By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer

Awards season is the shining beacon of glamour and celebrity in an otherwise dismally dull late winter. With the pinnacle of the season – the 86th Academy Awards – happening Sunday, it’s getting harder to keep the excitement and ardor over who will win (and, equally important, what that winner will be wearing) in check. Keeping in mind that that excitement often turns to disappointment as the Academy inevitably chooses to bestow their honor on someone who (in your humble opinion) just isn’t up to snuff. Here are the official Muse Oscars predictions:

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Who Should Win: John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave
Who Will Win: John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave”

Ridley’s heartbreakingly compelling adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir blows all other competition out of the water. Plus, Ridley just bagged the USC Scripter award, which has predicted the Oscar sceenplay winner for five of the past six years (Sorry, “Up in the Air”).

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Who Should Win: Bob Nelson for “Nebraska
Who Will Win: Spike Jonze for “Her

With all of the powerhouses competing for Best Picture, Bob Nelson’s quiet little black-and-white story of the tumultuous but loving relationship between an aging alcoholic father and his adrift middle-aged son will, unfortunately, be lost in the shuffle—all the more reason it warrants the Oscar for its screenplay. Jonze will likely take home the prize, however, after wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”

There is so much misery and suffering in Steve McQueen’s slavery drama – and rightly so – but the most captivatingly tragic figure is the young slave Patsey, played by Lupita Nyong’o with achingly terrific force.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club
Who Will Win: Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Leto has swept the other awards in this category and most of the other contenders – with Fassy being the only possible exception – don’t hold a candle to his groundbreaking role and electric performance.


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Amy Adams for “American Hustle
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine

Adams’ fiercely desperate performance was a highlight of over-hyped “Hustle,” but Blanchett has taken home pretty much every award she’s been nominated for, so an Oscar win for her is almost a certainty.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Alright, alright, alright – There’s no stopping Hollywood’s favorite surfer from dominating the award shows this season, although veteran actor Ejiofor certainly deserves some kind of recognition for his heart-wrenching breakout performance.

Best Director

Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity”

“Gravity” was a stunning feat of technical brilliance and Cuarón earned his right to recognition for the film that required months of preparation, consultations with space experts and a shooting process that basically involved a more high-tech version of Photoshop-ing the actors’ faces and movements into a pre-animated sequence.

Best Picture

What Should Win: “12 Years a Slave”
What Will Win: “12 Years a Slave”

There’s been some buzz about “Gravity” for this category, but McQueen’s excruciating tale of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northup packs the kind of filmic impact that only makes an appearance every few decades.