Predicting the Academy Awards is an annual obsession of mine. I have been doing it for 14 years and I can undoubtedly say that it is a difficult and fine art. This race has turned out to be one of the most exciting in years, with many fields wickedly wide open. So with out further ado, here are my final predictions for The 85th Annual Academy Awards in 21 categories. Nominees are listed in order of certainty:
(BLUE = Lock)
Not since 2007 has a Best Picture race been so evasively problematic. In fact this year is harder due to the rule change that occurred last year where, in needing a certain number of no. 1 votes, anywhere from 5 to 10 pictures could be nominated indefinitely.
I feel that five are safe.
Lincoln and Argo are in lead, with unanimous love.
Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty and LesMiserables, despite all hiking through bumpy roads to get here, are all locked.
Even though it has appeared in all the precursors (except SAG), Life of Pi is not locked, but I will be very surprised if it misses.
My 7th spot goes to Django Unchained, a pick I make with little confidence. But I still feel buzz around it is concrete, where I don’t with the others below it.
The magic number I’m going with is 7. Most people seem to be predicting 7 or 8. What most people aren’t doing is leaving off Beasts of the Southern Wild. I am obviously not a fan of the film, but that has nothing to do with it. Fox Searchlight’s campaign has been surprisingly dry and the DIY aspect of the film that so many critics respect is something that I don’t think will resonate with academy voters. Skyfall has turned out to be one of the most beloved movies of the year, but it’s still James Bond, a series the academy has ignored constantly. Moonrise Kingdom, Amour and The Master all have outside chances and their inclusions wouldn’t shock me. Anything else is a fool’s errand.
3. Silver Linings Playbook
4. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Les Miserables
6. Life of Pi
7. Django Unchained
8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
10. Moonrise Kingdom
12. The Master
The DGA went with Spielberg, Affleck, Bigelow, Lee and Hooper. I still think Hooper will miss in favour of Russell. In the last two years, Christopher Nolan (Inception) and David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) both missed after their DGA noms. There’s usually one that misses.
1. Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
2. Ben Affleck (Argo)
3. Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
4. Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
5. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
6. Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)
7. Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
8. Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
9. Michal Haneke (Amour)
Day-Lewis’ nomination is in the bag. The other six could be thrown up in the air and come down in any way. I predict Trintignant misses because of the foreign tongue and Phoenix misses because of the impish tongue.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
2. Denzel Washington (Flight)
3. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
4. John Hawkes (The Sessions)
5. Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
6. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
7. Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour)
Will the actor’s branch nominate the 9-year-old girl? I don’t think so. Will they nominate the 85-year-old woman? I don’t think so either. Although not for those reasons. I’ve decided to go with the most boring line-up here.
1. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
2. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
3. Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
4. Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
5. Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
6. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
7. Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
8. Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)
9. Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
De Niro, Hoffman, Arkin and especially Jones are all safe, it’s that 5th spot that’s a killer.
1. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
2. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
3. Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
4. Alan Arkin (Argo)
5. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
6. Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
7. Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
8. Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
9. Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The least interesting category this year and, because of that, I hope something unexpected happens.
1. Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
2. Sally Field (Lincoln)
3. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
4. Ann Dowd (Compliance)
5. Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
6. Amy Adams (The Master)
7. Judi Dench (Skyfall)
8. Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Nothing is locked here, personally. I predict a foreign-film will make it in.
5. Le Tableau
6. Rise of the Guardians
7. The Rabbi’s Cat
8. From Up on Poppy Hill
9. Hotel Transylvania
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
2. Michael Haneke (Amour)
3. Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
4. Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
5. Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
6. Rian Johnson (Looper)
7. John Gatins (Flight)
8. Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
2. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
3. Chris Terrio (Argo)
4. Ben Lewin (The Sessions)
5. Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being Wallflower)
6. Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
7. David Magee (Life of Pi)
8. Tom Stoppard (Anna Karenina)
9. William Nicholson (Les Miserables)