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Oscars 2012: Picks, Votes, Analysis, Rankings

Oscar night is upon us.

I must say, I am proud of myself this year. I went through this season without reading much of anything other than who won the precursors. I only started checking the Oscar blogs and such after I finalized these picks, and I have to say — I’m glad I didn’t read them. People get bitter real quick and start campaigning for shit. The whole thing is littered with subjectivity and negativity. It’s disgusting.

Anyway, what I’m gonna do here is what I do every year — try to get as close to 24/24 as I can. My average is around 16-18, depending on the year. If I get at least 16, then I consider myself as having been successful in picking. I’ll go through every category, list my personal preferences (like I did in all my Oscar Quest articles), then talk about which nominee I think is most likely to win, which is that film’s main competition, and which film has the potential to upset and win the category. Then I’ll finish by telling you what is the smart choice, what I think you should have on your ballot (if you want to win your Oscar pool. From 2006-2010, I had a contest with my friends, telling them that if any of them outguessed me, I would buy them dinner. I never paid for one dinner. You’re free to do what you want, and I assume we’ll have at least a few differences of opinion anyway, which is why I’m only suggesting what the smartest course of action is), and what I have on my ballot. (I’ll also, just before the show, post a Quick Picks version of this article for reference purposes.) I also color-code everything, to make it as easy to read (and as colorful) as possible.

So let’s get right into it:

(Note: In the title of each category, I’ll link to my breakdowns of those categories, in case you want any further information.)

– – – – –

Best Picture

Amour (Sony Pictures Classics)

Argo (Warner Bros.)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight)

Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co., Columbia)

Les Misérables (Universal, Working Title Films)

Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)

Lincoln (Touchstone, DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox)

Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Co.)

Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia)

So we’re clear, in case people don’t know — the way the voting on this works is that it’s a preferential ballot. Everyone in the Academy ranks their choices, 1-9. (I WILL NOT BE DOING THIS FOR MY RANKINGS. Kind of. But if I were to actually do it, I might skew some things to make sure certain films are ranked higher to try to help them win.) They rank them 1-9, and then what happens is, they tally all the votes. The film that gets the least #1 votes in the first round is out. Then they move to #2. The film with the least #2 votes is out. And so on and so forth. At least, this is the general understanding I use for it. It’s probably more specific and has other wrinkles, but basically, that’s pretty much how it works.

My Rankings:

  1. Django Unchained
  2. Les Misérables
  3. Argo
  4. Silver Linings Playbook
  5. Lincoln
  6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Zero Dark Thirty
  9. Amour

(And, for reference purposes, if I really wanted to cast a ballot conscious of the preferences, I’d put Les Mis #1 and Django 2, I’d put Amour over Zero Dark Thirty and then I’d switch Beasts over Lincoln. So mostly the same. I’d just have Les Mis at #1 in the hopes that it wins. Because I know Django won’t win.)

I rewatched all nine of them throughout the week. My top five have never changed, really, them being in the order they were on my Top Ten list. Then, after rewatching the rest, I found that I really liked Beasts and Life of Pi a lot more than I did the first time. Zero Dark is falling for me. I still enjoyed it (especially the last thirty minutes), but I still find that beginning part pretty boring. And Amour I really like, but it still doesn’t rate any better than 8 or 9 for me.

In terms of how I’d vote — on a strictly personal ballot — Django. On an actual ballot, I’d take Les Mis because that one theoretically still has some sort of chance at winning. (Though, honestly, if I had an actual ballot, I still might take Django anyway.)

My Vote: Django Unchained

What Would Be On My Ballot: Les Misérables

Most Likely to Win: Argo. It’s won everything — PGA, BAFTA, the Globe, SAG Ensemble —  it has all the momentum. It even won stuff we figured it wouldn’t win (like the USC Scripter). Every single major guild has voted for it. It pretty much has it in the bag at this point.

Biggest Competition: Lincoln. It has the most nominations, it’s probably gonna pick up at least two other major awards — on the surface, this is the main competition. However…

Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook. This can make a play for it. This was the presumed frontrunner for a good minute back in October. It’s still a crowd-pleaser and has a lot of support. (Plus — the Weinsteins.) It could make a play for it. Though I kinda do see this like last year, with The Artist as the all-but assured winner, Hugo as the solid, but unconvincing competition (as in, I don’t think we bought that people would actually vote for it), and The Descendants as that spoiler — the film that’s loved, that could catch votes, but it seems unlikely. I think this is in that spot. It makes for a good upset choice, but does anyone vote against Argo at this point? (I’m also hearing rumblings about Zero Dark making a play for it, but that reeks of a too-little-too-late last push attempt.) Though at this point, it seems this has more support than Lincoln does, so if you’re gonna pick a winner that’s not Argo, this should probably be it.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Argo 2) Lincoln 3) Silver Linings Playbook 4) Life of Pi 5) Zero Dark Thirty 6) Beasts of the Southern Wild 7) Les Misérables 8) Amour 9) Django Unchained

If I were a betting man: Argo. You have to take it. It hasn’t lost a thing since it was nominated. The PGA is rarely wrong, and all the other guilds voting for it — I don’t think it’s losing.

You should take: Argo. It’s the smart choice. Anything else is taking a shot and hoping for the best. If you want to most likely get this one right, this is the choice.

On My Ballot: Argo. I’m dumb, but I’m not crazy.

