My favorite night of the year is here – Oscars night! And while the ceremony I grew up watching and loving looks a little different (nine best picture nominees) the feeling I get is still the same. I love movies and all the ceremony and feelings that come with celebrating them.

Because I can’t contain my excitement I thought I’d channel it into a preview post:

“I’ve Ben thinking…random thoughts about Oscars night.”

Ellen. People are asking me what I think about Ellen stepping in to host for the second time. Easy – I love it. She’s just what the Oscars need after a few polarizing years. Of course, there is no substitute for Billy Crystal, but I think Ellen will be great again.

‘Gravity’. Ok, what’s the big deal? I am all for the concept film and being a little different – a movie is a movie after all. But I just wasn’t excited about ‘Gravity’ before I saw it…and I’m definitely not excited after I saw it. I found it to be mildly annoying, self-serving and a little lazy. Movies shouldn’t be complicated – they should have three main components: a great script, great acting and great intangibles (sound, cinematography, meaning, etc.).

Notice I left off directing. While I place tremendous value on the director, the Academy does not. A movie can win best picture without having the best director (which seems odd to me). So, for the sake of a successful movie, you don’t NEED a great director.

Anyway. ‘Gravity’ – you left a lot up in the air.

The best movie that wasn’t nominated. Prisoners. Hands down. Not sure why this movie wasn’t recognized. Maybe it should’ve come out at Christmas?

The best movie nominated for another category. ‘Frozen’. I would argue that this should’ve been nominated for Best Picture. And count me and my four- and eight-year olds in for Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let It Go” (your recipient for Best Song).

The actor we most take for granted. Tom Hanks. His performance in ‘Captain Phillips’ was awesome. The payoff – his release at the end – was powerful. He makes it look too easy and I think we all forget that we’re watching greatness.

Best performance by an inanimate object. Christian Bale’s toupee in the opening scene of ‘American Hustle’.

The Best Actress nominee you need to see. Your winner, Cate Blanchett in ‘Blue Jasmine’. I loved this movie. But I loved Cate Blanchett in it even more. Wow was she great.

Best performance by a supporting actor, not nominated. Josh Gad, for Olaf in ‘Frozen’ Yes, I’m serious. Who should he have bumped? Keep reading.

The supporting actor category. This category is stacked this year. I have no idea who will win. Every time I watch a performance I think ‘oh yea, he’s definitely winning’…until I see the next one. When we saw ‘Captain Phillips’ in the fall I thought Barkhad Abdi would for sure win. Then I saw ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and Johah Hill had a role MADE for him. I thought to myself – ‘oh yea, he’s definitely winning.’ Then I saw ‘American Hustle’ and thought ‘oh yea, Christian Bale is winning for Best Actor’; and then right after that I thought ‘oh yea, Jonah Hill is definitely still winning for Best Supporting Actor’ (sorry Bradley Cooper – you’re kind of outta your league here).

And then I saw ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and realized that nobody else in any of the Actor categories stands a chance.

Best costume design. ‘American Hustle’, for every outfit Amy Adams wore.

Who’s winning best picture? Beats me. Probably ‘Gravity’, which, again, see my first bullet. I would vote for ‘American Hustle’, easily.

Have fun Sunday – and don’t forget to follow along with me on Twitter @BenBrugler. I will be live tweeting and looking forward to the conversation!