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87th Oscars. The Oscar Contenders of 2014 - For prediction, discussion and entertainment purposes only. This is not a endorsement of quality work, especially since no one has seen the pictures yet!

 discuss on the blog

Predictions as of November 14th
Very competitive year
Eddie Redmayne
never nominated
Theory of Everything
(Focus Features)
Nov 7th
Michael Keaton
never nominated
Birdman
(Fox Searchlight)
Oct 17th

 

David Oyelowo
never nominated
Selma
(Paramount)
Dec 25th

Benedict Cumberbatch
never nominated
Imitation Game
(Weinstein Co)
Nov 21st

BIFA nod

Jake Gyllenhaal
1 nomination
Nightcrawler
(Open Road)
Oct 31st

Role
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking from the 60s through the 90s

In his corner:
Oscar loves nothing more than disabilities in the lead actor category... and biopics. It's a physically demanding role

Role:
Riggan Thomson, a has been movie star best known for playing a superhero attempts a comeback on Broadway

In his corner:
Amazing fusion of actor, performance and role.
But...
Oscar doesn't always "get" meta. Consider that they didn't nominate John Malkovich for Being John Malkovich  

Role:
Martin Luther King leading the dangerous civil rights march in Alabama

In his corner:
It's a plum noble real person role for a rising talented actor and the movie is filled with Oscar clip speeches
But...

Oyelowo is definitely underfamous for this particular category

 Role:
Mathematician and secret World War II hero Alan Turing

In his corner:
It's a fine performance that is both unsentimental and (eventually) emotional.Oscar likes to rubber stamp stars that the general public already likes if they have the right opportunity
But...
Competition is fierce and this doesn't have the winning hooks of some of the other roles

Role:
Lou Bloom, a weirdo videographer of sensational crime scenes

In his corner: Everyone love a transformation and all of Jake's soulful sensitivity seems to have been shed with the lbs to play this sociopathic opportunist. He's memorable.
But...
Dark and cynical for Oscar tastes

But Watch Out For...

 

Steve Carell
never nominated
Foxcatcher
(SPC)
Nov 17th

Channing Tatum
never nominated
Foxcatcher
(SPC)
Nov 17th

Chadwick Boseman
never nominated
Get On Up
(Universal)
Aug 1st

Bradley Cooper
2 nominations
American Sniper
(Warner Bros)
Dec 25th 

Ralph Fiennes
2 nominations
Grand Budapest Hotel
(Fox Searchlight)
March 28th 

Roles:
Wealthy eccentric patron John DuPont and his Olympic wrestling star Mark Schutlz are locked in a codependent tragic spiral

In their corner:
Steve has the showy "transformative role" as a schizophrenic with a prosthetic nose. It's either brilliant chameleon work or labored mimicry depending on your POV. On the other hand Channing Tatum does his best work yet at exactly the  right moment in his career. One of them or both of them?
But...
Response to the movie is polarizing, some of its as chilly as the movie itself

Role:
Rock icon James Brown

In his corner:
Oscar worships biopics of music icons. Chadwick does some heavy lifting (and sweating)
But...
The movie's reviews weren't great enough to win him early steady traction.

Role:
Legendary US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle

In his corner:
It's another transformation, bulking up to play this soldier. Cooper is very popular with Oscar right now. Plus he'll be on  Broadway during voting.
But...
So much competition!

Role:
The perfect concierge M Gustav

In his corner:
Fiennes pushes his inner prestige into silliness while maintaining his refined elegance and helped make this a surprise hit. Isn't it high time Fiennes was invited back?
But...
He'll need a significant Golden Globe Comedy push

The Longshots
Jack O'Connell
never nominated
Unbroken
(Universal)
Dec 25th
Oscar Isaac
never nominated
A Most Violent Year
(A24)
Dec 31st
Miles Teller
never nominated
Whiplash
(Sony Pictures Classics)
Oct 10th
Timothy Spall
never nominated
Mr Turner
(SPC)
Dec 19th

Joaquin Phoenix
3 nominations
Inherent Vice
(Warner Bros)
Dec 12th

He's already won raves for Starred Up and '71 on the fest circuit and the Angelina Jolie WWII film will be widely seen. But at 24 he'd be the 5th youngest nominee ever in this category. Too young?

A rising star who could well have goodwill left over from his amazing work in Inside Llewyn Davis. He anchors this crime drama well. But that New Years Eve release is sure a weird move.

Whiplash fans are passionate and JK Simmons seems like a done deal. Will they want the full set? At 27 going on 28 he'd just miss the top ten youngest nominees ever in this category

Spall grunts out this eccentric painter role and Oscar likes Mike Leigh movies. He won Cannes
but buzz has cooled and that very late release probably won't help.

He's so esteemed as an actor who follows his own muse now that he will always be considered -- and he is very funny in the movie. But funny only takes you to Golden Globes

Vote Siphoning from...

Brad Pitt - Fury
Bill Murray - St. Vincent
Matthew McConaughey - Interstellar
James Corden - Into the Woods
Ben Affleck - Gone Girl
Christian Bale -
Exodus: Gods & Kings
Robert Downey Jr
- The Judge
Tom Hardy - Locke
Tommy Lee Jones
- The Homesman
Alfred Molina & John Lithgow- Love is Strange
Gael Garcia Bernal - Rosewater
Bill Hader - The Skeleton Twins (Gotham Nod) 
Brendan Gleeson - Calvary (BIFA nod