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2013 Oscar Predictions: Now With Every Category (Even the Shorts!)

Argo Warner Bros.

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Okay folks, it's crunch time. Have you submitted your Oscar ballot yet? There's big money on the line (at least a hundy we hope, right?).

As we do every year on NextMovie, we're handicapping the Oscar races to give you a leg up on your friends, family and coworkers when entering your high-stakes pool, which as we all know is as much about the glory as the greenbacks (freaking Al from finance still hasn't gotten that smirk off of his face for calling Cotillard over Christie in 2008; get over yourself, Al).

Our usual disclaimers: We do not condone gambling, unless you're in Vegas or on a reservation. Good luck!

(And for  a trusty second opinion, check out Joe Reid's Oscar predictions on Film.com.)

Best Picture

Argo Warner Bros.

Here's what's crazy: The snubbing of Ben Affleck in the Best Director category (more on that below) actually made this category a lot more interesting than it would have been. It was starting to look like "Lincoln" was the great emanci-winner here, as off the bat it was the horsey to beat with a leading 12 nominations overall.

But the Academy's abstention from Affleck has clearly energized "Argo" supporters, as we've seen with HUGE wins by "Argo" at every major award function since, with the political thriller taking home the top prize at the Golden Globes, PGAs, DGAs, SAGs AND Critics Choice Awards.

Suddenly its passionate base could more than give Spielberg et al a run for their five-dollar bills (great marketing, btw), but secure it frontrunner status. Is Ben Affleck the new Bruce Beresford (the last director not nominated to see his film win Best Picture, in 1990 for "Driving Miss Daisy")?. I'll let y'all debate that. But yep, "Argo" has officially moved into smart money territory.

Smart Money: "Argo"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Lincoln"
Dark Horse: "Silver Linings Playbook"

Also Check Out: Best Picture Category Breakdown on Film.com

Best Director

Lincoln Disney

Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were left off the list for what's surely no good, defensible reason, and yep, the Academy looks like out-of-touch buffoons with this one (but if you think I'm pissed, you should hear Ed Lover). Tom Hooper and Quentin Tarantino would've liked to have been invited, too, you guys.

But let's look at the bright side: Ben and Biggie's snubs have made this category that much easier to predict! Look for Spielberg to take home his third directing Oscar (he also won for "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List"). But watch it get super awkward if he forgets to thank Abe.

Smart Money: Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Dark Horse: Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"

Also Check Out: Best Director Category Breakdown on Film.com

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln Disney

Daniel Day-Lewis may not just be the greatest actor alive, he may be the greatest actor EVER. He may be the oldest actor alive, too; his stunning portrayal of the nation's 16th prez is so convincing you may come to believe he spent actual time in the company of Mr. Lincoln himself  (Second greatest portrayal of Lincoln ever: A gentleman named Robert V. Barron in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.") This is as easy as Oscar prognosticating gets.

Smart Money: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Don't Be Surprised By: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Dark Horse: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Also Check Out: Best Actor Category Breakdown on Film.com

 

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook The Weinstein Co.

This race, on the other hand, is as close as they come. You have two actresses on similarly skyrocketing career paths, turning everything they touch into gold (just see the box office receipts for "Mama"), in Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.

I'll give the slight edge to Lawrence, mainly because the stock of "Silver Linings" seems to be rising (it's the only movie to score nominations in all four acting categories since 1981's "Reds," thanks no doubt to the politicking of Harvey Weinstein), while despite the money-making ways of "Zero Dark," it has its detractors. People whispered that Lawrence's playful "I Beat Meryl Streep!" boast at the Globes could affect her chances, and if that's the case, well, people are lamer than you thought.

Smart Money: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Don't Be Surprised By: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Dark Horse: Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"

Also Check Out: Best Actress Category Breakdown on Film.com

Best Supporting Actor

Have you heard?! All five dudes in this category are previous Oscar winners (and a sixth, Javier Bardem, was robbed blind). This, of course, may confuse Oscar voters: If they've all won, who to recognize on the basis of their whole careers, rather than just these singular performances?

