I think almost all of us realise that Best Picture will go to one of three movies. They are: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity. The other films are all fine films, and two of them I think are outstandingly good (Her & The Wolf of Wall Street). I'm almost certain that the top prize will go to 12 Years, but who knows, maybe the Academy voters will create an upset once again by voting for an inferior, "funner" film (such as American Hustle). After all the awards buzz, 12 Years garnered the top honours, which makes it a shoe in for the Oscar for Best Picture.
Alexander Payne and David O. Russell seem to be the most unlikely of the nominees to win the award, for they themselves have garnered very little buzz. Martin Scorsese could surprise us all with a win, seeing as he's worked with many people in the business and turned out one of his career best films. Steve McQueen crafted what many see as a 'masterpiece of cinema,' so that makes him a big contender. However, it is Alfonso Cuaron and his magical directorial wizardry that garnered the most love during awards season, so I place my bet firmly on him.
I'd consider it a pretty big upset if anyone other than Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor this year. No one saw his turn as a cowboy dying of aids coming, and man did he make many jaws drop. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the clear runner up, followed by DiCaprio's hilarious turn as the villainous Wolf of Wall Street. Bruce Dern doesn't seem to be in the race, but god knows he deserves an Oscar. As for Christian Bale, he was good in American Hustle, but far weaker than all the other nominees.
I say with confidence that I think Cate Blanchett will win the Oscar this year. Of all the nominees, it was her stunning turn as the mentally unstable Jasmine that proved to be a performance for the ages. Judi Dench gave one of her greatest performances in Philomena, which could serve as an upset this year. Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams are the biggest threats to Blanchett, but they shouldn't even be serious contenders for the Oscar. Meryl Streep doesn't stand a chance, for she's been nominated too many times. Also, her performance, while fiery and outstanding, is not her greatest performance to date. Dench is the only REAL competition in the field, but popularity has served as a much bigger threat than talent in the past (such as when Gwyneth Paltrow beat Blanchett in 1998).
Best Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor is by far the most unpredictable category this year. Barkhad Abdi stunned everyone with his debut, and garnered much awards buzz this season. Jared Leto won many awards, and is a very popular, almost veteran actor that made a huge comeback this year as a trans-gender man dying of aids. I'd put my money on one of them, however, Michael Fassbender could surprise everyone and win for his portrayal as a detestable plantation owner. He is very popular, and in my opinion, he gave a perfect performance. As for Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill, I thought they were both great in their respective roles, but neither of them stand a chance at winning. If I had to predict a winner, I'd go with Barkhad Abdi based on his recent popularity.
Best Supporting Actress
I have a sickening feeling that Jennifer Lawrence is going to win this year. She gave the most mediocre performance out of all the nominees in every acting category. However, her popularity amongst her peers, and indeed around the world, is what seems to make her such a heavy favorite at these awards ceremonies. Lupita Nyong'o on the other hand gave a heart-wrenching performance, and has garnered much awards buzz this season. Julia Roberts and June Squibb seem to have faded into the background of the nominees, which is saddening because they were both phenomenal. Sally Hawkins, who was perfection in Blue Jasmine, has also faded out of contention really. So I'll say Lawrence will win, even if it is a disgusting decision by the Academy.