We're a little late this year (well, and last year ) in publishing our 2014 Oscar predictions. After all, in two weeks the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be announcing the nominees for the 86th Academy Awards. Anyhow, as ancient philosophers used to say, "Better post (way, way) late Oscar predictions, than having them posted after the nominations have been announced." (See also: "Best Actor 2014 Oscar Predictions: Robert Redford to Make the Cut?")
So, here they are, our 2014 Oscar Predictions in the first two categories, Best Picture and Best Director.
Note: The one difference between our Best Picture shortlist below and the Producers Guild of America nominations is Inside Llewyn Davis replacing Blue Jasmine. Also: bear in mind that the list below features ten titles; however, as few as five may end up nominated. Hence, our listing the 2014 Oscar predictions for Best Picture in order of importance. All other lists are in alphabetical order, including Best Picture runners-up and long shots.
12 Years a Slave; American Hustle; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; The Wolf of Wall Street; Captain Phillips; Inside Llewyn Davis; Saving Mr. Banks; Dallas Buyers Club.
Oscar 2014 Best Picture runners-up: August: Osage County; Blue Jasmine; The Butler; Fruitvale Station; Philomena.
Long shots: All Is Lost; Before Midnight; Blue Is the Warmest Color; Enough Said; Labor Day; Lone Survivor; Prisoners; Rush.
Long shots: Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine; Peter Berg, Lone Survivor; J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost; Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station; Lee Daniels, The Butler; Asghar Farhadi, The Past; Stephen Frears, Philomena; Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips; John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks; Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said; Ron Howard, Rush; Richard Linklater, Before Midnight; Jason Reitman, Labor Day; Jean-Marc Vallée, Dallas Buyers Club; Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners; Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt; John Wells, August: Osage County.
If our Best Director Oscar 2014 predictions are on target, then two of the nominees will be newcomers in that category (Alfonso Cuarón and Steve McQueen). Spike Jonze has one previous nomination, for Being John Malkovich, 1999, while Alexander Payne and David O. Russell have been both shortlisted twice before: Payne for Sideways, 2004, and The Descendants, 2011; Russell for The Fighter, 2010, and Silver Linings Playbook, 2012.
Also worth noting, Steve McQueen will be only the third black filmmaker — and the first black British filmmaker — shortlisted for Best Director, following John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Lee Daniels for Precious (2009). Alfonso Cuarón, for his part, will be the second Mexican filmmaker nominated for a Best Director Oscar, following Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (2006).