– – – – – 

Best Director

Michael Haneke, Amour

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Seven Spielberg, Lincoln

Ben Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

My Rankings:

1. Ang Lee

2. David O. Russell

3. Benh Zeitlin

4. Steven Spielberg

5. Michael Haneke

I don’t particularly love this category. I never thought Lincoln was much of a directorial effort. Silver Linings I’m sort of okay with because I like the film, but again, more of a screenplay than anything. Life of Pi is beautiful, but a bit too CGI for me to automatically call that my vote. Though I won’t deny the challenges inherent in the material. Haneke I think is a weak nominee, although I get it. Zeitlin, the more I see the film, the more I like the nomination. It just hurts the category when it looks like this, since there’s no real winner in it. Personally, I’d have liked to see Hooper, Bigelow and Mendes here. (Or even Juan Antonio Bayona, though apparently I’m the only one beating that drum.) And maybe even Affleck, too. Though that would have taken all the air out of it, to know Affleck had it in the bag. Either way — it’s a pretty ho hum category, since whoever wins it will almost certainly (but not definitely) not be winning it for the particular directorial effort. Though, it’s Best Director, how does that make it any different from any other year?

My Vote: Uhh… Russell? Because he never won? Or Spielberg, given his filmography? Fuck it. Spielberg. Lincoln. I’ve voted for him a bunch and he hasn’t won. I’ll give him one now to make up for it. (Look at me, I’m just like everyone else.) But I’m totally cool with a Russell win or a Lee win. (Honestly, though, at this point, I might just want to vote Zeitlin because at least I felt something from his direction.)

What Would Be On My Ballot: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln.

Most Likely to Win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln. He’s been ignored by Oscar a lot, but now he’s at that age where respect has more to do with it than anything. Affleck wins this if he’s nominated (which is funny, since most people seem to think the only reason Argo is winning is because he’s not nominated), but at this point, Spielberg is the big name in the category, and given his entire career, and the amount of times he was ignored — he’s at the stage where this is a good time to give him one. It’s kind of like Meryl last year. You don’t have to give him another one after this. It’s a perfect scenario for them. I can’t see how he isn’t considered the favorite, especially considering some people think his film could still win the big one. It’s not guaranteed, and we could get a shocker come the night, but I think he’s the most likely to win.

Biggest Competition: Tough call. I wanna say Michael Haneke. Still might be Ang Lee, though. This category is pretty open. I’m not really sure. Let’s say that it’s Ang Lee, Life of Pi. I can see him getting a nice amount of votes. Though Haneke is up there in respected circles. He could pull it off. But it would be a shocker. So I think Lee is probably a better choice. Haneke’s film turned a lot of people off. Lee is respected, a previous winner (not to mention, between Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger and The Hulk — some may feel he’s worthy of having two) and he pulled off a feat many thought was impossible. He’ll get votes. And to be honest, you can see his direction more than Spielberg’s, not that it has anything to do with how this category always plays out. So I think he’s really the main competition.

Spoiler Alert: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook. If the film upsets, he goes too. He still might. Maybe. He could be considered the main competition, but I still think he’s more of an upset choice than anything. Actually, he might be second choice here, the more I think about it. I don’t know, though. It’s hard to figure what’s going to happen here if it’s not Spielberg.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Spielberg 2) Russell 3) Lee 4) Haneke 5) Zeitlin

If I were a betting man: I’d say it’s Spielberg. Lincoln. He’s got the most going for him, and I just see him being the most likely winner. Who else, if not him? I have an easier time saying him than saying the others, which should make him the most likely winner. Playing the odds — he’s the best choice.

You should take: Spielberg. Lincoln. It’s the smart choice. Most people are gonna have him, and if someone else wins, it’s gonna be between Lee, Russell or Haneke, and no one really knows who it’ll really be. So it’s not like you know who to take if not Spielberg. So either you’re gonna get it right or the people who do get it right are gonna be diluted because votes will be split among three people. If Spielberg doesn’t win, not all the other people are gonna have the actual winner. I figure right now, in terms of people guessing, 55% have Spielberg, 25% have Lee, 10% have Russell and 10% have Haneke, and that’s being lenient. So taking Spielberg is the safe play, and the most likely outcome. And if you lose, only a few people will be one up on you, and chances are, if Haneke wins, and they have it, they’re the sort who are gonna have strange choices all around and aren’t likely to outguess you all the way through. Or they’re completely amazing and you just have no shot at it. Spielberg’s the smart choice.

(Note: I’ve been thinking about it — I don’t actually know what makes him the smart choice. To be honest, Ang Lee and David O. Russell have as much of a chance at winning this as he does, if not more. Spielberg’s been not voted for so many times, and Russell has the Weinsteins campaigning for him, and Lee has the “unfilmable novel” thing going for him. So in a way, you might actually want to take Ang Lee here. So I might actually be telling you to take Ang Lee. But honestly, at this point, I think we’re all fucked, I think we should all mark this as a preliminary “wrong” vote and hope for the best. I say take Spielberg or Lee.)

On my ballot: Spielberg. Lincoln. It seems the likeliest choice. It’s basically me pleading the fif on the category. (I’m fluctuating wildly between him and Ang Lee. I think I’ll just end with him and ride it out. Because if I go off him now, I’ll be pissed when he wins. So it goes.)

