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Who'll be taking home statues on Sunday?

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Michael Fassbender, left, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor, right, in a scene from

FRANCOIS DUHAMEL / POSTMEDIA AP Enlarge Image

Michael Fassbender, left, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor, right, in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." Fassbender was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

Oscar ballots were due on Tuesday. Here are my predictions for some of the main categories in this year's Academy Awards, which will be handed out Sunday night.

And now ... the envelopes, please.

 

PICTURE

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

And the winner is: 12 Years a Slave. With so many choices, it feels like a year when picture and director will split. It's time for the pendulum to swing back toward serious fare.

 

DIRECTOR

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

And the winner is: Cuaròn. Well-liked and respected, he took Directors Guild of America honours for his landmark effort. He should repeat with the academy.

 

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

And the winner is: McConaughey. All right, all right, all right!

 

ACTRESS

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

And the winner is: Blanchett. After winning every prize leading up to the Oscars, the academy won't shun her for headlines involving Woody Allen.

 

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

And the winner is: Leto. He and McConaughey will become the fourth pair of male actors from the same film to win lead and supporting Oscars.

 

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

And the winner is: Nyong'o. She's deserving, and many will feel it's a bit soon to reward Lawrence again.

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen; Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack; Her, Spike Jonze; Nebraska, Bob Nelson

And the winner is: American Hustle probably won't win many Oscars, but academy members will want to acknowledge it somewhere. This is the likeliest place, though it faces a tough challenge from Her. But it seems counterintuitive to believe that voters loved Hustle enough to reward it with the most nominations (along with Gravity) and then shut it out completely.

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke; Captain Phillips, Billy Ray; Philomena, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope; 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley; The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter

And the winner is: 12 Years a Slave. A landing spot for academy members not voting for Slave for best picture or director.

 

ANIMATED FEATURE

The Croods; Despicable Me 2; Ernest & Celestine; Frozen; The Wind Rises

And the winner is: Frozen. Commercial juggernaut gives Disney its first win for animated feature.

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd; Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki; Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel; Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael; Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins

And the winner is: Gravity. Cinephiles rejoice! Lubezki finally prevails ... for the kind of computer-generated spectacle that angers purists in this category.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square, 20 Feet From Stardom

And the winner is: 20 Feet From Stardom. The acclaimed Killing could eke out a victory, but we lean toward the crowd-pleaser.

 

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2014 G9

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