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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 October 24th
J.K. Simmons
never nominated
Oct 10th
Ed Norton
2 nominations
(Fox Searchlight)
Oct 14th
Mark Ruffalo
1 nomination
Nov 14th
Josh Brolin
1 nomination
Inherent Vice
(Warner Bros)
Dec 12th

Tyler Perry
never nominated
Gone Girl
October 3rd

It seems like the right time to honor him for years of good work. Oscar loves a stern mentor and the film and this performance are already very  popular
This very meta picture which cast former Batman star Michael Keaton as former Birdman star also cast Norton in the role of an apparently difficult actor. Hmmm. Still he looks funny in it.
Ruffalo is having a good year (see: The Normal Heart), he's excellent in Foxcatcher as well as the most likeable character in the film. Should be an easy get given the dearth of competition thus far. But can he win?
He has the largest supporting role in the film and he's quite great/funny in it. But will voters know what to make of the film at all? It's love it or hate it material

Does this seem far-fetched? Well he does have a very spotlit scene stealing role in a hit movie. He's my wildcard pick for the moment. Can he get traction? He's a bit of an outsider doing his own thing in the movies

Tom Wilkinson
2 nominations
Dec 25th
Tim Roth
1 nomination
Dec 25th
Christoph Waltz
2 noms | 2 wins
Big Eyes
(Weinstein Co)
Dec 25th
Michael Caine
6 noms | 2 wins
(Warner Bros)
Dec 12th
Robert Duvall
6 noms | 1 win
The Judge
(Warner Bros)
Oct 10th
Tom is Presidential! Tim is racist. Which will Oscar respond to. They play Lyndon B Johnson and George Wallace respectively? Both seem like actors who will reemerge from time to time for kudos (given their gifts) Oscar loves him. This would be his third lead role rewarded in supporting but you can never put it past them. Still, isn't two actual statues enough unless he wows?

 If they decide they love Interstellar and can't think of what to do in this category, they have always loved this actor. 

He hasn't been nominated in 16 years but title characters are often a boon to actors with Oscar. Father/son dramas are sometimes catnip to voters but this one hasn't been well reviewed.

Ethan Hawke
3 noms | (1 for acting)
July 18th
Albert Brooks
1 nomination
A Most Violent Year
Dec 31st
Martin Short
never nominated
Inherent Vice
Dec 12th
Charlie Cox
never nominated
Theory of Everything
Nov 7th
Alec Baldwin
1 nomination
Still Alice
The parents anchor this long journey through a young boy's life. But Hawke makes this type of role look effortless. And effortlessness is tricky to get noticed for.
  Pity about that Drive snub but if he continues to get good roles from stylish filmmakers than won't he back at some point? But the movie might be too small / late for much play.
It would take critics going bonkers for this one at year's end like a Wolf of Wall Street situation for this glorified madcap cameo to take but you never know.

If they can't decide or if there are no easy "these five!" star turns, you have to look at people in Best Picture hopefuls. He's quite good in this but it's not a showy role.

If they really go crazy for Julianne Moore's alzheimer's patient, he could pop up as the supportive husband (a less common trope with Oscar but every once in awhile-- think Broadbent in Iris)
Possible Vote Siphoning From...

Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebell - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Billy Magnussen, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine - Into the Woods
Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr -Selma
Takamasa Ishihara, Jai Courtney, Garret Hedlund, Domnhall Gleeson or Finn Wittrock - Unbroken
Joel Edgerton & Ben Kingsley - Exodus: Gods and Kings
David Oyelowo & Alessandro Nivola - A Most Violent Year
Bill Nighy & Dominic West - Pride
Paul Jesson - Mr Turner
Logan Lerman & Shia Labeouf - Fury 

Moved to Leading
James Corden - Into the Woods