12years-slave2

Oscar Poll: Best Picture 2014

The TV advertisements for this weekend’s Academy Award ceremony claim that it’s the tightest race in years. Is that really the case? Which movie do you think will win the Best Picture Oscar this year? More importantly, which movie do you think should win?

I’ve created two polls here. Be sure to vote in both.

First, we want to you predict which movie will win the Oscar. This has nothing to do with which movie you think deserves to win. (That’s coming up next.) Rather, how do you think the Academy members will vote?

Which Movie WILL Win Best Picture 2014?

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With that out of the way, now it’s time to tell us which movie you think should win, in your personal opinion. If you don’t like any of the nominees, tell us your pick for best movie from 2013 in the Comments.

Which Movie SHOULD Win Best Picture 2014?

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As far as predicting what the Academy will do, I don’t know that this race is really all that tight. Right off the bat, we can eliminate ‘Captain Phillips’, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, ‘Her’, ‘Nebraska’ and ‘Philomena’. None of those stands a chance of picking up the big prize (though they may win other trophies). Populist picks ‘Gravity’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ are also unlikely, though may slip in as dark horse victors if the remaining two contenders split the vote.

If the buzz can be trusted, this competition really comes down to the harrowing Antebellum South drama ’12 Years a Slave’ and the unruly con artist dramedy ‘American Hustle’. Both films won Golden Globes (for drama and comedy respectively). ‘Slave’ also picked up a BAFTA, while ‘Hustle’ nabbed top honors from the Screen Actors Guild.

With the caveat that I’m very bad at picking award winners, I’m pretty sure that ’12 Years a Slave’ will take home the Oscar. It’s the more important and artistically-minded film, and its subject matter is so touchy that Academy members may feel guilty if they don’t vote for it. ‘American Hustle’ is a more purely fun movie, but it has also suffered a significant backlash about its shallow script and lack of discipline or coherent structure.

Then again, I’m frequently wrong in making Oscar predictions. How do you think this year’s ceremony will go?

53 comments

  1. Ryan M

    I don’t understand how ads can claim that it is the tightest race in years. Aren’t the votes kept under tighter security than just about anything? Sounds like a lot of puffery to get people to tune into a program that hasn’t been a ratings beast in years.

  2. William Henley

    The only one of these I have seen is Gravity, so I really cannot comment on those.

    Out of the movies I have seen in the past year, I am surprised that The Book Thief was not nominated. That is the best movie I have seen in years, and am really surprised that it did not get a better reception than it did.

  3. 12 years will win, and i’m not saying it shouldn’t win, it was a damn good movie, just difficult to watch and i don’t see myself revisiting it much

    if i voted on replay value, wolf of wall street would take the top spot for me, gravity was awesome in a technical sense so its replay value it up there for me as well

  4. NJScorpio

    (Note: The only nominated movie I have seen is ‘Captain Phillips’, which didn’t strike me as a Best Picture winner.) Not all my favorite movies this year are really traditional “Best Picture” contenders…though I feel they are the best in their respective categories.

    - Blue Jasmine
    - Only God Forgives
    - Evil Dead
    - Pacific Rim
    - Oblivion
    - Europa Report
    - All Is Lost

  5. Chris

    I’m pulling for Gravity big-time but I think 12 years a slave will probably win. Although I haven’t seen it yet, I’m guessing it’s pretty effin brutal, this is the same guy that directed “Hunger”, brilliant but a tough watch.

    I loved Wolf of Wall street but I can sort of understand the criticisms leveled against it. The entire first hour is a gleeful celebration of a complete lack of morality, I’m not sure the last hour balances it out to be honest.

    NJScorpio, I LOVED Only God Forgives, I’m hlad there’s at least one other person that feeks the same way, since that movie is almost universally reviled.

    • NJScorpio

      Chris, Only God Forgives was easily my favorite movie of 2013. There is so much substance to it, and it is so beautifully made, despite it’s very dark story. I understand if some aspects of it turn viewers off, but I don’t get how so many reviewers didn’t seem to appreciate what a great film it was.

