Award season is in full swing, with the grand daddy of them all, the Oscars, mere days away from announcing its nominees on Jan. 16. Last weekend’s liquor-fueled fete hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association might be the most debaucherous and whimsical of the pre-Oscar pageantry, but historically, the Golden Globes aren’t always the best gauge for predicting the Academy’s honorees. For that, you have to look at the critics awards for guidance — like the New York Film Critics Circle Awards where Steve McQueen was recently heckled — and more important, the four major guilds— producers, directors, writers, and actors — which have a large amount of crossover with Academy membership. The Producer’s Guild Awards is becoming the biggest spoiler of the bunch with eight of the 10 films from last years’ grouping being selected for Best Picture nominations and the last six winners all having gone on to Oscar gold.
If this year’s body of PGA and DGA nominees is any indication, Oscar night should prove to be a three-way battle between Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity,” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle.” The likes of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Philomena,” and “August: Osage County” were all noticeable absentees from both lists, but will they continue to be shut out at the big dance? Will the recent controversy surrounding Martin Scorsese’s latest deter Oscar voters? Can an indie like “Blue Jasmine” or “Enough Said” sneak in and upset the status quo like “Shakespeare in Love” was able to in ’99? Or will Oscar voters surprise the pundits and concur with last weekend’s Golden Globe winners?
We’ve looked at the field, and the myriad award shows that have already transpired to celebrate a strong 2013 in film, and put together our predictions for the nominees of the 86th Academy Awards.