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2014 Oscar Nominees: Who will win? Who should win?

Check out the full list of nominees here!
Check out the full list of nominees here!
Courtesy of Oscarnominations.org

2013 was a crazy, polarizing year for cinema.

Either the film was extraordinary, or awful. It wasn't the easiest of years to wade through the sea of celluloid and find the quality films to declare which ones are the best from the rest. Yet, somehow, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences managed to do just that this morning.

Here are the key nominees below, along with my commentary about who will more than likely win, and who should win. For the full list, you can visit Oscar.com.

(NOTE: I still haven't seen every film here, but I will do my best to be objective.)

(SECOND NOTE: I'm passionate about many of the films on here, so objectivity is not guaranteed.)

BEST PICTURE

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

12 Years A Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO WILL WIN: American Hustle

WHO SHOULD WIN: American Hustle

If you look at the list below, you'll see a pretty noticeable pattern: American Hustle is nominated in nearly EVERY category. While they're often not indicative of Oscar gold, the Golden Globes this year did award Hustle with Best Picture -- Comedy and Musical, along with two other major awards (see below). While 12 Years A Slave may shake things up, the safe money is on Hustle this year -- and for very good reason. David O. Russell's frenetic, decadent love letter to ABSCAM is, by far, one of the best pictures of the year.

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

WHO WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio or Matthew McConaughey

WHO SHOULD WIN: Christian Bale

The Golden Globes did shake things up this year, giving love to DiCaprio's performance as real-life Wolf Jordan Belfort (for Comedy or Musical), as well as McConaughey (for Drama). And, while the Academy could shake things up and give it to previous front-runner Ejiofor, I still have a soft spot for Bale's beer gut, combover, and overly confident swagger.

BEST ACTRESS

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

WHO WILL WIN: Amy Adams

WHO SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams

While Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, and Streep put in wonderful performances this year, the fact is simple: they all have Oscar trophies at home already. If you look at last year, this category was filled with venerable actresses who had won in years' past, and the winner was a first-time nominee -- Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, another David O. Russell film. With Adams already winning the Golden Globe, and Russell's recent streak of getting his actresses award love all around, the safe money is with her.

BEST 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

WHO WILL WIN: Jared Leto

WHO SHOULD WIN: Bradley Cooper or Jonah Hill

The Academy loves an underdog, and Leto, returning to acting after a six-year hiatus while fronting the band 30 Seconds to Mars, fits the bill. With his performance in Buyers Club, he's almost a lock -- especially with the Golden Globe win. However, I would love to see Cooper or Hill take it, seeing both put in amazing performances this year.

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

WHO WILL WIN: Jennifer Lawrence

WHO SHOULD WIN: Jennifer Lawrence

Say what you want, but Lawrence is a lock for this. Her gracefully chaotic performance in Hustle stole every scene and every critic's heart, and a Golden Globe mirror is inevitable. Sorry, Julia. Maybe next year?

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O. Russell, American Hustle

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuarón

WHO SHOULD WIN: Martin Scorsese

While, as I mentioned before, the Academy could shake things up and go with the original front-runner McQueen, the probability is that Cuarón, who also won the Globe, will be taking home the gold in March for his bleak, minimalist sci-fi disaster pic. However, how awesome would it be to see Scorsese make it rain? Let's face it. Without Seth MacFarlane hosting, the Oscars are in need of some controversy, and Scorsese's win would certainly make that happen.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen

Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

Her, Written by Spike Jonze

Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson

WHO WILL WIN: Woody Allen or Spike Jonze

WHO SHOULD WIN: Spike Jonze or Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

The Oscars love Woody Allen. There's no doubt about it. Remember that Midnight In Paris took home the gold in this category in 2012, and the Academy loves patterns. However, Jonze's unique romantic voice in Her has won critics and audiences over, and could steal Allen's thunder. Though it doesn't matter much. Singers and Russell's script for Hustle still has my love, and I would laugh heartily if it caused the upset this year.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray

Philomena, Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

12 Years A Slave, Screenplay by John Ridley

The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter

WHO WILL WIN: John Ridley

WHO SHOULD WIN: Terence Winter

With the separation between the screenplay categories, it gives more chances to the writers (something I've always appreciated). This is the chance for 12 Years A Slave to finally get some love in the Oscar race this year. Although Ridley has some tough competition. Wolf of Wall Street is gaining heat, and Winter's script could steal the thunder.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine

Frozen

The Wind Rises

WHO WILL WIN: Frozen

WHO SHOULD WIN: Frozen

If there's anything that Oscar loves more than Woody Allen, it's Disney. And Frozen is Disney's best film in over a decade, which makes it truly worthy of the Oscar gold this year. I'm sure other writers have probably made this joke by now, but I'm going to do it anyway: If Frozen doesn't win, hell will probably freeze over. You may groan now.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

"Alone Yet Not Alone", Alone Yet Not Alone (Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel)

"Happy", Despicable Me 2 (Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams)

"Let It Go," Frozen (Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)

"The Moon Song", Her (Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze)

"Ordinary Love", Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson)

WHO WILL WIN: "Ordinary Love"

WHO SHOULD WIN: "Let It Go"

The Best Original Song category is a strange place to make a political statement, but I fear this may be inevitable. While Long Walk to Freedom, oddly enough, did not receive a nomination this year, the Academy will almost certainly give the gold to U2, as the Hollywood Foreign Press did this year -- which is the biggest tragedy, seeing that "Let It Go" is the most masterfully crafted song. You know? The type of song that was almost crafted for this category.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off below!