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Who's Getting an Oscar Nomination? What to Expect From the Academy Tomorrow

The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced this Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. I'm obviously going to be awake that early, but which actors, actresses and directors should also be by their phones then?

Based on what I've seen and what I've read, here are Popculturology's predictions for who'll get nominated in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Animated Feature and Best Foreign Language Film after the jump. To clarify, these are predictions of the actual nominations, not who I personally feel deserves to be nominated.

Best Picture 
(based on a full slate of ten nominees)
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

OK, so let's face reality. Since switching to a five-to-ten-nominees system for Best Picture, the Academy has yet to actually nominate ten pictures. So what's on the bubble? There are only three real locks for Best Picture: American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. Beyond that, any of the remaining seven movies from the above list could see themselves in the cold on Thursday morning.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

I really wish I could say all these directors were locks, but after the Oscars infamously snubbed Ben Affleck (and Kathryn Bigelow) last year, who knows what crazy results the Academy could unveil this year. If a dark horse were to break into this category, it would have to be Her director Spike Jonze.

Best Actor
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Robert Redford (All Is Lost)

What, no Leonardo DiCaprio or Christian Bale, you ask? OK, tell me who gets bumped from this list if one of those guys makes it in. Ejiofor and McConaughey have been battling for frontrunner status when it comes to Best Actor. I don't see Hanks getting left out. Unfortunately, if someone is snubbed in this category, it's going to be Dern or Redford. Both of these guys have been left out of at least one major critics group awards, so there's a possibility it happens. If it does, expect DiCaprio, Bale or Forest Whitaker to swoop in.

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

If there's one actress who could break into this category, look for Saving Mr. Banks' Emma Thompson. It's hard to pick nominees for this category when the Academy pretty much reserves one slot for Meryl Streep.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

There are only three actors who could upset my five predictions for this category. James Gandolfini (Enough Said) could garner enough posthumous support to get a nomination. Tom Hanks could earn a nomination for Saving Mr. Banks, but his Best Actor nomination for Captain Phillips would have to fall through for that to happen. Jonah Hill could also score his second career nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street, but that would take a surge of support for that film, which I just have felt so far.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels' The Butler)

This is pretty much it when it comes to the frontrunners for Best Supporting Actress. Maybe Blue Jasmine's Sally Hawkins bumps Julia Roberts out?

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle (David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Her (Spike Jonze)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

With names like Woody Allen, Spike Jonze and the Coen brothers in play, it's pretty hard for anyone else to crack into a category. Gravity, despite being an Oscar powerhouse, hasn't really struck a cord with awards season voters when it comes to its screenplay. The film's power is really in Sandra Bullock's performance, Cuaron's directing and Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Philomena (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope)
12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terrence Winter)

August: Osage County could bump one of these nominees out.

Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

The biggest question when it comes to Best Animated Feature is whether or not the Academy will nominate a full slate of five films or go with the slimmer set of three nominations as it has in past years. If there are only three nominees, everyone except Frozen and The Wind Rises better watch out.

Best Foreign Film
The Broken Code
The Grandmaster
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
Two Lives
Who's Getting an Oscar Nomination? What to Expect From the Academy Tomorrow Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 1/15/2014 Rating: 5

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