Best Supporting Actor
Who Should Win – Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
While perhaps not the most politically correct choice, Fassbender undeniably delivers a phenomenal performance as a menacing slave owner. His relentless brutality and ruthless persona are nothing short of chilling. Fassbender brilliantly embodies evil in its rawest, most innate form, even trumping Leonardo DiCaprio’s exceptional portrayal of a slave owner in Django Unchained.
Who Will Win – Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Having recently won a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of a transgender woman infected with the HIV virus, Leto is the definite frontrunner at the Oscars. The extensive physical transformation required for the role, which entailed losing an enormous amount of weight, illustrates Leto’s exceptional dedication and perseverance. Having recently returned to acting from a multi-year hiatus, Leto’s fellow actors (most of whom possesses voting privileges) will likely be anxious to endow him with a “welcome back” gift.
Best Supporting Actress
Who Should Win – Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
At just 23, Jennifer Lawrence has taken Hollywood by storm, having already garnered an Academy Award for Best Actress (Silver Linings Playbook) and been the lead role in a billion dollar film franchise (The Hunger Games). In the critically acclaimed film American Hustle, Lawrence delivers a powerful performance, effectively playing a spunky, highly volatile stay-at-home wife. She demonstrates a remarkable ability to encapsulate a wide array of emotions in a genuine, natural manner.
Who Will Win – Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Although she could face some stiff competition from the dark horse nominee Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Lawrence should be able to safely claim her second Oscar. The more important question is whether or not she will be able to make it onto the stage without tripping and whether she will be able to produce a relatively coherent acceptance speech devoid of emotional rambling.
Who Should Win – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
In my opinion, Leonardo DiCaprio is unequivocally the best actor ever (anyone who disagrees is more than welcome to speak with me about it). His ability to portray highly complex, intensely emotional characters in a captivating, yet natural manner is exceptional. The fact that he has yet to win an Oscar is a mind-baffling shame and an utter embarrassment for the Academy.
Who Will Win – Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Like his co-star Jared Leto, McConaughey shed a substantial amount of weight to prepare for his role as Ron Woodroof, a man whose Texas swagger compels him to combat his HIV diagnosis with resolve and optimism. Having already won a Golden Globe award for his performance, McConaughey is the surefire favorite to win arguably the most competitive Best Actor category in recent memory. In any other year, his fellow competition (including DiCaprio, Christian Bale & Chiwetel Ejiofor) would have surely been shoe-ins for the award.
Who Should Win – Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Having previously been nominated by the Academy for roles in exceptional films such as Doubt and The Master, Adams is certainly deserving of an Oscar award. More importantly, her portrayal of a con artist/femme fatale in American Hustle is excellent, as she exhibits extraordinary depth and blends into the film quite well. However, the Academy could succumb to the running gag of Meryl Streep being nominated yet again for an Oscar, which would be an unfortunate snub for Adams.
Who Will Win – Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Given that this is her fifth overall Oscar nomination (concurrently her third nomination in four years), Adams stands a fairly decent chance to finally take home an Oscar. Moreover, Adams’ chances of winning are further elevated since the other four contenders in the category have already won Oscars.
Who Should Win – Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
McQueen is a dark horse contender, as he is a relatively unknown British director that to date has only produced a few films. His masterful guidance in 12 Years a Slave allows the film to resonate with the audience in a raw, genuine manner. In addition, he has a graphic, relentless style that is powerfully effective. Unfortunately, it for this reason, as well as the fact that he doesn’t seek to push a partisan agenda, that many Academy voters will likely pass him over for a more establishment choice.
Who Will Win – David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Having previously been nominated for Best Director for Hollywood favorites including The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, it is very plausible that David O. Russell will finally take home an Oscar Award. Like Leto, he is returning from a long departure from film, which means that Hollywood nepotism will surely play in his favor. Although certainly a noteworthy director, his film American Hustle is primarily an amalgamation of fantastic acting performances.
Who Should Win – 12 Years a Slave
It it hard to effectively articulate the powerfully gripping nature and emotional intensity of this film. The film is able to transcend the slavery genre and resonate with all Americans, regardless of skin color, as it tells the moving story of a man who is determined to persevere and refuses to succumb to his tragic circumstances. 12 Years a Slave is a chilling reminder of our nation’s conflicted past, yet also an optimistic tale of freedom and self-determination.
Who Will Win – American Hustle
Honestly, it is a toss-up between American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture. Both films depict true stories, have terrific acting, masterful directing, and are overall exceptional cinematic works. I give the slight edge to American Hustle for the sole reason that the film has a more establishment director as well as more actors with a proven pedigree. While this may seem insignificant, Hollywood is a very close-knit community where those in the business love to grease each others palms.