The Revenant leads the pack with 12 nominations, ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road with 10 (oh my, a blockbuster??).
Thing is, when the competition's this tight, how will you know for sure who's going to win? Let's take a look at the main categories.
THE BIG SHORT / BRIDGE OF SPIES / BROOKLYN / MAD MAX: FURY ROAD / THE MARTIAN / THE REVENANT / ROOM / SPOTLIGHT
Look at that list. LOOK AT IT. Those films are dripping with 'classic' monikers already.
The weakest is the Spielberg flick Bridge of Spies, which says a lot. As good as Bridge of Spies is (and it really is) it's just same-old Steven (over-produced etc.), not much really happens and it's no Schindler's List that's for sure.
Room is a masterfully rounded film that sticks to convention and pays off; Brooklyn a wonderfully constructed and highly original rom-com. Thing is - INDIES RARELY WIN.
Though what a year for blockbusters, eh? Both Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian get nods. Mad Max created 'action-art' whilst The Martian got Ridley Scott on track (fucking miracle considering his last few outings) and Matt Damon in prime acting form. Alas, neither will win because they're blockbusters.
Both The Big Short and Spotlight are factual based dramas with gutsy performances from star-studded casts - the Academy's wet dream. They'll both have shots at winning big, but...
...The Revenant: the hype is all behind it, and it's a tour-de-force of cinema. This will be the cherry on the cake for what will undoubtedly be a big night for the survivalist thriller epic.
PS. SHOCKER ALERT: why wasn't Carol nominated?? It's been raking in awards all season.
MONEY ON: THE REVENANT
The two fillers here are Cranston (for Trumbo) and Damon (for The Martian) - I'll admit it's a career high performance for the latter, but it's still not enough.
Certainly, it's great to see the continued dominance of British talent in Fassbender and Redmayne. A more impressive feat for Redmayne, considering this is his second Best Actor nom in a row (he won last year lest we forget). Many didn't like Steve Jobs but I did - the bookies agree with me and place Fassbender in third for the gong behind Redmayne.
Shout it from the rooftops - hallelujah! and all that jazz - DiCaprio WILL win that elusive Oscar. He was incredible, as is becoming the recurring theme. Finally, DiCaprio has managed to peak in a year where there's no competition.
MONEY ON: DICAPRIO
An odd mix this.
Jennifer Lawrence is not that good in Joy... why can no-one see this?? It's an average, mundane performance.
Ronan wasn't even the best actor in Brooklyn, she's certainly an outsider. And as for Rampling: whilst she deserves the nod, she's not on the same PLANET as the two remaining talents.
I'm tied between Blanchett (Carol) and Larson (Room). The Golden Globe went to Larson and Blanchett won an Oscar as recently as 2014. My mate banked on Larson before I saw Room and I guffawed at the idea... but now they may seem to be right (fuck you, Todd). Personally I want Blanchett to win, but reason dictates Larson will nick it.
MONEY ON: LARSON
The biggest shock of the Golden Globes was Stallone winning for his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed.
And suddenly the tables have turned - this is one of the few free-for-all categories that I have no certainty. I'd argue Stallone was the weakest of the bunch, even if it is a career best performance. Bale (The Big Short) and Ruffalo (Spotlight) were just cogs in the machine of great casts that made their respective films tick.
However, Rylance was the highlight of Bridge of Spies, as was Hardy in The Revenant. Hardy's more deserving of the award - having put in great performances all year, with Legend and Mad Max. Stallone could get the sympathy vote... we'll have to wait and see.
MONEY ON: RYLANCE
Mara was outstanding in Carol, not quite at Blanchett's level, but then again who is?
McAdams and Winslet (in Spotlight and Steve Jobs respectively), much like Bale and Ruffalo, were part of a bigger picture - the cast was the standout, not the individuals.
Whilst Vikander had a strong year with Ex Machina and The Danish Girl she's not achieving greatness - if she keeps it up I'm certain she'll win many, many Oscars. Jason Leigh is at a similar level - quintessentially evil in The Hateful Eight but not extraordinary.
With Winslet's Golden Globe and BAFTA, I think she'll take one home for the Brits. Just.
MONEY ON: WINSLET
A strong, strong field of directing legends.
Miller's nom for Mad Max will surely be just a consolation. The two Mac's - McKay (The Big Short) and McCarthy (Spotlight) - deserve their nods but their films work because of their casts. Many consider Abrahamson (Room) the outsider, but I reckon he's the dark horse.
But everyone else might as well bow before Innaritu - it's going to be a great night for the Mexican. It's one thing directing the masterpiece that is Birdman but to release The Revenant a year later?? He is a genius.
MONEY ON: INNARITU
I love Best Original Screenplay - aka Best Cult Film of the Year - it's normally Tarantino's Oscar solace, alas he has not been nominated. Straight Outta Compton's biggest nom came here. It would be nice if Inside Out won - it's script truly was phenomenal - but I wonder if the #OscarSoWhite backlash will give Straight Outta Compton a boost? It's tough to decide, but I'd like to think Pixar will make history: animated films need to be taken seriously as art forms.
MONEY ON: INSIDE OUT
If Carol's gonna get any award besides acting then this is Todd Haynes's best shot. However, Room and The Martian were highly detailed, as was Brooklyn - many praised their transition to the screen. Something tells me the Academy will go for Room - it was probably better than the book, how often do we say that?
MONEY ON: ROOM
Little competition for Inside Out - it's going to be another trophy for Pixar's cabinet.
MONEY ON: INSIDE OUT
A fight between all the major films: The Revenant and Carol could win Cinematography, Mad Max could win Costume, even The Force Awakens has noms for Sound and Visual Effects... what's certain is that only a couple of the best picture nominees will end the night big.
Harry also writes for The HEC Review.