The tide seemed to be turning in favor of Bobby De Niro, who's gone the longest without winning one of those gold, bald statues (his last win was for 1981's "Raging Bull"). His admittedly surprising work in "Silver Linings" seems to be reminding people that this veteran thesp can actually act, not just spoof himself in comedies or collect paychecks for "Righteous Kill."

But that grizzled vet Tommy Lee, who won in '94 for "The Fugitive" and who puts on his very best sad face in "Lincoln," looks like he's back on top after a big win at the SAGs.

Smart Money: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Don't Be Surprised By:
Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Dark Horse: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Darker Horse: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
(While We're Doing This, No Shot: Alan Arkin, "Argo")

Best Supporting Actress

Les Mis Universal

Have you heard?! Anne Hathaway chopped off her hair and dropped a ton of weight for "Les Mis," reportedly slimming down from around 75 pounds to 50. (Those are just estimated reports.) She also only has about 15 minutes of screen time, but you'd have to be a macho man like Russell Crowe (in any movie other than "Les Mis") not to get a little choked up during her performance of "I Dreamed a Dream."

Which was performed live, in case you hadn't heard.

Smart Money: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Don't Be Surprised By: Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Dark Horse: Amy Adams, "The Master"

Best Original Screenplay

This one's a toss-up, most likely between "Django Unchained" and "Zero Dark Thirty." The only movie that doesn't stand a chance is "Flight." Sorry, "Flight."

Smart Money: No such thing here, but we'll go with "Zero Dark Thirty"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Django Unchained"
Dark Horse: "Amour"

Best Adapted Screenplay

"Lincoln" scribe Tony Kushner has gotten more press than any other writer this year, which should count for something (see also: Diablo Cody, "Juno"). And did you hear his first draft of the script was 8,000 pages long? Still, "Argo" has plenty of momentum.

Smart Money: "Lincoln"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Argo"

Best Animated Feature

2012 was the year Disney and Pixar officially switched brains. It's evident here when you look at the fact that "Wreck-It Ralph" has a better shot at winning than "Brave." But "Frankenweenie," with all of its slick homages to classic Hollywood, could be a serious challenger here.

Smart Money: "Wreck-It Ralph"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Frankenweenie"
Dark Horse: "Brave"

Best Foreign Film

Maybe even easier to call than Daniel Day-Lewis's impending victory.

Smart Money: "Amour"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Amour"
Dark Horse: "Amour"

Best Documentary

It's very, very rare that a non-depressing/heavy film wins Best Doc (last year's aptly titled "Undefeated" among the exceptions). This could be another year. Otherwise, look for "How to Survive a Plague."

Smart Money: "Searching for Sugar Man"
Don't Be Surprised By: "How to Survive a Plague"
Dark Horse: "The Gatekeepers"

Best Production Design

Smart Money: "Les Miserables"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Anna Karenina"
Dark Horse: "Life of Pi" OR "Lincoln"

Best Cinematography

Smart Money: "Life of Pi"
Dark Horse: "Skyfall"

Best Costume Design

Smart Money: "Anna Karenina"
Dark Horse: "Les Miserables"

Best Editing

Smart Money: "Argo"
Dark Horse: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Makeup

Smart Money: "The Hobbit"
Dark Horse: "Les Miserables"

Best Score

Smart Money: "Life of Pi"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Lincoln"

Best Song

Smart Money: "Skyfall," "Skyfall"
Dark Horse: "Suddenly," "Les Mis"

Best Sound Editing

Smart Money: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Argo"
Dark Horse: "Skyfall"

Best Sound Mixing

Smart Money: "Les Miserables"
Dark Horse: "Skyfall"

Best Visual Effects

Smart Money: "Life of Pi"

Best Animated Short

Smart Money: "Paperman"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Adam and Dog"
Dark Horse: "Head Over Heels"

Best Documentary Short

Smart Money: "Open Heart"
Don't Be Surprised By: "Inocente"
Dark Horse: "Kings Point"

Best Live Action Short

Smart Money: "Curfew"
Dark Horse: "Asad" or "Death of a Shadow"

Also Check Out: More on the Shorts Categories from Film.com

 

See more of NextMovie executive editor Kevin Polowy's picks on Gold Derby or follow him on Twitter.

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