By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 5, 2013 at 11:24AM
So, it seems we finally have a full-fledged frontrunner in the best picture race. The mystery was nice while it lasted, and it's certainly been a while since it took all the way to February to have a conifident sense of who might win Oscar's big prize (for those not paying attention, Ben Affleck won the DGA on Saturday night -- suggesting "Argo" is likely heading for a best picture win despite Affleck not getting a best director nomination). But those of you still looking for some true suspense on Oscar night, never fear.
There's still an uncharacteristically high amount of categories where two, three or even all the contenders have totally reasonable shots at winning. We offer five examples of such below (but there's actually a few more where they came from). Indiewire will offer full on predictions for every category in the coming weeks, but for now here's five we're having issues predicting:
1. Best Supporting Actor
A five man race! This category is probably the toughest acting award to call in a good decade, or at least since 2008, when the best supporting actress race was a genuine 4-way race between Tilda Swinton, Ruby Dee, Amy Ryan and Cate Blanchett. That race saw Swinton win the BAFTA, Dee win the SAG, Ryan win the Critics Choice and Blanchett win the Golden Globe. In the end, Swinton won the Oscar. Who will do so in this case in anybody's guess.
The extra weirdness here is that all 5 nominees have already one -- an Oscar first. The sentimental choice is probably Robert DeNiro for "Silver Linings Playbook," since he hasn't won in 30+ years and is nominated for a film the Academy clearly loves (they gave it nods in all the acting categories, something that also hasn't happened in over 3 decades). But DeNiro has already won two, so he's hardly in desperate need of an Oscar. He also hasn't won any of the precursors. Those went to Christoph Waltz (Golden Globe), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Critics Choice) and Tommy Lee Jones (SAG). We won't know who wins BAFTA until next week, but if it's one of those 3 men, consider them the narrow favorite (notably DeNiro wasn't even nominated there, or at the Golden Globes). There's also Alan Arkin, who could ride an "Argo" wave to a win (if he wins BAFTA, watch out). But his performance is inarguably the slightest of the five, and he just won six years ago for "Little Miss Sunshine." So Arkin and probably Waltz (who won just three years ago, for another Tarantino film) -- while feasible winners -- are the least likely.
Which leaves Jones, Hoffman and DeNiro. Entirely convicing arguments could be made for all three. As noted, the lack of precursor support goes against DeNiro, but it's the kind of year where that doesn't seem to matter. SAG winner Jones hasn't won in 2 decades and is in the most nominated film at this year's Oscars, but he may or may not have hurt by not showing up to make a speech at the SAGs, or by his sourpuss face at the Globes that became a much-shared internet gif. Hoffman is the only one not in a best picture nominated film, and one the Academy snubbed outside of the acting races altogether. But he also gives what many agree is the by far the best performance of the five... WHO KNOWS!?