Huffpost Entertainment

2014 Academy Awards Predictions: Ellen, McConaughey, 'Gravity'

Posted: Updated:
ELLEN DEGENERES
THE OSCARS(r) - Television icon Ellen DeGeneres returns to host the Oscars for a second time. The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images) | Andrew Eccles via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards.

The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe vibe of cheery song-and-dance.

The nimble and amiable DeGeneres is expected to return the broadcast to more traditional territory. Many of the night's biggest categories, too, seem to hold little chance for surprise.

The well-established favorites include Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto. Each comes into Oscar Sunday having won a parade of awards over the last few months, including honors at Saturday's Spirit Awards.

The night's biggest question mark won't come until the very end. The historical drama "12 Years a Slave," the 3-D space spectacle "Gravity" and the con-artist caper "American Hustle" are vying for best picture in the night's closest contest.

"Gravity" is expected to lead the ceremony in total awards, cleaning up in technical categories like visual effects and cinematography. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is considered a lock for best director for seamlessly marshalling new digital technology to render the lost-in-space drama. He would be the first Latino to win the category.

While the global hit easily topped the other eight best-picture nominees at the box office, the lower budget, less widely seen "12 Years a Slave" is believed to have a narrow edge for the academy's top honor.

Though voters last year chose entertainment over history lesson (Ben Affleck's "Argo" over Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"), many see Steve McQueen's brutal adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir as a landmark film difficult to watch but impossible to overlook.

ABC, which is telecasting the ceremony, hopes the drama of the best-picture race will be enough to entice viewers. The show last year drew an audience of 40.3 million, up from 39.3 million the year before when the silent-film ode "The Artist" won best picture.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

Also on The Huffington Post

Stars' First Oscars
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

2014 Oscar Predictions | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals ...

2014 Oscar Predictions: Our Picks in Every Category | Movie Talk ...

2014 Oscar predictions: Insiders' knowledge put to the test - CNN.com

2014 Oscars Predictions: Weekly Temperature Gauge (Updated ...

Oscar Predictions 2014 -- FULL LIST: Who'll Win At The 86th ...

My 2014 Oscar Predictions - Christopher Orr - The Atlantic

2014 Oscar Predictions - US News

2014 Oscar Predictions - The Awards Circuit

Oscar Predictions | My Picks Official Oscar Ballot | Academy Awards ...

2014 Oscar Predictions | Rope of Silicon