Here’s how I think the major awards will play out: frozen_letitgo copy

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises
Frozen might not necessarily be the best bet here, especially with Miyazaki in the mix, but don’t forget, the most popular nominee usually prevails in this category. And if the victory of the middling Brave last year was any indication, expect Disney to leave the other nominees in the ice. PICK: Frozen 

BEST WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American HustleEric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue JasmineWoody Allen
Dallas Buyers ClubCraig Borten and Melisa Wallack
HerSpike Jonze  
NebraskaBob Nelson 
Expect American Hustle to put up a good fight since it’s up for 10 statuettes (same with Gravity). Lest we also forget, Woody Allen almost always triumphs in the writing categories. However, the edge is on Spike Jonze‘s painful and poignant maiden screenplay about a futuristic love affair since it already triumphed in the Golden Globes and Writers’ Guild Awards. PICK: Her 

BEST WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips – Billy Ray
Philomena – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter
Much as it’s tempting to root for Before Midnight in its sole nomination, the statuette will likely go to John Ridley’s powerful script about an unjustly enslaved man’s quest for freedom.             PICK: 12 Years a Slave 

jared_dallas copyBEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
It’s refreshing to see comedy staples Cooper and Hill getting  their respective second nods for dramatic efforts. It’s also great to see Fassbender get vindicated for his Shame snub. Also, welcome to the party, Barkhad Abdi! However, they are all distant runners-up to Jared Leto‘s magnificent portrayal of an AIDS-stricken transvestite. PICK: Jared Leto 

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska       
Frankly, the odds would’ve still been on J.Law‘s favor if she didn’t already win Best Actress  last year. Lupita Nyong’o, however, brought raw and explosive power into her debut role as an embattled slave. PICK: Lupita Nyong’o

matt_dallas copy BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Look, I badly want Leo to finally first Oscar as much as you do, but anyone who’s seen Dallas Buyers Club will attest to the sheer depth of Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of an AIDS-stricken douche. PICK: Matthew McConaughey 

cate_blue copyBEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
We’ve seen Cate ham it up as an elf and Bob Dylan. She’s even brought home a statuette 10 years ago for her Katharine Hepburn impersonation. But it’s her tour-de-force turn as a modern-day Blanche Dubois that hits home. She deserves this, really. PICK: Cate Blanchett

gravity-alfonso-cuaron-george-clooney-set-imageBEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Pundits are hinting upsets by ScorseseMcQueen, and Russell (2nd nomination in 2 years; 1 nominee in every acting category. Not bad!), but it’s Alfonso Cuaron‘s impeccable vision that has everybody raving. If he wins, he will make history as the first Hispanic director to be honored in this category, and rightfully so. PICK: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity 

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BEST PICTURE
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

American Hustle might be omnipresent in all four acting categories, and Gravity could very well sweep the technical awards, but Steve McQueen‘s immensely evocative saga about a free man unjustly sold into slavery still stands a hefty chance at pulling a welcome surprise – regardless of how many other trophies it wins. Also, it’s time to give Brad Pitt an Oscar (Albeit as producer). PICK: 12 Years a Slave

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