Can the Oscars shock Hollywood tonight? That will be the question of many film fans as they tune in to watch Hollywood’s most accomplished stars in front of and behind the cameras compete for Oscar glory at the Hollywood Dolby theater. The Oscars are, more often than not, a touch predictable, and with this year’s showcase categories led by heavy favorites, a shock win will certainly make watching the four hour ceremony more exciting.
Can the Oscars shock tonight is a question that will be answered with a yes if 12 Years A Slave does not win Best Picture. The last time a best film winner shocked the auditorium at the Oscars was when a stunned Jack Nicholson announced Crash as the winner in 2005, beating the favorite Brokeback Mountain. With 9 films nominated, this category has the most potential shocks. American Hustle or The Wolf of Wall Street could upset Steve McQueen’s acclaimed film about slavery but a real shock would be if Philomena or Captain Phillips were to win. A more realistic upset would be by Gravity, a film no one is talking about as a winner, but which has had a great reception.
When it comes to the Best Direction category though, Gravity is a different story. Antonio Cuaron, its director, is the one predicted to one, with Steve McQueen close behind. The shock would be if David O’Hare wins for American Hustle, a hugely popular film that might win, seeing as O’Hare did not get rewarded last year for Silver Linings Playbook.
Another yes to the question can the Oscars shock tonight will be if anyone but Cate Blanchett wins for Best Actress. The Australian is considered a lock for Blue Jasmine. Blanchett was involved in one of the biggest shocks in her category when she lost to Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare In Love in 1999, a loss that had the movie world reeling, many considering Blanchett’s performance as the title role in Elizabeth one of the all time greats. If anyone is going to upset her, it is going to be Amy Adams for American Hustle. Adams has been nominated 5 times and is yet to win, while Blanchett does have an Oscar for best supporting role.
Matthew McConaughey is expected to get Best Actor for The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Close behind him though is Chiwetal Ejiofor for 12 Years A Slave. The real shock, and a popular one, would be if Leonardo DiCaprio were to win for his dynamic turn in The Wolf of Wall Street. That would most likely be the story of the night, too, with a whole host of articles appearing online in recent days supporting a man who was first nominated 20 years ago, and is widely considered to have been overlooked at Oscar time.
Lupita Nyong’o is the favorite for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave, her cinematic debut, but Jennifer Lawrence is also gaining ground with pre-Oscar buzz for American Hustle. This is the category that gets the most shocks though. Marisa Tomei’s name being announced over Hollywood veterans Joan Plowright and Vanessa Redgrave for her comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny raised eyebrows. And Anna Paquin’s win for The Piano earned a loud collective gasp from the auditorium when she won aged 11. The big shock would be if June Squibb were to win for Nebraska.
In the men’s race, the best supporting Oscar is the most open of the categories but Jared Leto for Dallas Buyer’s Club is the bookmaker’s favorite. With Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper and Michael Fassbender being household names, an upset would be if Barkhard Abdi was announced as the winner for Captain Phillips.
Movie fans will hope the question of if the Oscars can shock tonight will be answered with a yes. For film fans across the globe getting up in the early hours of the morning on the other side of the world, an upset or two would help keep their eyes peeled to Hollywood’s biggest prize night.
Commentary by Christian Deverille