– – – – –

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Denzel Washington, Flight

My Rankings:

1. Daniel Day-Lewis

2. Joaquin Phoenix

3. Hugh Jackman

4. Bradley Cooper

5. Denzel Washington

While I was most wowed by Joaquin Phoenix’s performance this year, I have to consider Daniel Day-Lewis my #1, because he accomplished something we take for granted. While watching the other nominees, I was always aware of them acting. I watched Denzel and was like, “Oh, Denzel’s doing a great job with this one.” (And he did. It’s a performance I respect a lot and I think he needed to get nominated for it to show that mid-range adult dramas still have a place in the market.) I watched Jackman and went, “Man, this is the role of his life.” (And it is. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a shot at it. He was terrific. His “Bring Him Home” was incredible.) I watched Cooper (multiple times) and went, “Holy shit, this performance is better than I thought it was. Where did this come from?” (No joke, he might be my vote in most other years. It’s a #4 for me that is better than a lot of #1s.) And even Phoenix — I watch that and go, “Jesus, Joaquin is electric in this.” But, I watched Lincoln, and the whole time I’m like, “There’s Strathairn, there’s Jones, there’s Spader (all great, by the way), there’s President Lincoln, there’s…” Daniel Day-Lewis is so good I didn’t even consider him being there. That was just President Lincoln to me. As good as Joaquin Phoenix is in that movie, I was always aware that I was watching Joaquin Phoenix. Now, in terms of the Daniel Day-Lewis scale, this isn’t his best performance. It’s hard for him to stretch himself anymore. But the fact that I just took the character as the character and nothing more — that says a lot.

My Vote: Daniel Day-Lewis. Lincoln

What Would Be On My Ballot: Daniel Day-Lewis. Lincoln

Most Likely to Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. Fucking really.

Biggest Competition: Hugh Jackman. Les Misérables. Or maybe I’m still holding to pre-nominations standards. But honestly, since Day-Lewis is such a lock, it doesn’t matter who I put here. I just feel like everyone loves Hugh. Plus he’s terrific in the film.

Spoiler Alert: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook. He’s incredible. I watched the movie again the other day. I’m more impressed with the performance each time I see it. We all know only one person can and will win this, so it doesn’t matter who I put here, but Cooper does have a shot if anyone does want to pick an upset.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Day-Lewis 2) Jackman 3) Cooper 4) Phoenix 5) Washington

If I were a betting man: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. Obviously.

You should take: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. If you need to ask why, you don’t deserve to win your pool.

On my ballot: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

– – – – –

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

My Rankings:

1. Jennifer Lawrence

2. Naomi Watts

3. Jessica Chastain

4. Emmanuelle Riva

5. Quvenzhané Wallis

I think this category turned out as well as could be hoped. I was never sold on Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren as nominees. So I think they acquitted themselves well here, and the category won’t necessarily show how weak this year was for leading female roles. (As every year is. Seriously — what the fuck, Hollywood?) In terms of voting — I still loved Jennifer Lawrence’s performance the best out of all of them. I think that if Naomi Watts didn’t disappear for large chunks of that film in the middle, she’d have this in the bag. You watch her in the first half of that movie, and you go, “How does she not win an Oscar for this?” So that’s a shame. Then Jessica Chastain — I don’t see it. I don’t care what you all say, I think that’s the role and not the performance. I love her, and I was way up on her bandwagon before she was even nominated last year, but I watch that movie and go, “There are a lot of other people who could have done the same job in that role as she did.” It’s true. The fact that she’s the primary role in that movie and happens to be a woman is at least 60% of why that performance has gone over as well as it has. So I don’t see why she needs a vote, personally. Then, Riva — age is a lot of it. Let’s just come out and say it. There’s not all that much there to say she needs to win. Just — no. I completely disagree, and let’s leave it at that. And then, Wallis — good job, but whatever. I don’t see a performance that needs to be nominated there, even though it’s nice. But overall, the category does work better than other iterations of this.

My Vote: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

What Would Be On My Ballot: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Most Likely to Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. She won SAG, and that’s still the main precursor to this award. (Not last year, of course, but wait until I finish my next sentence.) She also won most of the other awards and has the Weinsteins campaigning for her. (They beat last year’s SAG winner, so that does mean something.) I think she’s your most likely winner at this point. Not a sure thing by any stretch (well… some stretches), but the odds are ever in her favor, it seems. (Oh, I’m fucking hilarious.)

Biggest Competition: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty. Just to keep the narrative going. She might win, but she doesn’t have many precursors past BFCA and the other Globe. Though that’s still second most (even if I think the Globes are worthless), and I think she’ll still get votes, because even if people have problems with the film, the performance is still universally well-regarded. So she’s still very much in the race.

Spoiler Alert: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour. She won BAFTA. That means something. (Meryl won that last year.) Is it enough? I don’t know. There are people who are saying she’s gonna jump up and win this. She was ineligible for SAG and she’s really old. People think that means she’ll get votes because of it. I don’t really see it, but I won’t deny that I wouldn’t be shocked if she up and won this award. Because there are some negatives to Jennifer Lawrence, voting-wise. She’s young, and some may think it’s not her time yet. You might not be wrong going with Riva. It could happen. Honestly, at this point, I feel like the races are generally between the most likely to wins and the spoilers. The main competition almost never comes out on top. It’s always the upset choice (he said, rationalizing his laziness so he doesn’t have to change anything). I feel like Riva might even have crossed over into favorite territory. It’s hard to tell how legitimate it is. It might just be all talk. We won’t know until it happens. Either way, you’re gonna want to vote for Lawrence or her.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Lawrence 2) Chastain 3) Riva 4) Watts 5) Wallis

If I were a betting man: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. I’m still gonna play the odds. I’ll get it wrong.

