride films pick up five Oscars in these thirteen categories and I think "Slave" beats "Hustle" for the sixth.  Also, a win for "The Hunt" makes it another T-ride Oscar albeit from TFF #39.


Well, it is finally upon us.  Oklahoma generated film "Rudderless" closes The Sundance Film Festival tomorrow night.  It's been awhile in coming.  I've been talking about it, off and on, for almost four years.  I met co-author Casey Twenter in Kansas City in the summer of 2010 after we had been emailing for a number of months.  Casey had contacted me because he'd found the blog and was interested in Telluride. Over the years, I've been privileged to read two different versions of the script and follow, at a distance, the ups and downs along the way.  It's been a hell of a ride.  There have been a number of incarnations featuring different directing, producing and acting possibilities...stuff I really can't write about.

I am very happy for Casey and his writing partner Jeff Robison who were fortunate to have William H. Macy fall in love with the script.  I'll tell you, that fortune is only a small part of the story.  It was always a good script and Macy is fortunate to have had it fall into his lap and recognize the quality.

"Rudderless" has actually already screened for industry types and the first word is oozing out of corners (including an actual review at /Film (Slashfilm).  The "early ooze" seems pretty positive.

/Film review:

Here's  sample of some of the commentary from the review by /Film writer Germain Lussier:

"Rudderless...a complex story of love, loss, friendship and music"

"it's a touching movie with a fantastic lead performance and even better music."

"Macy is in control of our emotions"

"There is a lot to like about Rudderless"

I have friends who, I think, thought I was putting them on at times over these last four years; who didn't believe that the project existed, took place in Oklahoma, would ever make it in front of cameras or would find its way to a theater.  Well, tomorrow night in Park City, Utah, all those doubts will be put to rest.

I'll be anxiously awaiting to see the critical response and to see what distribution outfit picks the film up...come on TWC, Fox Searchlight and SPC.

Congratulations Casey and dreamed it and it's about to happen!  On behalf of all of us on the fringe of the film business and who harbor dreams of being a little less on the fringe, thanks!  "Rudderless" gives us all hope!

Finally, a note to Gary Meyer, Julie Huntsinger and Telluride programmers...I know that the Sundance/Telluride crossover film is very rare (seems like it happens about once every five years or so) and the last one was "An Education" (2009), if the eventual distributor hasn't already released this film by Labor Day...TFF #41?  Give it a thought.

More on Monday...have a good weekend!

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