Sean P. Means: Here goes nothing — predicting the Oscar nominees

By Sean P. Means

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: January 10, 2014 08:45AM
Updated: January 14, 2014 09:03AM
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"Fruitvale Station" • Michael B. Jordan (carrying Ariana Neal) stars in this drama about the last day in the life of an Oakland man killed by transit cops. The Weinstein Company

Two of the high holidays of the Hollywood award season arrive in the next six days.

On Sunday night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will hand out the 71st annual Golden Globes — honoring movie and TV achievement, and giving hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler numerous chances to mock the semi-drunken celebrities in the hall.

Next Thursday morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards — the Oscars.

So whose names will be called out on Thursday? Here are The Cricket’s predictions in the six major categories:

Supporting Actress

The shoo-ins • Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”; Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle.”

The likely picks • Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”; June Squibb, “Nebraska.”

The final slot • Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

Out of the race • Octavia Spencer, “Fruitvale Station”; Margo Martindale, “August: Osage County.”

If the Cricket had a vote • Scarlett Johansson, for her heartbreaking voice-only performance in “Her.”

Supporting Actor

The shoo-ins • Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”; Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave.”

The likely picks • Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”; Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle.”

The final slot • Daniel Brühl, “Rush.”

Out of the race • James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”; Tom Hanks, “Saving Mr. Banks.”

If the Cricket had a vote • Woody Harrelson, so nasty as a backwoods thug in “Out of the Furnace.”

Actress

The shoo-ins • Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”; Sandra Bullock, “Gravity.”

The likely picks • Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”; Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County.”

The final slot • Judi Dench, “Philomena.”

Out of the race • Amy Adams, “American Hustle”; Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”

If the Cricket had a vote • Brie Larson, tough and tender as a youth counselor in “Short Term 12.”

Actor

The shoo-ins • Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”; Robert Redford, “All Is Lost.”

The likely picks • Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”; Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips.”

The final slot • Bruce Dern, “Nebraska.”

Out of the race • Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Christian Bale, “American Hustle”; Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

If the Cricket had a vote • Michael B. Jordan, bringing humanity to a victim of police violence in “Fruitvale Station.”

Director

The shoo-ins • Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”; Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave.”

The likely picks • Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; David O. Russell, “American Hustle.”

The final slot • Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips.”

Out of the race • The Coen brothers, “Inside Llewyn Davis”; Alexander Payne, “Nebraska.”

If the Cricket had a vote • Spike Jonze, creating the future-perfect romance of “Her.”

Best Picture

The shoo-ins • “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Gravity.”

The likely picks • “Captain Phillips,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Nebraska.”

The final slot • “Inside Llewyn Davis.” (I’m guessing eight nominees this year. Just a hunch.)

Out of the race • “Her,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Dallas Buyers Club.”

If the Cricket had a vote • The pure cinema experience of “All Is Lost,” with one man, almost no dialogue, and a big unforgiving ocean.

Sean P. Means writes The Cricket in daily blog form at www.sltrib.com/blogs/moviecricket. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seanpmeans. Email him at spmeans@sltrib.com.