Final 2014 Oscar Predictions from Experts and Users

  • Publish Date: February 27, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

Updated 3/2 with picks from five additional experts. Predicted winners remain the same in all categories except Original Screenplay, where American Hustle now has a slight edge over Her. (Previously, the two were in a tie for the lead.)

Will Gravity bring down 12 Years a Slave?


This weekend's Oscar ceremony should bring plenty of pageantry but little suspense. Almost all of the 24 races have clear favorites heading into the final weekend. That's true even in the race for best picture, where 12 Years a Slave seems certain to win, unless Gravity—the only other true contender—pulls off the unexpected. We'll know for sure when the 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, airs live from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on Sunday at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT on ABC. For the first time ever, the full ceremony and pre-show will also stream live via the WATCH ABC app.

Below, we've aggregated predictions from over 60 entertainment writers, critics, and awards experts, and compared them to the votes cast by over 3,500 Metacritic visitors who voted in our 5th annual Oscar poll. Also listed are the latest betting odds in each category as published by Bovada. On Monday morning, we'll reveal which users and experts had the most accurate predictions (and we'll also collect reviews of the broadcast from TV critics).

Best picture and director

While the best director Oscar usually goes to the same film that wins best picture, the awards have been split 22 times in Academy Awards history, including last year. It looks likely to happen again this year, barring a major upset.

Best Picture   Odds   Experts   Users
97 12 Years a Slave   1:5   74% bar   65% bar
96 Gravity   4:1   26% bar   15% bar
90 American Hustle   12:1   0%     9% bar
84 Dallas Buyers Club   20:1   0%     2% bar
75 The Wolf of Wall Street   25:1   0%     5% bar
83 Captain Phillips   100:1   0%     0%  
90 Her   100:1   0%     3% bar
86 Nebraska   200:1   0%     0%  
76 Philomena   200:1   0%     0%  
Best Director   Odds   Experts   Users
Alfonso Cuarón Gravity   1:20   98% bar   70% bar
Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
  7:1   2% bar   15% bar
David O. Russell American Hustle
  25:1   0%     6% bar
Martin Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street
  40:1   0%     8% bar
Alexander Payne Nebraska
  100:1   0%     1% bar


It's a rare year when all four acting races appear to be done deals heading into the final weekend, but that would seem to be the case this year. Only the supporting actress category provides the slightest bit of suspense, where Jennifer Lawrence (an Oscar winner last year for Silver Linings Playbook) has a fighting chance to unseat the favorite Lupita Nyong'o.

Lead Actor   Odds   Experts   Users
Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club   1:5   97% bar   56% bar
Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf of Wall Street   5:1   3% bar   23% bar
Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave   7:1   0%     17% bar
Bruce Dern Nebraska   40:1   0%     1% bar
Christian Bale American Hustle   50:1   0%     3% bar
Lead Actress   Odds   Experts   Users
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine   1:30   98% bar   65% bar
Amy Adams American Hustle   12:1   2% bar   14% bar
Sandra Bullock Gravity   15:1   0%     15% bar
Judi Dench Philomena   35:1   0%     3% bar
Meryl Streep August: Osage County   40:1   0%     3% bar
Supporting Actor   Odds   Experts   Users
Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club   1:10   97% bar   69% bar
Barkhad Abdi Captain Phillips   10:1   3% bar   5% bar
Michael Fassbender 12 Years a Slave   10:1   0%     14% bar
Jonah Hill The Wolf of Wall Street   20:1   0%     8% bar
Bradley Cooper American Hustle   45:1   0%     5% bar
Supporting Actress   Odds   Experts   Users
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave   4:7   84% bar   49% bar
Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle   5:4   16% bar   43% bar
June Squibb Nebraska   25:1   0%     3% bar
Julia Roberts August: Osage County   40:1   0%     3% bar
Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine   50:1   0%     2% bar


While 12 Years a Slave is a lock to win the adapted screenplay category, the other writing category offers the night's only moment of suspense, with two films—Her and American Hustle—heading into Sunday as co-favorites. American Hustle is aided by the fact that the Academy seems to have loved that film—it had 10 nominations overall, tying Gravity for the lead. But Spike Jonze's Her has been dominating the category on the awards circuit, including taking the WGA Award for original screenplay.

