The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 2, 2014

And the winner is ... Free Press movie enthusiast predicts tonight's Oscar winners

Free Press movie enthusiast predicts tonight's Oscar winners

I've always made a big night of the Oscars — a little vino, Oscar ballot checked off and at the ready, at least three hours of pre-ceremony red carpet action.

Tonight, however, will be extra special. All of the above certainly will still be in effect at Casa de Dyslin. But having been right there at the entrance to the Dolby Theatre just a few days ago — right where Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lawrence and George Clooney step from their limos — I will feel so much more connected. (I attended a journalism conference in Los Angeles and took in the sites while I was there.)

I mean, as an ordinary Minnesotan, standing outside the Dolby and fogging up the glass — straining desperately to catch a glimpse of something, anything, like a rolled-up red carpet or maybe a cleaning lady — you likely won't get much closer than that to actually attending the Academy Awards, right?

And so, as such, this year I feel uniquely qualified to predict the outcome of the 86th-annual Oscars, simply given the fact that my presence near the sacred grounds in Hollywood has made me at one with the event and its many famous guests.

Here's what the Academy Spirits whispered to me on the Santa Ana winds last week:

Best Picture

Nominees: “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Who will win: The gravitas-loving Academy will give it to “12 Years a Slave,” and probably should. I've gone back and forth between the brilliant ensemble dramedy “American Hustle” and “12 Years” as my favorite film this year.

“Hustle” is the story of con man Irving Rosenfeld and his lover/partner Sydney Prossner, who are coerced into working for the FBI. Offering a completely new perspective on slavery in the United States, “12 Years” is the story of free black man Solomon Northup who is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

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