Screenwriter attempts to predict what will figure at the 2014 Oscars

Donald Clarke looks ahead to next year’s nominees

 Director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of the film The Wolf of Wall Street on the streets of Manhattan on September 28, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

Director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of the film The Wolf of Wall Street on the streets of Manhattan on September 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 13:47

Already missing Oscar? Of course you’re not. You’re delighted to be shot of all that guff. Tough. It’s time for our perennially unpopular attempt to predict the best picture nominees from a year’s vantage.

Last year’s predictions were risible. Of the 10 I picked, only three were actually nominated: Lincoln, Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty. With those reservations in mind, here, in order of likelihood, are 10 tips to ignore.


The Wolf of Wall Street:Martin Scorsese ’s latest stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a notorious party- hearty Wall Street crook. Four of the last five Scorsese films have secured best picture attention.


Nebraska: Once again, previous form sways the tipsters. Alexander Payne has been acknowledged for Sideways and The Descendents. Alex’s latest finds Bruce Dern on a road trip.


August: Osage County: The only iffy factor here is the presence of TV specialist John Wells behind the camera. But there is no chance that Meryl Streep will fail to secure a nomination for her turn in an adaptation of Tracy Letts’s acclaimed play.


Twelve Years a Slave: Steve McQueen’s follow-up to Shame looks set to premiere at Cannes. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free man sold into slavery, it could become the third Palme d’Or winner in as many years to grab an Oscar nod.

Before Midnight : Here’s a film that a few lucky people (though not I) have actually seen. This is the third in Richard Linklater ’s much-loved sequence following Ethan Hawke and July Delpy as they trump around some pretty location. This time it’s Greece. Widely acclaimed at Sundance.


Saving Mr Banks: A Hollywood-friendly topic: the production of Disney’s Mary Poppins. Tom Hanks, everyone’s friend, plays Uncle Walt himself. Director John Lee Hancock somehow propelled The Blind Side to a best picture nomination. Seems safe.


Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks could split his own vote in the race for a best actor nomination, but Paul Greengrass ’s tale of contemporary piracy sounds tasty and easy to flog.


Labor Day: Jason Reitman, director of Juno and Up in the Air, has a pretty strong record with the voters. His latest stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.


Monuments Men: George Clooney, a co-producer of Argo, takes another crack at gold with this tale of Allied soldiers rescuing artworks from the Nazis. Clooney directs himself and Daniel Craig.


The Homesman: Meryl Streep also looks in danger of splitting her vote. Tommy Lee Jones ’s second film as director finds the great one escorting three insane women across 19th-century Nebraska. Sounds awesome.