Welcome to The Screen Life’s Oscar Predictions! This is part 4 in a 6-part series, in which you will find a quick breakdown of each category, accompanied by ranked predictions. Also be sure to check out the complete OSCAR PREDICTIONS page (in the menu up top), which will be continually updated throughout the week. This is your grand guide to this Sunday’s big night!
Best Film Editing
Most people think of editing as a technical craft, and I suppose it is (in the sense that filmmaking in general is). But I believe this craft – the piecing together of scenes and shots in just the right way – is just as much at the heart of storytelling as the script. The most textbook example of that may be the surprise nominee Dallas Buyers Club, but that surprise probably makes it the least likely winner. 12 Years a Slave is one of the Best Picture frontrunners and could easily take it if there’s a sweep, but the work is more subtle than some of the others. A couple months ago American Hustle seemed to have an edge, but it’s lost some steam of late. (Personally I think it’s the most confused jumble in the group.) Gravity is the giant in the room, scooping up the majority of the tech fields. It could easily win, and indeed many of the prognosticators are predicting it. However, I think Captain Phillips has the biggest advantage. It beat out Gravity for the ACE Eddie. It’s an editing showcase from a highly respected Best Picture player that many feel got snubbed in a few other categories, and this is probably voters’ best opportunity to award the film. And it helps that editor Christopher Rouse is a huge name in the industry who has won here before.
1. Captain Phillips
3. American Hustle
4. 12 Years a Slave
5. Dallas Buyers Club
Best Adapted Screenplay
There were a slew of fantastic scripts this year, and all 10 screenplay nominees are deserving representatives of that fact. As for a winner, though, the Adapted side appears to be a pretty easy call. Before Midnight is really in the wrong category, but it doesn’t matter, as the nomination is its reward. The Wolf of Wall Street is the best of the five, in my opinion, but hasn’t been getting as much recognition in the lead-up as the others have. Philomena just won the BAFTA and could be considered a spoiler on the merit of Steve Coogan alone. Captain Phillips won the WGA, which might make you think frontrunner. But 12 Years a Slave was ineligible for the guild strict rules. Ridley’s script is all anybody’s talking about. This may be the surest award of the night for that film.
1. 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
2. Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
3. Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
5. Before Midnight (Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater
Best Original Screenplay
Unlike its sister category, Original Screenplay is one of the toughest to call. It’s an incredibly tight race, with 2 films going neck-and-neck. They are all fantastic, though Blue Jasmine is like bringing up there rear, not least because of Woody Allen’s damning scandal resurfacing in the media, but also because it’s the only film not nominated for Best Pic. Nebraska, meanwhile, may be my favorite of the group, and while Alexander Payne didn’t write it himself, his films have an excellent track record in this category. The Academy clearly loves Dallas Buyers Club, which surprised in many more places than expected, and I could even see it winning if the next two split the votes and knock each other out. But those other two are way out in front: Spike Jonze’ Her is the more quirky “writerly” type of script that usually does well here. It also just recently beat out its rival American Hustle for the WGA award. But the latter tied Gravity (sadly missing here) for the most nominations, and is arguably still a close third for the Best Picture. It’s clearly beloved by the Academy, and this may be their best opportunity to finally give David O. Russell his first Oscar. Still I’m giving Jonze the edge by the ever-so-slightest of margins.
1. Her (Spike Jonze)
2. American Hustle (David O. Russell, Eric Singer)
3. Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borton, Melisa Wallack)
4. Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
5. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Check out the other parts of the Oscar Predictions Series here:
Part 1 – Animated, Foreign, Doc, and Short Films
Part 2 – Technical Categories (Cinematography, Costumes, Makeup, Production Design, and Visual Effects)
Part 3 – Sound and Music
Part 4 – Storytelling (Editing and Screenplays)
Part 5 – Acting
Part 6 – Picture and Director