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by Peter Knegt
February 20, 2013 12:33 PM
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For Your Consideration: Final Oscar Predictions In Each and Every Category

Photo credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

It's time. After one of the most unique and unpredictable awards seasons in memory, the grand finale is just four days away. Which means it's probably the moment for us to offer up final guesswork for how it will all go down.

Though, yes, there is little to no doubt about how Oscar night will end ("Argo" losing best picture would be a huge upset at this point), there are plenty of big fat question marks to keep us excited along the way.  Three of the biggest races -- best director, best actress and best supporting actor -- are far from sewn up, while a good half of the overall 24 Oscars are just as unpredictable.

In the end, while we are indeed predicting "Argo" will take the night's biggest prize, we're also betting the Oscars will overall get spread out among different films.  If we end up going 24 for 24 (which is very unlikely despite our best efforts), "Life of Pi" would win the most Oscars (with five), followed by "Argo" and "Les Miserables" (with three each).  "Lincoln" and "Amour" would each take two while "Django Unchained" and "Silver Linings Playbook" would both win one (as much as it goes against our personal wishes, we're predicting "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" go home empty-handed). We'll know for sure how right or wrong we were soon enough, but in the meantime, here's our attempt at helping you win your office Oscar pool:

Best Picture: Remember a month ago when it seemed like this category was for "Lincoln" to lose, with "Life of Pi" and "Silver Linings Playbook" it's closest challengers? It seemed only reasonable, since they had both best picture and best director nominations (which as you've probaby heard 1,000 times in the past month -- only three films have ever won best picture without best director, the last being "Driving Miss Daisy"). But then the Golden Globes, SAGs, DGAs, PGAs and BAFTA Awards all helped drive Mr. Affleck from underdog to head of the pack as the wild, wild ride to a frontrunner in this category has finally landed on "Argo," which will now have the underwhelming legacy of being used as an example alongside "Driving Miss Daisy" when Oscar nerds try and make prediction arguments...

Will win: "Argo"
Could win: "Lincoln" or "Life of Pi" (but not really)
Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Director: After shocking snubs for Kathryn Bigelow and Ben "I would have won this if I'd been nominated" Affleck, we are left with Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, David O. Russell and -- most surprisingly -- Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin in a best director race with no frontrunner. Affleck has won almost every precursor, but he can't win here -- so where does that leave us? With one of the biggest question marks of the night. Spielberg, Lee and even Russell could take this. We're saying Spielberg, but we've been going back and forth between him and Lee pretty much nonstop. Totally convincing arguments could be made for either, and you've just caught us momentarily accepting one over other other.

Will win: Steven Spielberg
Could win: Ang Lee
Should win: Michael Haneke

Best Actor: Of the 12 nominations that went the way of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," only one win is a true certainty. But it's a big one. Daniel Day-Lewis has won essentially every single precursor out there, and it's hard to imagine anyone not voting for his remarkable work portraying the 16th President of the United States -- even if it doing so will help make him the first actor ever to win three Oscars in this category. But if someone is going to manage that feat, why not Day-Lewis, who is largely considered one of the greatest actors of all time? And, really, who could beat him? The performances of his assumed closest challengers Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper seem so very insignificant up against Day-Lewis.

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Could win: Hugh Jackman (theoretically)
Should win: Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix


  • jean vigo | February 24, 2013 2:45 PMReply

    "Django" looks like the original screenplay winner. (For me, it would be "Zero Dark Thirty" - just for the sheer work involved in research and spinning such stuff based on true events into something so dramatically effective - no easy feat for a writer).

    But, "Django" does straddle that line between "original" and pastiche. Let's be pragmatic. It is a much more obvious "homage" to other references. Every film is to some degree, but QT borrows very visibly.

    There needs to be a a separate category for his work - and I mean it in a good way. He IS the best "sampling/mash-up/hip-hop artist" of the film world.

  • Jason | February 21, 2013 5:14 PMReply

    As a movie website, I really thought you guys would know what you're talking about.

  • Meredith Fraser | February 20, 2013 2:53 PMReply

    WOW, this is literally the first set of predictions in the top 8 categories (pic, director, actress, supp. actress, actor, supp. actor, orig. screenplay, adapted screenplay) that I AGREE WITH COMPLETELY—your will wins and possible spoilers, yes, and SHOULD WINS especially! And I'm a slave to the Oscar race predictions. The only one I'm not sure about is Robert De Niro—I think (and hope) TLJ will edge him out, but it's really a toss of a coin, they're so close. But Hoffman deserves it, dammit!

    But overall, BRAVO, this article was a blast to read, and for your Oscar prediction cred and mine, I hope you're/we're right!!! (Still, all your "Should Wins" lining up with mine is what made this article so awesome and weirdly gratifying to know I'm not alone with my opinions. I nevvvvver post on message boards like this, btw, so the fact that I'm posting at all is a huge compliment to you!) Anyway, THANK YOU.

  • teri | February 20, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    LOL@your article and predix. Always with journos who knows everything, the personal commentary and "should win"'s without backing it up with anything impartial, which btw, in this case, I'm grateful for, makes me laugh and laugh.

  • Edward Copeland | February 20, 2013 5:34 PM

    An opinion as to who should win by definition can't be impartial. This isn't an article reporting a news event. It's the subjective take on the state of the race and what they think deserves the prize. It's more akin to criticism than journalism and criticism always is a subjective opinion. If it were just an objective recitation of facts, it'd be a plot summary.

  • Edward Copeland | February 20, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    Amy Adams should win? Really? I'm a fan of the actress, but I thought The Master gave her very little to do and this year supporting actress was the weakest category to fill with nominees. Look at the Spirits -- two of their nominees (Ann Dowd, Rosemarie DeWitt) are in no way supporting. Dowd is in practically every scene of Compliance from first frame to last and DeWitt, Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass all share about equal screentime in Your Sister's Sister. Honestly, I'm surprised there wasn't a bigger push behind the really strong and truly supporting performance of Jennifer Ehle in Zero Dark Thirty.

  • name | February 20, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    Riva yes, PLEASE!

  • Marcus Dunn | February 20, 2013 12:40 PMReply

    Team Megan Ellison (The Master and Zero Dark Thirty) !