The 86th Annual Academy Awards

2014 Oscar Predictions: Our Picks in Every Category

Thelma Adams
Movie Talk

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Oscar frontrunners '12 Years a Slave' and 'Gravity' (Fox Searchlight/ Warner Bros.)

Yahoo Movies experts Thelma Adams and Kevin Polowy have updated their Oscar predictions throughout all of awards season. Here are their final picks.

"Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" have been at the forefront of the awards race since early fall — and they remain there with only a few days until the Oscars are finally, finally handed out this weekend.

While it resembled a three-horse race on Nomination Day, "American Hustle" has stumbled — unless there are big upsets in the acting categories on Oscar night.

Here are our final predictions for the 86th Annual Academy Awards, now with every category.

[Related: Complete List of 2014 Oscar Nominees and Printable Ballot]


BEST PICTURE
 
Thelma Adams: I'm calling a split with "12 Years a Slave" winning Best Picture and "Gravity" taking Best Director. The two films shared the Producers Guild Award, but the spread-the-wealth theme has been shaping up for several weeks.

Will Win: "12 Years a Slave"
Could Win: "American Hustle"
Longshot: "Her"
 
Kevin Polowy:
"12 Years a Slave" doesn't seem like it has lost any momentum over the course of awards season, which feels like it's been 12 years long. And I'm with you, this should be the second year in a row where there's a rare Best Picture-Best Director split. 

Will Win:
"12 Years a Slave"
Could Win: "Gravity"
Longshot: "American Hustle"


BEST DIRECTOR

Adams: The Directors Guild spoke: Alfonso Cuarón for "Gravity." If he fails to get the Oscar that will be the night's biggest upset.

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could Win: Steve McQueen
Longshot: Alexander Payne

Polowy: You can only ask "How'd he do it?!" so many times in regards to Cuarón's visually stunning work on "Gravity" before it's time to just give the man his Oscar.

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could Win: Steve McQeen

BEST ACTOR
 
Adams:
This race just continues to mystify — and while Matthew McConaughey is out front, the love for "12 Years a Slave" and its central performance could push Chiwetel Ejiofor ahead. And how about that Leonardo DiCaprio? With Martin Scorsese as his wingman, the star of "The Wolf of Wall Street" is pushing hard for a win, particularly after the spectacular fail of "The Great Gatsby" as a serious Oscar vehicle.

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Longshot: Christian Bale, "American Hustle"

Polowy: First it was Redford (who lost day of nominations), then it was Dern, then it was Ejiofor… It's interesting how McConaughey has become the clear-cut favorite not necessarily because his performance so obviously towers above the rest (though it is indeed excellent), but because he just started winning everywhere else.

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Longshot: Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"


BEST ACTRESS

Adams:
Blanchett. Done deal. Woody Allen's private life has no impact on a brilliant performance.

Will Win:
Cate Blanchett
Could Win:
Amy Adams
Longshot:
Meryl Streep

Polowy:
Not only has Blanchett won everywhere else, but her performance so obviously towers above the rest.

Will Win: 
Cate Blanchett
Longshot: Everyone else

[Related: The 9 Best Picture Oscar Nominees as Lego Movies]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Adams:
Jared Leto has been in the lead forever, with a Screen Actors Guild honor to back him up. But is it possible he was ahead for too long? Could that open a door for unknown Barkhad Abdi to bring one home for the "Captain Phillips" team?

Will Win:
Jared Leto
Could Win:
Barkhad Abdi
Longshot:
Jonah Hill

Polowy:
There was more suspense in the fourth quarter of this year's Super Bowl blowout. It's Leto all the way in the easiest race to predict.

Will Win: Jared Leto
Longshot:
Barkhad Abdi



BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Adams:
This is one place where "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" will go head to head in a way that's still too close to call. Last year's win for Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress actually tips this in Lupita Nyong'o's favor in her gutsy debut. But if "American Hustle" doesn't win here — where will it win?

Will Win:
Lupita Nyong'o
Could Win:
Jennifer Lawrence
Longshot:
Sally Hawkins

Polowy:
Finally, there's some suspense! And again, we agree. This would be Lawrence's Oscar to lose had she not just won last year — that's just how Oscar politics go. Nyong'o does seem like the obvious pick, but in a category that's shocked us with Oscars for Marisa Tomei and Mira Sorvino, I'm also saying there's a chance for the lovable veteran Squibb.

Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o
Could Win:
Jennifer Lawrence
Longshot:
June Squibb

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Adams:
Spike Jonze's hipster "Her" won the Writer's Guild Award, and should push to the win here to honor that contender. But, again, can "American Hustle," with the power of a mighty 10 nominations, take this category?