Original Screenplay   Odds   Experts   Users
Spike Jonze
  2:3   47% bar   61% bar
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
American Hustle
  5:4   52% bar   25% bar
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Dallas Buyers Club
  15:1   0%     7% bar
Woody Allen
Blue Jasmine
  20:1   0%     4% bar
Bob Nelson
  20:1   2% bar   2% bar
Adapted Screenplay   Odds   Experts   Users
John Ridley
12 Years a Slave
  1:7   95% bar   70% bar
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
  7:1   3% bar   3% bar
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Before Midnight
  21:2   2% bar   8% bar
Billy Ray
Captain Phillips
  15:1   0%     7% bar
Terence Winter
The Wolf of Wall Street
  18:1   0%     12% bar


The animated feature race is usually locked up well in advance of the ceremony, but this year, rather unusually, the animated short competition also has an overwhelming favorite; both categories look to be taken by Disney.

Animated Feature   Odds   Experts   Users
74 Frozen   1:30   98% bar   81% bar
55 The Croods   7:1   0%     2% bar
62 Despicable Me 2   7:1   0%     6% bar
77 Ernest & Celestine   7:1   2% bar   1% bar
84 The Wind Rises   7:1   0%     10% bar
Animated Short   Odds   Experts   Users
Get a Horse!   1:10   92% bar   38% bar
Mr. Hublot   8:1   4% bar   17% bar
Room on the Broom   15:1   2% bar   15% bar
Feral   25:1   2% bar   14% bar
Possessions   35:1   0%     16% bar


The documentary feature category is one of just four where experts and Metacritic users disagreed. Oddsmakers actually agree with our users on the choice of The Act of Killing, while over 60% of experts feel that the Academy will go with the less controversial, more crowd-pleasing choice of 20 Feet From Stardom. Like the animated short category, the documentary short competition appears to be all sewn up, with The Lady in Number 6, about a 110-year-old Holocaust survivor (who died just this past weekend), the runaway favorite.

Documentary Feature   Odds   Experts   Users
89 The Act of Killing   1:2   28% bar   67% bar
83 20 Feet From Stardom   3:2   62% bar   14% bar
83 The Square   10:1   10% bar   8% bar
76 Dirty Wars   30:1   0%     7% bar
82 Cutie and the Boxer   50:1   0%     4% bar
Documentary Short Subject   Odds   Experts   Users
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life   n/a   96% bar   23% bar
CaveDigger   n/a   0%     20% bar
Facing Fear   n/a   2% bar   23% bar
Karama Has No Walls   n/a   2% bar   15% bar
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Pvt. Jack Hall   n/a   0%     20% bar

Other films

The foreign language category isn't always the easiest to predict, but it does look like Paolo Sorrentino's Fellini-esque The Great Beauty has all the momentum heading into the final weekend. As always, the live-action short category is among the toughest to forecast. This year, The Voorman Problem has a slight edge among experts, thanks chiefly to it being the one nominee with a recognizable actor: The Hobbit's Martin Freeman. Helium is actually weightier than Voorman—it centers on a dying boy—which led some experts (and our users) to select that film instead.

Foreign Language Film   Odds   Experts   Users
86 The Great Beauty Italy   1:4   86% bar   45% bar
76 The Hunt Denmark   7:2   5% bar   36% bar
70 The Broken Circle Breakdown Belgium   13:2   9% bar   7% bar
74 Omar Palestine   33:1   0%     7% bar
80 The Missing Picture Cambodia   50:1   0%     5% bar
Live-Action Short Film   Odds   Experts   Users
The Voorman Problem   4:7   52% bar   24% bar
Avant Que De Tout Perdre   2:1   4% bar   16% bar
Helium   6:1   33% bar   34% bar
Aquel No Era Yo   14:1   8% bar   15% bar
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa?   33:1   2% bar   11% bar


Both music categories appear to be locks, with Steven Price's Gravity score and Frozen's "Let It Go" the clear favorites. If there's any challenger to the latter, it is U2's "Ordinary Love," which was the winner in the song category at this year's Golden Globes.

