THE REMOTE predicts Oscar winners

THE REMOTE with Ryan Pait

Ryan Pait

Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave”

“12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” are neck and neck in this category, but “12 Years” may have the advantage.  “12 Years a Slave” is a true ensemble piece, filled with striking performances that all connect, while “Gravity” is largely a one-woman show. The achievement of “12 Years a Slave” also feels more historical when compared to the technological breakthrough of “Gravity.” The Academy generally tends to prefer historical drama to sci-fi, so I expect the difference will be split between the two: “12 Years a Slave” will get Best Picture, and Alfonso Cuarón will get Best Director for “Gravity.”

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

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Cuarón has turned in solid, interesting and colorful work for years in a variety of movies such as “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men,” but “Gravity” may be his crowning achievement. Cuarón creates a huge something out of a whole lot of nothing in “Gravity,” conjuring up an entire universe. He builds extreme tension and lets his performers’ work speak for itself. Cuarón’s mastery of all the elements will likely net him this well-deserved accolade.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

The McConaissance is in full swing, and will likely end with Mr. McConaughey nabbing the Best Actor trophy on Sunday. McConaughey’s always had talent, but hasn’t always put it to good use. 2013, however, saw him take on a pack of interesting projects — “Mud,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club” — and succeed in all of them. His enigmatic performance on HBO’s “True Detective” will also keep him fresh on voters’ minds. This is all but a lock unless Chiwetel Ejiofor of “12 Years a Slave” pulls an upset.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Another race with a clear frontrunner, but Blanchett has held that title since “Blue Jasmine” premiered in July. Sustaining that kind of momentum for basically seven months is no easy feat, but Blanchett has pulled it off with aplomb. This is a loaded category, but her work in “Blue Jasmine” is astounding. It’s a performance that at first seems superficial, but there’s a wealth of hidden depth and power to it that Blanchett delivers like no other.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Leto’s return to the world of film (his last big role was in 2009) has received wide praise, and he and McConaughey elevate “Dallas Buyers Club” with their performances. Leto has snatched up basically every possible award for his role as transgender woman Rayon on the awards circuit. Unless the Academy experiences some late-in-the-game Leto fatigue, he’s got this locked up too.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”

Nyong’o’s also a frontrunner here, but just barely: she faces tough competition from returning champ Jennifer Lawrence for her work in “American Hustle.” What Nyong’o has working in her favor is that this is the category that often honors the ingénue — this is Nyong’o’s first motion picture, and she’s become a critical darling and red carpet darling to boot. Her performance in “12 Years a Slave” also has that “star is born” quality to it that recent winners Octavia Spencer, Mo’Nique, and Jennifer Hudson all had. This will be a close one, but Nyong’o has the advantage.

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”

Ridley takes the heartbreaking story of Solomon Northrup and gives it a voice that feels authentic, powerful and true. Again, “12 Years a Slave” has the advantage of historical reach and impact. The other nominees, which include “Before Midnight” and “Captain Phillips,” may be a little out of their depth here.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, “Her”

Jonze’s “Her” is an absolute delight, and a lot of that can be contributed to Jonze’s thoughtful, imaginative, and appropriately twee screenplay. “Her” is a wonderful movie that came out in an overstuffed year, so voters will likely reward Jonze’s creativity with this award.

Best Visual Effects: “Gravity”

Again, conjuring a whole lotta something out of a whole lotta nothing. “Gravity” is built on visual effects. It’s hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t, and that’s the benchmark for great work in this category. The use of 3-D for a truly artistic purpose rather than a gimmicky one also gives “Gravity” some added edge.

Best Animated Feature: “Frozen”

What would’ve been really interesting would be if “The Lego Movie” had been released in 2013 — then this would’ve been a real fight. Disney’s pop culture juggernaut “Frozen” is dwarfing all of its competition, which includes “Despicable Me 2” and “The Wind Rises.” “Frozen” has exploded on such a massive scale that it seems silly to consider it not winning.

Best Original Song: “Let it Go” from “Frozen”

If you’ve been alive for the past four months, you’ve more than likely heard “Let it Go” and at least one cover of it. Have you heard any of the others? While “Ordinary Love” has the pedigree of U2 behind it, expect the ubiquity of “Frozen” to help propel the enormously catchy and empowering “Let it Go” to victory.