THIS year's Oscars race is one of the most open in years with only a handful of categories with clear favourites.
Leading the nominations with nine are Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman and Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel.
They are among eight contenders for Best Picture alongside American Sniper, Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.
But who will take home the golden statues?
Best Supporting Actor
Who will win: J.K. Simmons
Who should win: J.K. Simmons
One of the finest character actors working today, Simmons gives one of the best performances of the year as the mentor/antagonist character in Whiplash.
He's a larger-than-life character in this role but it serves the film's purposes.
The challenge is from Edward Norton who was wonderful in Birdman.
Best Supporting Actress
Who will win: Patricia Arquette
Who should win: Patricia Arquette
While Boyhood's focus is on Ellar Coltrane's Mason as he ages before our eyes, Patricia Arquette as his mother is flawless.
She provides the heart and emotional core of the film.
Best Lead Actor
Who will win: Eddie Redmayne
Who should win: Michael Keaton
Redmayne's transformation into Stephen Hawking goes well beyond the technical mastery he achieves in capturing the mannerisms of the great scientist.
Beneath that veneer, Redmayne brings a real human quality to the role.
Keaton is the sentimental favourite. He gives a fun, manic performance and it's joyous to watch.
Best Lead Actress
Who will win: Julianne Moore
Who should win: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Moore has been nominated five times before.
Her role in Still Alice, as a renowned linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, is perhaps not the best film she has been in, but the Academy may see fit to reward her for previous efforts.
She has picked up all the major awards leading up to the Oscars.
Who will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Who should win: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Inarritu's impressive, single-take film Birdman is certainly a technical marvel and that in itself may be enough to woo voters.
Linklater's film, shot for a couple of weeks every year for 12 years, is perhaps a
less visually striking film than Birdman but it more than makes up for it with its powerful story.
Who will win: Birdman
Who should win: Boyhood
Early on, Boyhood seemed to have all the momentum, picking up most awards including the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama.
But in recent months Birdman has won some of the other critics' awards including the Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding cast performance.
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