FEINBERG FORECAST: Will Academy Cry 'Wolf' or Choose Between 'Slave' and 'Gravity'?

Every week until the 86th Oscars on March 2, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter's lead awards analyst, Scott Feinberg, will post an updated "Feinberg Forecast," wherein he presents a summary of developments since the last update that helped to shape this one and then lists his revised projections. For more about Feinberg and how he arrives at his projections, scroll to the bottom of this post.

  • Comings and goings: The last major Oscar contender of the 2013 season to be unveiled, Paramount's The Wolf of Wall Street, screened for SAG nominating committee members on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. On Nov. 6, the studio will host simultaneous screenings on the West and East coasts for members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
  • Box office: The one-two punch of Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, in its second weekend, and Disney's Frozen, in its first, combined for a record-setting Thanksgiving long-weekend at the box-office. As THR's Pam McClintock reported: "Catching Fire grossed $110.2 million from 4,163 theaters over the five-day holiday (Wednesday-Sunday), becoming the top Thanksgiving title of all time after sailing past the $82.4 million earned by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. For the weekend itself, [it] took in $74.5 million -- the fourth best second weekend in history after The Avengers ($103.1 million), Avatar ($75.6 million) and The Dark Knight ($75.2 million)... Frozen, opening Wednesday, scored the top Thanksgiving debut of all time with a five-day gross of $93 million, eclipsing the $80.1 million five-day launch of Pixar's Toy Story 2 in 1999. It also scored the top opening for a Disney Animation Studios title, besting the $68.7 million grossed by Tangled over Thanksgiving in 2010. For the three-day weekend, Frozen took in $74.5 million."
  • Precursors: The nominees for the 29th Film Independent Spirit Awards were announced on Nov. 26. 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska led the field with seven noms and six noms, respectively. ...  The 23rd Gotham Awards were dished out on Dec. 2. Top prizes went to the feature Inside Llewyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club's lead actor Matthew McConaughey, Short Term 12's lead actress Brie Larson, Fruitvale Station's lead actor Michael B. Jordan and writer/director Ryan Coogler and the documentary feature The Act of Killing -- but I warned that we shouldn't read too much into those outcomes. ... The nominees for the 41st Annie Awards were revealed on Dec. 2. Despicable Me 2 led the field with 11 nominations. ... The nominees for the International Press Academy's 18th Satellite Awards were announced on Dec. 2. 12 Years a Slave led the field with 10 nominations, but the announcement was overshadowed by reports (see here and here) that the group had awarded seven noms to The Wolf of Wall Street without ever even seeing the film. ... The 79th New York Film Critics Circle Awards were determined on Dec. 3. The big winner was American Hustle, which was recognized for best picture, best supporting actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and best screenplay (Eric Singer and David O. Russell). 12 Years a Slave's Steve McQueen was awarded best director, All Is Lost's Robert Redford was awarded best actor, Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett was awarded best actress, Dallas Buyers Club's Jared Leto was awarded best supporting actor, Stories We Tell was awarded best documentary, The Wind Rises was awarded best animated film and Blue Is the Warmest Color was awarded best foreign language film.
  • Moments in the spotlight: The New York Times' "Movies Issue" features photographic stills of acting Oscar contenders performing a single line that was written for them by screenplay Oscar contenders and filmed by the Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski for an interactive section of its website. The featured actors: Blue Jasmine's lead actress Cate Blanchett, American Hustle's supporting actor Bradley Cooper, 12 Years a Slave's lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Blue Is the Warmest Color's lead actress Adele Exarchopoulos, Frances Ha's lead actress Greta Gerwig, Inside Llewyn Davis' lead actor Oscar Isaac, Fruitvale Station's lead actor Michael B. Jordan, Enough Said's lead actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, All Is Lost's lead actor Robert Redford and Lee Daniels' The Butler's lead actor Forest Whitaker and supporting actress Oprah Winfrey. The featured writers: In a World's Lake Bell, All Is Lost's J.C. Chandor, Before Midnight's Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, Frances Ha's Greta Gerwig, This Is the End's Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, Enough Said's Nicole Holofcener, Her's Spike Jonze, Mud's Jeff Nichols, Stories We Tell's Sarah Polley and Lee Daniels' The Butler's Danny Strong. ... The New York Times also ran a puff piece about August: Osage County's lead actress Meryl Streep. ... Philomena Lee, who is portrayed by Judi Dench in Philomena, penned a public letter to the New York Post's film critic Kyle Smith contesting his review of the film, which was entitled, "Another Hateful and Boring Attack on Catholics." ... Tastemaker luncheons were held in New York on Dec. 2 for Nebraska's lead actor Bruce Dern (his daughter Laura Dern and her friend Meg Ryan were among those in attendance) and Dallas Buyers Club's supporting actor Jared Leto (the film's co-screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack were among those in attendance) and on Dec. 3 for Inside Llewyn Davis's writers/directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.
  • Announcements: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' documentary branch revealed the 15 docs that it had selected from a list of 151 to appear on the short-list from which it will eventually select the five nominees for the best documentary feature Oscar. (My analysis: nearly all of the year's most acclaimed and influential docs made the cut, save for one.) ... Italy's Capri, Hollywood Film Festival announced that it will honor American Hustle's writer/director David O. Russell with its Master of Cinematic Art award and The Great Beauty, Italy's submission for the best foreign language film Oscar, with its International Visionary Movie prize. ... The Broadcast Film Critics Association announced that it will host "A Celebration of Black Cinema" on Jan. 7, nine days before it hosts the Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
  • Potpourri: THR unveiled its inaugural Breakthrough Performers Panel, featuring my conversation with Captain Phillips' supporting actor Barkhad Abdi, Blue Is the Warmest Color's lead actress Adele Exarchopoulos, Frances Ha's lead actress Greta Gerwig, Afternoon Delight's lead actress Kathryn Hahn, Lee Daniels' The Butler's supporting actor David Oyelowo and Drinking Buddies' lead actress Olivia Wilde. ... I posted the video of the Q&A that I moderated with Inside Llewyn Davis's supporting actor John Goodman as part of the American Cinematheque's tribute to the great character actor. ... Hollywood mourned the tragically premature death of The Fast and the Furious franchise star Paul Walker and I pondered if/how the Academy might acknowledge it during the 86th Oscars telecast.

