With the star-studded evening almost here, Moviefone will be releasing a set of staff predictions each day this week (in countdown fashion) for the six major categories. We've already predicted Best Picture, Best Actor, and more, so now to kick off Oscar weekend, we bring you perhaps the hottest race of them all: Best Supporting Actress.
Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o have been going neck and neck all season for their work in "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave," respectively, but only one will walk away with the little gold man. While Lawrence is fresh off her Best Actress win last year for "Silver Linings Playbook" and the blockbuster "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," Nyong'o is a newcomer who has seriously turned heads in her first role -- and on the red carpet.
We've already given you the beat on the Best Supporting Actress nominees, so now let's break down our favorites to win the award. Here, we've listed the actresses we expect to win, and then, more importantly, who we think should win.
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o. The breakout star of "12 Years a Slave" has already scooped up a SAG award for her part in Steve McQueen's biographical epic. Plus, the Academy isn't so fast-and-loose with handing out multiple Oscars back-to-back to the same person, so, as the only other frontrunner in the category, Jennifer Lawrence chances are slimmer than they'd otherwise be.
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o. If you've seen "12 Years a Slave," you already know why she should win. If you haven't seen it, shame on you. Nyong'o, who can also be seen in this week's "Non-Stop" opposite Liam Neeson, is so compelling as Patsey that she, simply put, steals every scene she's in (sorry, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, but it's true). Plus, her performance is heads above Jennifer Lawrence's loose-canon housewife. Go see "12 Years," and I guarantee that Nyong'o will break your heart.
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o. Lupita has been flying under the radar for most of the awards season, but her much-deserved SAG win (and adorable speech) planted her firmly at the top of the heap. It doesn't hurt that she's been killing it on the red carpet and getting tons of press because of it. Plus, have you seen that Vanity Fair cover? She looks like an Oscar statuette. I failed psychology but I'm pretty sure that's a gold Freudian slip. No? Subliminal messaging? Yeah, that one.
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o. Lupita's performance as Patsey showed a range and depth I'd expect from a seasoned veteran rather than someone appearing in their first feature film. I hope a win on Oscar night is the start of a long career for her. And no, 'Non-Stop 2' doesn't count.
Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong'o. Out of all the nominees, Lupita gave the best performance, period. But J-Law's life has become its own cottage industry for both Hollywood and the public; she's not really a person anymore, but a pop-culture tidal wave, propelled in part by her collaboration with "Hustle"/"Silver Linings" director David O. Russell. Also an acceptance speech would bring highly coveted ratings to the telecast, so there's always that motivation. (sorry Tumblr, don't hate me for my cynicism)
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o. The Supporting Awards typically serve as a break-out showcase for actors you're unfamiliar with, who burst onto the scene with a dynamic role that pops with unforgettable energy. "12 Years" is filled with heavy performances, but Nyong'o's turn as the sexually abused slave Patsy is even more note-worthy when you realize it's her first movie performance. Ever.
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o. The Yale-trained actress is outstanding in her performance as a used and abused "slave-mistress" in "12 Years a Slave" and her several wins this awards season show that industry voters agree. Nyong'o has been splitting the honors with Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"), which admittedly makes me nervous, but she also has shined on the red carpet -- excellent exposure that surprisingly means more than one would think, particularly for a newcomer.
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o. She plays a tormented soul and could easily play second-fiddle to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, both of whom are nominated for their performances, but Nyong'o absolutely entrenches herself in the part and makes everyone ask, "Where did she come from?" Also, as much as I typically love Lawrence, it felt she was doing far too much with her "American Hustle" role. The writing was great, yet, ultimately, it felt like a 23 year-old was playing a part meant for someone at least 30. Oh wait...
What's your pick? Tell us in the comments below, and find out which star wins Best Supporting Actress when the Oscars air live Sunday, March 2 at 7 ET / 4 PT on ABC.
Related Articles: Oscar Predictions 2014: What Movie Will Win Best Picture?, Oscar Predictions 2014: Who Will Win Best Actor?, Oscar Predictions 2014: Who Will Win Best Actress?