Nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards --  considered the most prestigious awards for excellence in film -- were announced Jan. 16. Hosted for the second time by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, the ceremony will air live on ABC on March 2.

Here's what to expect in the major categories:

Best picture

TL pick: "12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
"Captain Phillips"
TL pick: "American Hustle"
"Dallas Buyers Club"


12 Years A Slave and American Hustle have the best chance of winning, as both took home the Golden Globe for best drama and comedy respectively. 12 Years does have a greater chance because the Academy is known for favoring dramas and promoting the social message that certain films may have. Gravity is a close third because it is a visual spectacle however it does have the genre of science fiction weighing down on it, despite being a film with a greater audience.


Best director

Steve McQueen -- "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"
TL pick: Alfonso Cuaron -- "Gravity"

Alexander Payne -- "Nebraska"
Martin Scorsese -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"


The Academy may try to compensate McQueen after snubbing his previous two film, Hunger and Shame, and he and Russell has generating the greatest publicity over their films. However, due to the unique direction of Gravity and the technology employed, Cuaron has a great chance of sweeping in and stealing the victory as he did at the Globes.


Best actor

Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
TL pick: Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
TL pick: Matthew McConaughey -- "Dallas Buyers Club"

Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"


Ejofor definitely has the benefit of being a film with a poignant social message however McConaughey had to undergo an immense physical transformation and has a Golden Globe fastened to his belt.


Best actress

Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
TL pick: Cate Blanchett -- "Blue Jasmine"

Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"