You should take: Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. But you could make a strong case for Emmanuelle Riva and Amour or Jessica Chastain and Zero Dark Thirty (I guess…) if you felt strongly about it. They could happen. That said, I think you’re best served taking Lawrence. Odds-wise, I think she’s still your likely winner. If anyone’s beating her at this point, I think it’s probably Riva. Chastain’s lost a lot of heat recently. So if you wanted to take a shot with Riva, you might not be wrong. There’s a hell of a narrative building up for it. So either Lawrence or Riva. It’s a choice I leave to you. (But I say Lawrence, since I want you all to fuck up too. Which is a statement that could go either way.)

On my ballot: Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. I’m sticking with her. I liked the performance best and I think she should. I also don’t support the “old for the sake of old” win. (Remember when I didn’t vote for Christopher Plummer last year?) I just don’t see them going for Riva. They never vote for foreign actresses, and when they do, they look like Sophia Loren. This category is almost always about the young actress of the moment. Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock — at what point does that make it seem like Riva is gonna win? I could see it happening, and I wouldn’t be shocked, but based on how the Academy votes — I just feel like Lawrence has this one. (Not that being wrong about it will mean anything. It’ll just make me say, “Good for Riva,” and wait a day or two before I say it was a horrible decision. You vote how you like — I’m taking Lawrence through the bitter end.)

– – – – –

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, Argo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

My Rankings:

1. Tommy Lee Jones

2. Christoph Waltz

3. Robert De Niro

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman

5. Alan Arkin

I do like the category. I think it’s solid. I’d have gone wildly differently here, voting for people like Christopher Walken and James Gaondolfini (and Leonardo DiCaprio — what’s with the Leo snub, people?), but in terms of what’s on — I can’t really complain. Waltz is a lead, but the Academy does this all the time. Arkin is playing himself, but he’s enjoyable, and we love Alan Arkin. (It’s like Alan Alda. I’ll never really complain if he gets nominated either.) De Niro is great. I just hope this gets him to go for stronger material now. Plus I like that this is his first nomination in twenty years. I like seeing him come back to the fold. And Hoffman is always welcome. Jones is Jones. I think we all enjoyed that performance. (Though I can’t help but think how similar it is to Anthony Hopkins in Amistad. I feel like if he lost, in ten years, we wouldn’t think twice about it. Maybe that’s rationalization to not take him…)

My Vote: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

What Would Be On My Ballot: I don’t know… honestly, probably Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Most Likely to Win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln. This is still a pretty wide open race, since almost every major group has gone a different way. SAG gave it to Jones, though, and SAG will always be the best prognosticator for this sort of thing, since the Actors branch is the biggest branch of the Academy. Plus the Academy skews older and likes rewarding veterans. I don’t see how he isn’t considered the favorite to win.

Biggest Competition: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook. They’re campaigning like a motherfucker for him. And the Weinsteins know how to campaign. I watched this movie again the other day — he’s right there. He has an emotional arc, he gives a great performance, he’s a veteran — he’s right there. He just doesn’t have the final scene that Jones has, is the thing. Jones is more likely to catch broad votes than De Niro is. A lot of De Niro’s votes are going to Hoffman and Waltz. I still think he’s a solid bet to take this down, though, given the veteran aspect, even if he hasn’t really won a precursor.

Spoiler Alert: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master. I don’t know. It’s him or Waltz. Waltz has BAFTA and the Globe (and remember, I don’t really respect Globe wins as a prognosticator) win, but I just don’t think the Academy as a whole is gonna go for that same thing again. I’d enjoy the shit out of it, but I feel like Hoffman has a stronger chance, if only because he’s just solid. Waltz has the “actually a lead” thing going against him (not to mention the “same thing again” thing). Hoffman doesn’t really have any negatives. He won the BFCA only, really, so I guess the role itself is really what’s making me keep him as the upset pick. But there are four legitimate contenders here, and no one knows exactly which way it’s gonna go. So, Hoffman/Waltz, take your pick for spoiler. Either way, there are options.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Jones 2) De Niro 3) Waltz 4) Hoffman 5) Arkin

If I were a betting man: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln. He has everything going for him except a majority of precursors. His character is the one that this category was built on. He has the arc (it’s not that complex, but I’ve seen weaker ones win this), he steals scenes, he has that touching (it’s not contrived if it wins) final scene. And he has a SAG win. I’m sticking with him because I don’t know what’s going on. I’m all ready to concede this and Director from my total (and maybe even Actress, at this point), so, if I get it — great.

You should take: This is a tough one, but Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln. I don’t see how anyone else can be considered a favorite, and if you want to take the most likely option, take him. After that, I can see De Niro and Waltz making plays for it, and maybe Hoffman. Technically Waltz has more precursors in his favor than De Niro, but outside of Jones, I don’t see who can feel confident about believing any one of these people is gonna win. How do you know Argo doesn’t sweep and Arkin doesn’t win? It could happen. We’d all be shocked, granted, but it could happen. (Also note — someone brought this up to me yesterday — since Sunset Boulevard, all the films that have been nominated in every acting category have totaled at least one Oscar. So if you don’t think Jennifer Lawrence is gonna win, maybe you want to go De Niro instead. Unless you think it’s getting shut out entirely, of course.) Though again, I’m hearing huge things about De Niro. And with the Weinstein’s campaigning for him (they got a guy who never gives interviews to cry on TV)… hell, I’m considering even changing my vote here. It’s either Jones or De Niro (most likely). Take your pick.

