Next Sunday we’ll be live blogging the Oscars, so tonight we’re discussing the nominees in the major categories. Right now, as I write this the Oddschecker has Twelve Years a Slave as the 4:1 favorite, followed by Gravity at 9:2. American Hustle (18:1), Dallas Buyers Club (25:1) and The Wolf of Wall Street (80:1) rounds out the top the five, with the others (Captain Philips, Her, Nebraska and Philomena, coming in at very poor odds–250:1 for the Tom Hanks piracy movie and 300:1 for the the others).

Best Director favorite is Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, followed by Twelve Years a Slave‘s Steve McQueen, David O. Russell (American Hustle), and longshots Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Alexander Payne (Nebraska).

I loved Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street–it’s a part he could really sink his teeth into, and yet yet he didn’t chew the scenery. It’s a sly big, bad part, but Matthew McConaughey gives a much nuanced performance, playing against his type (goofy lovable romantic hero), by playing an crude, unromantic anti-hero in Dallas Buyers Club. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave) was tremendous, and Christian Bale, well, he was having a good time. Bruce Dern in Nebraska, good performance, could he win if the others cancel each other out? Could he win on nostalgia/body of work? (Heck Redford didn’t even get nominated, so that isn’t really an option).

Best Actress, now this gets tricky. Has Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine been tainted by the Woody Allen scandal (and in Best Supporting Actress, has Julia Roberts been affected–for better or for worse–by her half-sister’s suicide, which was timed, according to press reports based on the suicide note, to tarnish the actress’ reputation). Does the Academy care about scandal? The big due, in my opinion, is between Blanchett and Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Amy Adams was cute but not “best.” Judi Dench was perfect in Philomena, but was it enough? Meryl Streep has received more Oscar nominations (18) than any actor/actress in Academy history (she has won three), but did anyone see August: Osage County?

Who do you like for best supporting actress? Supporting actor? What do you think will win? Will there be a sweep, and if so by what film?