Without further ado, here is the latest forecast …

12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight, 10/18, R, trailer) IFP, FI
Gravity (Warner Bros., 10/4, PG-13, trailer)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount, 12/25, R, trailer)
Saving Mr. Banks (Disney, 12/20, PG-13, trailer)
Captain Phillips (Sony, 10/11, PG-13, trailer)
American Hustle (Sony, 12/13, TBA, trailer)
Lee Daniels' The Butler (The Weinstein Co., 8/16, PG-13, trailer)
Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films, 12/6, R, trailer) IFP, IFP, FI
Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features, 11/1, R, trailer)
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics, 7/26, PG-13, trailer)
Major Threats
Nebraska (Paramount, 11/22, R, trailer) FI
All Is Lost (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions, 10/18, PG-13, trailer) FI
Philomena (The Weinstein Co., TBA, TBA, trailer)
August: Osage County (The Weinstein Co., 11/8, TBA, trailer)
Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Co., 7/12, R, trailer)

The Book Thief (20th Century Fox, 11/15, PG-13, trailer)
Enough Said (Fox Searchlight, 9/20, PG-13, trailer)
Her (Warner Bros., 12/18, TBA, trailer)
Before Midnight (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/24, R, trailer) IFP
Prisoners (Warner Bros., 9/20, R, trailer)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (The Weinstein Co., 11/29, PG-13, trailer)

Lone Survivor (Universal, 12/27, R, trailer)
Out of the Furnace (Relativity Media, 12/6, R, trailer)
Long Shots
Blue Is the Warmest Color (Sundance Selects, 10/25, NC-17, trailer)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (20th Century Fox, 12/25, PG, trailer)
The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features, 3/29, R, trailer)
Mud (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions, 4/26, PG-13, trailer)
Rush (Universal, 9/27, R, trailer)

The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros., 5/10, PG-13, trailer)

Frances Ha (IFC Films, 5/17, R, trailer) FI

Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) NYFCC, FI
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis)

Major Threats
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska) FI
Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels' The Butler) HFA
J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) FI
Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station)
Spike Jonze (Her)
Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks)
Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club)
Stephen Frears (Philomena)

Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said)
Long Shots
Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace)

Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners)
Peter Berg (Lone Survivor)
Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue Is the Warmest Color)
Ron Howard (Rush)
Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby)

Robert Redford (All Is Lost) NYFCC, IFP, FI
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) IFP, HFA, FI
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) IFP, FI
Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Major Threats
Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) IFP, FI
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) FI
Christian Bale (American Hustle)

Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Christian Bale (Out of the Furnace)
Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
Hugh Jackman (Prisoners)
Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor)
Long Shots
Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)
Ben Stiller (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
Ralph Fiennes (The Invisible Woman)
Daniel Radcliffe (Kill Your Darlings)
Isaiah Washington (Blue Caprice) IFP

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) NYFCC, IFP, FI
Sandra Bullock (Gravity) HFA
Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Judi Dench (Philomena)

Major Threats
Brie Larson (Short Term 12) IFP, FI
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said)

Julie Delpy (Before Midnight) FI
Kate Winslet (Labor Day)
Berenice Bejo (The Past)
Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)
Long Shots
Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief)
Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) IFP, FI
Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon) IFP
Felicity Jones (The Invisible Woman)