On my ballot: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln. I’m figuring a loss is coming, so I’m just gonna put myself in the best position to win and hope for the best. This one’s almost as wide open as Supporting Actress 2007 was. (I’m starting to think I should take De Niro, but I care less if I get it wrong than if I was betting amongst a group of friends. If I get 14 out of 24 on here, I won’t care. So I’m just gonna stick with it. It’s all a crap shoot anyway. I just happen to know the game better than most. Which makes losing easier. Since I’m prepared for the outcomes.)

– – – – –

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

My Rankings:

1. Anne Hathaway

2. Sally Field

3. Helen Hunt

4. Jacki Weaver

5. Amy Adams

This category could have turned out a lot worse than it was. Weaver is a nominee whose performance I like more every time I see it, and I’m glad Nicole Kidman didn’t get on. That performance sounded a lot better at the outset than it turned out in the film. The Amy Adams nomination — ehh, not great. She doesn’t have anything to do in the movie, and it’s not her fault. That said — the performance could have been more worthy. It’s a filler nominee that we won’t question because it’s her, it’s the film, and it’s the role, but it’s still kind of a weak nominee. Hunt is solid, even though she is a lead, but I still didn’t like that movie as much as everyone else did. I think it’s just okay, and I’m glad Hawkes didn’t get nominated over Joaquin. I think Joaquin’s performance is gonna hold up so much more than Hawkes’ is. Field, I thought, didn’t do much in the movie, and, like the Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot Guy, I thought her character was pretty annoying too. I don’t see why she should win at all. She actually is twenty years older than the character. And Hathaway — sure, she’s barely in the movie, but she makes a hell of an impression. She dwarfs this entire category. I don’t go by the performance in this case as much as I do the competition. And she has none.

My Vote: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

What Would Be On My Ballot: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Most Likely to Win: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables. WHAT?!?!?!

Biggest Competition: Sally Field, Lincoln. If it’s anyone else, it’s her. But it’s not anyone else.

Spoiler Alert: Helen Hunt, The Sessions. It’s not happening, so it doesn’t matter. But she’s probably the most likely to get votes. Maybe Weaver too. But either way, you’re insane if you’re gonna go here. The other three nominees that aren’t Hathaway are Field will probably total a 1% chance of winning.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Hathaway 2) Field 3) Hunt 4) Weaver 5) Adams

If I were a betting man: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables. Does a sure thing even count as a bet?

You should take: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables. Unless you’re crazy. She’s about as locked as Day-Lewis is. You could take Sally Field, but you’d be playing one hell of a hunch at this point.

On my ballot: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

– – – – –

Best Original Screenplay

Amour

Django Unchained

Flight

Moonrise Kingdom

Zero Dark Thirty

My Rankings:

1. Django Unchained

2. Amour

3. Moonrise Kingdom

4. Zero Dark Thirty

5. Flight

Solid category. My narrative problems with Zero Dark Thirty notwithstanding, it’s a solid category. (I even understand the Paul Thomas Anderson snub.) Then, Django was, to me, the best screenplay of 2012. The category begins and ends there.

My Vote: Django Unchained

What Would Be On My Ballot: Django Unchained

Most Likely to Win: Django Unchained. Probably. Though at this point, it’s a three-horse race. Maybe I’m just being hopeful. This is one of those that I’m perfectly willing (and expecting) to get wrong. I think this is your favorite, though.

Biggest Competition: Amour. This might actually win, and honestly, you might be better off taking it. I can see them going for this over Quentin. Easily. I think it’s probably gonna be one or the other. I can see this winning Foreign Language Film and this. And if it wins both, and we’re waiting on Actress… whew, boy, we’re gonna be in for an interesting finish.

Spoiler Alert: Zero Dark Thirty. Mark Boal beat Quentin last time. I think he has a shot to do it again. He’ll get votes. He’ll definitely get votes. I just think there’s so much negative around the film that it’ll be difficult for it to get enough to actually win. People are gonna say, “Well, it won WGA,” but neither Django or Amour were eligible for that, so how can you consider that a noteworthy precursor for rationalization purposes? I just don’t think this has that momentum to win again. It easily could, but I’m not gonna vote for it. Again, though — three-horse race. If you have a strong feeling, go for it.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Django Unchained 2) Amour 3) Zero Dark Thirty 4) Moonrise Kingdom 5) Flight

If I were a betting man: Django Unchained. I’m sticking with it. I’m not picking against anyone but myself this year. I don’t give a fuck if I get 14 right.

You should take: Good question. Probably Amour. It seems like it might actually win here. I’d say go with Django, but at this point, Amour might be the smarter way to go. Or, if you’re so inclined, Zero Dark Thirty. The more I think about it, the more I think Quentin’s gonna get fucked over again. So you should probably take either Amour or Zero Dark. The political crowd will take Zero Dark. That might be your favorite.

