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And the Academy Award goes to … Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Lapacazo Sandoval | 1/17/2014, 12:20 p.m.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs

On Thursday, Jan. 16, the 86th Oscars nominations will be announced by actor Chris Hemsworth, who starred in the Marvel blockbusters “The Avengers,” “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World,” and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

It’s a big day in Hollywood—like hitting the lottery—where careers are shaped and salaries are hyped and hiked for filmmakers above and below the line. It’s also a significant benchmark of cinematic history because Isaacs is the third woman and the first African-American to hold her title.

She’s irrepressibly smart, politically astute, magnanimously supportive and gregarious; the phrase, “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person” was echoed throughout the halls of influence when her appointment was made official. It’s also interesting to note that neither Isaacs’ sex nor ethnic background was mentioned in those sincere, congratulatory conversations. It’s just a historical note provided in a press release.

Keeping it real, Isaacs is all that and a bag of chips! I owe my career as a unit film publicist in large part to Isaacs, who made my entrance into the union (IATSE Local 600) possible and provided me with advice and employment opportunities.

Those vivid flashbacks from the beginning of my journey are some of the best moments of my life, and they would have never happened without Isaacs. My gratitude is forever etched into my memory, anchored by the same sentimentality that compels me to smile at babies and puppies.

Ellen DeGeneres returns in her second tour of duty as Oscar host. Here are my predictions for the artists and movies to be nominated. Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter @lapacazome.

Best Picture: “American Hustle”; “Inside Llewyn Davis”; “Gravity”; “12 Years a Slave”; and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

  • The winner: “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen (“Inside Llewyn Davis”); Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”); Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”); Spike Jonze (“Her”); Jia Zhangke (“A Touch of Sin”).

  • The winner: I hope it’s Cuarón for “Gravity,” but I’m predicting Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave.”

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”); Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”); Joaquin Phoenix (“Her”); Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”); and Forest Whitaker (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”).

  • The winner: I’m predicting sentimentality and amount of time served in the industry will sway the vote to veteran Dern.

Best Actress: Ziyi Zhang (“The Grandmaster”); Adèle Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”); Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”); Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Enough Said”); and Amy Adams (“American Hustle”).

  • The winner: Amy Adams. (Oops, I predict.)

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”); James Franco (“Spring Breakers”/”This is the End”); Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”); Jeremy Renner (“American Hustle”); and James Gandolfini (“Enough Said”).

  • The winner: The late Gandolfini—enough said.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”); Oprah Winfrey (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”); Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”); June Squibb (“Nebraska”); Zhao Tao (“A Touch of Sin”).

  • The winner: Only the 6,000 voting members of the Academy will know just how nail-bitingly close this category was, but I’m predicting Lawrence.

Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, March 2 and will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/TheAcademy or www.youtube.com/Oscars or follow the Oscars on Twitter @TheEllenShow, @TheAcademy, @craigzadan or @neilmeron. The show will be live streaming on Youtube at www.youtube.com/Oscars on Thursday, Jan. 16. Follow me on Twitter @lacazome.