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) NYFCC, FI
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) FI

Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

Major Threats
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Steve Coogan (Philomena)
George Clooney (Gravity)
James Gandolfini (Enough Said) FI
Chris Cooper (August: Osage County)
Harrison Ford (42)
Will Forte (Nebraska)
John Goodman (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Geoffrey Rush (The Book Thief)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners) HFA
David Oyelowo (Lee Daniels' The Butler)

Sam Rockwell (The Way Way Back)
Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
Woody Harrelson (Out of the Furnace)
Jeremy Renner (American Hustle)
Long Shots
Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond the Pines)
Matthew McConaughey (Mud)
Josh Brolin (Labor Day)
Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine)
Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine)
Andrew Dice Clay (Blue Jasmine)
James Franco (Spring Breakers)

Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) FI
Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels' The Butler)

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) HFA
Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club)

Major Threats
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) FI
June Squibb (Nebraska) FI
Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Scarlett Johansson (Her)
Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station)
Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station) FI
Margo Martindale (August: Osage County)
Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave)
Melissa Leo (Prisoners)
Long Shots
Lea Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color)
Zoe Saldana (Out of the Furnace)
Emily Watson (The Book Thief)
Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis)

12 Years a Slave (John Ridley) FI
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Before Midnight (Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater) HFA, FI
Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
Major Threats
August: Osage County (Tracy Letts)
The Book Thief (Michael Petroni)
Lone Survivor (Peter Berg)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (William Nicholson)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Steve Conrad)
The Spectacular Now (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) FI
Long Shots

Labor Day
(Jason Reitman)
The Invisible Woman (Abi Morgan)

American Hustle (David O. Russell, Eric Singer) NYFCC
Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen) FI
Saving Mr. Banks (Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith)
Her (Spike Jonze)

Major Threats
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
Lee Daniels' The Butler (Danny Strong)
Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener) FI
Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron)

All Is Lost (J.C. Chandor)
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)
The Way Way Back (Nat Faxon, Jim Rash)
Frozen (Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris)
Prisoners (Aaron Guzkowski)

Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper, Brad Inglesby)
Long Shots
The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance, Bob Coccio, Darius Marder)
Rush (Peter Morgan)
The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
Mud (Jeff Nichols)
Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig)
Bethlehem (Yuval Adler, Ali Wakad)

Frozen (Disney, 11/27, G, trailer) IAFS
The Croods (DreamWorks Animation, 3/22, PG, trailer) IAFS
The Wind Rises (Studio Ghibili, 11/8, PG-13, trailer) NYFCC, IAFS
Monsters University (Disney-Pixar, 6/21, G, trailer) HFA, IAFS
Ernest & Celestine (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer) IAFS
Major Threats
Despicable Me 2 (Universal, 7/3, PG, trailer) IAFS
A Letter to Momo (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer) IAFS
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Sony, 9/27, PG, trailer)
Epic (20th Century Fox, 5/24, PG, trailer)
Free Birds (Relativity Media, 11/1, TBA, trailer)
Turbo (DreamWorks, 7/19, PG, trailer)
Khumba (Millennium Entertainment, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Planes (Disney, 8/9, PG, trailer)
The Smurfs 2 (Sony, 7/31, PG, trailer)
The Legend of Sarila (Phase 4 Films, TBA, TBA,
Long Shots
Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury (TBA, TBA, TBA, TBA)
The Fake (TBA, TBA, TBA, TBA)
O Apóstolo (TBA, TBA, TBA, TBA)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion (TBA, TBA, TBA, TBA)

The Square (Noujaim Films/Netflix Originals/Participant, 10/25, NR, TBA) FI, IDA
The Act of Killing (Drafthouse Films, 7/19, NR, trailer) IFP, FI, IDA, CEH
Blackfish (Magnolia, 7/19, PG-13, trailer) IDA
Cutie and the Boxer (RADiUS, 8/16, R, trailer) CEH
Tim's Vermeer (Sony Pictures Classics, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Major Threats
Stories We Tell (Roadside Attractions, 5/10, PG-13, trailer) NYFCC, IDA, CEH
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS, 6/14, PG-13, trailer) FI
The Crash Reel (Phase 4 Films, 7/5, TBA, trailer) IFP
God Loves Uganda (Variance Films, 10/11, TBA, trailer)
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (HBO Films, TBA, TBA, TBA)
Dirty Wars (IFC Films, 6/7, NR, trailer)
First Cousin Once Removed (HBO Films, 9/13, TBA, trailer) IFP
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (HBO Films, TBA, TBA, TBA)
The Armstrong Lie (Sony Pictures Classics, TBA, TBA, TBA)

Life According to Sam (still seeking U.S. distribution)