On my ballot: Django Unchained. I don’t feel great about it, but I gotta stand by my favorite script of the year. Though I keep thinking that Boal’s gonna take this one again. So it goes.

– – – – –

Best Adapted Screenplay

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

My Rankings:

1. Lincoln

2. Silver Linings Playbook

3. Argo

4. Life of Pi

5. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Pretty solid category. Not too sure about Beasts, but good for them. The other four make total sense. Personally, I despised the framing and overt religiousness of Life of Pi, so I won’t go near that for a vote. I liked Silver Linings, but competition is stiff. And Argo — solid script, but I just don’t know if I can vote for it over Lincoln. That script had a lot of work to do and did it beautifully. Argo didn’t have much depth to it. I think I’m gonna take Lincoln, personally.

My Vote: Lincoln

What Would Be On My Ballot: Lincoln

Most Likely to Win: Argo. It has the momentum. I can’t see it losing at this point. This film is gonna win a couple of things outside of Best Picture, and if this isn’t one of them, I’d be shocked. Both the WGA and the USC Scripter went here, which didn’t need to happen in order for this to win the Oscar. I can’t see it losing.

Biggest Competition: Lincoln. It’s losing momentum, but it’s still right there. It can still make a play. Tony Kushner did write it, after all. (Then again, he wrote Munich, too. And he lost that Oscar to… well, he lost to Brokeback. But still, you get the point.) This is your main competition, but maybe not the most likely alternate winner.

Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook. This script is loved. BAFTA gave it to this. It has support. If there’s a surprise winner on the night, this could be it. This could take Screenplay and lose elsewhere, because this would be the prize they give to it. Either way, this is a spoiler winner at best right now.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Argo 2) Lincoln 3) Silver Linings Playbook 4) Beasts of the Southern Wild 5) Life of Pi

If I were a betting man: Argo. Take Argo. Best Picture usually wins Best Screenplay, unless it’s not something that needs to win it, like The Artist, or Chicago. I think the only other Best Picture winners of the past fifteen years to not win Screenplay are those two, Million Dollar BabyGladiator and Titanic. And only one of those may seem weird, and it’s because it lost to Alexander Payne. I think Argo has this.

You should take: Tough call. Probably Argo. But Lincoln, Silver Linings or even Life of Pi could win this. “Unfilmable” goes a long way with voters. But still, Best Picture usually wins, so I’d say stick with that.

On my ballot: Argo

– – – – –

Best Editing

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

My Rankings:

1. Argo

2. Lincoln

3. Life of Pi

4. Silver Linings Playbook

5. Zero Dark Thirty

Personally, I’d have put Skyfall and The Impossible on here. Otherwise, I get it. I can’t quibble about the category because it’s so closely tied to Best Picture. These are the only five films with a shot to win Best Picture, in case you were wondering. For a vote, in this category… not Silver Linings and definitely not LincolnLife of Pi — no. Well… maybe. A big maybe. And Zero Dark — the ending, yes, but the first two hours are slow and not particularly flashy, so, by default that makes it…

My Vote: Argo

What Would Be On My Ballot: Argo

Most Likely to Win: Argo. Best Picture brings with it other awards. It’s not a guarantee, but I can’t see this winning Best Picture and only Best Picture. So it’ll win other things. This and Screenplay make the most sense. I think you have to consider this the favorite based on that. However…

Biggest Competition: Zero Dark Thirty. If anything else is gonna win, it’s this. And you may even want to go with it anyway, because I can still see it winning regardless. It’s gonna be one or the other, and at this point, the only thing that’s keeping me from saying this will win this award is that Argo is gonna win Best Picture. This could very easily still take it.

Spoiler Alert: Life of Pi. It’s the only other choice if it’s not the first two.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Argo 2) Zero Dark Thirty 3) Life of Pi 4) Lincoln 5) Silver Linings Playbook

If I were a betting man: Argo.  I would actually be shocked if it won less than three Oscars. Fuck, even Crash won Best Editing. So I think it’s not that strange a call to make.

You should take: Argo. Probably. But you wouldn’t be crazy to take Zero Dark Thirty. But I’m just not going against the Best Picture at this point. But you should definitely have one or the other, otherwise you’re crazy.

On my ballot: Argo

– – – – –

Best Cinematography

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

My Rankings:

1. Skyfall

2. Anna Karenina

3. Django Unchained

4. Lincoln

5. Life of Pi

Like this category. Lincoln — ehh… all right. And Life of Pi — I worry about films that are almost entirely digitally lit. At least Deakins only shot on digital. Life of Pi is like Avatar — they did it all on computers. Either way, who the fuck do you think I’m voting for?

My Vote: Skyfall

What Would Be On My Ballot: Skyfall

Most Likely to Win: Life of Pi. I think I may have said Anna Karenina here when I broke down the category last week. I’ve changed my mind on this one, mostly because I feel like Anna Karenina has a lot of people who haven’t seen it and don’t like it. This film does not have that. Certainly not for Cinematography. So I think this is your favorite at the moment. Remember, people look at this category as just the films, not who shot them. So on that alone, this is your odds-on favorite to win this. This category the last three years has been won by films that have been shot the way this one has. There’s a shift taking place, and I think this continues that trend.

Biggest Competition: Anna Karenina. If they saw it (and liked it), they might vote for it. But how many people is that? I think this could surprise here, but based on how this category has turned out the last few years, I don’t think it’s happening. I think this category is more locked up than even I’d like to admit.

