On March 2, six weeks and three days after the 86th annual Academy Award nominations were announced -- and almost six months after Vulture declared that "12 Years A Slave" will win Best Picture -- the 2014 Oscar winners will finally be revealed. We made it! (Well, not all of us: R.I.P. "Saving Mr. Banks," we still believe in you.) Who will leave this awards season with an Academy Award in hand? Ahead, HuffPost Entertainment's foolproof Oscar predictions in the six major categories.
Best Supporting Actor
The 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")
The prediction: Since "Dallas Buyers Club" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year, everyone has pretty much assumed Jared Leto will win an Oscar. On Sunday night, he most likely will; if not, it will rank as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Academy Awards. Cue up some Thirty Seconds to Mars, write Leto's name down in pen on your Oscar ballot, then trace over it with permanent marker.
Best Supporting Actress
The nominees: Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine"), Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"), Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years A Slave"), Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County"), June Squibb ("Nebraska")
The prediction: Is this the most competitive acting category in a decade? Maybe? Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o have run neck and neck all awards season, with Lawrence winning honors from the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards and Nyong'o taking trophies from the Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild. With the usual precursors canceling each other out, who has the advantage? The thought was Nyong'o, since she's a newcomer in a category that likes to reward relative newcomers (see: Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Hudson, Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei), but Lawrence has come on strong in the last few weeks by not being strong. She missed the BAFTA Awards as well as the Academy Awards luncheon because of scheduling conflicts. Her anti-campaign campaign has worked to stem the tide of backlash that seems to strike every popular actress nowadays (hello, Anne Hathaway), and it might be enough to get Lawrence a second Oscar in as many years. The safe pick is Lupita Nyong'o, but it's basically down to a coin flip.
The 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")
The prediction: Earlier this month, there was a brief moment when it looked like Leonardo DiCaprio could maybe upset the heavily favored Matthew McConaughey to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Then, with McConaughey not even nominated, DiCaprio lost the Best Actor trophy at the BAFTA Awards to Chiwetel Ejiofor. Which is to say, all right, all right, all right already, McConaughey is winning an Oscar. In fact, if there is an upset here on Oscar night, expect it to be Bruce Dern over any of the younger competitors. "Nebraska" is a well-loved movie with Academy members, and Dern has the added advantage of being this category's eldest statesman.
The nominees: Amy Adams ("American Hustle"), Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine"), Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"), Judi Dench ("Philomena"), Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County")
The prediction: Like Jared Leto, Cate Blanchett has been an Oscar front-runner for months, and not even Woody Allen's sex scandal has diminished her chances. Blanchett will win her second Oscar on Sunday night. All that's up for debate is whether she thanks Allen in her acceptance speech.
The nominees: Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity"), Steve McQueen ("12 Years A Slave"), Alexander Payne ("Nebraska"), David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street")
The prediction: Since the 2001 Oscar ceremony, there have been four splits between Best Director and Best Picture, including last year when Ang Lee won Best Director for "Life of Pi" while "Argo" (directed by Ben Affleck, who wasn't nominated) took Best Picture. Will 2014 follow suit? It might have to since Alfonso Cuaron has won almost every award thrown at him since "Gravity" debuted in October, but many still expect "12 Years A Slave" to win Best Picture. Whatever happens in that category, though, shouldn't affect Cuaron. His achievement with "Gravity" is monumental, and even in a year with four other incredible candidates -- McQueen, Payne, Russell and Scorsese all produced some of their best work last year -- Cuaron stands out by a wide margin.
The nominees: "12 Years A Slave," "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," "The Wolf of Wall Street"
The prediction: Despite the fact that most awards experts are picking "12 Years A Slave" to win Best Picture, this is still a race to the finish. "Gravity," "American Hustle" and even "Philomena" and "Dallas Buyers Club" have major supporters in the Academy, and this feels like one of those years when anything can happen. But what will happen? A win for "12 Years A Slave," which was 2013's most respected film. That's important since the Academy's preferential ballot system usually rewards films that have across-the-board support. "Gravity" and "American Hustle" have vocal detractors; few people, at least in public, have anything negative to say about "12 Years A Slave." That puts McQueen's film in league with "Argo," "The Artist" and "The King's Speech," movies that won consensus support from the AMPAS and Best Picture. "It's Time," read the For Your Consideration ads that Fox Searchlight is running for "12 Years A Slave." Indeed, it should be.
For a full list of Oscar predictions, head to GoldDerby.com.
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