Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”; Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”; Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”; Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Nathan says: I look at this field and recall all the great performances I saw this year in great films. I wouldn’t be unhappy with any of these choices. I was particularly impressed with newcomer Barkhad Abdi’s difficult yet sympathetic performance in “Captain Phillips.” It’s tempting to argue Michael Fassbender should get the award for all the great performances he has given us. My heart is ultimately with Jonah Hill. However, Jared Leto’s transgendered Rayon was a standout performance that will earn him gold.
WHO WILL WIN: Jared Leto
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: Michael Fassbender
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jonah Hill
WHO GOT ROBBED: Jonah Hill’s teeth, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Matthew McConaughey, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Will Forte, “Nebraska”; James Franco, “Spring Breakers”; Ben Mendelsohn, “The Place Beyond the Pines”
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”; Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”; Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”; Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”; June Squibb, “Nebraska.”
Nathan says: I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence along with everybody else, but I found her role in “American Hustle” to be rather slight and not particularly worthy of a nomination. And who is surprised that there has come a day when a Julia Roberts nomination is met with virtual silence? I would love to see June Squibb win for her biting, spot-on performance as a bitter Midwesterner in “Nebraska.” I think Nyong’o’s heartbreaking turn in “12 Years” will end up winning, though. She earned it.
WHO WILL WIN: Lupita Nyong’o
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: Jennifer Lawrence
WHO SHOULD WIN: June Squibb
WHO GOT ROBBED: Margot Robbie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Nominees: Christian Bale, “American Hustle”; Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”; Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Nathan says: I would really, really like to see Bruce Dern win for his dazed and confused performance as Woody. He deserves to win. But it doesn’t look like that is in the cards. All the momentum seems to be behind the emaciated Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” McConaughey has been on an incredible streak lately, and I love watching him. Still, I thought he was outdone by Dern and Leo DiCaprio this year.
WHO WILL WIN: Matthew McConaughey
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: Leonardo DiCaprio
WHO SHOULD WIN: Bruce Dern
WHO GOT ROBBED: Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”; Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”; Mads Mikkelsen, “The Hunt”
Nominees: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”; Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”; Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”; Judi Dench, “Philomena”; Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County.”
Nathan says: For the first time in many years, I enjoyed a Sandra Bullock performance. (Maybe she was good in “The Heat,” but I have yet to see it.) In “Gravity,” she was completely mesmerizing. With the most recent scandal involving director Woody Allen, it could impact Cate Blanchett’s chances of winning and open the door for the always brilliant Judi Dench. Overall, I find this category rather weak this year, I have to admit.
WHO WILL WIN: Cate Blanchett
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: Judi Dench
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sandra Bullock
WHO GOT ROBBED: Amy Seimetz, “Upstream Color”; Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”; Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Nominees: David O. Russell, “American Hustle”; Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”; Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”; Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”; Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Nathan says: Because of the pure technical spectacle he created with “Gravity,” I think Cuarón is poised to get the best director award. Some have said that “12 Years” was done so skillfully that it seemed undirected. I find truth in that line of thought. This may very well be one of those years wherein the best director and best film go to different movies — both of which are very deserving in each category.
WHO WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuarón
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: Steve McQueen
WHO SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuarón
WHO GOT ROBBED: Jeff Nichols, “Mud”; Shane Carruth, “Upstream Color”
Nominees: “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Nathan says: What a great field. Five of these films were in my top 10 for 2013, and three others were honorable mentions. “Gravity” was a tour de force in technology and vision. Slightly cliched at times when it came to storytelling? Perhaps. But wow. I didn’t name it my movie of the year for nothing. “The Wolf of Wall Street” was a close second, and I’m probably rooting for that just because I love Martin Scorsese so much. But my feeling is that the historical and moral weight of “12 Years a Slave” will win the night.
WHO WILL WIN: “12 Years a Slave”
DARK HORSE CANDIDATE: “Gravity”
WHO SHOULD WIN: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
WHO GOT ROBBED: “Mud,” “Before Midnight,” “Upstream Color”
Some awards you won’t see at the Oscars:
MOST REALISTIC LOVE SCENES: “Blue is the Warmest Color”
BEST USE OF SATAN: “Post Tenebras Lux”
BEST FILM ABOUT WORLD WAR II: “Lore”
BIGGEST D-BAG IN FILM: Steve Carell, “The Way Way Back”
COOLEST GUY IN A FILM: Sam Rockwell, “The Way Way Back”
COOLEST GIRL IN A FILM: Brie Larson, “Short Term 12”
BEST OVERALL FILM SOUNDTRACK: “I Used to be Darker”
MOST DISTURBING FILM: “Antiviral”
MOST LIKELY TO BE A CULT FAVORITE: “John Dies at the End”
FUNNIEST DIALOGUE: The magazine argument in “This is the End.”
BEST COMEDY: “Bad Grandpa.” (I’m a sucker for fart jokes. I can’t help it.)
WORST APPEARANCE IN A FILM BY AN OTHERWISE LAUDABLE ACTOR: Brad Pitt, “12 Years a Slave”
BEST BAD FILM I CAUGHT UP WITH IN 2013: “Miami Connection.” It’s hilarious. Watch it immediately.
FILM THAT I LOVED TO HATE ON A SUNDAY MORNING WHILE EATING PIZZA: “The Last Stand”
WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR (THAT I SAW): “Man of Steel.” Its monotonous destruction, tasteless 9/11 references and laughable plot points left me with a steely gaze of hatred.