BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The Academy Awards are finally here, arriving a little later than usual this year due to the Winter Olympics. That means it's time to finalize my picks, as friends, family and even strangers are now calling me to ask what I have down on my Oscar ballot. Here are my thoughts on who should take home statues on Sunday night.
Best Actor - Matthew McConaughey - "Dallas Buyers Club"
This is a two man race, but I think McConaughey edges out Chiwetel Ejiofor because he's so beloved by so many Oscar voters. Never count out a good ol' boy, especially when he undergoes an amazing physical transformation for a role and turns in the best acting job of his career. His recent performances in "Mud" and "Magic Mike" only help bolster his odds of winning.
Best Actress - Cate Blanchett - "Blue Jasmine"
You should never count Meryl Streep out of any awards race, and Sandra Bullock certainly has her supporters in Hollywood, but I think that Blanchett picks up her second Oscar on Sunday night. She is amazing, as always, playing a very unlikeable character, yet still making us care about her life.
Best Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o - "12 Years a Slave"
This is the big race that will tell us how the Best Picture votes are trending. It bodes well for "12 Years a Slave" if Nyong'o takes home the Supporting Actress statue. If she's upset by any of the other nominees, look for "Gravity" to take the night's big prize.
Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club"
Leto is the frontrunner who's been winning most of the early awards this year, but he faces stiff competition from Michael Fassbender and newcomer Barkhad Adbi. Fassbender is certainly picking up momentum, but expect Leto to hang on and take the prize for his heart-felt performance and notable physical transformation.
Best Director - Alfonso Cuarn - "Gravity"
Conventional wisdom says that the Best Director prize should go to the person who directed the year's best movie. I predict a split this year, with Cuarn winning the directing prize for his cinematic labor of love. Most people thought that "Gravity" was anti-commercial and technically impossible to film. Cuarn never had any doubts, and his passion turned "Gravity" into one of the year's best films.
Best Picture - "12 Years a Slave"
"Gravity" still gets my vote as the best picture of the year, but I sense that the tide of opinion has turned and "12 Years a Slave" will take home the night's big prize. I have no quibbles with this, as the film is easily one of the most powerful pieces of filmmaking of the past year. The acting is superb and the technical credits are top notch. I suspect that it won't win many awards on Sunday, but it will take home the one that counts the most.
Other Oscar predictions (just so you can complete your Oscar party ballots)
Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze - "Her"
Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley - "12 Years a Slave"
Foreign Language Film: "The Great Beauty"
Animated Feature Film: "Frozen"
Documentary Feature: "20 Feet from Stardom"
Film Editing: "12Years a Slave"
Sound Editing: "Gravity"
Sound Mixing: "Captain Phillips"
Original Score: "Gravity"
Original Song: "Let it Go" - "Frozen"
Visual Effects: "Gravity"
Production Design: "The Great Gatsby"
Costume: "The Great Gatsby"
Makeup and Hairstyling: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Documentary (short subject): "The Lady in Number 6"
Animated Short Film: "Get a Horse"
Live Action Short Film: "That Wasn't Me"