Oprah Winfrey in the "Lee Daniels' The Butler."
Oprah Winfrey in the "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

Best Supporting Actress:

Oprah vs. Lupita? That seems like the potential showdown here, though watch out for June Squibb ("Nebraska"), Octavia Spencer ("Fruitvale Station") and "August: Osage County" pair Julia Roberts (category fraud, much?) and Margo Martindale. Those would seem like the final six women battling it out for five slots, unless of course Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle") skyrockets when the film gets seen, which could very well be the case (this clip sure makes it seem likely). And then of course there's Scarlett Johansson's voice only performance in "Her," which is a long shot considering the Academy's history with not nomination voice work, but something to consider given buzz is building for it to happen.

It also is notable that this race could very likely feature the first instance in Oscar history of three black nominees, and if the race does come down to Oprah and Lupita and one of them win, it would mean four of the past eight best supporting actress winners have been black women. Which is both 50% of the past eight years of winners, and would more notably mean that more black women have won Oscars in the past eight years than the 78 years that came before them. Though it would not change the fact that only one black woman has ever won the leading actress trophy, with this year an extraordinarily unlikely to change.

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler

The Spoiler Nominee: Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Totally Unwarranted Winner Prediction: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

Saving Mr. Banks

Best Supporting Actor:
This is the definitely the least clear of all the acting races, with Michael Fassbender's turn in "12 Years a Slave" and Tom Hanks take on Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks" the only truly safe bets.  Beyond them, there's more potential contenders we haven't seen here than in any other category, namely Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner in "American Hustle" and Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

How they end up being received will make or break the strong possibilities of Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Daniel Burhl ("Rush"), Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips"), Will Forte ("Nebraska") and the late James Gandolfini ("Enough Said"). Either way, with the other three acting categories looking relatively locked down, it's fun to have a little excitement left in one of the major races.

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
Jonah Hill
, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

The Spoiler Nominee: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Totally Unwarranted Winner Prediction: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Writer and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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