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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

Best Picture Predictions - August 6th
Four tiers here but there could honestly be eight. Too early to rule anything out
How many nominees will we get this year?

(Fox Searchlight)
Oct 17th

Nov 7th
The Imitation Game
(Weinstein Co)
Nov 21st
Nov 17th
Gone Girl
Oct 3rd

 Why Predict It?
Early word is very positive, the trailers went over sensationally well and the film looks to be one-of-a-kind, designed to look like one continuous shot a la "Rope" or "Russian Ark"

Could be a little meta for some voters. And "clever" stylized movies sometimes dont work for AMPAS

Why Predict It?
Even though Oscar has always passed on him in the director category, they like Chris Nolan's movies. They like them a lot. And there seems to be no serious genre rivals this year

How long will Nolan be able to keep his hot-streak going or was The Dark Knight Rises a warning sign?

Why Predict It?
Fascinating true story and a WWII story at that. Cumberbatch still needs to make good on the internet obsession with him (as a leading actor for features) and TWC will be looking to come back strong this year. 

Could be a little gay for some voters. But the trailer looks Oscar-Baity 


Why Predict It?
Fascinating true story. Actors at the right moments in their careers for awards madness and a very solid previously nominated director (Bennett miller) still waiting for his signature 'he's a master' movie  

Could be a little chilly for voters 

Why Predict It?
David Fincher has long since proved himself a master of film thrills. And people LOVE this bestseller. Will he have another Dragon Tattoo success with awards? Or even better than that?

Thrillers are among the trickiest of genres to predict in terms of awards reception.

Second Tier - Also appealing as early guesswork
Theory of Everything
(Focus Features)
Nov 7th
Mr Turner
(IFC Films)

Grand Budapest Hotel
(Fox Searchlight)
Mar 28th

Nov 14th

Why Predict It?
Oscar loves stories about women in love with complicated brilliant men (most obvious example: A Beautiful Mind), they love a biopic, and they could use a dose of fresh blood

None of the people here are yet Oscar players. Can this Stephen Hawking marital bio do it? 


Why Predict It?
Mike Leigh is deeply respected by the Academy even if he has yet to win an Oscar. His previous period pieces (Vera Drake & Topsy Turvy) were well received by AMPAS with multiple nods

Timothy Spall grunting for two hours? Eh....

Why Predict It?
IFC Films have done a brilliant job thus far at making the movie an event. There will be nothing else like it this year

Its emotional effect is primarily cumulative so it won't play as well if people watch its three hours in installments on screeners

Why Predict It?
It's one of the biggest critical hits of the year and the box office take suggests its more accessible than previous Anderson films. Or maybe the audience has caught up to him

It would sure make an unusually manic and mannered Best Picture nominee

Why Predict It?

The trailer from this once-iffy project was surprisingly strong, moody, and beautiful looking. The cast is great.

It will need critical attention since its from a very well worn genre. Is it special enough?

Third Tier - Potential seems strong

Big Eyes
(Weinstein Co)
Dec 25th 
Dec 25th
A Most Violent Year
Nov 12th
Into the Woods
Dec 25th

Weinstein Co agression + Tim Burton vision (think Ed Wood artist bio) + Tim Burton super famous but rarely honored + Amy Adams still waiting for Oscar = Oscar magnetism. Unless it's not very good or there's Adams/Waltz fatigue. Which there might be. 

WW II survival epic with Olympics inspiration thrown in sounds like it was created in a lab specifically for Oscar love. The trailer looks a little shameless with its "triumph of human spirit"isms.

A24 isn't exactly an Oscar powerhouse but J.C. Chandor is building an interesting rangey reputation and has a great cast for this 80s crime drama. It could be a surprise success.

 Paramount can be formidable and this will likely be substantive but will the release garner enough attention with a director and lead who, while enormously talented, are not widely known. So far it only has a January date for wider release.

One of the greatest stage musicals ever written. Plus a cast that veritably demands that the media drools for a month. But people hate Marshall's last movie and dark fairy tale movies are ubiquitous now dulling the unique factor

Fourth Tier - And still more possible breakouts 

Love is Strange
Aug 22nd
Inherent Vice
(Warner Bros)
Dec 12th
(Fox Searchlight)
Dec 5th
(CBS Films)
Sept 12th
(Open Road)
Nov 7th

It's just excellent. But it would require critical support / awards late in the year to raise its profile.


Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius but will the lighter comic touches and outre characters make this an oddity they don't get like Punch-Drunk love?


 Jean-Marc Vallee just made Dallas Buyers Club and Oscar history suggests that when you're hot you're hot. Can this one woman trek move people enough or will it just be fighting for acting kudos?

This unlikely union between striking miners and gay rights activist is reportedly quite heartwarming and well acted by a familiar cast. If they're in one of their Brit moods...

 If Jon Stewart's directorial debut is excellent (who the hell knows?) and accessible (trickier given that political dramas are hit and miss with voters) it could be a surprise powerhouse. It'd be nice to see Gael Garcia Bernal win attention 

Other Films Arriving in 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | True Story | Exodus: Gods and Kings
Kill the Messenger |  
Maps to the Stars | Hundred Foot Journey | My Old Lady
Whiplash | The Judge

2014 ??? 2015???
Release Dates Are Highly Shaky and/or Non-existent at this point
Far From The Madding Crowd | Macbeth | Suffragette | Queen of the Desert
Midnight Special | Mommy | A Little Chaos | The Cobbler | Pawn Sacrifice 
Men Women and Children |  The Water Diviner | Dark Places | Mojave