With a few stand out movies, this year's academy has the look of inevitability about it.
A late surge in betting on American Hustle has rocked 12 Years a Slave’s dominance atop the odds charts, but as we approach the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations - Chris Hemsworth and Cheryl Boone Isaacs will tell us what’s what later on today – it’s pretty easy to name the films in line for the big prize.
Cumberbatch's Ford hands Northrup a violin in one of 12 Years' more touching moments
Nods for Steve McQueen’s emotive adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s book and David O Russell’s 70s period comedy drama are all but guaranteed, as are hat-tips towards Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and Nebraska.
In addition to those five – wouldn’t life be simpler if The Academy didn’t increase the number of nominees from five to ten? – we’ll likely see the Tom Hanks-starring films Saving Mr. Banks and Captain Phillips in line, while Blue is The Warmest Colour and All is Lost should grab nominations, too.
That leaves one film. And even though it’s destined not to win, it’ll be Blue Jasmine, the Woody Allen film starring Cate Blanchett, round off the ten. Of course, the aforementioned predictions could be way off - the latter five anyway, as that first quintet is nailed on.
But if the nominations are predictable for best picture, then which film will win it isn’t even a contest: 12 Years a Slave enjoys the alchemy of a magnificent cast, perfect performances, an ambitious director and an emotive, affecting and pertinent story, which is loosely based on real events.
12 Years a Slave has been criticized for not demonstrating the level of black resistance to slavery; that there were hundreds if not thousands of escapees and objectors during America’s dark period of ownership.
But McQueen’s film had to get made; it had to adhere to some Hollywood tropes – while breaking some notable ones – to get out there. While 12 Years doesn’t tell Northrup’s entire story, it is an important first step in exposing the atrocities of slavery, and more graphic, true-to-life bodies of work will emerge in the wake of McQueen’s efforts.
Basically, it’s going to win Best Picture.