Will Win:
"Her"
Could Win:
"American Hustle"
Longshot:
"Blue Jasmine"

Polowy:
It only makes sense that "Her," this year's most wildly inventive film, wins here, if only for the high-waisted pants.  

Will Win: "Her"
Could Win:
"American Hustle"
Longshot:
"Nebraska"


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Adams:
Powered by nine total nominations, there's a lot of love for "12 Years a Slave" and its adapted screenplay. It didn't earn a WGA nomination because it was ineligible, so it should win here over the Guild's choice of "Captain Phillips."

Will Win:
"12 Years a Slave"
Could Win:
"Before Midnight"
Longshot:
"Captain Phillips"

Polowy:
This one feels pretty open-and-shut, with another nod for "12 Years" and John Ridley's adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir. If there's a dark horse then maybe it's that dark comedy "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Will Win:
"12 Years a Slave"
Could Win:
"Captain Phillips"
Longshot:
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Adams:
Everyone agrees that all other contenders will be "Frozen" out.

Will Win:
"Frozen"
Could Win:
"The Croods"
Longshot:
"Ernest and Celestine"

Polowy:
Even easier to predict than Best Supporting Actor. You could bet your life savings on "Frozen" (though you won't make much in return).

Will Win:
"Frozen"
Could Win:
"Frozen"
Longshot:
"Frozen"

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

Adams:
This category is still very much in play. I'm betting against my person bias toward Belgium's three hankie "The Broken Circle Breakdown," and embracing Italy's "The Great Beauty."
 
Will Win:
"The Great Beauty"
Could Win:
"The Broken Circle Breakdown"
Longshot:
"The Missing Picture"

Polowy:
I was fixed on "Broken Circle Breakdown" (only partly because Belgian bluegrass movies are way underrepresented these days). Now I'm leaning toward the much less depressing/traumatic "Great Beauty" and thinking the Academy will follow the Globes in awarding this Italian dramedy.

Will Win: "The Great Beauty"
Could Win:
"The Broken Circle Breakdown"
Longshot:
"The Hunt"



BEST DOCUMENTARY

Adams:
Will the Academy go uplifting underdog story with "20 Feet from Stardom," or, like the DGA, embrace the serious politics of "The Square?" Tough call but "20 Feet from Stardom" has my vote, following last year's win of "Searching for Sugar Man."

Will Win:
"20 Feet from Stardom"
Could Win:
"The Square"
Longshot:
"Cutie and the Boxer"

Polowy:
"20 Feet from Stardom" is indeed joyous, and it is the crowdpleaser, which has emerged the last two years with "Searching for Sugar Man" and "Undefeated." Still, it's the crowd-depressor that more oftentimes wins, so look no further than the difficult-to-watch but excellent "Act of Killing."

Will Win: "The Act of Killing"
Could Win:
"20 Feet from Stardom"
Longshot:
"The Square"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Adams:
This is another win for "Gravity" and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, which will make that film the winner of the most awards on Oscar night.

Will Win:
"Gravity"
Could Win:
"Nebraska"
Longshot:
"The Grandmaster"

Polowy: Hard to see this not going to "Gravity" for that breathtaking photography. It feels like we've all been to outer space after watching that film.

Will Win:
"Gravity"
Longshot:
"Nebraska"

BEST EDITING

Adams:
"Gravity" racks up the technical kudos — including Best Film Editing from director Cuaron and Mark Sanger.

Will Win:
"Gravity"
Could Win:
"Captain Phillips"
Longshot:
"Dallas Buyers Club"

Polowy:
You'll be hearing the words "And the Oscar goes to" followed shortly by "'Gravity'" a lot during the technical awards handed out early on.

Will Win:
"Gravity"
Could Win:
"Captain Phillips"
Longshot:
"American Hustle"

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Adams:
"The Great Gatsby," once thought to be a major Oscar contender (before anyone had seen the movie), will now get its consolation prizes for those parts of Baz Luhrmann's mortifying jazz age pastiche that worked, including his wife Catherine Martin's costumes. Happy wife, happy life?

Will Win: "The Great Gatsby"
Could Win:
"American Hustle"
Longshot:
"The Invisible Woman"

Polowy:
Catherine Martin is the closest thing the worlds of Costume Design and Production Design have to a celebrity. Still, I wouldn't be shocked if "12 Years" emerged here.

