It's a baffling year for the Oscars, one in which even your cousin who only saw the latest "Fast and Furious" sequel might have a chance of winning your Academy Awards pool.
I'll be tweeting the Oscars @IBJArts, but in the meantime, here's where I think the trophies will fall:
"12 Years a Slave" has the combination of quality and gravitas to make it the front runner. If the Academy opts to celebrate creative filmmaking over weighty subject matter, though, it could tip to "American Hustle." "Gravity" might have had a shot if the votes were taken right after its release, but enthusiasm seems to have diminished. The two I'm actively rooting against are the condescending, false-note-filled "Nebraska" and the okay-Martin-I-get-it-already "Wolf of Wall Street."
I'm guessing Alfonso Cuaron will be celebrated for his truly original work in "Gravity." But "12 Years a Slave" or "American Hustle" as Best Picture could pull Steve McQueen or David O. Russell along in this category.
If the Academy opts against giving the sentimental vote to Bruce Dern for "Nebraska," then it's Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club."
The lock of the evening is Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine."
Best Supporting Actor
Oh, how I want this to go to Barkhad Abdi for "Captain Phillips." But I think Jared Leto wins for his showier part in "Dallas Buyers Club."
Best Supporting Actress
It's a race between Lupita Nyong'o in "12 Years a Slave" and the previously celebrated Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle." I'm actively against Julia Roberts in this one for her part in the badly directed/adapated "August: Osage County."
Best Animated Film
"Frozen" walks away with it...and would have had a shot at Best Picture if this award hadn't have been created to isolated the animated flicks.
Best Original Screenplay
I'll confess to not yet seeing "Her." Of the rest, here's hoping "American Hustle" deservedly dances away with it.
Best Adapted Screenplay
"12 Years a Slave."
Best Original Song
"Let It Go" from "Frozen" is likely to take it. But it's fun to have "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" in the mix.
I'll leave the rest to you.
Feel free to chime in now or wait until Monday to point out where I went wrong.