Spoiler Alert: Skyfall. It’s Deakins. He needs to fucking win one of these at some point. He won ASC, but ASC is never really a prognosticator. Tree of Life won ASC last year. And Deakins has like three of those things by now. Not to mention the Lifetime Achievement one they gave him last year or the year before. So it’s very much in the race, but I just see them fucking him over yet again. At this point I’m not even hoping that he’s gonna win because I almost know that he’s not going to.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Life of Pi 2) Skyfall 3) Anna Karenina 4) Lincoln 5) Django Unchained

If I were a betting man: I want to say Deakins, but it has to be Life of Pi. I’m starting to lose the faith. Until we get a Scorsese situation on our hands, I think they’re gonna continue to fuck over Deakins. Like I said, there’s this CG trend that’s happening in this category, and this seems like it’s gonna continue it.

You should take: Life of Pi. Don’t chase pipe dreams like I want to. Take the smart choice if you want to win. (Though, you should know by now, generally every year when I mark my ballot, I do leave a couple categories aside to take shots with. I’m sure you’re all doing it too. Since the person who blindly marks down everything I say is a fucking idiot. Even more so than I am. I’m assuming you’re (if you’re listening at all) looking at what I say and are going, “I disagree. I think Christoph Waltz is winning Supporting,” and are putting those picks on your ballot instead. That’s how this section should be taken. That said, I still think this is almost definitely going to win, despite my personal feelings.)

On my ballot: Life of Pi. Sorry Deakins, but I just know they’re gonna fuck you over again. Now, on a personal personal ballot (that is, the one that’s not online and is in my hand as I hang out and eat Chinese food with people while watching it), that one may or may not have Deakins on it (since at this point, he’s starting to become like Scorsese. Eventually this will blow over into a win). But right now, I think Life of Pi is your probable winner.

But I guarantee you, if he does win, every single social media presence I have will be flooded with “ROGER DEAKINS FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!”

– – – – –

Best Original Score

Anna Karenina

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

My Rankings:

1. Skyfall

2. Anna Karenina

3. Lincoln

4. Life of Pi

5. Argo

The category’s not awful. I think Cloud Atlas was the best score of the year and should be here instead of Argo. Otherwise, Skyfall and Anna Karenina were my #2 and #3 favorite scores of 2012, so I love those. Life of Pi is a great score and should be here, and while I’m not totally in love with Lincoln‘s score (I’d have loved to see Wreck-It Ralph, Brave or The Master here instead), I get it. That said, the vote is easy…

My Vote: Skyfall

What Would Be On My Ballot: Skyfall

Most Likely to Win: Life of Pi. I think it has it locked up at this point. I can’t see anything else taking it down. Maybe if they want to give another one to Williams, but…

Biggest Competition: Anna Karenina. But honestly, I don’t think Life of Pi is losing. So put whatever you want here. This at least has some support. Either way, don’t think it matters.

Spoiler Alert: Argo. I’ve seen stranger shit happen. Best Picture brings awards with it. Theoretically, it could win Supporting Actor. It could still win this. I don’t think Life of Pi is losing, so why not put this here? What’s the case for any of them? It doesn’t matter.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Life of Pi 2) Anna Karenina 3) Lincoln 4) Argo 5) Skyfall 

If I were a betting man: Life of Pi. I don’t think it’s losing.

You should take: Life of Pi. I really don’t think it’s losing.

On my ballot: Life of Pi. Motherfucker, did you hear me?

– – – – –

Best Original Song

“Before My Time,” from Chasing Ice

“Pi’s Lullaby,” from Life of Pi

“Suddenly,” Les Misérables

“Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” from Ted

“Skyfall,” from Skyfall

My Rankings:

1. “Skyfall”

2. “Everybody Needs a Best Friend”

3. “Suddenly”

4. “Pi’s Lullaby”

5. “Before My Time”

The category — ehh. I’d have liked to see a Django song on here and a Brave song on here. Otherwise — three of these were all but guaranteed, and the Ted nomination should come as a shock to no one. That said, there’s only one winner here.

My Vote: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall

What Would Be On My Ballot: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall

Most Likely to Win: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall. I rest my case.

Biggest Competition: “Pi’s Lullaby,” from Life of Pi. Because what the fuck else is gonna win if not “Skyfall”? I think everyone agrees that “Suddenly” is a blatant attempt to win this category. I can’t see them voting for it (unless they’re really on autopilot). I don’t think anyone liked the Ted song enough to vote for it, and who even knows about “Before My Time”? At least this one is predominant throughout the movie, and they’re already giving it Score. It makes sense as a second choice.

Spoiler Alert: “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” from Ted. I should have “Suddenly” here, but that seems to have lost all momentum at this point. Never count out them wanting to vote for the host. Plus, I don’t think “Skyfall” is losing. It doesn’t matter what my rankings are, because if I’m wrong, not many people will have the actual winner. But it honestly probably is more like “Suddenly,” from Les Misérables. That’s actually gonna get votes (probably). So that’s really your spoiler.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) “Skyfall” 2) “Pi’s Lullaby” 3) “Suddenly” 4) “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” 5) “Before My Time”

If I were a betting man: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall. Or else we’re all gonna collectively disown this category.

You should take: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall. Keep the juju going. Don’t be a douchebag.

