Quick and dirty Oscar Predictions. Short as hell explanations.

Best Picture

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Amour
Django Unchained
Argo

Precursor dominance outweighs lack of a directing nod.

Best Director
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

“Lincoln’s” the biggest Best Picture contender listed here.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

He’s been the favorite since he was cast.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Shades of Marion Cotillard’s 2007  upset over the perceived two-woman race of Ellen Page and Julie Christie.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Toughest race to call. Most “leading” nominee+ BAFTA and Golden Globe for Waltz bodes well.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

Lots of predictions calling this for Field. I’m not sensing any momentum shift away from the Hathaway train, however.

Best Animated Feature Film
Frankenweenie
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
ParaNorman
Brave

Just the right combo of critical support, box-office success, and general support of the masses.

Original Screenplay

Flight, John Gatins
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Amour, Michael Haneke
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

This category is often used as a consolation award for a Best Picture loser. Obviously, that could also mean Haneke and Boal.

Adapted Screenplay
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Argo, Chris Terrio
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Life of Pi, David Magee

If Argo wins best picture, the Academy will likely look for another major category to pair its reward with (in lieu of its lack of a directing nod).

Best Foreign-Language Film
Amour (Austria)
No (Chile)
War Witch (Canada)
A Royal Affair (Den)
Kontiki (Norway)

Best Picture nominees don’t tend to lose here.

Original Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Newman and Williams could easily win, but Danna’s score is the lushest and most memorably paired with the scenery. That goes a long way.

Original Song
“Before My Time,” J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
“Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna & Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
“Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy & Seth McFarlane; Ted
“Skyfall,” Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Skyfall

I can’t imagine the Academy letting slip the chance to get on the Adele awards train. I imagine she has a wing to her house devoted to storing them by now.

Achievement in Production Design

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln

This category tends to reward spectacle. I imagine Lincoln or Les Mis could take it as well, but few scenes this year were as visually splendid as the meerkat island in “Life of Pi:”.

Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins

A rock-solid slate of nominees, which ensures that I won’t rip my hair out over the winner (I’ll never quite forgive “Avatar” winning this award). I’d love for Deakins to win for both his remarkable career and his gorgeous work in “Skyfall”, but this award also tends to go to the most obviously luxe film. “Life of Pi” it is.

Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

When in doubt, go with a period film. When three period films are listed, go with the one with the most Keira Knightley.

Best Documentary Feature

5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

Tough to call this category this year. “Searching for Sugar Man” is the biggest crowd-pleaser of the bunch. Keeping an eye on “How to Survive a Plague”, though.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption

I’ve had more success with this category over the years than any other. It’s also the only category I pick based purely on the titles. Go figure.

Achievement in Film Editing
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty really should win this, but again, the whole “Argo’s gonna win Best Picture without a director or acting win to go with it” thing is gonna rear its head again. Unless the Oscar goes to Arkin, which I doubt happens.

Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling
Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Dwarf noses!
Best Animated Short Film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head Over Heels
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
Paperman

This category tends to reward labors of love by singular artists, which might explain why Disney and Pixar rarely win despite some quality offerings in the last decade. They get to have their fun in the feature category, while the perceived little guys have their turn in the spotlight here.
Best Live-Action Short Film

Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
Henry

I watched the trailers for these. “Henry” felt right. I’m tired, guys. I need to finish these up and go to sleep.

Achievement in Sound Editing
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

My friend in the Army told me that this was the first movie he’d seen that made gunfire sound right. That’s got to count for something. I mean, that’s more a sound mixing thing, but who in the hell in the Academy knows the difference in how to judge these categories?
Achievement in Sound Mixing

Argo
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

HEY DID YOU HEAR THAT THIS MOVIE WAS ALL RECORDED LIVE LIKE FOR REAL THAT ENHANCES IT IN SO MANY WAYS BECAUSE NOW EVERYONE SOUNDS LIKE THEY”RE SINGING IN THE SHOWER INSTEAD OF SOUNDING GOOD (I don’t remember writing any of that, but it seems true to my heart and therefore it stays)

Achievement in Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

TIGER FRIEND!

That’s all, folks. See you on the other side, when I hope to not embarrass myself with my picks for once!

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About johnmichaelmaximilian

Freelance writer from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Movies are my favorite thing.

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