And the Nominees Are..

By Brady Furlich

The dresses. The music playing when speeches go a little bit overboard. The choked back tears of Leonardo DiCaprio as he loses yet another nomination.

Ah yes, the Oscars.

Hollywood’s most famous awards show comes live to you on Sunday, March 2. Whether you watch it on your TV, on Tumblr, or on Twitter, be prepared for a pretty lively show hosted this year by Ellen DeGeneres. ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Gravity’ lead the pack with ten nominations each, followed closely by ‘12 Years a Slave’ with nine. With so many popular films up for so many awards, it’s hard to tell who will actually win. So sit down, relax, and maybe watch Leonardo DiCaprio burst into tears (the odds are against him yet again…).

Sorry, Titantic fans. It seems that Leo DiCap may end up empty-handed. Up against amazing performances from Matthew McConaughey (‘Dallas Buyers Club’), Christian Bale (‘American Hustle’), Bruce Dern (‘Nebraska’), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (’12 Years A Slave’), his ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ performance probably won’t hold up. Instead, critics have picked McConaughey’s portrayal of an AIDS patient for his first Oscar. Amy Adams is also looking for her first Oscar with a nomination for her con-artist role in ‘American Hustle.’ However, predictions have Cate Blanchett’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ performance going for the win up against Adams, Judi Dench (‘Philomena’), Sandra Bullock (‘Gravity’), and Meryl Streep (‘August: Osage County’). Hunger Games favorite Jennifer Lawrence is looking for her second Academy Award (in two years!) for ‘American Hustle.’ Her supporting actress nomination may not get her very far, though; rarely does the Academy give out two Oscars in two years. Instead, critics are looking to Lupita Nyong’o’s ’12 Years a Slave’ performance for the win. ‘12 Years A Slave’ is also up for an award in the category of best supporting actor: fan favorite Michael Fassbender. But he isn’t the only fan favorite; Bradley Cooper (‘American Hustle’) and Jonah Hill (‘Wolf of Wall Street’) are also pretty popular among fans. In this case, the music fans may prevail. Jared Leto, lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, is projected to win for his performance as a transgender AIDS patient in ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’

Among the Best Director nominations are favorites David Russell, Martin Scorsese, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Alfonso Cuarón. All have had award-winning films (not all Academy Awards) before, and Harry Potter fans may recognize Cuarón’s name from the ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ credits. Luckily for them, Cuarón (‘Gravity’) is the favorite here, though David Russell (‘American Hustle’) has a chance to win as well.

If Russell doesn’t win in the Best Director category, he still has another chance: he and co-writer Eric Warren Singer are up for their ‘American Hustle’ original screenplay. They are pretty likely to win, but online critics are pushing for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ to win in this category.

Frozen lovers will be excited to see that it’s up for two Oscars: best animated feature and best original song (‘Let It Go’). However, ‘Frozen’ may see some competition– a few film critics have picked ‘The Wind Rises,’ a Japanese historical fantasy film, to take the prize in best animated feature. Luckily for Elsa and Anna fans, though, even more critics have said that ‘Frozen’ will take the prize. The original song category may be more difficult to win for this Disney film; it’s up against U2’s ‘Ordinary Love’ from ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.’

Now, the best for last: Best Picture. This is going to be the toughest category: among the nine nominees, predictions have singled out three for the race for one of the most coveted film prizes. Though ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Her,’ ‘Nebraska,’ ‘Philomena,’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ all deserve the nomination, the fight comes down to ‘American Hustle,’ ‘Gravity,’ and ’12 Years a Slave.’ ‘Gravity’ and ’12 Years a Slave’ have the award precursor on their side, while ‘American Hustle’ has the fans. Critics have said that it will be a close race: my pick is ’12 Years a Slave,’ but who knows? The three films with the most nominations have put themselves into a close race, and now fans only have to wait a month to find out.  If you want to view all of the nominations (including the ones not covered here) and choose your own winners, feel free to go here and pick the winners for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Enjoy!