The 2013 Oscar nominees

 And so it's that time of year again. Award 'season'. That special spot in the year where we can all feel a little better about ourselves by judging the talent, skill and dress sense of those whose success is relatively way over-blown. Ah, I can almost smell the self-esteem boost now.  

Who will be drunk at the mic this year? Who won't do their best loser face and instead look downright pissed? Most importantly: who will trip over on their way up to the stage? Frankly, Jen Lawrence has had the spotlight for too long on that one. Time for another up-and-comer to be the great 'tripper of 2013.'

There are few things that are quite as weird as the award season, but it's difficult to resist at least a passing interest. I suppose it's the arts world's version of international sport. The strategies start years in advance. The November/Christmas release season is intensely filled with obvious hopefuls (Blue JasmineGravity, American Hustle), Some try, but don't ever really make it out of the gate (The Book Thief sadly hasn't appeared to get off the ground.)

The category to watch this year, of course, is Best Actress. It's a tight field. Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomenia) and Merryl Streep (August: Osage County). Personally, I think it's between Sandra and Cate. And I wouldn't have necessarily seen it as such before the Golden Globes. I know it's distinctly un-Australian of me but I wasn't particularly moved by Cate in Blue Jasmine. She gave a knock-out performance that displayed enormous skill and artistry. She is one of the best actresses in the world today. But for subtlety, and the sustained arc, Sandra Bullock's performance in Gravity is Olympic in its athleticism.

As usual for Australians there's a bunch of films that are unrecognisable, as they are absurdly still yet to be released. Her is in this category, which I'm very excited to see, as is Nebraska, which I much admit I hadn't heard of until the announcement this morning. 

For the plethora of other nominations, it's anyone's game, although I'd say Alfonso (Gravity) and David (American Hustle) will have to battle it out for Best Director. They may be usurped by Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, however, which I feel stands a good chance of whipping clean almost every category it's nominated in. The nature of the competition being American, political, and it's high value of theme, would make 12 Years a Slave a clear leader in the field this year. I must admit, I'm yet to see it, but am looking forward to it. 

Either way, what does it matter? According to mainstream Australian news, 'our Cate' got a nom, so hoorah for us! (The costume designer for American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson, is also Australian, and I daresay likely to get the gong.) So slap on your Southern Cross temporary tattoo, send out your Facebook invites for the big night, and get your *gif maker on standby. They're coming.