Winning an Academy Award isn’t always about delivering the best performance. Consciously or not, Oscar voters also take into account other extracurricular factors regarding the nominees before casting their votes, and awards publicists try to anticipate that by creating a narrative around their nominees that will hopefully propel them to the podium. The Oscar narrative can be as simple as “He should have won last year,” or “She worked the hardest,” but it can also involve a lot of outside factors, including age, personality, and adversity overcome in real life. Sandra Bullock’s Oscar narrative last year? “This may be your only chance to reward one of our biggest, most-liked actresses.” How about Jeff Bridges? “He’s never won an Oscar before, so consider this his lifetime achievement award.” What will be the careful narratives carved for the nominees in this year’s major categories? Read on, and get ready for these messages to be repeated often over the next month.