Awards season is in full swing. Oscar nominations arrive on Thursday, Jan. 16. The Critics Choice Movie Awards announce their winners that evening. And on Sunday night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hands out its annual trophies at the Golden Globes.

We expect to see a lot of bleed-over between Globes nominees and Oscar nominees by the time the Academy reveals its contenders this year. Winners at the Globes have no real effect on Oscar. For one thing, the Globes are selected by the 90-some-odd members of the eclectic HFPA, and not the Academy. Plus, Oscar ballots were due in before the Globes are announced, so winning a Globe can’t really help someone's Oscar campaign.

But it’s still fun to handicap the Globes races, and this year has some particularly tight categories. (See their nominees here.) We’ll be popping popcorn and tracking these battles from the comforts of our sofa… and live-blogging the whole affair here on CinemaBlend (so be sure to come back Sunday night and join us). Who will be making their speeches Sunday evening? Let’s analyze these five too-tough-to-call categories.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Outside of Idris Elba, who has gained very little traction in the actual Oscar race, these are the four names I expect to see on Oscar’s ballots come Thursday: Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Robert Redford, All Is Lost; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; and Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave. Any of those four could win on Sunday, and I wouldn’t be shocked. I have been saying all along that McConaughey was the frontrunner in a stacked Actor category for his outstanding turn in Club. But Ejiofor, Hanks and Redford might be delivering career-best performances. Imagine how much more difficult this category would be if Elba had been replaced by Leonardo DiCaprio or Joaquin Phoenix (both of whom are in the Musical or Comedy category).

Our Guess: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

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