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Oscar Watching: And the Nominees Are…

The Oscar Nominations were announced today by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, and, well…

I paid attention to the Oscars somewhat near the end of 2007 when the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men took the big wins, but my first full year of keeping tabs on Oscar was 2008, when Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire dominated. I became adamant about the awards season in 2009, when Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker won top prizes over James Cameron’s megahit Avatar and Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar comeback Inglourious Basterds.

This all goes to say, in my four years of following the awards season like a hawk, I haven’t seen anything quite like this. Even Sasha Stone, the founder of Awards Daily who’s been paying attention to the Oscar for far longer than I have, tweeted that “this is the most unpredictable Oscar year [she’s] ever seen.”

So-called sure things miss now and again, yes, but no Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow in the directing race? I suppose I overestimated the chances of Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, which is phenomenal, possibly winning. Films like David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and my beloved Amour from Michael Haneke surprised for nods in both best director and best picture, but it’s doubtful that anything topples Lincoln when Oscar night rolls around next month.

Check out all the nominations over at the Oscars’ official site and my analysis of the top eight races below.


Best Picture (Prediction accuracy: 8/9 – Django Unchained was my #10)

It feels like Lincoln’s to lose, but even with Argo and Zero Dark Thirty likely out of its way, Steven Spielberg’s film still might face some competition. Silver Linings Playbook became the first film to get nods in all four acting races since Warren Beatty’s 1981 film Reds, which took prizes for best supporting actress and best director. Of course, Silver Linings snagged less support in the crafts races than Reds did, but if there’s enough support for it, it might happen. Maybe Ang Lee’s Life of Pi poses a threat? This might all just be babble, honestly. Lincoln looks like the obvious winner despite the shakeups of the morning since it leads with 12 bids.

1. Lincoln

2. Life of Pi

3. Silver Linings Playbook

4. Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Argo

6. Zero Dark Thirty

7. Les Misérables

8. Amour

9. Django Unchained


Best Director (Prediction accuracy: 3/5)

The Directors Guild of America only predicted two of this year’s five directing nominees. Affleck, Bigelow, and Tom Hooper (Les Misérables) sat out for Haneke, Russell, and Zeitlin, while DGA nominees Lee and Spielberg made the cut. So, they’re the only ones in the running to win, right? Unlike Spielberg, Lee got in with BAFTA, so this might actually be a two-horse race up until Oscar night. Still, expect Spielberg to win here.

1. Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

2. Ang Lee for Life of Pi

3. David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

4. Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Michael Haneke for Amour


Best Actress in a Leading Role (Prediction accuracy: 5/5)

Jennifer Lawrence likely walks away with this. Of course, that line of thinking is nothing new, but the unexpected love for Silver Linings Playbook bolsters her cause, and the unexpected exclusion of Zero Dark Thirty in the best director race signals that there’s less all-around love for the film, which might hinder Jessica Chastain’s chances of winning. This is now the moment where I’m entertaining myself with the idea of an Emmanuelle Riva upset… an Oscar lover can dream, can’t he? There’s also Quvenzhané Wallis, and her film got tons of love. Despite the nods from various groups, Naomi Watts probably doesn’t factor into this too much since she’s the sole nomination for The Impossible.

1. Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

2. Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

3. Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

4. Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Naomi Watts for The Impossible


Best Actor in a Leading Role (Prediction accuracy: 5/5)

Neither the somewhat surprising inclusion of Joaquin Phoenix nor the oddity of the nominations overall shake up the race: Daniel Day-Lewis still wins.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

2. Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

3. Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables

4. Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

5. Denzel Washington for Flight

les mis2

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Prediction accuracy: 4/5)

Never underestimate Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter: He called that shocker nod for Jacki Weaver that I didn’t see anyone else bother to predict. (I had Maggie Smith in her place.) I doubt she’s a threat to win, but her nomination further proves there’s love for Silver Linings Playbook all around. Anne Hathaway should still win for Les Mis, but perhaps the front-runner stance of Lincoln bumps Sally Field ahead of her.

1. Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

2. Sally Field for Lincoln

3. Amy Adams for The Master

4. Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

5. Helen Hunt for The Sessions


Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Prediction accuracy: 4/5)

Love for Skyfall this season was wildly exaggerated as this morning’s nominations showed us, so I was too eager to include Javier Bardem and too hesitant to throw Christoph Waltz into my lineup yesterday. The new surge for Silver Linings Playbook suggests Robert De Niro is a bigger threat than once believed, though Tommy Lee Jones still leads.

1. Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

2. Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook

3. Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

4. Alan Arkin for Argo

5. Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained


Best Original Screenplay (Prediction accuracy: 4/5)

Didn’t see The Master missing out here, and I really didn’t think Flight would get in over something like Looper. The nominations did a number on any and all predictions we once saw as solid, so maybe Haneke wins here? It’s not like Mark Boal, perceived as the front-runner as recently as yesterday, hasn’t won before.

1. Michael Haneke for Amour

2. Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty

3. Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

4. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom

5. John Gatins for Flight


Best Adapted Screenplay (Prediction accuracy: 5/5)

Just like that, Chris Terrio went from near the top of my list to the very bottom as there’s apparently more support for other films. Honestly, it’s odd throwing him into the last spot and confusing to rank this race at all. Well, except when it comes to obvious front-runner Tony Kushner.

1. Tony Kushner for Lincoln

2. David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

3. David Magee for Life of Pi

4. Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar for Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Chris Terrio for Argo

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The Author

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.