The Short Categories:
(aka Who the fuck knows?)
Best Live Action Short: Helium - Sounds the saddest in a heartbreaking way (as opposed to That Wasn't Me which is sad in a harrowing way) so I would think this would win. However, anyone can vote in these categories now, with no required proof of viewing, so it's one of those two or The Voorman Problem since it has a well known actor in it.
Best Animated Short: Buy a Horse - Crazy as it sounds, Disney has never won the Animated Short category, and I expect the voting changes (plus the fact that this played before super-hit Frozen) to change that fact this year.
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6 - A documentary about the oldest living Holocaust survivor (who died during voting, sadly). While the subject matter isn't a guaranteed win, it is a genre that they like to reward, so I expect it to take the win.
The Ghetto Categories:
(aka We are too snobby/lazy to nominate these for Best Picture so we'll throw them a bone here)
Best Animated Feature: Frozen - Disney has also never won this category during its short life (the category, not Disney) and the massive success of this movie should push it over the already-reward Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises. Bonus points for "Let It Go" and being Disney's best film since The Lion King.
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feat From Stardom - It's between this and The Act of Killing. I think the Academy will go for the more feel-good documentary that follows backup singers to famous stars over the more troubling documentary that has mass murderers re-staging their kills with actors. But it could easily go the other way.
Best Foreign Film: The Great Beauty is favored, but I'm going to pick The Broken Circle Breakdown in a surprise since more and more people started talking about it once voting started.
The Aural Categories:
(no mean other-name for these, I guess)
Best Sound Mixing: My gut tells me Gravity is gonna somewhat mini-sweep the technicals, but I also think they might try to reward Captain Phillips somewhere. Plus songs that feature people singing have extra work here (Inside Llewyn Davis). I'll go with Gravity, somewhat uncormfortably.
Best Sound Editing: Again, probably Gravity. But All is Lost has the least to work with and apparently knocks it out of the park (haven't seen that one yet), but sometimes this category goes to the loudest nominee, so maybe The Hobbit could sneak in a win here. But my guess is Gravity.
Best Original Score: Gravity is again expected to win here, but I don't really equate the music with the overall success of the film (it's not the first element I think of, anyway). Saving Mr. Banks has too much non-original music to win and Frozen was criminally left out of this category, so I'm going to predict Her for the win here since the music was a much more a part of that movie. Although Alexandre Desplat is becoming a perennial nominee and hasn't won yet, so maybe this is where they reward Philomena?
Best Original Song: "Let It Go" from Frozen - The Academy has a bad record when it comes to giving the win to songs that will stand the test of time (they passed over Stayin' Alive, to give an example), so this win isn't the guarantee it should be. I just don't know which of the other three they will rally behind, so that should help "Let It Go" get the win it deserves.
The Visual Categories:
(again, no mean name)
Best Makeup & Hairstyling:
Best Visual Effects: Gravity. I mean, come on, what else even stands a chance?
Best Costume Design: Very much an 'anyone-can-win' category. I'm going to go with American Hustle since it has to win somewhere and the work on the costumes was almost as inspired as the makeup and hairstyling (seriously, what is wrong with that branch?).
Best Production Design: Of the movies I've seen, I'd go with Her in a New York minute, but it doesn't really stand a chance, so instead I will go with 12 Years a Slave which looks to have great sets in all of the stills I have seen. But The Great Gatsby and Gravity are legitimate threats.
Best Film Editing: This often goes to the eventual Best Picture winner, so my guess is going to be 12 Years a Slave. If you are picking American Hustle or Gravity, you will want to switch to those.
Best Cinematography: Gravity has swept this category all year, so I expect it to take the Oscar. The only was it doesn't is if there was a sudden groundswell of support for the legendary Roger Deakins' work on Prisoners.
The Majors (Behind the Scenes Division):
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave - I mean, they just added the book it was based on to high school curriculums across the country. I don't see anything else spoiling this.
Best Original Screenplay: Going with Her on this one. American Hustle could easily sneak in and take it, but the screenplay for Her is almost universally praised, so I think it will take it.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. He's won everything it feels like. The only challenger is Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. Either way, only the second non-white director ever is going to win the category (the first being Ang Lee).
The Majors (Out in Front Division):
Best Supporting Actor: This is going to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. He doesn't deserve, it is one of my most hated performances of the year, but he is winning this category. I hope to get this one wrong (I won't.)
Best Supporting Actress: It's a close race between Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle and Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave, but I am going with Lupita Nyong'o since Lawrence did just win last year.
Best Actor: We are in the middle of the McConaissance, so expect Matthew McConaughey to win for Dallas Buyers Club. The only one who could conceivably upset is Leonardo DiCaprio for Wolf of Wall Street, but I don't like his chances.
Best Actress: This has been Cate Blanchett's to lose since Blue Jasmine opened. Amy Adams is the spoiler, but lock this one up for Cate - she's winning it.
The Big One:
Best Picture: This has been a three-way race between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity. I'm going with 12 Years a Slave, but it could go to the other two just as easily. It's rare that the category is undecided at this point, and I'm loving how open it is. Good luck to everyone else making their predictions, and hope you enjoy the show!