It’s time to put up, or shut up. After months of tracking the ongoing Academy Awards race in our regular Awards Blend column, I finally have to put my official Oscar picks in the books And I’ll be 100% honest with you… I don’t feel comfortable with a few of them. This year, more than any other in recent memory, major categories still feel like they are a coin flip – and we are days away from Sunday’s ceremony. Best Picture looks like a three-picture race (four, if you wanted to make the argument). Best Supporting Actor could make a hard left turn. There’s mystery, which leads to excitement.

Other categories, on the other hand, appear to be locks. (Get your speech ready, Mr. DiCaprio). And then there’s the bit of good fortune accrued by the Academy of having Chris Rock as the host before the #OscarsSoWhite controversy hit. Who better to comment on the situation – and hold the Academy’s own feet over the fire they have created – than Rock? So, as we head into the actual final stretch of the lengthy Oscar marathon, here are my best-guess picks for Sunday’s competition, as well as explanations as to why I’m leaning in each direction. What do you think?

Alicia Vikander
Best Supporting Actress
I’m going with the beautiful and talented Alicia Vikander, who really should be competing in the Best Actress race (as she shares just as much screen time in The Danish Girl as he co-star – the equally nominated Eddie Redmayne), and also should be rewarded for what ended up being an outstanding year. Vikander also deserved a nomination for her clinical work as an experimental A.I. in the brilliant Ex Machina. And while all five actresses in this category gave outstanding performances, the weight of the circumstances befalling Vikander’s Danish Girl character should propel her to a win on Sunday.

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