2014 Oscar Predictions – FYC Gearing Up to Launch, Adams the Double Threat

russell hustleHappy October everyone!  I can’t believe we’re already here.  In one of the most interesting and developing races we’ve ever covered, I’m anxious about what the next few months could hold.  Studios are getting their strategies together for the season, putting their screening schedules in place, and preparing to pounce on the competition.  Walt Disney Pictures already has their listings and have opened up some AMPAS screenings for “Saving Mr. Banks” in early November.  That has cued me to start preparing our FYC Tracker for 2013-2014.  Under construction at the moment, I can’t wait to start seeing where certain actors get campaigned.  You know we’re in store for a surprise categorization (I’m looking at you Melanie Laurent).

With films moving out of the race, most notably Sony Pictures Classics “Foxcatcher” – Lead Actor have offered some breathing room for small, more dynamic contenders to stand a chance during the year.  Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” is one of the most deserving of the actors I’ve seen at the New York Film Festival thus far and hopefully CBS Films could push him into the right places.  A Golden Globe nomination and win would make it more of a conversation for him.

The word on the street is Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” is about to be pushed back to 2014.  His first cut that was screened to Paramount Pictures executives was rumored to run at 3 hours and 40 minutes.  Obviously, that won’t fly with American audiences.  He just needs more time.  November 15 is definitely out of the question but a Christmas release is still in the realm of possibility.

There are a few question marks left on the season.  The first and at the top of the list is David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” set to be released December 25.  Russell’s last two films, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter” all scored multiple nominations especially in acting.  Last year’s dramedy was the first film since “Reds” to nab mentions in every acting category.  I’m skeptical to think he could perform such a feat again.  Somebody is bound to miss and that could be any of the five actors that include Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Adams has scored four nominations at this writing, never really being “the one” or second in line to win.  Her closest run was probably for “Junebug” behind winner Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener.”  The only time she’s made a run for a Lead nomination was for “Enchanted,” in a year that had a pretty atrocious lineup.  If she executes in a big way this year, hopefully a fifth nomination will be her ticket.

Judi Dench in PhilomenaSpeaking of Lead Actress, only ten or eleven contenders stand any chance at recognition at this point.  If you get technical, it may be more like six or seven.  Give or take an Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, and Meryl Streep all look to be the ones to fight it out during the season.  Judi Dench has many of the critics on her side for her performance in “Philomena” and with the screenplay win at Venice, the Weinstein Company may have found their film and performer to push.  Also, can we get a full trailer for “Labor Day?”  Where is it?  The film is one of the big question marks on the season.  It screened at Telluride where some really loved it and some have said there’s a gender gap but I wonder what it can do for the season.  Kate Winslet should still factor in somewhere.

Over the next two weeks at New York, we’ll get our first look at “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” from Ben Stiller and “Her” from Spike Jonze, two films that shake things up even more in the race.  I’m looking at Stiller’s film for multiple tech nominations and a dark horse for Best Picture.  There’s also rumors that they’ll be pushing hard for Supporting Actress Kristen Wiig, who doesn’t have much competition in that category to be recognized.  When it comes to Jonze’s film, an Original Screenplay nomination seems like something that’s right up its alley.  Of course, I’m always interested to see what Joaquin Phoenix will offer the world of cinema next.  If Adams falls off in Lead, a Supporting Actress mention could be a possibility here as well for “Her” or better yet, what if she becomes one of the possible double nominees for the year.  If it becomes a lovefest (think Julianne Moore in “Far from Heaven” and “The Hours”), she is someone they would like to bestow the honor upon.

Check out the updates to Best Picture, Director, Lead Actor, and Lead Actress that reflect the changes.

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