In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

This is the second year of the Best Makeup and Hairstyling moniker, as the category was formerly named just "Best Makeup." Our first winner under that banner was "Les Misérables," a showcase of both prosthetic work and hair design, but the transformative stuff will always be the stand-out for the Academy. Our nominees this year are an assorted bunch to say the least, prestige mingling with blockbuster and comedy entertainment. As ever, the branch went its own way, focused on the work more than a film's place in the Best Picture race, which can't be said for quite a few other craft branches over the last few years.

The nominees are…

"Dallas Buyers Club" (Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews)
This is where the safe money lies, as "Dallas Buyers Club" was obviously a favorite with the Academy. Its nominations both here and in Best Film Editing could be perceived as surprise notices, but the makeup in particular was pretty amazing. And on a super-tight budget at that (just $250, reportedly). Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews had to put in a lot of work to amplify the effects of the very real weight loss actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto endured, hollowing out eyes and embossing the nearly skeletal frame of men suffering from HIV. I would expect voters to instinctively check off this box once they get a load of the other films on the ballot. (Check out our interview with Lee and Mathews here.)

"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" (Stephen Prouty)
That last note above wasn't a slight on the other two nominees, mind you. The third, which we'll get to in a moment, was a craft showcase, while "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" faced a tall order indeed. It's one thing to create applications that hold up under the camera's scrutiny, but to create something that can survive the kind of physical torture Johnny Knoxville's aged prosthetics had to endure is another. You buy it every step of the way as the work goes a long way toward carving out a fully functioning character. Meanwhile, Paramount made a concerted effort to get Prouty and his work out there in the wake of the nomination. If anything is a dark horse, it's probably this one. (Check out our interview with Prouty here.)

"The Lone Ranger" (Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny)
The Academy isn't wont to reward box office failure, and much hay was made of the nearly $200 million write-down that was "The Lone Ranger." The film still turned up a pair of nominations (both here and in Best Visual Effects), but that's specific craftspeople rewarding the work with a notice. Get 6,000 Academy members on the case and things are different. It becomes about favorite movies throughout these categories more than anything else, and I doubt "The Lone Ranger," with its impressive aging work and gnarly period detail, is anyone's favorite movie, particularly in a category with a Best Picture nominee.

Will win: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Could win: "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"
Should win: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Should have been here: "Rush"

It wasn't the greatest year for standouts here, I don't think. There was stuff I liked and stuff that really didn't work in the same movie ("Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" come to mind). The "Rush" application may have been short-lived in the film, but it was pretty great. Overall, though, the nominees were a good set, and I imagine the film the Academy clearly liked the most is going to be our winner.

What do you think deserves to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling this year? Vote in our poll below.

Who should have been here instead? Have your say in the comments section.

HitFix Poll

What do you think deserves to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling?