Predicting the Oscars 2014

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The race for the 2014 Academy Awards boils down to two main contenders: Steve McQueen's riveting "12 Years A Slave" and Alfonso Cuaron's technical innovation "Gravity." It will be a close race to the Best Picture statuette with David O. Russell's 70s con drama "American Hustle" also in play.

Both "Gravity" and "American Hustle" took ten nominations each, with "12 Years A Slave" earning nine. But in terms of cultural impact "12 Years A Slave" had the greatest effect, not least because of its brutal depiction of southern plantation culture in the 19th century. "Gravity" became a major box office smash and its technical innovations are now legendary. "American Hustle" meanwhile has been relegated to the status of a fun, but not great nominee.

It's a going to be a hard one to predict, especially because of the variety seen in the major awards handed out before the Oscars. Consider that the National Society of Film Critics gave their Best Picture award to "Inside Llewyn Davis" which wasn't even nominated by the Academy.

Above is an idea of how the top categories might pan out. Visit our Twitter @The_Corsair for live coverage of the 86th Annual Academy Awards by myself and Web Editor-In-Chief Elizabeth Moss, beginning at 5:30 p.m. tonight.