Oscar predictions - who will - and who should - win
On Monday NZT, we will know who will be celebrating taking home the Oscars for 2014.
But as every critic is wont to do at this time of year, it's time for me to nail the courage of my convictions to the whole and try and pick the winners.
Who will win - 12 Years A Slave - there's no better film around this year. While DBC strings together a couple of great performances, it doesn't soar into the skies in the way 12 Years does. Sure, it's tough material to watch in places, but as a masterclass of film, Steve McQueen has put together something powerful, moving and self-assured.
Who should win - 12 Years A Slave (see above)
Wild cards - Gravity tied in the recent PGAs with 12 Years, but while its effects are tremendous, the story can't hold up next to the better narrative of 12 Years - but it could win on second choice votes...
Nominees - "American Hustle," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Gravity," ''Her," ''Nebraska," ''Philomena," ''12 Years a Slave," ''The Wolf of Wall Street."
Who will win - Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. He's got form from winning over awards season, but sometimes, that could throw a curveball from this sure thing
Who should win - Matthew McConaughey. Strong performance and a resurgence of career from this one time rom-com stable
Wildcards - Is this Leo's year? 4 times nominee, and lost each time - could the Academy finally pour some love on him, fifth time around?
Nominees - 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."
Best actress -
Who will win - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. A strong performance in a return to form for director Woody Allen should see Blanchett continue her awards run.
Who should win - Cate Blanchett.
Wild cards - don't rule out Dame Judi Dench.... word is Philomena's long run campaign may be helping it.
Nominees - Amy Adams, "American Hustle"; Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"; Judi Dench, "Philomena"; Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County."
Best supporting actor:
Who will win - A tough one in this field - I'm torn between Jared Leto's Rayon in DBC and Abdi's utterly captivating turn holding his own in Phillips.
Who should win - I'm calling it - Barkhad Abdi - no other debut was more astonishing than his.
Nominees: 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."
Best supporting actress:
Best supporting actress:
Who will win - Jennifer Lawrence - she's picked up pre-awards which makes her the favourite. Though previous wins in as many years may count against. And her turn in Hustle seemed oddly miscast. I'm thinking Lupita Nyong'o may take it though in a last minute surge.
Who should win - Lupita Nyong'o. Expect the 12 Years a Slave actress to get the nod for role, and to make up for the fact that in a strong year, which sees awards more evenly split, there will be a need to give love to those in this film.
Nominees: 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 - Either Steve McQueen, who did a sterling job of handling something difficult and made something powerful - or Alfonso Cuaron, who redefined the space film in just 90 mins.
Who should win - See above
Wildcard - I'd love to see Payne pick something up for Nebraska, but I reckon, with the split this year, the odds are against this happening.
Nominees -David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"; Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"; Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"; Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Best foreign language film -
Who will win - I've only seen 2 of the nominees, but I'm hearing good things about The Great Beauty
Who should win - Again, hard to call given the above confession, but The Hunt was some pretty compelling cinema, pinned by a strong lead from Mads Mikkelsen.
Nominees : "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Belgium; "The Great Beauty," Italy; "The Hunt," Denmark; "The Missing Picture," Cambodia; "Omar," Palestine.
Best adapted screenplay:
Who will win - Philomena
Who should win - Philomena; Steve Coogan's Baby Cow production pulled together a sensational piece that was rich and resonated with many.
Nominees : Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight"; Billy Ray, "Captain Phillips"; Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, "Philomena"; John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"; Terence Winter, "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Best original screenplay
Who will win - Her
Who should win - Her. Spike Jonze's story captured the essence of something that's just around the corner for this tech-infested world. But he infused it with a heart, an aching universality and a soulful fragility that deserves to be recognised.
Wildcard - Nebraska - I'd love to think this downplayed story deserved something too - can't we call it a tie?
Nominees - Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine"; Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Spike Jonze, "Her"; Bob Nelson, "Nebraska."
Best Animated Feature Film:
Who will win - Horrible feeling Frozen may take it. This was a film that left me cold - and offered nothing fabulously new except a nice twist on love saving the day.
Who should win - The Wind Rises. It'd be nice to see the Academy award a career that's ending - but will they find love for Miyazaki?
Nominees - "The Croods"; "Despicable Me 2"; "Ernest & Celestine"; "Frozen"; "The Wind Rises."
Check back on Monday and see how I did - and hit me up in the comments with your picks and tips!