Will Win: "The Great Gatsby"
Could Win:
"12 Years a Slave"
Longshot:
"American Hustle"

[Related: 8 Swingin' Secrets Behind 'American Hustle's' Oscar-Worthy Costumes]

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Adams:
It's Martin for a second win for "The Great Gatsby," alongside set decorator Beverley Dunn.

Will Win:
"The Great Gatsby"
Could Win:
"Gravity"
Longshot:
"Her"

Polowy:
Martin won both design categories in 2002 for "Moulin Rouge!" She's got a good chance to do the same this year, but I'm calling the split with "Slave."

Will Win:
"12 Years a Slave"
Could Win:
"The Great Gatsby"
Longshot:
"Her"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Adams: Chock up another notch in the "Gravity" belt.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Her"
Longshot: "The Book Thief”

Polowy: Turns out that in space people can hear you score.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Her"
Longshot: "Saving Mr. Banks"

[Related: Is There Such Thing as Oscars Momentum?]


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Adams: Can Bono and U2 overcome the power of Disney schmaltz? Possibly but not likely: "Let It Go."

Will Win: "Let It Go" from “Frozen”
Could Win: “Ordinary Love” from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Longshot: "The Moon Song” from "Her"

Polowy: "Let It Go" has not let go of its kung-fu grip on the zeitgeist. Hard to see it losing here.

Will Win: "Let It Go" from “Frozen”
Could Win: “Ordinary Love” from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Longshot: "The Moon Song” from "Her"

[Related: Why This Year's Best Song Race Is Closer Than It Seems]

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Adams: It wasn't enough that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto dropped major poundage to play their HIV/AIDS victims in "Dallas Buyers Club" — they were supported by a terrific hair and makeup team.

Will Win: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Could Win: "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"
Longshot: "The Lone Ranger"

Polowy: Does the "'Jackass' has never won an Oscar over all these years, thus is due one" argument apply here? It doesn't? OK, then "Dallas Buyers Club" is your safest bet.

Will Win: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Could Win: "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"
Longshot: "The Lone Ranger"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Adams: Having owned 12th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards, "Gravity" will win here, too.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Longshot: "The Lone Ranger"

Polowy: This award has been predicted as early as the eye-popping "Gravity" first screened for anyone.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Longshot: Everything else



BEST SOUND EDITING

Adams: Um, "Gravity," again. Get used to hearing that title!

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Captain Phillips"
Longshot: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Polowy: "Gravity" looked great AND sounded great.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Captain Phillips"
Longshot: "The Lone Survivor"

BEST SOUND MIXING

Adams: Sigh. "Gravity."

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Longshot: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Polowy: In case you're like me and have to look up the difference between sound editing and sound mixing every year, here you go.

Will Win: "Gravity"
Could Win: "Captain Phillips"
Longshot: "The Lone Survivor"

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Adams: "Get a Horse," the Disney retro short slapped on to "Frozen" screenings, honors the past with a wink and icon Mickey Mouse — and the Oscar that didn't go to shutout "Saving Mr. Banks."

Will Win: "Get a Horse"
Could Win: "Room on the Broom"
Longshot: "Possessions"

Polowy: Somewhat suprisingly, the Disney and/or Pixar entry doesn't always win this category. But it did last year with "Paperman," and it should again this year with "Get a Horse."

Will Win: "Get a Horse"
Could Win: "Mr. Hublot"
Longshot: "Room on the Broom"

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

Adams: The Martin Freeman-Tom Hollander pairing about the interrogation of a prisoner who claims to be a god, "The Voorman Problem," proves that size doesn't matter — and sometimes small is beautiful.

Will Win: "The Voorman Problem"
Could Win: "Just Before Losing Everything"
Longshot: "Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?"

Polowy: "The Voorman Problem" is a slick mind-bender that needs to be fleshed out into a full-length feature, stat. With vastly different entries from all over the world here, anything can win here... win the exception, sorry to say, of "Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?"

Will Win: "The Voorman Problem"
Could Win: "Helium"
Longshot: "Aquel No Era Yo" ("That Wasn't Me")

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

Adams: At 109, Alice Herz Sommer is the world's oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor. Add to that, Sommer will become the subject of the soon-to-be Oscar-winning doc, "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life."  

Will Win: "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
Could Win: "Facing Fear"
Longshot: "Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall"

Polowy: Everything loves "The Lady in Number 6." So will the Academy.

Will Win: "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
Could Win: "Facing Fear"
Longshot: "Cravedigger"


Follow Thelma Adams and Kevin Polowy on Twitter. See more of their predictions, plus those from a full panel of experts, on Gold Derby.

Tune in to Yahoo's live Oscars pre-show this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, and then watch the big show on ABC.

 

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