      • Timcharger

        NJ,

        You wanna fight? Or wanna toothpick?

        All this time, I thought the “Scorpio” was because you were born in November. Now I realize, it because you wear a scorpion jacket.
        :)

        • NJScorpio

          LOL, after watching ‘Drive’ I did research buying that jacket, which is available from the company that made the custom one in the film (well, it was the last time I checked).

          I hope that there is a third film staring Gosling, where his only line is “Wanna _____?”

          With that blank filled in with whatever he happens to do in that film.

  6. Ryan

    I think American Hustle will win…and if it doesn’t, 12 Years a Slave will. I don’t think anything else has a chance.

    My personal favorite movie never had a chance of getting nominated (Man of Steel), but of the nominated movies….I’d give it to Wolf of Wallstreet.

  7. Drew

    You couldn’t be more wrong, Josh. Read up on the the Best Picture race. You can eliminate every film but ‘Gravity’ and ’12 Years a Slave’. In fact, some major prognosticators, with a history of picking the correct Best Picture winner a very high percentage of the time, are claiming that ‘Gravity’ is all but a lock. Most information points to this being an extremely tight race between ’12 Years’ and ‘Gravity’ with the vote being one or two percentage points different, at most.

  8. DREW: Considering he mentioned 12 years a slave as a probable winner, even assuming you’re right (big assumption), by any definition (including yours) Josh could easily be “more wrong”.

  9. Drew

    Ryan,

    You are clearly a very serious person. I apologize for my sarcasm. Obviously, there is no room for this type of thing, in the comment section of this blog.

    Allow me to rephrase: Josh, you are partially incorrect. You can eliminate ‘American Hustle’ from the list of contenders. However, ’12 Years a Slave’ is very much in the running.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      As I said in the post, I’m bad at picking Oscar winners. My predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, I’ll be very surprised if Gravity wins. That’s this year’s “See, we can throw a bone to a popular movie too” nominee.

  10. Drew

    Okay, now I’m not being sarcastic. Josh, you literally couldn’t be more wrong. That’s a very ignorant statement, and it shows how little you have actually studied this years race. You’re exposing your naivete, Josh. If you take the time to educate yourself, you will find out that ‘Gravity’ has always been considered a very serious contender. In fact every single columnist that follows the Oscar race, year round, has stated that even if there were still only 5 nominees, ‘Gravity’ would have been a lock for a nomination, and a good bet to either win, or be runner-up. You have a very flawed point of view, when it comes to ‘Gravity’. Your statements about it in the post for this week’s blu-ray releases were also extremely bizarre. You just don’t seem to have a grasp on the film.

  11. Buzz is that Gravity might win – Peter Travers predicted it would, and many others are saying 12 Years turned a lot of voters off because of its violence.

    I still think 12 Years will win, but only because the Academy sees it as ‘important’ and just sees Gravity as ‘sci-fi’.

    If I had a vote, though, I’d vote for Dallas Buyers Club – it’s my favorite of the 9 films.

  12. Chris

    NJScorpio, I enjoyed the hell out of it, Refn is definitely a divisive director, a love it or hate it kind of filmmaker, I for one can’t wait for his next film. Only God Forgives can be enjoyed on 3 different levels; as a standard crime thriller, a surrealist nightmare or an allegory on the nature of man and violence. I was also disappointed it didn’t fare better with critics and audiences alike…

    • NJScorpio

      Don’t forget the Oedipus aspect (along with restrained sexuality, tied to the ‘hand/fist’ imagery).

      I too can’t wait for his next film.

  13. cyrollan

    did anybody watch Nebraska? i’m surprised i’m in such a minority of people who think it was the best picture! (after Pacific Rim of course)

  14. Timcharger

    All these polls should be pre-qualified with the initial question:

    Have you seen all 9 of these films?

    —–

    We wouldn’t accept:
    I like Coke best, but I haven’t tried Pepsi.

  15. Drew

    Timcharger,

    Excellent point. I’m happy to report that I have seen all nine films. (Nebraska was the last one that I had not yet seen, and I was able to check it off the list, last night).

