Oscar Picks and Predictions

From dramas to comedies, the KE predicts this years Academy Award winners.

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave:

From the intensity of “Captain Phillips” to the explicitness of “Wolf of Wall Street,” there is only one film that stands out among the rest, one that combines a magnificent cast with an engaging screenplay, while depicting the most accurate representation of slavery the Academy has seen in a long time.

“12 Years a Slave,” directed by Steve McQueen, follows the life of Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, a free black man who is captured and sold into slavery. Audiences watch as Northup, a talented violinist, is passed on from plantation to plantation, meeting one vile master after the other, always wishing to go home to his wife and children.

This historical drama is led by Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominee, Ejiofor, who brings a realism to his character that truly holds the movie in place. Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Patsey, a slave girl who works on the plantation with Northup, also conveys a strong performance, one that has earned her a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Magnificent performances come from every angle of this film, making it as remarkable as it is.

The acts of slavery depicted in this film can be brutal and hard to watch, but without its realism, “12 Years a Slave” wouldn’t be as exceptional. With fabulous cinematography that illustrates a slavery ridden south, “12 Years a Slave” embodies everything a Best Picture award winner should contain, and remains to be the KE’s top pick for this coveted award.



Best Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio

Five-time Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio has a long tradition of losing, but his volatile performance as Jordan Belfort in “Wolf of Wall Street” might finally give DiCaprio his well-deserved victory. Dicaprio fuels this Martin Scorcese film with his realistic portrayal of Belfort, f-bombs and drug induced shenanigans included.

“Wolf of Wall Street” follows Belfort: a penny stock broker, scamming his way into wealth on Wall Street. After Belfort makes it big, audiences experience his explicit escapades that involve anything from yachts to unlimited amounts of drugs and alcohol. Despite the non-stop party, DiCaprio manages to give one of his best performances to date as he depicts both the addictive and emotional side of Belfort.

When it comes to competition, DiCaprio’s main competitor happens to be his fellow “Wolf” cast member, Matthew McConaughey. Despite Mcconaughey’s emotional performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” DiCaprio brings about a different kind of emotion, one that contains as much humour as it does feeling.

By taking on this role DiCaprio has not only proven his worthiness of an Oscar, but also his versatility as an actor. From playing a severely autistic boy in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” to his famous portrayal of Jack Dawson in “Titanic,” his performance in “Wolf of Wall Street” is unique, and as always, fabulous. DiCaprio’s dedication to the role of this raunchy and promiscuous stock broker is astounding, as he holds nothing back.



Best Actress in a Leading Role: Amy Adams

It’s been a long time since this categories nominee pool was so competitive. From Sandra Bullock to Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench to Meryl Streep, the nominees for this award are some of the most talented women in the film industry. Through the overwhelming amount of talent surrounding this category comes an actress just as magnificent, Amy Adams.

In David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” Adams plays the seductive and manipulative con-woman Sydney Prosser, as she works with FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), in order to get herself and her fellow con/lover, Irving (Christian Bale), out of trouble. Based roughly off the ABSCAM operation of the late seventies, this film follows this crew’s attempts to arrest other con’s through a maze of different schemes.

Despite acting alongside last years winner, Jennifer Lawrence, Adams truly steals the show as she depicts this devious and defiant character with a grace that seems almost uncanny. Adams accurately captures both sides of Sydney, from the girl who only wants to be loved, to the devious English aristocrat who speaks in a British accent despite her east coast roots.

Needless to say, Adams has come a long ways since her earlier roles in “Catch Me if You Can” and “Enchanted.” Her performance in “American Hustle” shows the essence of maturity she now has as an actress, as well as the array of talent she possess. In a category full of talent, Adams will most likely steal the prize.



Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto

It’s hard to imagine that Thirty Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto is nominated for an Academy Award, let alone most likely to win it. Although after seeing his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” it’s hard to imagine anyone else as the winner.

Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman living with HIV in a 1980’s Dallas, Texas. After Rayon meets Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a hotheaded cowboy who’s been recently diagnosed with AIDs, she becomes involved in a club where her and Woodroof deal unapproved AIDs medications to men in Dallas. Despite the differences between Woodroof and Rayon, the two develop a friendship despite their differences in lifestyle. The dynamic between McConaughey and Leto makes this movie meaningful as well as fantastic.

There is a moment towards the end of the film, where Rayon realizes she is dying. It is in this moment that Leto pulls out emotion from what seems like thin air, setting himself apart from all other nominees. Not only does his performance contain emotion, but also a drastic physical transformation. In order to accurately portray Rayon, Leto lost 30-40 pounds, a change that affected all aspects of his life.

Bringing both realism and strength to the character of Rayon, Leto has truly stunned all who watch “Dallas Buyers Club,” with his most memorable performance to date. With scenes that will bring audiences close to tears, as well as moments that will make viewers smile, Leto’s performance has made him more than worthy of an Oscar.


Lupita12yas_2784544bBest Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o

Despite being among past awards winners such as Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts, the most deserving of this award is a newcomer. Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in “12 Years a Slave” is not only profound, but moving, making her the most likely winner at this years Oscars.

In “12 Years a Slave” Nyong’o plays Patsey, a slave girl on a plantation who is valued for her ability to pick over 500 pounds of cotton day. After Epps, the slave master, publicly declares his preference for Patsey over his wife, she is publicly beaten due to the wife’s jealousy. Despite the hardships Patsey experiences, she remains strong willed, a trait Nyong’o depicts vividly.

There is a scene towards the end of the film, when Epps discovers Patsey missing. When she is found, she suffers a brutal beating. It is during this scene that audiences become convinced of Nyong’o’s talent, as they see the brutal emotion she portrays in Patsey. Even after the film finishes, viewers will remember this scenes realism, something that can be attributed to the pure talent that Nyong’o possesses.

Though Lawrence’s performance in “American Hustle” is marvelous, it is Nyong’o’s portrayal of Patsey that is truly inspiring. Despite “12 Years a Slave” being one of her first films, Nyong’o proves to audiences that she is a force to be reckoned with in this talented pool of nominees.