The big O

Our movie critic picks who will—and who should—win Academy Awards this year

The Academy Awards start at 4 p.m. on March 2 on ABC.

OK, so it’s time for my annual Oscar bitchfest.

Look, I guess it’s pretty hard for the Academy to get everything perfect, which by definition means picking all of the movies and performers that I would personally nominate because I am better and smarter than them.

I’m not afraid to admit I can be a smug know-it-all bastard when it comes to the movies, especially when it comes to the Oscars. I’ll tell you right up front that James Gandolfini being left off the Oscar roll call is stupidity personified. This would have been a prime example, as with Heath Ledger, of a deceased actor truly deserving a posthumous nomination for the work he did. Gandolfini was tremendous in Enough Said (as was his costar, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also got snubbed).

Fruitvale Station, one of the year’s most powerful films, completely snubbed? You have to be kidding me. The movie and the actor at the center of it (Michael B. Jordan) deserved attention. This is a blown opportunity to put the spotlight on an important and excellent film.

Inside Llewyn Davis contained what I consider the second best performance by an actor in 2013. That performance came from Oscar Isaac, who was not only darkly hilarious throughout the film, but did his own singing and guitar playing as a bleak, negative folk singer. The Coen brothers were also snubbed, and you just don’t snub the Coen brothers when they’ve done their typically excellent work. Not in my universe, you don’t.

Finally, how the hell do you not just hire Steve Martin every year to host? As long as Mr. Martin has blood coursing through his veins, he should be the host of the damned show. Nothing against Ellen DeGeneres, who isn’t all that bad as the host. She’s just not Steve Martin, who I consider the all-time best Oscar host. Yeah, I say it every year. I feel obligated.

So, I’ll talk a little more about the snubs in their particular categories, because I just want to reiterate how right I am and how wrong everybody else is. That’s my job. Well, sort of. Actually, I don’t think I’m supposed to be such a prick, but I really am pissed off about the Gandolfini thing and no Steve Martin this year.

Best Picture

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

I like this list a little, although I would’ve nominated films like Inside Llewyn Davis, Fruitvale Station and Mud over Nebraska, Philomena and Captain Phillips. I liked those films, but I don’t consider them among the year’s best.

The Wolf of Wall Street is the best movie on this list, but it’s too dirty and doesn’t really stand a chance. Early on in the race, I would’ve predicted American Hustle, but that one seems to be falling out of favor.

As it turns out, I think the final vote will go to Gravity or 12 Years a Slave. Because I actually have to predict a winner, for that is what this article is about, I’m going with 12 Years a Slave.

Should Win: The Wolf of Wall Street

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor

Christian Bale (American Hustle)

Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Oh man, leaving Robert Redford, a.k.a Mr. Sundance, off this list for his work in All is Lost is a pretty nasty, heartless snub. Everybody here did a good job, but I would’ve given a slot to either Redford, Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis or Michael B. Jordan for Fruitvale Station over Bale or Dern.

DiCaprio deserves this so much. It’s criminal that he doesn’t have an Oscar yet, and this is his best work to date. As stated before, Wolf is just too dirty to be fully appreciated.

This is between McConaughey and Ejiofor. McConaughey will probably win. Good performance from McConaughey, but I actually liked him better in Mud. A DiCaprio win would be sweet, but it’s probably not going to happen.

Should Win: DiCaprio

Will Win: McCounaughey

Best Actress

Amy Adams (American Hustle)

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

Judi Dench (Philomena)

Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

This list should include Adele Exarchopoulos for her breakthrough performance in Blue is the Warmest Color, but it doesn’t so I will just go ahead and say Blanchett should and will win even if Woody Allen is despicably gross.

Should and will win: Blanchett

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)

Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

This is a Leto party … locked in. I hope he busts out his 30 Seconds to Mars hit “City of Angels” when he gets the gold, and then challenges host Ellen DeGeneres to a bare knuckled brawl in honor of his awesome participation in Fight Club. (My guess is Ellen could kick his ass.)

As for me, I would pick Fassbender or Hill over Leto, and I truly believe James Gandolfini deserved a posthumous slot for his beautiful work in Enough Said, but you knew that already.

Should win: Fassbender

Will Win: Leto

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)

June Squibb (Nebraska)

I fell in love with the voice of Scarlett Johansson in Her, and honestly believe she deserved a slot here. I also believe Carey Mulligan deserved a nod for Inside Llewyn Davis.

Still, my year-end pic for this category was Lawrence, and I’m sticking with it. She took American Hustle into the stratosphere when she was on screen. That movie wasn’t nearly as great when her character was off doing other things.

Should and will win: Lawrence

Best Director

David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)

Alexander Payne (Nebraska)

Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Scorsese deserves it, but Cuaron did a bang up job on Gravity. He’ll get the Oscar, and Marty will need to feign happiness when the camera is on him.

Should Win: Scorsese

Will Win: Cuaron

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine


The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises is a masterpiece. Since Hayao Miyazaki claims it’s his last, I think it’s the favorite to win over an otherwise boring crowd.

Should and will win … I guess: The Wind Rises

Will Win

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Documentary: The Square

Best Documentary Short: Facing Fear

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film: Omar

Best Makeup: Dallas Buyers Club (but this should go to Bad Grandpa!)

Best Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Production Design: Gravity

Best Animated Short Film: Possessions

Best Live Action Short: Helium

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle