BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Who should win: Barkhad Abdi, whose commanding work in Captain Phillips was the best part of that movie.
Who will win: Jared Leto, cashing in his Brave Straight Actor points; he’s racked up statuettes for stealing scenes in Dallas Buyers Club and seems a shoo-in.
Wild card: Jonah Hill, who might be a surprise nod for The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s not like Leonardo DiCaprio’s getting anything.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Who should win: Lupita Nyong’o, whose scenes in 12 Years a Slave were breathlessly intense, propelling Patsey from an ensemble character to heartbreaking prominence.
Who will win: Jennifer Lawrence, who acquitted herself in American Hustle but has been collecting a disproportionate number of wins—though hope’s not lost for Nyong’o.
Wild card: June Squibb elevated her part in Nebraska, an actors’ movie that might get noticed here. And Julia Roberts is better the meaner she gets; as the brittle center of August: Osage County’s corps, she might give the Academy an excuse to throw Osage a collective bone.
Who should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor delivered a spellbinding Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, conveying as much in silent, sidelong glances as most actors do in monologues.
Who will win: Bruce Dern, for whom Nebraska represents his entire estimable career. DiCaprio’s a dark horse, though, at this point, the Academy most enjoys perpetually raising his hopes, then ditching him on prom night.
Wild card: Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey, whose turn in True Detective has been so praised, he might be the first actor to secretly win an Oscar for a TV show.
Who should win: Cate Blanchett turned in a wrenching version of her stage turn in Streetcar in the extremely Streetcar-esque Blue Jasmine. Meryl Streep just kept streepin’ in Osage County. But Philomena boasts Judi Dench, who sailed off with equally demanding work as a woman who seems less overtly tragic, but who’s no less complex.
Who will win: Blanchett.
Wild card: Amy Adams, whose work was better than American Hustle deserved, and appeared in Her, which could be a silent two-fer.
Who should win: Steve McQueen, whose 12 Years a Slave is immensely powerful both in its restraint and its ruthlessness.
Who will win: Often a category where the Academy awards someone who’ll lose the big one, this one’s up for grabs. Alfonso Cuarón has been widely praised for Gravity, and here’s the place to give Scorsese the Oscar he won’t be getting for Best Picture.