What the Oscar race should look like

GRAVITY

Tomorrow morning, the Oscar nominations will come out, and we’ll see what the Academy thinks is best. The thing is, they won’t get it right. Oh, the voters will get a lot right, but they’ll miss out on some works.

They almost have to. There are five spots in the best actor category, and there are at least seven “sure things” — men whose performances simply cannot be overlooked. But at least two will be … and five more that could sneak in still.

There have been controversies (The Wolf of Wall Street), late-comers (Lone Survivor), under-performers (Her), fading favorites (Lee Daniel’s The Butler) and over-praised mediocre films (American Hustle) all around, but what I’m gonna do now isn’t a prediction so much as a wish-list: The best movies, performances and writing in the major categories, and what should be on the ballot among the realistic contenders … though many will go home empty-handed, and American Hustle will surely do better with voters than with me. All of them are ranked in order of their deservedness, but that’s hardly a guarantee of a nomination. Let the race begin! (Five nominees are allowed in all categories except best picture, where up to 10 are permitted.)

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Matthew McConaughey, the frontrunner for best actor in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Click back here tomorrow morning for the full list of nominees.

Picture: 12 Years a Slave; Gravity; Dallas Buyers Club; Fruitvale Station; Nebraska; Philomena; The Wolf of Wall Street; Inside Llewyn Davis; Her; August: Osage County.

Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street; Alexander Payne, Nebraska; Paul Greengrass, Capt. Phillips.

Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave; Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale StationLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetRobert Redford, All Is Lost. (Note: This means that the following actors don’t get nominated: Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Tom Hanks, Capt. Philips; Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler; Christian Bale, American Hustle.)

Supporting actor: Harrison Ford, 42; Chris Cooper, August: Osage County; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubMichael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave; John Goldman, Inside Llewyn Davis.

ActressCate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Judi Dench, Philomena; Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County; Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha.

Supporting actressOctavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station;  June Squibb, Nebraska; Margo Martindale, August: Osage County; Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Original screenplayHer; Nebraska; Enough Said; Gravity; Fruitvale Station.

Adapted screenplay: Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street; August: Osage County; Before Midnight.

CinematographyGravity; Inside Llewyn Davis; Nebraska; The Wolf of Wall Street; 12 Years a Slave.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Oscar picks, queer-style

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I put some of my Oscar predictions in the print (and online) editions here, but you can listen to a more detailed discussion about the year in movies on KNON, 89.3 FM during Lambda Weekly. I’ll be exchanging predictions with the show’s entertainment expert Lerone Landis starting at noon Sunday, so just in time for you to e-mail your votes to your college roommate.

And if you want some credentials, I did write a book about the Academy Awards, although to be fair, that doesn’t mean I’m always right … ya never know about some awards. (The book is currently one of the 1.5 million most popular items on Amazon.com … hey whadaya expect? It came out 10 years ago. At its peak, though, it was in the top 1,000.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones