Should Win: Blanchett's performance is the most complex here, playing a bitterly unlikable socialite both before and after her life falls apart.
Should Have Been a Contender: The most naked (emotionally, though physically, too) performance of the year was Adele Exarchopoulos in the French drama "Blue Is the Warmest Color." But what about Melissa McCarthy in "The Heat"? Is anyone funnier right now?
Will Win: Blanchett, as an unraveling upper class dame, was so pure and direct that her neurosis seemed instinctive.
Should Win: Blanchett for her layered dethroned lady.
Should Have Been a Contender: Julie Delpy. In "Before Midnight" she was the French everywoman: Nurturing, sensual, feisty and vulnerable. Plus, she had a saucy way with words while arguing topless.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The Nominees: 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."
Will Win: Leto is exceptional and unforgettable as transgender Rayon.
Should Win: Returning to acting after a six-year hiatus, Leto left nothing behind when portraying a prostitute dying of AIDS. He's both bold and defenseless.
Should Have Been a Contender: Will Forte in "Nebraska." He plays a sweet and caring son, but those impromptu comedic chops (thanks, "Saturday Night Live"), which are punctuated by his dry delivery, are as solid as ever.
Will Win: Leto is the surest bet of the evening.
Should Win: Fassbender. He deserved nominations for Steve McQueen's first two films ("Hunger," ''Shame"), so his larger body of work deserves honoring. Plus, how many rising-star heartthrobs would opt to play such an ugly plantation owner without letting on (like DiCaprio in "Django Unchained") that it's just an act?
Should Have Been a Contender: James Franco, for his jaw-dropping, hysterical extremes in "Spring Breakers." Alternatively, an opportunity was missed to honor the late James Gandolfini, so gentle (and more like himself) in "Enough Said."
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The Nominees: Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"; Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"; Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"; Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"; June Squibb, "Nebraska."
Will Win: Lawrence. This could very well go to the awards season breakout star Nyong'o, but few don't love JLaw, who would accomplish the rare feat of back-to-back years of Oscar wins.
Should Win: Squibb. "Nebraska" needs her bite.
Should Have Been a Contender: Carey Mulligan, for her foul-mouthed fury in "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Will Win: Newcomer Nyong'o's performance of tortured field slave Patsey was heartbreaking and haunting.
Should Win: Nyong'o. She is dauntless. Though both Squibb and Lawrence were irresistibly charismatic.
Should Have Been a Contender: Lea Seydoux for her passionate portrayal of a raw and tender lesbian in "Blue is the Warmest Color." Also, few actresses could play a figure as loathsome, yet unequivocally cardinal as Sarah Paulson in "12 Years a Slave."
Follow AP Film Writer Jessica Herndon on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/somekind
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake—coyle