Movie stars, directors, and producers enter Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre tonight in hopes of securing one of the few golden statuettes affectionately known as “Oscar.” The 86th Academy Awards will invoke both enchantment and contempt from movie aficionados everywhere, as legendary icons in the film industry are celebrated, and fan-favorites are left sitting awkwardly in their red-velvet chairs. Alexandra Holterman and Brad Richardson give us the night’s winners and losers:
(A): The most successful of the Best Picture-nominated films at the box office, Gravity will have similar success at the Oscars. Gravity was widely praised by critics for its cinematography and rising, yet subtle, tension.
(B): I like Twelve Years a Slave to take the gold (the golden statuette, that is) for Best Picture. Oscar voters like to make the awards matter, and Twelve Years is the most significant film of the Best Picture bunch. Look out for Dallas Buyers Club as a dark-horse candidate.
(A): A low-earning movie, Nebraska is likely to be snubbed at this year’s awards; however, hopefully that doesn’t apply to director Alexander Payne, whose work on the enjoyable drama-comedy deserves recognition.
(B): Alfonso Cuarón painted a masterpiece when it came to the visual elements and style in Gravity. Although this movie feels a bit like a 2014 version of Avatar, I think Cuarón did enough to take home the award on technical merit alone in a wide-open Best Director field.
(A): Leonard DiCaprio finally takes the trophy home. Nominated three other times for Best Actor, Leo has never won, but his convincing performance as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street will break the streak.
(B): There seems to be a positive correlation between how often Matthew McConaughey can keep his shirt on and the quality of his on-screen performances. This wardrobe trend should culminate in a Best Actor award for his mostly shirted lead role in Dallas Buyers Club.
(A): Another previously nominated first-timer, Amy Adams, will take home the award for Best Actress. Adams’ work in American Hustle, which had her switching between accents and rocking 70s-style cleavage, is more than deserving of the award.
(B): As an avid Amy Adams fan, I am hopelessly and blindly biased when it comes to this category. And now that I’ve acknowledged it, I’m still picking Adams for her role in American Hustle over front-runner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), anyway.
Best Supporting Actor
(A): For the role of an HIV-positive, drug-addicted, transgender woman, Rayon, in Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto stopped eating to lose 30 pounds (a feat also accomplished by the aforementioned McConaughey). Leto’s dedication to the role comes through in his fantastically tragic performance.
(B): Dallas Buyers Club takes both awards for the male performance tonight, as front-runner Leto is a near-lock for his equally persuasive role opposite McConaughey.
Best Supporting Actress
(A): In one of the best performances of the year, Lupita Nyong’o should take home the award for the deep and emotional role as a young slave named Patsey in Twelve Years a Slave.
(B): Although Jennifer Lawrence is extremely deserving of the award for her work in American Hustle, it’s simply too much too soon for the 22-year old actress. Fellow front-runner Nyong’o has the advantage, as her equally deserving role in Twelve Years a Slave is also the first major one for the previously little-known Kenyan actress.