Pro tip: When picking the Academy Awards winners: Don't let your emotions come into play. Prediction is an act of science. The only thing better than dispassion is if/when you get your mind to the nirvanic plane where you're making good, intuitive picks based on a gut feeling, which is emotional sensitivity mixed with scientific observation.
Pro tip: Enter as many contests as you can with my ballot if you want to be lavished with prizes and acclaim. I have developed a hard-core spreadsheet with #data on it dating back years and years. I have algorithms and mathematics and statistical F-15s in my arsenal as I shoot down my opponents.
Pro tip: One contest I'm participating in is in conjunction with MemphiSport Live (MSL), the radio show on Sports 56 and 87.7 FM. (I appear on the show the last Saturday of every month to talk movies and TV and whatnot.) For the MSL contest, if you can outguess me and show host Kevin Cerrito, you can win all manner of good stuff. For more info, go to the Flyer's entertainment blog, Sing All Kinds, at memphisflyer.com/blogs/SingAllKinds.
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
This year, there was an unprecedented tie for the Producers Guild Award between Gravity and Slave, but the latter also picked up the Golden Globe and BAFTA.
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave
Got Robbed: Fruitvale Station
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Cuarón has swept this awards season, though that doesn't necessarily mean he's a lock. (See: Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Got Robbed: Asghar Farhadi, The Past
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
The trend in this category over the last decade is consensus between the Oscars and the big pre-Oscar awards, the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and SAG. McConaughey won the Globe and SAG. Even though Chiwetel Ejiofor won the BAFTA, that seems more like an outlier than an indicative trend. Plus, beyond his work in Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey is memorable in The Wolf of Wall Street, he starred in the well-received Mud, and he is dominating Twitter feeds with his HBO show, True Detective.
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Got Robbed: Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Almost always (15 of the last 18 years) the Golden Globe winner takes the Oscar. Blanchett and Amy Adams took Globes home, which is why this is a presumptive two-way race. But Blanchett secured the BAFTA and SAG as well.
Should Win: Amy Adams, American Hustle
Got Robbed: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Nyong'o received the SAG but Jennifer Lawrence won the Globe and BAFTA. I don't feel great about my pick of Nyong'o, but I'm expecting that voters will spread the love around since Lawrence won an Oscar last year for another David O. Russell film, Silver Linings Playbook. If Lawrence wins the Oscar, this year will rhyme with 2002, when Jennifer Connelly won the Globe, BAFTA, and Oscar but not the SAG.
Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Got Robbed: Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Traditionally, this is the category where the Academy likes to break from what the other awards are doing. However, since 2008 (roughly speaking, the Twitter age), this category has gone chalk, with the Globe winner going 6 for 6, and the SAG and BAFTA winners 5 for 6 each. I don't expect Barkhad Abdi's BAFTA to hold up.
Should Win: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Got Robbed: Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Spike Jonze, Her
Presumably, this is tight between Her and American Hustle. However, Her has one strange stat on its side: Since 1996, only five original scripts have won the Golden Globe for screenplay. (The Globes like to combine original and adapted screenplays into one supergroup.) And every one of those original screenplays went on to win the Oscar. Her won the Globe this year, so ...
Should Win: Spike Jonze, Her
Got Robbed: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Way Way Back
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave hasn't won anything this season, with Captain Phillips getting the Writers Guild Award and Philomena with the BAFTA. That said, the Best Picture winner has won the Adapted Screenplay 70 percent of the time when it's nominated in this category. This is presuming 12 Years a Slave even wins Best Picture. If it doesn't, well, I'll have to formulate some kind of metric for what that means.
Should Win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Got Robbed: Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Best Foreign Language Film
The Great Beauty
Best Animated Feature
Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Best Original Score
Steve Price, Gravity
Best Original Song
"Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Best Production Design
The Great Gatsby
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup and
Dallas Buyers Club
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing
Best Visual Effects
Best Documentary Short
The Lady in Number 6
Best Animated Short
Get a Horse!
Best Live Action Short
The Voorman Problem
Sunday, March 2nd, 7 p.m.