Why this is likely to be my favorite Oscars in years too!

All season long, I’ve been quietly giddy with excitement at the prospects of so many of my favorites potentially taking the stage on Oscar night in triumphant Oscar-winning glory.

After reading my colleague Daniel Montgomery’s piece this morning, I realised that I too might be looking at one of my favourite Oscars in years, no matter how it ends up panning out on the big night, the high holy day for us kudos nuts and Oscar nerds.

We all know that the Oscars are not necessarily the supreme arbiter of quality when it comes to world cinema. Heck, they get it wrong just as much as they get it right. But you can’t deny the power of an Oscar win, the stamp of approval from this group of a few thousand artisans, industry veterans and Hollywood insiders. Say what you will about who has and hasn’t been nominated for or won Oscars.

But Oscars matter. Deal with it.

This year, the three frontrunners for Best Picture – “American Hustle,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” – are films that I admire, respect and love in varying doses, and all three feature on my list of the best films of 2013 (for the record, “Gravity” is right up there at number one, “12 Years a Slave” is at number seven, and “American Hustle” is a worthy inclusion as a runner-up honorable mention).

Like most Oscarwatchers, it is a rare year when you can genuinely root for the film that is likely to be crowned as Best Picture. Even if “Gravity” doesn’t take the big prize on Oscar night, it is surely going to claim a bunch of trophies for its many technical and creative achievements. Not since the likes of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003 and “The Silence of the Lambs” in 1991 has my favourite film of that year triumphed as Best Picture and taken the lion’s share of awards on Oscar night, and the thought of seeing the master craftsmen and women behind “Gravity” sharing the spotlight this weekend is something I am very much looking forward to.

But my excitement doesn’t stop there, as it looks like Cate Blanchett, one of the most respected and beloved actresses of our time (and a fellow Aussie), looks very likely to add to her Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Aviator” in 2004 with an overdue coronation as Best Actress for her incomparable performance in “Blue Jasmine.” She’ll be the first Australian to win two acting Oscars, and will cement her place as one of the greatest leading ladies of this generation.

We could very well see Spike Jonze take the stage for his screenplay for “Her,” my second favourite film of 2013. I’ll be cheering when this genius filmmaker is duly recognised for such a poignant, beautifully crafted work of art. And I’m counting on Catherine Martin’s possible win for her costume design or production design (or both) for “The Great Gatsby.” I didn’t love the film, but her designs (along with her set decorator Beverly Dunn) floored me when I first saw them unfurl on the big screen many months ago.

And then there’s “Frozen,” one of the true success stories of 2013, and a real return to form for Disney. This instant classic is set to become one of the most successful and popular animated features of all time as it nears worldwide grosses of $1 billion. And it should hopefully claim Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for the triumphant show-stopping “Let it Go,” written by Broadway veterans Robert Lopez and Kristin Anderson-Lopez and performed by Tony winning musical icon Idina Menzel. I’ll be furiously clapping and cheering when this Disney classic is celebrated on Oscar night, with a nudge to my five year old daughter, who forced me to watch (and eventually love) the film to begin with.

There’s so much to look forward to this year. I’ve finally got some real ponies in the race. I get to see the likes of U2, Menzel, Pharrell Williams, Karen O, Pink and even Bette Midler perform on the Dolby Theater stage. I’ll hopefully enjoy the expectedly funny, irreverent and uncontroversial monologue by host Ellen DeGeneres, and maybe I might even see a surprise or two from those wily Oscar voters that aren’t always as predictable as we think they are.

What do you think is going to win Best Picture? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Come back and change your predictions as often as you like till Oscar night, March 2. 

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