For moviephiles, such as we are, Oscar Season truly is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From the start of September to the end of February our minds are all abuzz with all the buzz. Hollywood prepares itself for a magical night – the stars start to stress over their acceptance speeches and dresses. There’s really not much for us to do besides speculate, speculate, speculate – and we are happy to! It means revisiting some of the best films from 2013, including a good batch from last year’s TIFF.

In this series we will be bringing you our opinions on some of the most popular categories and awards, leading right up to the Oscars themselves. So stay tuned and keep an eye on this space for all the Oscar Info you’ll ever want, or need.

The Nominations, and our Picks.
First on the docket – we give you our main pick for winners – and who we think were snubbed.

More details and our opinions on each category, and our detailed opinions and reviews will come out every Sunday leading up to the show – so watch this space (or stay in touch by Twitter or Facebook).

Read Our Review. Winner Picks, by: Angelina | Jason | Chantelle

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
See our full article on The Best Picture Nominations
Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón Gravity
Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

See our Gallery from 12 Years a Slave at TIFF 2013
See our full article on The Best Director Nominations
Best Actor
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
See our full article on The Best Lead Role Nominations
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
See our full article on The Best Supporting Nominations
Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Great Beauty (Italy
Omar (Palestine)
See our full article on The Foreign Film, Visual Effects & More
Bonus Category, because we are nerds:
Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
So there you have it – although if you want to read about our specific reasons for choosing the films we did, you’ll have to come back each Sunday leading up to the show.
In the meantime, you’ll get below our personal outrages and/or disappointments about the films and actors that weren’t nominated:

Who got Snubbed?
Best Picture
RushThe tight, competant direction from Ron Howard, the flawless execution in recreating the time period, racing scenes, the crash sequences, and the subtle but deep performance by Daniel Bruhl produced one of the most satisfying dramatic films of the year.
Fruitvale StationA breakout hit from the Sundance Film Festival, with a strong performance from Michael B. Jordan and a story that packs an emotional punch.
The Way Way BackAnother hit from the Sundance Film Festival, this was one of the best written films of the year, with strong performances from the entire cast but particularly Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying coming-of-age films I’ve seen in a long time.
The HuntYes, it’s getting its due in the Foreign category, but we’ve seen double-ups before and this film absolutely deserves to be recognized as one of the best of the year. Having been pushed from last year’s inclusion by A Royal Affair, I’d like to have seen it get a bit more notoriety.
Best Actor
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips – He should be nominated for just the last 20 minutes of that movie alone, it was some of the finest acting of the year. It’s a crowded field this year with lots of great performances so it’s tough to say which nominee should be taken out and replaced, but I’d probably go with Bruce Dern in Nebraska or Christian Bale in American Hustle.
Mads MikkelsonThe HuntI am convinced that no one at the Academy actually watched this film. His performance is stunning, and should be awarded at least a nomination.
Best Actress emmabanks
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks – All of the nominees in this category are equally deserving so I can’t really name one that I would like to see replaced by Emma Thompson. However I did feel it was a charming standout performance from the year and would have liked to have seen it recognized.
Best Supporting Actor 
Daniel BrühlI would remove either Jonah Hill or Bradley Copper from the nominees in this category and trade in Daniel Brühl for this slot. Brühl transforms to become racing legend Niki Lauda and conveys the complicated relationship he has with James Hunt and the Formula One world with depth and nuiance, giving one of the most dramatic and tragic performances of the year.
Best DirectorJeanLeto 
Jean-Marc Vallée – Dallas Buyers Club – I would remove Alexander Payne or David O. Russell, and replace them with Vallée, who has crafted one of the most emotional and dramatic films of the year. He created a full-developed authentic setting and was able to coax transformative performances out of his two main actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who have given their best work to date in this film.
Best Visual Effects
Pacific RimTake out The Lone Ranger and replace it with this [Note from Chantelle: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes!]. The effects in that film don’t look to be any more impressive than the standard blockbuster. However, the robots and aliens created for Pacific Rim were quite remarkable in scale and detail. The visual effects were the standout element of that film.


So there we have the introduction to our coverage for this year’s Oscars. Hope to see you here back next week for our in-depth look at our Winner picks, first up, the Best Foreign Films & Visual Effects categories.

Read lots more Movie Reviews in our TIFF archive