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Everything you need to know to rock your Oscars pool

Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:18 PM Central
Last updated Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 5:18 PM Central

by John Couture

What happened to February? Believe it or not, March arrives this weekend and with it the 86th annual Academy Awards show.

That's right, the Oscars are this weekend and if you find yourself unprepared, don't fret, we'll help you get through this. The first thing you need to know is to make sure and surround yourself with smart friends.

In our case, we made sure to check in with friend of the site Joey Magidson, who writes for the incredibly helpful site Awards Circuit. He has a really great article on the site that contrasts who will win and who should win the major Oscar categories.

Naturally, the site is also filled with plenty of predictions and data to help you make your selections, if you happen to be a part of an Oscar pool at work. If you don't have a pool at work and want to play along, they even have you covered there. I created an entry ("VideoETACooter") and I'll be sure to post my results.

If more anecdotal evidence is what you crave, then sit back and enjoy. I'm going to rip through the top 9 categories and give you the expert's pick (Joey) and my pick and whatever folksy advice I can come up with. Again, if I were you, I'd listen to the expert, but sometimes you just never know what will happen.

Let's go in reverse of importance, shall we? That would make Animation first up.

Animated Feature Film

This one is really a no-brainer. Both Joey and I agree that Frozen will take home the statue and really, that's not a shock. It's been massive these last couple of months which also happens to coincide with the Academy's voting. I bet Academy members listen to their kids or grandkids in this category as the father of two young children, trust me when I tell you that Frozen will win.

It would be great if the Academy went out on a limb and chose The Wind Rises as the winner. It would be the crowning achievement for director Hayao Miyazaki with his last film. It's just not going to happen, sadly.

Adapted Screenplay

Joey likes John Ridley and 12 Years a Slave here and I really don't have much to offer in way of argument. My only hesitancy here is that this might be the only category in which Philomena could actually win and we all know how much Harvey likes his Oscars. If I've learned anything from watching the Oscars over the years, it's to never bet against the Weinsteins, so I'm going with Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope and Philomena.

Original Screenplay

Now, this is where it starts to get interesting. There's no one hotter than David O. Russell right now and I sort of feel like there's going to be a lot of Oscars headed towards American Hustle, but this is a stacked category. Joey likes Spike Jonze and Her and I don't blame him. Of course, you can't ever discount Woody Allen. I'll stick with the heat and go with American Hustle.

Directing

This one isn't even close. Joey and I both agree that Alfonso Cuaron will win the Oscar for Gravity. This is another reason why I think David O. Russell will win Best Original Screenplay.

Actress In A Supporting Role

This is a category in which the Academy always likes to get a bit frisky. That usually means that they'll pick an Academy darling (Jennifer Lawrence) or a pick way off the board (Lupita Nyong'o). Joey and I agree once again, it's just too rich not to see JLaw up to her usual antics again. Will she trip again? Will Bruce Dern hit on her this year? Stay tuned!

Actor In A Supporting Role

This is usually the place where the Academy likes to award an body of work Oscar. The safe bet is to usually pick the most veteran actor with numerous nominations but zero wins on their resumé. The only problem is that there is no one in this category that fits the bill. Barkhad Abdi was the feel good story of the nominations, but he really hasn't made any headway lately. Nope, I'm going with Joey and the safe bet based on other awards shows. Jared Leto will take home the Oscar.

Actress In A Leading Role

This is another hard category to predict. Conventional wisdom that holds up more often than not is that the actress who exposes her breasts usually takes home the Oscar. Hey, I just report it, I don't make it up. Heck, Seth MacFarlane even did an homage to this when he hosted the Oscars.

So, by that standard Amy Adams will win for her brief nudity in American Hustle (and the fact that each of her dresses are cut down to her navel). Joey likes Cate Blanchett here and really can you blame him? Cate has won all of the best actress awards leading up to this weekend. Although something is telling me that Sandra Bullock is going to take home the statue.

Heck, I'm a sucker for conventional wisdom. I'm going with Amy Adams and all of that cleavage.

Actor In A Leading Role

Oh man, this will probably be the most hotly contested category of the night. Will this finally be the year that Leo gets his Oscar? Christian Bale already got his, but everyone loves American Hustle. Will this be the "sympathy category" that sees Bruce Dern pull off an upset? Or will Chiwetel Ejiofor cap off a big night for 12 Years a Slave? Joey and I agree, none of the above. Matthew McConaughey is going to slip on in and steal this Oscar right out from under their noses.

The real question though is will he rip off this tux shirt and accept the award topless? I'm willing to bet he does.

Best Picture

Oh boy, the big kahuna and Joey thinks it will be a three-way race between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity. It's hard to argue with that logic and the pre-Oscar shows' results have been rather mixed. He has the top award going to Gravity, which makes sense given the close tie between Best Director and Best Picture. However, I'm thinking that Gravity just sounds too expected for the Academy. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if The Wolf of Wall Street comes out of nowhere to take this prize.

I'm going to play it safe and go with American Hustle. It just feels right for some reason to me.

And there you have it. Expert picks and bizarre feelings that I have about Sunday's awards. Again, Joey's picks are probably better, but crazy things do happen.