On my ballot: “Skyfall,” from Skyfall

– – – – –

Best Animated Feature

Brave

Frankenweenie

ParaNorman

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

My Rankings:

1. Wreck-It Ralph

2. Brave

3. Frankenweenie

4. ParaNorman

5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Technically I haven’t seen The Pirates! Band of Misfits yet, but on the other hand, I probably haven’t looked at this article since Friday (at least, the parts that aren’t the contentious categories), so I may have seen it just yet. As for the rest — ParaNorman I loved in terms of how they put it together. The actual film… ehh, it was all right. Frankenweenie — same thing. The animation is beautiful, the story wasn’t that interesting to me. I just don’t identify with those “outsider” characters. Brave I thought was nice-looking, but the story went completely off the rails. They could have done such great things with that first act, and didn’t. And Wreck-It Ralph was just a joy to watch. I had some issues with it (mostly minor. In fact, almost entirely minor), but it was so damn likable that I don’t care.

My Vote: Wreck-It Ralph

What Would Be On My Ballot: Wreck-It Ralph

Most Likely to Win: Wreck-It Ralph. It has the PGA win, and it won a bunch at the Annies. That should be enough. Brave picked up some wins (BAFTA is the one that matters), but this is still the favorite. I think this’ll walk away with it. It has a heart. And that Pixar backlash might still be in effect.

Biggest Competition: Brave. If it’s not Ralph, it’s this. Plain and simple.

Spoiler Alert: Frankenweenie. Because people want to see Burton get something. It’s not happening, but if it’s anything else besides those two, it’s this.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Wreck-It Ralph 2) Brave 3) Frankenweenie 4) ParaNorman 5) The Pirates! Band of Misfits

If I were a betting man: Wreck-It Ralph. None of Pixar’s subpar efforts have won. Why start here? This film was loved by a lot of people and has such a big heart. Why vote against that?

You should take: Wreck-It Ralph. Take Brave if you want, but why would you want to go against this?

On my ballot: Wreck-It Ralph

– – – – –

Best Production Design

Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

My Rankings:

1. Les Misérables

2. Anna Karenina

3. Lincoln

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

5. Life of Pi

Still trying to figure out how a life raft and a boat constitutes production design. But whatever. The Hobbit doesn’t need to be there, and the other three make sense. The rest isn’t even a question…

My Vote: Anna Karenina. The production design IS the movie.

What Would Be On My Ballot: Anna Karenina

Most Likely to Win: Anna Karenina. This isn’t a sure bet by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, any one of the top three could end up winning. So this is one where you can truly go anywhere with it.

Biggest Competition: Les Misérables. I’m having a hard time thinking this isn’t the favorite. Of all the awards it’s nominated for, this seems like one of the likely ones. I think it’s between this and Anna.

Spoiler Alert: Life of Pi. Because they’ll fucking vote for anything. You know it could.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Les Misérables 2) Anna Karenina 3) Life of Pi 4) Lincoln 5) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

If I were a betting man: Honestly… I think Les Misérables might have it. Anna Karenina might not have the exposure to take this one. Plus I met the lady who did the production design on this the other day and she’s really nice. Not that it has anything to do with anything. I just feel like this has more broad support and that might more easily translate into a win.

You should take: Probably Les Misérables. Or Anna Karenina. I was leaning heavily toward Anna for the longest time, but now I’m thinking Les Mis is the favorite. It seems like the smarter choice. It’s one or the other, and this is the more “Academy” choice and the safe choice. (I think.)

On my ballot: What is on my ballot? You know, I’m just gonna stick with my guns. Anna Karenina. Fuck it. The sets move in front of you! (Note to others: Oscar prediction no-no #1 — NEVER vote with your heart.)

– – – – –

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

My Rankings:

1. Anna Karenina

2. Les Misérables

3. Lincoln

4. Mirror Mirror

5. Snow White and the Huntsman

I don’t like where they went with this. Lincoln is a boring nominee, and Snow White and the Huntsman is kind of a joke. (Not that the costumes are bad, it’s just… put on Skyfall or something.) Les Mis did a good job, and Anna Karenina and Mirror Mirror are what this category is all about. Not that I give a shit about this category all that much. It’s just — I usually only care for like three of the nominees. This year is no different.

My Vote: Anna Karenina

What Would Be On My Ballot: Anna Karenina

Most Likely to Win: Anna Karenina. They go for this shit. I’d call this like, an 80% winner right now.

Biggest Competition: Mirror Mirror. They also go for this, but this doesn’t have the prestige that Anna does. It could still win though. It’s Costume Design. Nobody really knows where they go. (Plus the designer of this, Eiko Ishioka, died. If people know that — they don’t — it might translate into a win.)

Spoiler Alert: Les Misérables. Still could, man. Of the five, this is third.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Anna Karenina 2) Mirror Mirror 3) Les Misérables 4) Lincoln 5) Snow White and the Huntsman

If I were a betting man: Anna Karenina seems like the bet.

You should take: Probably Anna Karenina. If you’re going for an upset choice, probably go Les Misérables. Though Mirror Mirror could also take it. (And then it would be Academy Award Winner Mirror Mirror.) But this seems like the traditional choice all around. “It just has that smell.”

On my ballot: Anna Karenina

– – – – –

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Misérables

My Rankings:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

2. Hitchcock

3. Les Misérables

In terms of what could have been here, I’ll take it. