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The 2014 Oscars: Predicting the Screenplay categories and Best Picture

"12 Years A Slave" should win Oscar gold.
"12 Years A Slave" should win Oscar gold.
2013 Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Oscars are now just two days away! Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the 86th annual Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, March 2, and all of this week we have been making our final predictions in all of the different categories. Today, we finally arrive at Best Picture. But before we get to that biggest prize of all, let's take a look at the two Screenplay categories:

(In case you've missed the predictions in the other categories, be sure to click on those links at the bottom of this article).

Best Screenplay - Adapted. Five strong screenplays - Captain Phillips, Philomena, Before Midnight, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave - but only one can win. I loved Before Midnight, a film that is dialogue heavy, but earning a nomination will be reward enough. That being said, my personal vote would have gone to Terence Winter, for the brazen, hilarious and over-indulgent adaptation of The Wolf of Wall Street. But there is a clear front-runner here, and that is 12 Years a Slave. So mark that one down as a sure thing.

Best Screenplay - Original. Man has the American Hustle mania cooled off. David O. Russell's film was the hot topic towards the end of 2013, but over the past month or so, it is all about Her, Spike Jonze's inventive and quirky love story set in a not-too-distant future. The other nominees - Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club and Blue Jasmine - don't stand any chance of winning, so flip a coin and choose between American Hustle and Her. My coin happened to land on Her...that sounds weird, but you know what I mean.

Best Picture. Of this year's nine nominees, it has come down to a two horse race. Bravo to Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska and Philomena...all great films (obviously they were nominated), but they are out of contention to win as we head into Oscar weekend. The absolute dark horse in the race is The Wolf of Wall Street, only because its last-minute, late-season release made it surge a bit behind some of the other films. Academy voters may decide to reward Wolf with a Best Actor prize for Leonardo DiCaprio, but that happening now seems like Wolf's best chance at landing any sort of Oscar. But I don't see Scorsese's film winning the top honor. All along, the general thought was that Gravity would sweep all of the technical categories and would easily land Alfonso Cuaron a Best Director Oscar, even if the film falls victim to the Best Picture front-runner, 12 Years a Slave. But not so fast...Gravity has been picking up steam. Perhaps voters were just used to checking the box next to Gravity in the other categories, that they ended up supporting the film for Best Picture. Whatever the case, do not be surprised if Gravity does in fact, pull the upset. All of that being said though, I still believe that 12 Years a Slave will win the top honors. Voters may just as easily figure that they've already awarded Gravity with seven other Oscars...does it really need an eighth?

We shall soon find out: Be sure to watch the Oscars on Sunday night!

Check out Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment, airing at 10:30 p.m. EST every Sunday, on MYTV20 in Detroit.

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