Making Oscar predictions is something of a fool's errand, if only because no one really has any idea what the quixotic Academy will do on Sunday.

Sure, you could make an educated guess based on reading the tea leaves and sussing out the trends established in prior awards shows, but the reality is that there will be a surprise or two, especially in a year like this one, which lacks a clear Best Picture front-runner.

At various times over the course of this awards season, which began in earnest with the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals last August and September, "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle" and "Gravity" have seemed like the movies to beat. Days before the Oscars, the future remains cloudy.

Nonetheless, the following represents one man's crack at predicting the winners. Hopefully, at least some of these will pan out.