5 longshot Oscar predictions that could make you look like a smarty pants
The Oscars are coming Sunday and as you look around the web, you can see that all the pundits are getting their final predictions in just under the buzzer. What's fascinating to me is how, really, everyone seems to mostly agree. The degrees of fluctuation in those who might disagree on this or that category is minimal. And where some might diverge in one category or another, there are certainly others there to back them up.
Basically, no one is way out on any limbs alone and we're all more or less expecting the same range of activity. That means we're all, of course, WRONG — at least somewhere. So what will the surprises be? That's the question I keep hearing, even from publicists and strategists who have their ear closer to the ground than us lowly pundits.
Well, it just so happens there are a couple of places worthy of taking a big risk in your predictions that could just pan out. You never can tell — no one predicted a tie for Best Sound Editing last year, obviously — but you can sense things lurking. The last out-and-out shock I had watching the race was "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" winning Best Film Editing a few years back, which could be owed to respect for the film and a desire to spread some love its way, or could just as easily have been a case of the top two Best Picture players cannibalizing each others' votes in the category.
This, for lack of a better term, is the logic. And if you can tap into it, you're less a smarty pants than a lucky bastard. So here are a few areas that could make you look like both in your Oscar pools, if you're feeling frisky.
"Nebraska" for Best Supporting Actress or Best Original Screenplay
Everyone seems tied up over the Best Supporting Actress race. Will it be SAG winner and lovely new starlet Lupita Nyong'o? Or will it be Jennifer Lawrence hitting the stage for a second time in as many years (and hopefully without tripping up the stairs this time around)? Frankly, it could be "Nebraska" star June Squibb who gets the last laugh. Just anecdotally, she's getting plenty of votes. She's really the only other viable contender in the race, so there's not a huge dilution of votes across the spread. If Nyong'o and Lawrence are indeed cannibalizing each other, Squibb — who is a delight and worked it in Los Angeles, plus had that great bit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as voting drew to a close — would be the beneficiary. Meanwhile, there's a lot of love for the film in general. While everyone is trying to decide between "American Hustle" and "Her" for Best Original Screenplay, it could just be Bob Nelson's name called Sunday night, bringing the long journey of his very personal project to a rousing close. These are the two easiest places for voters to honor the movie.
"Philomena" for Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Original Score
It feels a little strange to imagine a film with as passionate a fan base as "Philomena" walking away empty-handed. Most are going with "12 Years a Slave" for Best Adapted Screenplay, and that makes the most sense, but (the admittedly quite British) "Philomena" won that prize at the BAFTA Awards and started its whole journey with a screenplay win at the Venice Film Festival. Plus, Steve Coogan has been hitting the campaign trail hard. Meanwhile, in Best Original Score, there is an opportunity for voters to spread the love a bit and stretch out of any kind of straight ticket scenario. "Saving Mr. Banks" could even be in a position to win there (as where else are the film's fans going to show their love for it?), but Alexandre Desplat — who will hit the Dolby Theatre stage one of these days — could be a viable option for those looking to give the film something amid all those below the line votes for "Gravity."