It’s been another stellar year for Hollywood and 2014’s ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles promises to be a night to remember for several films, including the British-American historical drama ’12 Years a Slave’, which leads many categories.
Steve McQueen’s epic has competition in the shape of Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ and Martin Scorsese will be hoping he isn’t snubbed by the Academy again, with ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ nominated in five categories.
We take a look at the favourite in each category, plus one nominee you should keep an eye on.
Favourite – 12 Years a Slave (1.22)
It promises to be a big night for 12 Years a Slave, which is the standout leader in the Best Picture category. This is the one they all want to win, and it takes a lot to back against it.
Dark horse – Gravity (4.25)
If anyone can stop 12 Years a Slave, it’s surely Gravity. Winner of ‘Best British Film’ at the recent BAFTAs, Gravity showed it can compete for the top prize.
Favourite – Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (1.18)
This year’s Best Actor category has a runaway leader in Matthew McConaughey, who has received widespread acclaim for his role as AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs in Texas.
Dark horse – Leonardo Di Caprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (4.50)
Despite being nominated twice before (for Aviator and Blood Diamond) Di Caprio has never won a Best Actor Oscar. Third time lucky? Well, McConaughey will take some beating but Di Caprio’s performance was well worthy of the nod.
Favourite – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (1.03)
Like in the men’s category, the Best Actress category is a one horse race. Blanchett’s depiction of Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis in a film that has already grossed $95million at the box office. No looking past Blanchett for this one.
Dark Horse – Judi Dench, Philomena (25.00)
In the unlikely scenario that Blanchett isn’t recognized, Judi Dench is worth considering for her role as Philomena Lee in Philomena. Winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1998, Dench has been chasing the big award her whole career.
Favourite – Gravity (1.01)
Another category that appears to be a forgone conclusion is for Best cinematography, with Gravity leading the way for its array of brilliantly artistic lighting and photography.
Dark Horse – Nebraska (20.00)
Nebraska could challenge in this category, with cinematographer Phedon Papamichael well known to the Academy for his work on The Descendants, W. 3.10 to Yuma and Sideways, among others.
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (1.03)
Although Gravity may be pipped to the Best Picture award, it is expected to prevail in the Best Director category. This one would be to be Alfonso Cuaron’s to lose.
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (7.00)
As 12 Years a Slave becomes a stronger favourite for ‘Best Picture’, Steve McQueen seems to lose ground in the Best Director category. The Londoner is still well in with a shout though, and is very healthy value at 7.00.
Best Music (Original Song)
Favourite – “Let it Go” in Frozen, performed by Idina Menzel (1.20)
It’s hard to beat Disney in these kinds of categories and their offering from animated feature “Frozen” remains a clear leader and the one to beat.
Dark Horse – “Happy” in Despicable Me 2, performed by Pharrell Williams (8.00)
The Oscars are coming at the perfect time for this song, which has become a No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic for Pharrell Williams. “Happy” is certainly the popular choice.
Bet on every category here!