Ryan: Fassbender delivered the most haunting performance from this group, but I believe it’s going to come down to either Abdi or Leto in winning the Oscar. In the end look for Leto to win on Sunday. He did deliver a great performance and voters tend to award actors who undergo transformations of some sort with their respected performance.
Best Actress: Amy Adams (American Hustle); Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine); Sandra Bullock (Gravity); Judi Dench (Philomena); Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Ryan: I would actually vote for Bullock. I thought she matched the technical brilliance of Gravity with a tough yet heartfelt performance. But look for Blanchett (a worthy winner as well) to take home her second Oscar as she’s won every major Oscar precursor.
Andy: Everyone seems to think this category is already decided for Blanchett. She was great, but I definitely preferred both Bullock (can’t believe I’m saying that) or Adams. Amy Adams’s performance has an immense amount of range — more than an actor is typically given, and she nails every scene of it. I doubt she wins, but she would have my vote.
Best Actor: Christian Bale (American Hustle); Bruce Dern (Nebraska); Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street); Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years of Slave); Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Andy: I am going to be completely honest about this one; I do not want Matthew McConaughey to win Best Actor. However, against all odds, he may have given the best performance of the year. The only performance in the group that seems unlikely to win is Christian Bale’s, which is the most low-key in the group. DiCaprio is a bit of a dark horse as well, though at some point the fact that he has never won an Oscar is going to present itself as an issue. Ejiofor and Dern both gave career defining performances that are easily worthy. Ultimately, the award goes to McConaughey, for acting at a level that I don’t think anyone thought he was capable of.