Trust the man with the useless gift of movie knowledge. When the 86th Annual Academy Awards are announced on Sunday March 2nd, these four categories are perpetual locks for a certain nominee in their respected categories. I can see the writing on Oscar’s wall for this quartet of lucky nominees. So place your bets now on ‘The 4: 2014 Oscar Locks’.
1. Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto/Dallas Buyers Club
Mr. Leto should be called Mr. Lock. Out of all of the major categories, the Oscar is Leto’s to lose. As great as McConaughey’s performance is in Dallas Buyers Club, it wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for Jared Leto stealing the show as Ron’s unlikely business partner, Rayon. Leto’s Rayon is the heart of the movie and his friendship with Ron turns the hateful Woodruff into a man who cares about the people he once ridiculed. Leto has swept all of the major awards so far and I don’t expect that trend to change on Oscar night.
2. Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón/Gravity
Director Alfonso Cuarón made Gravity the movie experience of the fall as it wowed audiences with its visual beauty and suspenseful action. The man behind the camera, Alfonso Cuarón, is the clear frontrunner in the Best Director Category. Just like last year’s winner, Ang Lee from Life of Pi, Alfonso Cuarón mixed groundbreaking special effects with real life action to make a white knuckled and beautiful adventure. Gravity was a box office and critical darling and I fully expect for Alfonso Cuarón, who helmed the ill-fated space mission, to have is name called for Best Director.
3. Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey/Dallas Buyers Club
A skinny man at death’s door is not what you think of as the role of a lifetime, especially for the once Sexiest Man Alive Matthew McConaughey. But McConaughey gave the performance of his career in Dallas Buyers Club as the man carrying a death sentence who decides to fight the FDA. What started out as a tight race with Chiwetel Ejiofor, has turned into a runaway with Matthew McConaughey taking home the Golden Globe for Best Actor. Some may think it’s Leo’s time, but I would rank his The Wolf of Wall Street performance 4th on this list of nominees. It’s hard to have a film where your hero is a homophobic, piece of white trash that, at times, is his own worst enemy. But the way you feel about Ron Woodroof at the end of Dallas Buyers Club is exactly why McConaughey will win.
Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave
Dallas Buyers Club may have been my pick for movie of the year, but I believe 12 Years A Slave will take home the Oscar for Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen gave the audience a depiction of life where your freedoms and family can be torn from you in exchange for being worked to the bone with zero care towards your physical and emotional well-being. 12 Years a Slave is the toughest watch on film this year, but it’s a movie no one should miss no matter what your race, creed, age or background is. Not since Schindler’s List have I felt so uncomfortable in a movie, but immediately wanted to tell everyone they should see it. 12 Years a Slave holds no punches back and makes Roots look like an after school special with its depiction of a life in chains and under the whip. I believe the emotions that are trenched in 12 Years A Slave touch people of all colors and will propel Oscar voters to give their vote for Best Picture to McQueen’s film.