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Oscar Predictions 2014 - The major categories

2013 was filled with critically-acclaimed movies, which have led to an incomparable list of Academy Award nominees. Exquisite films covering a variety of subjects and styles, 2013 was a remarkable year for film.

Cate Blanchett winning the SAG Award
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The following is a list of predictions of the winners of the major categories to be announced at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014.

BEST PICTURE:

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

One of the toughest races in Oscar history, “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” are the two main contenders with “American Hustle” holding a steady fan base. “Gravity” is a technical masterpiece much like “Hugo” of a couple of years ago, but “12 Years a Slave” is an exquisite period film, truly perfection in filmmaking. Though “Gravity” in 3-D is one of the most wowing movies of all time, “12 Years a Slave” is the more conservative pick.

BEST ACTOR:

Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” (Christian Bale, “American Hustle;” Bruce Dern, “Nebraska;” Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street;” Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”)

DiCaprio wowed audiences with a performance unlike anything he has ever done, but McConaughey has impressed viewers with not only his extreme dedication to “Dallas Buyers Club” but also his recently impressive career change in films like “Mud” and “Killer Joe.” It’s hard to separate such a cumulative success.

BEST ACTRESS:

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” (Amy Adams, “American Hustle;” Sandra Bullock, “Gravity;” Judi Dench, “Philomena;” Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”)

Blanchett is the clear frontrunner for her phenomenal performance that wavers between fragility, insanity, and maliciousness.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” (Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips;” Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle;” Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave;” Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”)

The obvious frontrunner is Leto, whose transformation is incredible. Fassbender is frighteningly despicable in his role, but Leto’s Rayon is heart-wrenching.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” (Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine;” Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle;” Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County;” June Squibb, “Nebraska”)

One of the most difficult races, it is newcomer Nyong’o as a tortured slave versus last year’s Best Actress winner Lawrence in a very likeable, fun performance. Toss a coin because they’re both fantastic.

BEST DIRECTOR:

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” (Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave;” Alexander Payne, “Nebraska;” David O. Russell, “American Hustle;” Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”)

I’m leaning towards Cuaron being recognized for his incredible vision and McQueen being recognized for his film as a whole as Best Picture. Cuaron won at the Directors Guild, which is a good sign he’ll win the Oscar.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Her (American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska)

Spike Jonze’s unique script for “Her” shines for its creativity.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

12 Years a Slave (Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street)

Though “Captain Phillips” won the Writers Guild Award, it did not compete against “12 Years a Slave.” A tough call, “12 Years a Slave” has a beautiful screenplay with purposeful dialogue that brings the characters to life.