Now that we've gone through who we think should win Oscars this year, it's time to take a look at who will actually likely win. We're going to go quickly, category by category all the way down the list, listing the likely winner and one potential spoiler. Happy balloting, everyone!
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BEST PICTURE The Nominees: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Amour, Django Unchained, Argo Who Will Win: Argo has the best chance, given all its awards momentum. The Spoiler: David O. Russell's sorta-surprise directing nomination could mean that Silver Linings Playbook, with Harvey Weinstein in its corner, has some strong stealth support.
BEST ACTRESS The Nominees: Naomi Watts, The Impossible; Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence has been the reigning awards queen for a few weeks now, so this is hers to lose. The Spoiler: The older Academy members who remember Emmanuelle Riva in Hiroshima mon amour might decide to reward her long career.
BEST ACTOR The Nominees: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Denzel Washington, Flight; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master Who Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis has basically had this sewn up since his movie came out. The Spoiler: There really isn't one, but I suppose it's possible that more people will remember Joaquin Phoenix than we think.
DIRECTING The Nominees: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg, Lincoln; Michael Haneke, Amour; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild Who Will Win: David O. Russell has residual goodwill from The Fighter that I think will help him win his first Oscar in a hard-to-call category. The Spoiler: Ang Lee did make some visual marvels in Life of Pi.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS The Nominees: Sally Field, Lincoln; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Amy Adams, The Master Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway won this thing at the movie's first screening in November. The Spoiler: They like Sally Field, they really like her!
SUPPORTING ACTOR The Nominees: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Alan Arkin, Argo; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln Who Will Win: Christoph Waltz has already picked up a number of trophies for this role, and there's little reason to think he won't repeat at the Oscars. The Spoiler: Robert De Niro could earn enough sentimental votes to upset.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY The Nominees: Chris Terrio, Argo; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; David Magee, Life of Pi; Tony Kushner, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook Who Will Win: Chris Terrio's sleek and competent Argo script laid the groundwork for a rousing entertainment. The Spoiler: Tony Kushner's Lincoln script was incredibly smart and passionate. I mean, it's Tony freaking Kushner.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY The Nominees: Michael Haneke, Amour; Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained; John Gatins, Flight; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom; Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty Who Will Win: Quentin Tarantino will likely receive his Django praise here. The Spoiler: Maybe ZD30 isn't as much of an untouchable as we thought and Mark Boal will win his second Oscar.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE The Nominees: Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman; Frankenweenie, Tim Burton; ParaNorman, Sam Fell and Chris Butler; The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Peter Lord; Wreck-It Ralph, Rich Moore Who Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph was baseline appealing to most folks, while Brave had a strange stink on it. In Disney vs. Disney/Pixar, regular Disney and Ralph win. The Spoiler: Maybe the cute oddity of Frankenweenie wins over some of the more morbid voters.
CINEMATOGRAPHY The Nominees: Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey; Django Unchained, Robert Richardson; Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda; Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski; Skyfall, Roger Deakins Who Will Win: Finally, finally, finally the masterful Roger Deakins gets his first trophy. For a James Bond movie of all things. The Spoiler: Life of Pi's gorgeous visuals could sway voters. Deakins is cursed, after all.
COSTUME DESIGN The Nominees: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran; Les Misérables, Paco Delgado; Lincoln, Joanna Johnston; Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka; Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood Who Will Win: The costumes were far and away the best thing in Anna Karenina. The Spoiler: Colleen Atwood is an Academy favorite and did make cool witch outfits in Snow White.
DOCUMENTARY The Nominees: 5 Broken Cameras; The Gatekeepers; How to Survive a Plague; The Invisible War; Searching for Sugar Man Who Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man was a cult hit that struck chords on several levels. The Spoiler: David France's galvanizing How to Survive a Plague could spur voters to action.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM The Nominees: Amour, Austria; Kon-Tiki, Norway; No, Chile; A Royal Affair, Denmark; War Witch, Canada Who Will Win: Here is where Haneke's devastating Amour gets its due. The Spoiler: War Witch, with its heartbreaking tale of child soldiers in Africa, could break hearts in the right way.
ORIGINAL SCORE The Nominees: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli; Argo, Alexandre Desplat; Life of Pi, Mychael Danna; Lincoln, John Williams; Skyfall, Thomas Newman Who Will Win: Mychael Danna's dreamy, multiculti Life of Pi work ought to win him the trophy. The Spoiler: Dario Marianelli's turgid Anna Karenina music might have bludgeoned people into voting for it.
ORIGINAL SONG The Nominees: "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice; "Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from Ted; "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi; "Skyfall" from Skyfall; "Suddenly" from Les Misérables Who Will Win: There's no way the Academy will miss the opportunity to give Adele an Oscar, right? The Spoiler: Maybe people thought that Ted song was really funny?
PRODUCTION DESIGN The Nominees: Anna Karenina; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Les Misérables ; Life of Pi; Lincoln Who Will Win: Anna Karenina looked wonderful. The Spoiler: Once again, Life of Pi has amazing pretty pictures every six seconds.
FILM EDITING The Nominees: Argo, William Goldenberg; Life of Pi, Tim Squyres; Lincoln, Michael Kahn; Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers; Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg Who Will Win: Argo was tightly put together, and a lot of credit for that goes to William Goldenberg. The Spoiler: Goldenberg could upset himself with the equally well-built Zero Dark Thirty
MAKEUP & HAIR The Nominees: Hitchcock; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell Who Will Win: This would be a good category to throw another bone to Les Misérables. The Spoiler: Maybe not everyone hated The Hobbit?
SOUND EDITING The Nominees: Argo; Django Unchained; Life of Pi; Skyfall; Zero Dark Thirty Who Will Win: Zero Dark Thirty was busy and intricate and will likely be recognized. The Spoiler: Though, Skyfall functioned much in the same way, didn't it?
SOUND MIXING The Nominees: Argo; Les Misérables; Life of Pi; Lincoln; Skyfall Who Will Win: Remember all that talk about live singing and what not in Les Misérables? This is where that comes in. The Spoiler: Hm. Skyfall?
VISUAL EFFECTS The Nominees: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Life of Pi; Marvel's The Avengers; Prometheus; Snow White and the Huntsman Who Will Win: Life of Pi looked beautiful! How many times must we say it?? The Spoiler: The Avengers was pretty fun.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) The Nominees: "Adam and Dog" Minkyu Lee; "Fresh Guacamole" PES; "Head over Heels" Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly; "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'" David Silverman; "Paperman" John Kahrs Who Will Win: Paperman was a cute viral hit. The Spoiler: Maggie Simpson wins an Oscar!
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) The Nominees: "Asad" Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura; "Buzkashi Boys" Sam French and Ariel Nasr; "Curfew" Shawn Christensen; "Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)" Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele; "Henry" Yan England Who Will Win: Death of a Shadow was cool to look at and stars Matthias Schoenaerts, who people loved in Rust & Bone The Spoiler: Buzkashi Boys is about the war in Afghanistan, so people could go for that.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT The Nominees: "Inocente" Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine; "Kings Point" Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider; "Mondays at Racine" Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan; "Open Heart" Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern; "Redemption" Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill Who Will Win: Kings Point is about cute, sad old people. Lots of cute, sad old people in the Academy! The Spoiler: Inocente is about a homeless teen artist. That could be tough to beat.
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