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Oscar Leaderboard: Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lawrence Become Frontrunners

Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence
From left: Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jared Leto. (Getty Images)The Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning, and now that we've had plenty of time to digest the various snubs and surprises, we've decided to pick the frontrunners. Sunday's Golden Globes definitely had an affect on the race. After taking those awards into account, it's looking more and more like Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lawrence are going to win their respective categories. But those aren't the only shake-ups. Check out the full list of nominees below along with a look at how we think these races are panning out.

Oscar Date: Sunday, March 2

Last week we predicted if anyone was going to be snubbed in this category it would be Meryl Streep for her divisively dramatic role in August: Osage County. Instead it was Emma Thompson who was bumped, letting Amy Adams slip in for American Hustle — which changes things considerably. After picking up a Golden Globe, Cate Blanchett is also expected to pick up a SAG for her role in Blue Jasmine. But with Adams in the race, for the first time Cate looks vulnerable.

This is all kind of crazy because we're guessing Amy got into this category with the fewest votes since she was left out of the SAG noms. But now that she's in that doesn't matter. She's the only nominee who hasn't won an Oscar before, and she's riding in on a wave of goodwill for American Hustle, which is tied with Gravity for the most nominations. A lot of people feel like she deserves an Oscar, and they might want to give it to her now because, hey, Cate's got her awards. So in a very unlikely scenario, the nominee who seems to have snuck into the race is also Cate's only real competition. We predict white knuckles on Oscar night.

Congratulations Matthew McConaughey. After an epic Golden Globes acceptance speech and a flawless awards season, you're the new frontrunner! Chiwetel Ejiofor is more vulnerable than ever at this point. It's hard not to love McConaughey's story — coming back from a romcom career slump is no easy task, and pushing for years to get your AIDS drama passion project made shows dedication. This group of nominees is extraordinarily talented. It's probably the best set of nominees we've seen in the category in years. Any one of them could walk away with the Oscar and it would feel right. Even the leftovers (sorry about your snub, Tom) were great.
Best Supporting Actress race
After Sunday's Globes, it's hard not to think Jennifer Lawrence has taken the lead in this two-way race. It would be a shocker to see anyone but Lawrence or Lupita Nyong'o win this one. Thursday's nominees included a wonderful surprise with Sally Hawkins getting in for Blue Jasmine, but it came at the expense of a memorable performance from one-time frontrunner Oprah Winfrey.

Jared Leto's march toward an Oscar win is showing no signs of slowing down. He's now won the Globe, and is expected to pick up the SAG and the Oscar. Thursday morning's nominations were, however, pretty interesting here. Tom Hanks and Daniel Bruhl were left out while Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill made it in. Hill, especially, is an X-factor. Much like Amy Adams in the Best Actress race, we're guessing he was nominated with the fewest votes, but with the kind of high-energy crazy role Academy voters love, he's not necessarily fodder in this category. He could turn out to be a real threat to Leto's reign of actorly supremacy.
Gravity is tied with American Hustle for the most nominations, but in a strange twist, it could end up shut out of all six core categories. Its one hope is Alfonso Cuarón. He is the frontrunner, but he's not a lock. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Steve McQueen is his biggest competition, but I'd be willing to wager David O. Russell is the real threat. American Hustle not only came up big Thursday morning. It has a solid chance of winning three other Oscars in the core categories (Actress, Supporting Actress, and Picture), and it would seem like Russell was robbed if the Academy decided not to give him the award for Best Director.
If you had any doubt about the quality of this year's movies, look no further than this list. Even the leftovers made loads of critics' year-end lists, and every one of these pictures is really worth seeing. The only surprise is that there were only nine nominees when the also-rans are so strong. 12 Years a Slave will probably get a win here — if for no other reason than Academy voters wanting the "right" picture to occupy this spot in history. But it's not a lock. In fact it seems more vulnerable than ever given American Hustle's strong showing at the Globes and in the nominations. We were surprised to see Philomena make this list while at least three movies seemed to have better odds, but Harvey Weinstein is one of the all-time great Oscar campaigners, and we have to think that had something to do with it.
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