    Nobody should be voting on the poll for which film SHOULD win Best Picture, unless they have seen all nine films. If someone has not seen all nine, they have no way of knowing which one they believe to best/most deserving.

  16. Chris

    Ehhhhh…I was thrilled when I saw Pacific Rim in the theatre but watching it again on home video, it’s numerous flaws are pretty apparent. Charlie Hunman is awful in it, he’s so fucking wooden he makes Kevin Costner look like Jack Nicholson, there was zero chemistry between him and the Japanese love interest to (complete with an awkward, sexless friend-zone hug near the end). It was a lot of fun though if you can ignore those shortcomings.

    Oblivion felt like a re-hash of a lot of better sci-fi flicks….

    Loved Evil Dead though, that movie got a lot of shit to and I didn’t really understand why, I thought it was the best horror movie of the last few years…

  17. The Place Beyond The Pines was my favorite movie of 2013. But I wasn’t surprised it got completely shut out. Wolf of Wall Street was a somewhat close second for me. I’m pulling for that to win.

  18. Onslaught

    Considering Gravity and 12YAS split the Producer’s Guild awards, I think the race is closer between those two rather than American Hustle. Ultimately, I’ll put the odds in favor of 12 Years. Usually, winning the Director’s Guild and Producer’s Guild will net you the win, but considering the unusual circumstance of Gravity, I’m not sure if winning the Director’s Guild ever meant much.

    I voted for Her as the best film of the year though.

  19. I didn’t know people still cared about the Oscars. As soon as Eminem and Halle Berry won Oscars, I knew something was wrong. And then when the Academy switched formats to this 10 nominees silliness, I gave up, altogether. I like what I like, and I don’t need an awards show to either validate my opinions or tell me I’m stupid for not liking something.

    • I think people still care about the Oscars – it’s the winners we care less and less about, particularly in the Best Picture category.

      I don’t know about anyone else, but I just tune in to see some of my favorite actors in one place and to see what memorable moments will happen (and what ‘train wrecks’ will occur).

      Granted, there are actors and movies that I’d really like to see win some categories (and I’ll be rooting for them), but I won’t think any less of them if they lose.

      This is one of the few years where all 9 Best Picture nominees are actually very good movies, so no matter who wins this year, it won’t be one of those cases where the Academy gives the Oscar to a completely undeserving film*.

      *See ‘Crash’, ‘Shakespeare in Love’, and others.

      • Deepak

        Isn’t it funny how the years in which all the nominees are pretty strong tend to be the years when Harvey Weinstein is relatively non-existent during awards season?

  20. David Staschke

    I’ve seen all 9 of these films (I typically see between 120-150 movies a year in the theater) and I can tell you that no film on this list can match the emotional depth and impact of 12 Years a Slave. It was the first movie that made me go home and have a drink immediately. It is a fearless film made with an honesty that doesn’t sentimentalize a damn thing, which is why it hit me so hard. My favorite types of movies are sci-fi/adventure spectacles, which are fun but don’t make me feel anything profound. Oddly, my least favorite film from the list of nominees: Gravity. Maybe it was all the hype (I saw it 2 weeks after it’s release) or maybe I was having an off day… but Gravity did nothing for me. I am looking forward to seeing it again on blu-ray so I can find out what I’m missing. Technical achievements aside, can anyone here help me appreciate what is so good about it? PS – Most underrated and unknown film of 2013 that I loved: The Brass Teapot.

    • Deepak

      I get that Gravity doesn’t work for everyone. I saw it at the midnight showing (not IMAX, but very large screen 3D), and thought it was a fantastic EXPERIENCE, but can’t imagine it working nearly as well at home. I do like the movie overall, but it would be a weak Best Picture winner.

      12 Years a Slave is brutal, so much so that I almost walked out during the scene where Epps whips Patsy. I just have a problem with how cold it is. Movies like Schindler’s List examined grave historical atrocities like 12YaS but also had moments of levity, warmth — they were more well-rounded. I don’t believe 12YaS has that, and it is a lesser film for it. Still powerful, though, and would be a better winner than Gravity.

