Blanchett set for best actress win

What started out as the most competitive Oscars in memory has narrowed down to one of the more predictable, with Cate Blanchett heading a long list of certainties.

Blanchett has won virtually every award leading up to Monday morning's Academy Awards and nothing will stop her getting the best actress Oscar for her magnificent performance as a fallen socialite in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

There has been talk that allegations of sexual abuse against Allen by the daughter of his former partner Mia Farrow may damage Blanchett's chances.

However, members of the academy have demonstrated a willingness to separate off-screen scandal from on-screen achievement - they gave Roman Polanski a best director Oscar for The Pianist despite his past - so Blanchett will win her second Oscar.

She will almost certainly be joined by fellow Australian Catherine Martin, who is nominated for both costumes and production design on her husband Baz Luhrmann's hit The Great Gatsby.

There is still a slim chance of an upset in the best picture category, with Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave the deserving frontrunner but American Hustle and Gravity nipping at its heels. Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron will most likely be given best director as a consolation prize for not winning best movie, continuing the long tradition at the Oscars of dividing the two categories to spread the love - it makes no sense but it's now a tradition.

Matthew McConaughey's rich performance as an unlikely AIDS-era entrepreneur in Dallas Buyers Club makes him a best actor favourite, but there is a strong campaign to give Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar for the controversial and I believe grossly overrated The Wolf of Wall Street.

Jared Leto will likely match his Dallas Buyers Club co-star and collect the prize for best supporting actor, a remarkable achievement for a man whose day job is heading the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.

If there is to be an upset - and there always is - it will come in the best supporting actress category where newcomer Lupita Nyong'o is neck and neck with American Hustle's It girl Jennifer Lawrence.

'If there is an upset . . . it will come in the best supporting actress category.'"

The West Australian

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