Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence
Best Actress:
This year's best actress race is definitely unique.  There's an 85-year old (Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour") and a 9-year old (Quvenzhane Wallis for "Beasts of the Southern Wild") both in definite contention, who together would give this category both its oldest and youngest nominees ever at the very same time. Riva could also be joined by "Rust and Bone" star Marion Cotillard, giving this race two foreign language performances in the same category -- the first time since Christine Barrault for "Cousin Cousine" and Liv Ullmann for "Face to Face "in 1977. But while until September the three of them seemed like this category's only real contenders, they have a lot of newly discovered competition: Jennifer Lawrence seems like the category's definite frontrunner for her work in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," earning best-in-show notices for a film that's been receiving great reviews for all its actors. And then there's Helen Mirren, who has also been getting raves for her work in "Hitchcock" after it premiered at AFI FEST last week (though the film itself is nowhere near the Oscar slamdunk "Silver Linings" seems to be). For now, we're predicting the two of them join the three aforementioned actresses, but watch out for two other late-breakers. Naomi Watts' work in Toronto premiere "The Impossible" is very impressive, and seems like the film's best bet at a major nomination. And then there's Jessica Chastain, who just recently was announced as the lead of Kathryn Bigelow's big question mark "Zero Dark Thirty." It seems either of them could easily end up replacing one or two of the predicted five, though it seems safe to say our best actress nominees will come from these seven women.

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Emmanuelle Riva
, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild 

Totally Unwarranted Winner Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

READ MORE: 2013 Oscar Predictions

Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Best Actor:
The best actor race is much more stacked than its female counterpart, many of them previous winners (and two-time winners): Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis and Anthony Hopkins all seemed poised to add another nomination to their counts with performances many are calling major career achievements in "Flight," "Lincoln" and "Hitchcock" respectively. And the one man that seemed like he could beat all three of them recently threw a wrench in his own campaign by calling the Oscars "total bullshit." And while Joaquin Phoenix's comments definitely don't help him, he's still very much in this race even if his once significant chances of winning have lessened (but he probably couldn't care less). He has a lot of competition in keeping his slot though. John Hawkes has been buzzed about as likely nominee since "The Sessions" debuted at Sundance, while Bradley Cooper got fantastic reviews for "Silver Linings Playbook" (even if they were a bit overshadowed by his aforementioned co-star). And then there's Hugh Jackman's sight unseen work in "Les Miserables." Jackman's never been nominated, and because of Phoenix's comments and the fact that giving Day-Lewis or Washington a third Oscar seems a little premature, the race is wide open for someone to sweep in and take the lead. Though that said, the last man to win in this category for a musical was Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady."  For now, we're gonna wager giving Day-Lewis a third Oscar isn't that unreasonable given what he pulled off in "Lincoln," but it's our most unwarranted "totally unwarranted winner prediction" so far.

Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order):
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Totally Unwarranted Winner Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln