Diana Naomi Watts

But beyond potentially being the night of George Clooney, or the night of Leonardo DiCaprio, or the night of Jennifer Lawrence, or the night of Tom Hanks... The 2014 Oscars could also be the night of the princess showdown. Former high school classmates Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman will play Princess Diana and Princess Grace, respectively in Oliver Hirschbiegel's "Diana" and Olivier Dahan's "Grace of Monaco." These are the types of films that could truly go either way, and while both directors have good track records in their native languages (Hirschbiegel with "Downfall" and Dahan with the Oscar-winning "La Vie En Rose"), both have crashed and burned when it came to their English language debuts (Dahan's "My Own Love Song," and Hirschbiegel's "The Invasion," which coincidentally starred Nicole Kidman). But what drama if BFFs Kidman and Watts go head-to-head for playing beloved real -life princesses?

And that's just scratching the surface. A handful of directors who have found their films find best picture nominations on multiple occasions are back with new projects. Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" stars Kate Winslet in her first leading film role since "The Reader" in this adaptation of Joyce Maynard's acclaimed novel; Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" gives Steve Carell a reasonable shot an Oscar nomination as John Du Pont, a schizophrenic millionaire who set up a training camp for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team at his home; Joel and Ethan Coen -- who have seen three of there last four films nominated for best picture -- have "Inside Llewyn Davis"; Alexander Payne is back two years after "The Descendants" earned him his second screenplay Oscar with "Nebraska," which stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son (yes -- "Will Forte, Oscar nominee" is an actual near future possibility).

All that I haven't even mentioned Steve McQueen's "Twelve Years a Slave" or Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate" or Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" or Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" or Ridley Scott's "The Counselor" or  Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" or dozens of other possibilities (but I'm sure I will soon enough). And with five to 10 potential best picture nominees, it's certain less expected films (or films we haven't even heard of yet) could make the cut.

So with that in mind, here are my major category 2014 Oscar predictions, one year in advance (we cheated a bit by doubling up two performances from one actor or actress likely to be in contention... sue us).

"Before Midnight"
"Before Midnight"
Best Picture
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
Labor Day
The Monuments Men
Saving Mr. Banks
Twelve Years a Slave

Untitled David O. Russell Film
The Wolf of Wall Street

(Ten Alternates: Before Midnight; ; Inside Llewyn Davis; The Counselor; The Great Gatsby; Fruitvale; Out of the Furnace; The Dallas Buyers Club; Nebraska; Serena; The Fifth Estate)

Best Director
George Clooney, The Monuments Men
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, Twelve Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

(Ten Alternates: Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher; John Wells, August: Osage County;  Spike Jonze, Her; David O. Russell, Unititled David O. Russell Film; Ridley Scott, The Counselor; Richard Linklater, Before Midnight; Jason Reitman, Labor Day; Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis; Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby; Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale)

Best Actor*
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Chiewetel Ejoifor, Twelve Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips or Saving Mr. Banks
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street or The Great Gatsby
Matthew McConaughey, The Dallas Buyers Club

(Alternates: Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Christian Bale, Out of the Furnace or Untitled David O. Russell Film; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate; George Clooney, Gravity or Monument's Men; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Michael Fassbender, The Counselor; Forest Whitaker, The Butler; Ryan Gosling, A Place Behind The Pines or

Only God Forgives; Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight)

*- Can I just say that even a year in advance this category looks like an insane embarrassment of riches

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

(Ten Alternates: Naomi Watts, Labor Day; Julie Delpy, Before Midnight; Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco; Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Her; Julia Roberts, August: Osage County; Jennifer Lawrence, Serena; Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby; Marion Cotillard, Lowlife; Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman; Rooney Mara, Ain't Them Bodies Saints)

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Labor Day
Michael Fassbender, Twelve Years a Slave
Colin Farrell, Saving Mr. Banks
John Goodman, The Monument's Men
or Inside Llewyn Davis
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

(Ten Alternates: Jared Leto, The Dallas Buyers Club; Javier Bardem, The Counselor; Will Forte, Nebraska; Ewan McGregor, August: Osage County; Bradley Cooper, Untitled David O. Russell Film or The Place Behind The Pines; Woody Harrelson, Out of the Furnace; Ben Foster, Ain't Them Bodies Saints; Tobey Maguire, The Great Gatsby; Benedict Cumberbatch, August: Osage County; Matthew McConaughey, The Wolf of Wall Street; Sam Rockwell, The Way, Way Back)

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Untitled David O. Russell Film or Her
Cate Blanchett, The Monument's Men
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Catherine Keener, Captain Philips
Margo Martindale, August: Osage County

(Ten Alternates:  Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale; Carey Mulligan, Inside Llewyn Davis; Vanessa Redgrave, Foxcatcher; Jennifer Garner, The Dallas Buyers Club; Kristin Scott Thomas, Only God Forgives; Laura Linney, The Fifth Estate; Cameron Diaz,, The Counselor; Shirley MacLaine, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty;  Oprah Winfrey, The Butler; Scarlett Johannson, Don Jon's Addiction)