2014 Oscar picks 

click to enlarge 12 Years a Slave
  • 12 Years a Slave

The Oscars, Earth's most grandiose employee recognition awards, airs Sunday at 8:30 pm on ABC (preceded by 90 minutes of inane interviews and fashion chatter from the red carpet). Here's a look at the races.


American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Lot of fine movies here. My favorite is Her, Spike Jonze's funny, sweet and thought-provoking love story. The film looks at how we relate now, with mobile devices allowing us to compose our thoughts from a safe distance, and speculates on how we will relate in a few years when the first self-aware computer-operating system goes on sale. Alas, Her will not win Best Picture. Some found it too talky and others refused to even watch the movie, believing any story involving a person falling in love with a computer to be too ridiculous to warrant a look. Such a shame.

Her isn't the only nominee that doesn't have a prayer with the voters. You can count out Nebraska (too small and quirky) and Philomena (charming, but minor). Forget about Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips too, as both films are regarded more as actor's vehicles. The Wolf of Wall Street won't win because it's raunchy and some believe it glorifies bad people.

American Hustle is a dark horse contender. It's showy and has a well-liked acting ensemble (remember, the bulk of the voters are actors). Gravity has a real shot. It's a visually dazzling film that manages to pack an emotional punch as well. But I'm guessing it will be rewarded in other categories, while 12 Years a Slave takes the top prize. It's an important film that feels like an important film. It's British and Oscar voters looove Brits. Plus, the Academy has long been criticized for under-representing black artists and a win for 12 Years means the show will close with a stage filled with mostly black faces from a prestigious film.


WILL WIN: 12 Years a Slave

Speaking of 2014 Academy Awards, Oscar Picks

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