2. Les Miserables
3. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. Life of Pi
7. Django Unchained
8. The Master
9. Beasts of the Southern Wild
10. Moonrise Kingdom
Analysis: I feel fairly confident that the top 5 are going to show up without any trouble this year. After that, because of the new rules, any two or three of the bottom five could squeak in. Of those five, I think Life of Pi is the most secure, but even that one I’m not yet 100% sold on. The other four could all make it or not and it wouldn’t surprise me. Anything not on this list squeaking in, would.
Best Director1. Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
2. Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
3. Ben Affleck, Argo
4. Ang Lee, Life of Pi
5. Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Other Possibilities: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, Michael Haneke for Amour, Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom, Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Anaylsis: You can count the top three in securely with no problems. After that, I have no idea. Will they embrace safer best picture choices (Russell, Lee, Hooper) a newcomer (Zeitlin) or an auteur (Tarantino, Anderson, Haneke)? I have no idea. The safe bets are the safer best picture choices, but I have a feeling one of those other could squeak in.
Best Actor1. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
2. Denzel Washington, Flight
3. John Hawkes, The Sessions
4. Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
5. Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Other Possibilities: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Analysis: You can pretty much guarantee the top three (in Hawkes case, I have no idea why, but it seems inevitable). The final two spots are going to go to any combination of Cooper, Phoenix and Jackman – and any one getting in or being snubbed wouldn’t shock me. If someone not on this list gets in somehow, it would.
Best Actress1. Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
2. Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
3. Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
4. Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
5. Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Other Possibilities: Helen Mirren, Hitchcock, Naomi Watts, The Impossible, Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea.
Analysis: When it comes to the winning this award, it’s a two horse race – Chastain vs. Lawrence and they are locked for nominations. Cotillard has worked her ass off to secure another foreign language spot for herself, so she should be good. After that though, it gets murky. I’m still betting the Academy goes young and old – Wallis and Riva. But reading the tea leaves says Mirren, Watts and Weisz are right behind them, and could easily steal a spot.
Best Supporting Actor1. Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
3. Alan Arkin, Argo
4. Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
5. Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Other Possibilities: Javier Bardem for Skyfall, Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained, Matthew McConaghey for Magic Mike
Anaylsis: I think you can lock in the top 4 – they’re getting in. After that, it’s a toss up. If the Django boys split their own vote, it leaves a vaccum for a Bond villain or a male stripper.
Best Supporting Actress1. Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
2. Sally Field, Lincoln
3. Helen Hunt, The Sessions
4. Amy Adams, The Master
5. Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Other Possibilities: Samantha Barks for Les Miserables, Ann Dowd for Compliance, Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy.
Analysis: Ever since that first trailer, Anne Hathaway has been the frontrunner, and she’s going to win this year. As for the rest of the nominees, count in Field and Hunt, pretty much count in Adams. The last spot is tricky. I think they’ll go with the old timer Smith, over newcomer Barks, character actress Dowd or movie star Kidman – but one of them taking Smith’s (or even Adam’s) spot wouldn’t shock me.
Original Screenplay1. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola)
2. Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal)
3. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
4. Amour (Michael Haneke)
5. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Other Possiblities: Flight (John Gatins), Looper (Rian Johnson).
Analysis: The top five are pretty much locked, I think.
Adapted Screenplay1. Lincoln (Tony Kushner, John Logan, Paul Webb)
2. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
3. Argo (Chris Terrio)
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin)
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
Other Possibilities: Life of Pi (David Magee), The Sessions (Ben Lewin), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Ol Parker), Les Misérables (William Nicholson).
Analsysis: Lock in the top three, and then figure out what between Beasts, Perks and Pi will take the final two spots.
Animated Film1. Brave
3. Wreck-It Ralph
5. Rise of the Guardians
Other Possibilities: The Painting, The Rabbi's Cat, A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, Zarafa, From Up on Poppy Hill.
Analysis: If something else gets in other than my top five, it will be one of those smaller foreign films you’ve never heard of – like the ones I listed.
Documentary1. Searching for the Sugar Man
2. How to Survive a Plague
3. The Gatekeepers
4. The Invisible War
5. The Waiting Room
Other Possibilities: Mea Maxima Culpa, This is Not a Film, The Imposter, 5 Broken Cameras, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, The House I Live In, Bully, Chasing Ice, Detropia, Ethel.
Analysis: Even with the new rules, this branch is still next to impossible to predict – but I gave it my best guess – and will probably be completely wrong.
