Ryan: McConaughey is probably going to win as it seems that everything of relevance is trending in his direction. Now if I were really voting I would have a tough time making a decision. The other four choices all delivered solid and noteworthy performances. In the end I would vote for Dern, but I do believe that McConaughey is going to win.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity); Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave); David O. Russell (American Hustle); Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street); Alexander Payne (Nebraska).
Ryan: Cuaron is the odds own favorite to win as he’s already won the Golden Globe and the Director’s Guild Award for this very category. But I do think that out of this very loaded category that he is the most deserving to win. His sci-fi tale of survival and rebirth was a true cinematic achievement.
Andy: The obvious choice here is Cuaron, who created a cinematic world that seemed both endless and isolated at the same time. He also made stylistic choices (the opening, cut free sequence that lasts several minutes is technically and visually stunning) that boarder on showing off. Such technical prowess seems likely to be rewarded, even if it does not have the pathos of some of the other films.
Best Picture: American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyers Club; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street.
Andy: Since the Academy lifted the five picture limit for Best Picture, predicting a winner has become trickier. Some of this year’s choices do not seem like realistic winners. Unfortunately, one of those is my favorite film of the year—Her. It is not going to win, but it had the greatest impact on me, and is likely to be the one that has the most resonance years hence. The most likely victors seem to be American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. I would probably take American Hustle of those three, but my prediction is that 12 Years a Slave will win.