WSU makes Academy Award predictions

OscarsINTERNETWith the 86th Academy Awards approaching this Sunday, the Internet seems to be exploding with one question: “Who will win?”

Although each category of the Academy Awards has a long list of nominations, the primary focus of the night will be on three films: “American Hustle” with 10 nominations, “Gravity” with 10 nominations and “12 Years a Slave” with nine nominations.

Director David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” tells a story based on the Abscam sting operation that happened in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Christian Bale and Amy Adams star as two con artists who are forced to help an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) catch members of Congress who are taking bribes.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in director Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” as two astronauts involved in a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope until their space shuttle blows up and everything goes wrong.

“12 Years a Slave” is Steve McQueen’s first nomination as Best Director. If he wins, it will be the first time a black filmmaker has won the award. The film is based on a true story and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays a free black man living in 1841 who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, working on the plantations of Louisiana for 12 years until he is finally freed.

Jimmy Martin, a film critic and senior staff writer at SLUG magazine, shared his predictions of what film he thinks will take home the most Oscars.

“I think ‘12 Years a Slave’ will win, because it falls into that typical Oscar nod,” he said. “It’s a great film, there’s no denying that at all. With that said, I think ‘Gravity’ and ‘Her’ are the more daring choices. Alfonso created technology in order to complete ‘Gravity’ and Spike delivered one of the greatest romances of all time . . . between a guy and a computer!”

Here are a few of Weber State University students’ predictions in some of the major categories of the Academy Awards for Sunday night.

Best Actor

The nominees are Christian Bale for “American Hustle,” Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave” and Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Austin Hatch, a WSU senior, said he was impressed with Ejiofor’s performance as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave.”

“His performance was very powerful and intense,” Hatch said. “It was cool to see (Ejiofor) portray a role that was probably difficult for him. He got to see experience and endure a little of what his ancestors went through in order to achieve their freedom.”

Best Actress

The nominees are Amy Adams for “American Hustle,” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,” Sandra Bullock for “Gravity,” Judi Dench for “Philomena” and Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”

Rachel Hernandez, a WSU junior,said she  admired Bullock’s past performances as well as her performance in “Gravity.”

“Sandra Bullock is a very versatile actor, and to see where she’s come, from ‘Miss Congeniality’ to ‘The Blind Side’, is impressive,” Hernandez said. “With only four actors in the movie, she was essentially the movie, and I feel she did a very phenomenal job with capturing emotion.”

Best Director

The nominees are Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity,” Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave,” Alexander Payne for “Nebraska,” David O. Russell for “American Hustle” and Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Blake Roybal, a WSU senior, said he thinks Russell’s “American Hustle” deserves nothing less than an Oscar.

“David O. Russell should win for the great visions he’s able to capture of the personal stories he paints on the screen canvas,” Roybal said.

Best Picture

The nominees are “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Andy Firmage, a WSU junior, said he thinks “12 Years a Slave” will win the Best Picture award because the story was a lot more meaningful than those of its competitors.

“I went and saw ‘American Hustle’ and the acting was fantastic, but the storyline was a little sketchy,” Firmage said. “‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ won’t win, because it was too grotesque and there were too many swear words, which I think hurts them.”

The 86th Academy Awards will be held at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre and televised this Sunday by ABC. Comedienne and television host Ellen DeGeneres will return to host the show for the second time since 2007.