The Oscar for Best Cinematography ostensibly honors a film's camerawork, but in recent years it has become difficult to distinguish the award from Best Visual Effects; the two categories have gone hand-in-hand for the last four years: "Avatar" (2009), "Inception" (2010), "Hugo" (2011), and most recently "Life of Pi" (2012). Three of those films -- all but "Inception" -- were also in 3D.
This year, a 3D extravaganza could win again: Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" has earned raves for its visuals, and two previous Cuaron films have been nominated in the category: "A Little Princess" and "Children of Men." Both of those films, as well as "Gravity," were lensed by Emmanuel Lubezki, who has three other Oscar nominations but no wins. His most recent bid was for Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" in 2011.
A pair of previous winners could also compete in this year's contest. Andrew Lesnie, who won for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," returns for the second part of Peter Jackson's prequel, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." And Anthony Dod Mantle, a winner for "Slumdog Millionaire," could be nominated again for Ron Howard's racing drama "Rush."
Bruno Delbonnel is a three-time previous nominee; he's a contender for photographing the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis." Rodrigo Prieto earned a bid for "Brokeback Mountain" and hopes to earn another for Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Review the top contenders and make your predictions below:
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.