Is it me? Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I’ve gotten jaded over the years. Then again, maybe it’s just a really crummy year for movies. Sure, there were a few bright spots; but overall, disappointing is the word that sums it up. Let’s take it from the top…

Best Picture

In a category that allows 10 nominees, this year there were nine. There should have been three. OK, these were solid B--maybe B-plus--movies, but one of them is going to be joining the ranks of The Godfather, The Sting and Patton. Pity.

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor in a Lead Role

If the SAG awards and the Golden Globes are any indication--and they usually are, Matthew McConaughey likely will be taking home a statue. That is not a pick or a prediction, however, as he is fourth on my list. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Chiwetel Ejiofor isn’t garnering more hardware. I found 12 Years a Slave painful, but his performance was stirring. Christian Bale also was captivating as conman turned snitch—he doesn’t rely on his looks as an actor, and he could. Easily.

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street 

Best Actress in a Lead Role

In the fiercest of years, Cate Blanchett would win the Oscar hands down. Blue Jasmine is her Annie Hall, her Erin Brockovich. This year, it’s a runaway. Her closest competition? Amy Adams in a colorful, if unremarkable, performance; and Judi Dench in a charming, though forgettable, one.

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Judi Dench, Philomena

Merly Streep, August: Osage County

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Best Supporting Actor

It’s almost as if the Academy put no thought at all into this category, and said, Eh, the Globes probably got it right. I’ve come to expect a little deviation in the nominations, you know, just to keep things interesting and allow the Academy to maintain their air of superiority. I guess it doesn’t much matter. This one too is a lock.

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress

The supporting actor categories are always interesting at the Oscars. They seem to be where the big upsets happen. And since there is zero chance for an upset in the male-actor category (watch that come back to bite me); if there is a big surprise this year, it will be in the female-actor choice. There are a lot of possibilities here. Lawrence is the clear favorite, but Lupita Nyong’o won the SAG award. Julia Roberts is basically a seat-filler, while but June Squibb and Sally Hawkins are both plausible contenders.

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

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