Foreign Language Film1. Amour (Austria)
2. The Intouchables (France)
3. A Royal Affair (Denmark)
4. No (Chile)
5. War Witch (Canada)
Other Possibilities: Sister (Switzerland), Kon-Tiki (Norway), The Deep (Iceland), Beyond the Hills (Romania)
Analysis: Even after narrowing this list down to 9 contenders, it is still impossible to guess which way they Academy will go. I’ve done my best, but will almost certainly not get all five correct – but you can count in the top 2 I’m sure.
Cinematography1. Skyfall (Roger Deakins)
2. Zero Dark Thirty (Greig Fraser)
3. The Master (Mihai Malaimare Jr.)
4. Life of Pi (Claudio Miranda)
5. Les Misérables (Danny Cohen)
Other Possibilities: Lincoln (Janusz Kaminski), Django Unchained (Robert Richardson), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Ben Richardson).
Analysis: Bond films rarely score any nominations, so keep that in mind, but the almost universal acclaim Roger Deakins has received makes him a frontrunner. Zero Dark Thirty and The Master should be good to go as well. Life of Pi could be interesting, since there is so much CGI in it. Finally, I think les Miserables will take the final spot – but Lincoln, Django and Beasts are all waiting to pounce.
Production Design1. Anna Karenina
2. Les Misérables
4. The Master
5. Cloud Atlas
Other Possibilties: Django Unchained, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Prometheus, Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom.
Analysis: Anna Karenina may be an Best Picture also ran, but it will get in here easily. Les Miserables and Lincoln seem like locks as well. I suspect that The Master and Cloud Atlas will take the final two spots – but the taint of box office failure hangs on both, so Django, Hobbit, Prometheus, Life of Pi and Moonrise Kingdom are all hoping one of them fail.
Costume Design1. Anna Karenina
2. Les Misérables
3. A Royal Affair
5. Django Unchained
Other Possibilities: The Master, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Moonrise Kingdom, Cloud Atlas.
Analysis: This branch is not afraid to go its own way, so don’t be shocked if one of the two Snow White films show up here – but for my predictions, I’m playing it fairly safe.
Editing1. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Les Misérables
Other Possibilities: Life of Pi, The Master, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Cloud Atlas.
Analysis: This is usually stocked with Best Picture nominees – and one action film. I predicted accordingly.
Makeup1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3. Les Miserables
Other Possibilities: Men in Black III, Snow White and the Huntsmen, Hitchcock, Looper.
Analysis: How this branch didn’t even shortlist Cloud Atlas or Holy Motors, I’ll never know. And predicting how this branch will go is near impossible. I tried.
Score1. Anna Karenina (Dario Marianelli)
2. Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)
3. Lincoln (John Williams)
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin)
5. Cloud Atlas (Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer)
Other Possibilities: Argo (Alexandre Desplat), The Master (Jonny Greenwood), Zero Dark Thirty (Alexandre Desplat), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Howard Shore), Skyfall (Thomas Newman)
Analysis: The very definition of an old boys club, these guy like to nominate past nominees – making it hard for anyone else to get in. But I think they’ll open the doors to a few new faces this year – and hope and prey that Johnny Greenwood is among them.
Song1. Skyfall from Skyfall
2. Suddenly from Les Misérables
3. Learn Me Right from Brave
4. Ancora Qui from Django Unchained
5. Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi
Other Possibilities: Still Alive from Paul Williams Still Alive, Song of the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, From Here to the Moon and Back from Joyful Noise, Cosmonaut from Lawless, Freedom from Django Unchained, Touch the Sky from Brave, Who Did That to You? from Django Unchained, Dull Tool from This is 40.
Analysis: I know what you’re thinking – Best Song is still a category? Yes it is, and one impossible to predict. I took a shot in the dark here, and hope they nominate Adele’s brilliant Bond theme and at least one of the great songs from Django.
Sound Mixing1. Les Misérables
3. Zero Dark Thirty
4. Django Unchained
5. Life of Pi
Other Possibilities: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Impossible, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Flight, Prometheus.
Analysis: Musicals and loud action movies is what they go for here.
Sound Editing1. Skyfall
2. The Dark Knight Rises
3. The Avengers
4. Life of Pi
5. Zero Dark Thirty
Other Possibilities: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Django Unchained, The ImpossibleFlight, Prometheus.
Analysis: Loud action movies is what they go for here.
Visual Effects1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
2. Life of Pi
3. Cloud Atlas
5. The Avengers
Other Possibilities: John Carter, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall
Analysis: I think the top five look fairly secure – although perhaps John Carter can sneak in.