Every year at the Oscars, there are surprises. Think Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained, or perhaps the surprise surge for Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. This year has some variables, though not as many as one might hope.

Give credit where credit is due: Cate Blanchett found a way to make her likely best actress Oscar win mean something. As she showed at the BAFTAs this year, it’s likely she will dedicate her win to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, which will sidestep the current controversy over Woody Allen and all that surrounds it. It’s possible other actors or actresses will also mention the actor, but Blanchett — who costarred with Hoffman in 1999′s The Talented Mr. Ripley – had a personal relationship with him, and in some ways it feels like she’s called that, just as Daniel Day-Lewis was the appointed actor to talk about Heath Ledger when he passed away. She might just have smooth sailing yet.

There are a couple categories that seem questionable, partly because of the BAFTAs this year. Could Chiwetel Ejiofor eke out a win over Matthew McConaughey? That’s in play. As is best picture, which is a three film race, though American Hustle may hold some advantage as an actor’s picture. But it seems that the most likely big upset would be Jennifer Lawrence, who just won the BAFTA, winning over Lupita Nyong’o, who won the SAG award. Nyong’o has few credits, and 12 Years a Slave is her first big screen role, but newcomers and up and comers often get this award. And they also like giving supporting actor awards to important films, and performers they aren’t necessarily sure will have a promising career. Jennifer Hudson didn’t earn a career because of her win, nor did Melissa Leo’s career blow up because of her win. It’s not the same as a best actor/actress award that way. Usually it goes to newcomers, or hard workers.

To her benefit, Jennifer Lawrence is the toast of the town. She’s likely to give a fun speech, which could be just enough incentive for her to win. But between those two, there seems to be more room for variation than some of the other categories.

We’re almost at the end, but I’ll have something fun for next week. That said, this is such a off year in terms of awards. There’s no real passion, maybe because the Weinsteins don’t have a front runner. Like when The Artist won, it seems whomever gets the big prize, it’s almost an afterthought at this point, and no one will think about it in ten years.

Who would you want to upset this year?