- I feel surprisingly confident about these final predictions, and that absolutely terrifies me that I'm completely wrong about almost everything.
- Specifically, the ones I'm worried about in the acting categories are going with Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) over Amy Adams (American Hustle) in Best Actress and Robert Redford (All is Lost) in Best Actor. Apart from the reasons I list in the commentary, doesn't it just seem odd that Adams - and this is not a slight against her - would pick up five nominations over a ten-year period? Very few other actors can claim that they've had similar fortune. Redford strikes me as a shaky choice because it's an incredibly touch competition slate this year, and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) has a ton of heat working for him (and his film) right now. Yet I can't shake the feeling that the Academy just doesn't like DiCaprio and will probably ignore him. But could Christian Bale (American Hustle) or Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler) really pull out an upset as well? Remember, in 2011, Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Demian Bichir (A Better Life) were not exactly frontrunners to be nominated in Best Actor, either.
- In terms of the technical categories, the screenplays are tough for me to figure out: adapted because I don't think there is enough competition and original because there's so much competition. Seriously, there's just not much going on in Adapted Screenplay this year, and I think I might be underestimating Before Midnight in that category (after all, Before Sunset earned a nod in 2004). And I feel weird not predicting Woody Allen to be nominated for his Blue Jasmine script, but so much of the focus has been on Cate Blanchett's performance, and what would you cut from the predicted five? Dallas Buyers Club seems like the most obvious choice, but it's becoming clear that various branches of the Academy really love that movie, so it still seems like a safe bet even though it's probably the most vulnerable.
- It's kind of surprising how Supporting Actor, once the most wide-open of all categories, now seems fairly hemmed-in, doesn't it? With the exceptions of Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and the late James Gandolfini (Enough Said) sneaking in, doesn't that line-up - the same as the one from the Globes - really seem like the most likely shortlist?
- Though it would admittedly screw up my predictions, I do kind of hope that J.C. Chandor (All is Lost) manages to pull a Benh Zeitlin and get a nomination that no one was expecting. And I'd love for some surprises in Best Actor and Best Actress too, such as Joaquin Phoenix (Her) or Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) or Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) or Julie Delpy (Before Midnight).
What are your predictions? The Academy Awards page will be updated one final time to reflect the nominees after Thursday's announcement.