Ellen is set to host this year’s Academy Awards, and we can’t wait for her humor and skits. This year, “American Hustle” and “Gravity” have accumulated a whopping ten nominations and “12 Years a Slave” has nine, so they are bound to dominate the Oscar show. This group of Oscars is special because the nominees are equally matched, which will make the competition for an Academy Award especially riveting. Other top competitors include “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Nebraska” each with 6 nominations and “Her” with 5 nominations. The Oscars will air Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 7 p.m.. Don’t miss the last awards show of the season! We are here to give you a preview on this year’s Academy Awards, show you some of the critics’ picks and who we think should win. Enjoy! v

Best Supporting Actress

Critics’ Pick: Lupita Nyong’o — “12 Years a Slave”

Claire’s Pick: Jennifer Lawrence­ — “American Hustle”

Jennifer Lawrence’s role in “American Hustle,” alongside Christian Bale, showcases her domestic insanity leading to deceitful and elusive behavior towards her husband. Her approach to the loneliness of being a housewife and her minor mishaps highlight her longing for companionship.

Eliza’s Pick: Lupita Nyong’o — “12 Years a Slave”

In “12 Years a Slave,” Lupita Nyong’o was the victim of very real and very common issues that slaves had to deal with, and her performance made it feel as if all of the horrors were actually happening to her. Even as a supporting actor, she was able to bring this character to the forefront of our sentiments.

Best Supporting Actor

Critics’ Pick: Jared Leto — “Dallas Buyers Club”

Claire’s Pick: Jared Leto — “Dallas Buyers Club”

Jared Leto’s emotional issues throughout “Dallas Buyers Club” allowed the audience to relate to him and in turn relate to the struggles held by transgender people of the time. The wardrobe and makeup helped enhance his character and further engage the audience in Leto’s sowry tale in finding a way to prolong the life of AIDS patients.

Eliza’s Pick: Jonah Hill — “Wolf of Wall Street”

Of all the movies Jonah Hill has been in, “The Wolf of Wall Street” has to be his wildest yet. Hill brought just enough sass and sleaze to his portrayal of the character to make it infuriating and convincing, while still watchable. Not many would be able to pull off that ridiculous of a character and have us still keep watching, but Hill kept us enthralled until the very end.

Best Actress

Critics’ Pick: Cate Blanchett — “Blue Jasmine”

Claire’s Pick: Judi Dench — “Philomena”

The story of Philomena and her search for her son is an emotional tear jerker. In Judi Dench’s captivating role, she plays a timid, old woman, in a pool of unrestricted access to information involving both public and private matters. While Dench may not be the leading contender in this category, her performance in this role is worthy of consideration. One can always root for the underdog because they might just pull through.

Eliza’s Pick: Amy Adams — “American Hustle”

Amy Adams was able to pull off the complexity of her character without over-dramatizing it. Her performance in “American Hustle” conveyed all the side-effects of a woman’s struggle with her identity in an accessible way. By hating herself and her identity, the idea that she could shed who she is attracted her to Bale and to a life that revolves around conning others. Her performance is real and emotional — and her wardrobe is sure to evoke a response from the male audience as well.

Best Actor

Critics’ Pick: Matthew McConaughey — “Dallas Buyers Club”

Claire’s Pick: Matthew McConaughey — ”Dallas Buyers Club”

If a guy gets that skinny for a role, he must really love the character, or the money. While acting is acting, Matthew McConaughey’s transformation to fit his role captured his tenacity to express this young man’s story. Lastly, the gravity of his performance left the audience speechless as they silently marched out of the theater, opening their mind to the misinformation surrounding AIDS during the 80s.

Eliza’s Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio — “Wolf of Wall Street”

As infuriating as his character Jordan Belfort was in “Wolf of Wall Street,” DiCaprio is able to play him exquisitely. Even throughout the tale of his illicit adventures, there’s a sense of disappointment everytime he was thwarted. Every bad decision, every hundred dollar bill he threw in the trash, drew us in even more. Although he’s lost the young and rebellious charm of “Titanic’s” Jack Dauson, DiCaprio’s time has finally come for him to win an Oscar.

Best Movie

Critics’ Pick: “12 Years a Slave”

Claire’s Pick: “American Hustle”

A movie starring a con man and a con woman with an unpredictable ending, “American Hustle” brings the audience to the edge of their seats. Christian Bale unwittingly falls in love with Amy Adams’ despite his marriage to Jennifer Lawrence. It seamlessly incorporates us into the action, and makes us part of their life. It kept us on the edge of our seats for the whole movie, and the ending did not disappoint.

Eliza’s Pick: “Wolf of Wall Street”

“Wolf of Wall Street” was a whirlwind of excessive sex, profanity, and drugs. Not to say it wasn’t entertaining; it just exhibited the extreme end of the affluent lifestyle in a severe way. The acquisition of money was easy and the actions on the trading floor and in the office were meant to be primal. This movie was the American Dream on steroids — and tackled the issue of the financial monsters on Wall Street in a way that appeals to those who are not attracted by more stale depictions, such as “Capitalism: A Love Story.”