Original Score   Odds   Experts   Users
Steven Price Gravity   1:7   87% bar   56% bar
William Butler and Owen Pallett Her   13:4   4% bar   28% bar
Alexandre Desplat Philomena   13:4   4% bar   4% bar
Thomas Newman Saving Mr. Banks   13:4   6% bar   7% bar
John Williams The Book Thief   13:4   0%     5% bar
Original Song   Odds   Experts   Users
"Let It Go" from Frozen
by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  1:6   95% bar   54% bar
"Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk...
by P Hewson, D Evans, A Clayton & L Mullen
  6:1   5% bar   20% bar
"Happy" from Despicable Me 2
by Pharrell Williams
  6:1   0%     11% bar
"The Moon Song" from Her
by Karen O, Spike Jonze
  33:1   0%     15% bar
"Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet...
by Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel

Technical categories

Gravity's remarkable technical achievement looks like it will translate to multiple Oscar wins on Sunday night, with a likely sweep of the sound categories, plus cinematography and visual effects (where it is the unanimous choice among experts). The Great Gatsby could be a multiple winner in the technical categories as well, heading into the weekend as the favorite in costume design and production design, though the latter is one of the few categories where there was at least one expert vote for each of the five nominees. Still, it is rare to see the experts so in sync on all of the technical awards, suggesting that Sunday night may have few surprises in store.

Cinematography   Odds   Experts   Users
Emmanuel Lubezki Gravity   1:100   96% bar   84% bar
Bruno Delbonnel Inside Llewyn Davis   15:1   2% bar   6% bar
Phedon Papamichael Nebraska   20:1   2% bar   3% bar
Roger A. Deakins Prisoners   50:1   0%     5% bar
Philippe Le Sourd The Grandmaster   50:1   0%     2% bar
Costume Design   Odds   Experts   Users
The Great Gatsby   2:7   64% bar   37% bar
American Hustle   3:1   31% bar   41% bar
12 Years a Slave   6:1   4% bar   19% bar
The Grandmaster   6:1   2% bar   2% bar
The Invisible Woman   6:1   0%     1% bar
Film Editing   Odds   Experts   Users
Gravity   1:3   62% bar   68% bar
Captain Phillips   2:1   29% bar   9% bar
12 Years a Slave   15:1   2% bar   11% bar
American Hustle   20:1   7% bar   10% bar
Dallas Buyers Club   50:1   0%     3% bar
Makeup & Hairstyling   Odds   Experts   Users
Dallas Buyers Club   1:100   89% bar   74% bar
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa   15:1   11% bar   16% bar
The Lone Ranger   20:1   0%     11% bar
Production Design   Odds   Experts   Users
The Great Gatsby   4:7   73% bar   24% bar
Gravity   7:4   16% bar   35% bar
12 Years a Slave   6:1   4% bar   16% bar
Her   25:1   5% bar   10% bar
American Hustle   40:1   2% bar   15% bar
Sound Editing   Odds   Experts   Users
Gravity   n/a   94% bar   75% bar
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug   n/a   0%     12% bar
Captain Phillips   n/a   6% bar   6% bar
All Is Lost   n/a   0%     4% bar
Lone Survivor   n/a   0%     4% bar
Sound Mixing   Odds   Experts   Users
Gravity   n/a   96% bar   67% bar
Inside Llewyn Davis   n/a   2% bar   12% bar
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug   n/a   0%     12% bar
Captain Phillips   n/a   2% bar   5% bar
Lone Survivor   n/a   0%     4% bar
Visual Effects   Odds   Experts   Users
Gravity   1:50   100% bar   85% bar
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug   8:1   0%     10% bar
Iron Man 3   8:1   0%     2% bar
The Lone Ranger   8:1   0%     0%  
Star Trek Into Darkness   8:1   0%     3% bar

List of experts

The expert predictions compiled above come from the following sources (note that not every expert makes picks in every category):

* As reported at Gold Derby as of February 26, 2014
** As reported in Movie City News' Gurus O' Gold column

Comments (4)

  • M9ki  

    Thank you Jason this was very helpful to me due to missing part of the oscars last night.

  • Zibran  

    watch the 2014 oscars on my tv or my laptop so I just wanted to ask if there is anyway that I could watch them on my iPhone 4S either live.

  • Equality7-2521  

    I agree with the above comment, Fassbender was fantastic and Leto was just good enough. It's like giving best makeup to The Lone Ranger or Bad Grandpa.
    I'm surprised McConaughey swept 96%, I would pin him the Oscar, but only about 75%.
    Also surprised at Gatsby, which I was disappointed with.

  • Chase123  

    Best suppoting actor???Jared Let???wth,just because he dresses up like a female,people think his acting is a masterpiece.Micheal Fassbender was the real dead here.

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