Iran (The Past)
Israel (Bethlehem)
Italy (The Great Beauty) FI
United Kingdom (Metro Manila)
Denmark (The Hunt) FI
Major Threats
Saudi Arabia (Wadjda)

Palestine (Omar)
France (Renoir)
Turkey (The Butterfly's Dream)
Australia (The Rocket)
Morocco (Horses of God)
China (Back to 1942)
Russia (Stalingrad)
Poland (Walesa)
Chile (Gloria) FI
Georgia (In Bloom)
Hong Kong (The Grandmaster)
Mexico (Heli)
Belgium (The Broken Circle Breakdown)
Others, listed alphabetically
Afghanistan (Wajma)
Albania (Agon)
Argentina (Wakolda)
Austria (The Wall)
Azerbaijan (Steppe Man)

Bangladesh (Television)
Bosnia-Herzegovina (An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker)
Brazil (Neighboring Sounds)
Bulgaria (The Color of Chameleon)
Cambodia (The Missing Picture)
Canada (Gabrielle)

Chad (GriGris)
Colombia (La Playa DC)
Croatia (Halima's Path)
Czech Republic (The Don Juans)

Dominican Republic (Quien Manda?)
Ecuador (The Porcelain Horse)
Egypt (Winter of Discontent)
Estonia (Free Range)
Finland (The Disciple)
Germany (Two Lives)
Greece (Boy Eating the Bird's Food)
Hungary (The Notebook)
Iceland (Of Horses and Men)
India (The Good Road)
Indonesia (Sang Kiai)

Japan (The Great Passage)
Kazakhstan (The Old Man)
Latvia (Mother I Love You)
Lebanon (Blind Intersections)
Lithuania (Conversations on Serious Topics)
Luxembourg (Blind Spots)

Moldova (All God's Children)
Montenegro (Ace of Spades -- Bad Destiny)

Nepal (Soongava: Dance of the Orchids)
Netherlands (Borgman)
New Zealand (White Lies)
Norway (I Am Yours)
Pakistan (Zinda Bhaag)
Peru (The Cleaner)
Philippines (Transit)
Portugal (Lines of Wellington)
Romania (Child's Pose)
Serbia (Circles)
Singapore (Ilo Ilo)
Slovak Republic (My Dog Killer)
Slovenia (Class Enemy)
South Africa (Four Corners)
South Korea (Juvenile Offender)
Spain (15 Years Plus a Day)
Sweden (Eat Sleep Die)
Switzerland (More Than Honey)
Taiwan (Soul)
Thailand (Countdown)
Ukraine (Parajanov)
Uruguay (Anina)
Venezuela (Breach in the Silence)

About the Feinberg Forecast

Scott has been forecasting the Oscars since 2001 and has one of the strongest track records of all awards pundits. His best showings came in 2006 and 2013, when he correctly called 21 out of 24 winners. He was the only pundit to project best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011), among many other surprises.

He factors into his projections personal impressions (based on advance screenings of hundreds of films each year), publicly available information (release dates, genres, talent rosters and teasers/trailers often offer valuable clues), historical considerations (comparing and contrasting how other films with similar pedigrees have resonated), precursor awards (some awards groups have historically correlated with the Academy more than others), and conversations with industry insiders (including fellow members of the press, awards strategists, filmmakers and awards voters).


Contenders' names are followed, when appropriate, by acronyms of the major awards groups (see below) that have already named them winners (in orange) or nominees (in purple). Some nominations are still pending (they appear in italics).

ACE = 64th Eddie Awards

ADG = 18th Art Directors Guild Awards

AFI = 14th American Film Institute Awards

ASC = 28th American Society of Cinematographers Awards

BAFTA = 67th British Academy Film Awards

BFCA = 19th Critics' Choice Awards

BSFC = 34th Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

CAS = 50th Cinema Audio Society Awards

CDG = 16th Costume Design Guild Awards

CEH = 7th Cinema Eye Honors

DCAC = 12th Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Awards

DGA = 66th Directors Guild of America Awards

FI = 29th Independent Spirit Awards

HFA = 17th Hollywood Film Awards

HFPA = 71st Golden Globe Awards

IAFS = 41st Annie Awards

IDA = 29th International Documentary Association Awards

IFP = 23rd Gotham Independent Film Awards

IPA = 18th Satellite Awards

LAFCA = 39th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

MPSE = 61st Golden Reel Awards

NBR = 85th National Board of Review Awards

NSFC = 48th National Society of Film Critics Awards

NYFCC = 79th New York Film Critics Circle Awards

NYFCO = 13th New York Film Critics Online Awards

PGA = 25th Producers Guild of America Awards

SAG = 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards

USC = 26th USC Scripter Awards

VES = 12th Visual Effects Society Awards

WGA = 66th Writers Guild of America Awards

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg