oscar-statue17-114x300Who’s going to be showered in Oscar glory in 2014? Will Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor make history with 12 Years a Slave? Will Alfonso Cuarón and Sandra Bullock be over the moon with Gravity? Or will American Hustle bluff its way to victory?

With the clock ticking down to Sunday night’s ceremony, we’re going to predict the major winners, sorting out the dead certs and the close calls … and revealing the films and stars who would win if we had our way.

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

This year’s Best Film contest is a three-horse race. American Hustle and Gravity lead the field in terms of nominations with 10 apiece, but the Academy’s traditional reluctance to reward comedies may see David O Russell’s con-artist caper go away empty-handed. By contrast, Gravity will almost certainly be the night’s big winner overall, although most of its gongs are likely to come in technical categories. Which leaves 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen’s harrowing film ticks all the right boxes. It’s a prestige film that tackles a historically important subject and boasts outstanding performances across the board. Gravity’s momentum may just tip things on the night, but Hollywood custom dictates that this Oscar will go to 12 Years a Slave.

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Will win: 12 Years a Slave
Should win: 12 Years a Slave
Who’s missing: Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Director
David O Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Gravity and 12 Years a Slave go head to head again, with American Hustle the outsider. Hollywood likes to be seen making history, which will give extra votes to Steve McQueen, who would be the first black director to win an Oscar. But his failure to win a Bafta a fortnight ago suggests that this award will go to Alfonso Cuarón.

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Will win: Alfonso Cuarón
Should win: Steve McQueen
Who’s missing: Paul Greengrass

Best Actor
Christian Bale- American Hustle
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor won this year’s Bafta – but he had home-team advantage and his big Oscar rival, Matthew McConaughey, wasn’t even in the field.  Over in LA, things will be different. McConaughey isn’t quite the dead cert Daniel Day Lewis was last year, but the Oscar should still be in the bag.

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Will win: Matthew McConaughey
Should win: Matthew McConaughey
Who’s missing: Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)

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

Cate Blanchett’s tour-de-force performance as Blue Jasmine’s self-deluding socialite has made her the front-runner here for months, although the child sexual-abuse scandal surrounding Woody Allen may put off some voters. With five nominations in nine years, Amy Adams is surely due an Oscar… but not this year.

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Will win: Cate Blanchett
Should win: Cate Blanchett
Who’s missing: Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)

Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Barkhad Abdi’s heart-warming personal story – from Somali refugee to limo driver to Hollywood star – gives him a shot here. As does his recent Bafta win. In London, however, as with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Best Actor category, he wasn’t up against one of the cast of Dallas Buyers Club. This one goes to Leto.

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Will win: Jared Leto
Should win: Jared Leto
Who’s missing: Daniel Brühl (Rush)

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
June Squibb – Nebraska
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

This is by far the closest category to call. Jennifer Lawrence’s brilliant performance in American Hustle certainly deserves the gong – but Silver Linings Playbook won her an Oscar only last year and the Academy may be reluctant to give her back-to-back awards. Her Bafta win counts in her favour, and Hollywood undoubtedly loves her, but the votes may turn out in favout of 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o. That said, my hunch is that Lawrence will do the double.

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Will win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should win: Jennifer Lawrence
Who’s missing: Scarlett Johansson (Her)

And the other Oscars go to:

Original Screenplay
Will win: Her

Adapted Screenplay
Will win: 12 Years a Slave

Animation
Will win: Frozen

Foreign Film
Will win: The Great Beauty

Documentary
Will win: 20 Feet from Stardom

Score
Will win: Gravity

Original Song
Will win: ‘Let it Go’ (Frozen

Cinematography
Will win: Gravity

Editing
Will win: Gravity

Production Design
Will win: The Great Gatsby

Costume
Will win: The Great Gatsby

Make-up
Will win: Dallas Buyers Club

Visual Effects
Will win: Gravity

Sound Mixing
Will win: Gravity

Sound Editing
Will win: Gravity

Animated Short
Will win: Get a Horse

Documentary Short
Will win: The Lady in Number 6

Live Short
Will win: The Voorman Problem