When nominations for the 86th Annual Academy Awards were announced live two weeks ago by new Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth, this year’s race got a little more difficult to call.
A good deal of people who everyone thought were shoe-ins failed to land nominations, including Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Robert Redford and the Coen brothers.
And there were some dark horse candidates that landed nominations, like Blue Jasmine’s Sally Hawkins and Nebraska’s June Squibb in the supporting actress race, and The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jonah Hill for supporting actor.
Starting today, and continuing every Wednesday throughout the month of February leading up to Oscar night (Sunday, March 2), Moviegoers bloggers Mack Bates and Tom Fuchs will offer up their picks for who they would vote for in the nine major categories (best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best actor, best actress, best director, best animated feature, best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay, and the biggie, best picture) if they were voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group behind the Oscars.
They will also offer their picks for who should win, as well as for who got shafted.
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Mack’s Pick: Jared Leto (Easily the most deserving of the nominees here – which is saying a lot. After a self-imposed, six-year hiatus from acting, Leto made a triumphant comeback and more than held his own in a highly competitive group of stellar performances.)
Tom’s Pick: I turn toward 12 Years a Slave and the volcanic performance of Michael Fassbender as the brutal plantation owner Edwin Epps. Fassbender is one of our finest living actors, and he is absolutely mesmerizing from start to finish here. There's a broiling conflict between his desires and actions throughout the picture and you get a true feeling for the humanity underlying his decidedly inhumane actions.
Will Win: Jared Leto
Dude, you were shafted: Tom Hanks for Saving Mr. Banks and Andrew Dice Clay for Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County
June Squibb for Nebraska
Mack’s Pick: Lupita Nyong’o (Delivering one of the most assured debut performances in recent memory, Nyong’o is nothing short of flat-out sensational as a much put-upon slave singled out by her owner and his jealous wife. It’s a performance that will have people marveling at its complexity and scope for years to come.)
Tom’s Pick: While I enjoy both Sally Hawkins and June Squibb's work in their respective films, I strongly believe Lupita Nyong'o's turn in 12 Years a Slave is what should be taking home the Oscar come March. Fresh out of acting school, Nyong'o imbues Patsy's plight with equal parts fortitude and anguish providing a wonderful counterpart to the stoic (by design) work of Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence (Hollywood’s current “it” girl is on fire. As was the case last year when she won best actress for Silver Linings Playbook, she’s far too young for the role but doesn’t let that stop her from leaving a rather indelible impression.)
Gurrl, you were shafted: Oprah Winfrey for Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Margo Martindale for August: Osage County