      Hustle is good but overrated, Capt. Phillips is phenomenal, Wolf of Wall Street is the best film of this and the past few years, Nebrasks is ok but nothing great, Dallas Buyers Club is an ok movie elevated by amazing performances, and I haven’t yet seen Philomena and Her.

      • Everyone’s tastes are different…CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is actually my LEAST favorite of the 9 films. It’s pretty standard fare until the last 30 minutes, which are extremely powerful (thanks to Hanks’ performance), but up until then it’s a rather typical (although good) tense drama.

        I’d rank the 9 as follows:

        Dallas Buyers Club
        The Wolf of Wall Street
        American Hustle
        12 Years a Slave
        Her
        Gravity
        Nebraska
        Philomena
        Captain Phillips

  21. Deepak

    Gotta disagree with Josh on this one — I think Gravity is not only a strong contender, but will actually win Best Picture.

    If 12 Years a Slave wins, it will be a shocking low winner in terms of its total Oscar haul, since at this point it will really only also win Best Adapted Screenplay.

    Gravity, on the other hand, is essentially a lock for Director, Cinematography, VFX, Sound, and Sound Editing, and a heavy contender for Editing (although I think Capt. Phillips will pull off an upset there after winning the ACE).

    It is a tight race between Gravity and 12YaS; Hustle doesn’t stand a chance, despite having the big four nominations required of any serious contender — Picture, Director, Screenplay and Editing (the last of which is entirely undeserved, since the film is at least 10-15 minutes too long).

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      “If 12 Years a Slave wins, it will be a shocking low winner in terms of its total Oscar haul, since at this point it will really only also win Best Adapted Screenplay.”

      It would not be the first time that a movie wins Best Picture despite being shut out of most other categories. Both Argo and Crash only took home Screenplay and Editing awards, yet both also snuck in with Best Picture wins at the end.

      • Deepak

        Argo was more of an anomaly, a very good argument could be made that its Oscar victories and lead-up wins were the result of a sympathy votes after being snubbed for Best Director (I don’t agree with that sentiment, but there are people that do). Traditionally, Best Picture-winners need more than just one other Oscar win. To my knowledge, you have to go all the way back to Grand Hotel in the 1930s for a similar situation (it ONLY won Best Picture).

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          Argo’s not much of an anomaly, given that the same thing happened with Crash. Also, you take it for granted that 12 Years won’t win any other awards. It’s nominted in 9 categories, and stands as good a chance as any of its competitors to win Costume Design, Production Design or Editing. I also wouldn’t rule out Lupita Nyong’o for Supporting Actress. The Academy frequently likes to use that category to toss in a wild card that no one predicted (see: Marisa Tomei, Mercedes Reuhl, Marcia Gay Harden).

          • Deepak

            I’m really pulling for Nyong’o to win Supporting Actress but she’s by no mean a lock. As for the other categories:

            Production Design would certainly be deserved but all prognosticators seem to be pointing to Gatsby on that one (also Lincoln just won the award last year and took place at around the same time as this film – I have a feeling the Academy won’t want to reward two films with such similar aesthetics back-to-back).

            Costume Design will almost certainly go to American Hustle, in fact that’s probably the one award it has pretty close to a 100% shot at winning. They almost always go for flashy period costumes instead of more subdued (aka realistic) ones.

            Editing is between Gravity and Capt. Phillips, I just can’t imagine 12 Years a Slave winning this. Not sure it really deserves to, either, especially compared to those two.

  22. Kyle

    I havent seen any of these movies yet…of the ones listed Im looking forward to American hustle and the wolf of wall street the most..so id choose one of them to win i suppose?

  23. C138

    I think 12 Years a Slave deserves to win, but I get a bad feeling that mess known as American Hustle will probably win since there has been talk of Academy members either not watching McQueen’s film or turning it off before it’s done. The last time that was happening was when Brokeback Mountain was expected to win, and we all know how that turned out. I hope I’m wrong.

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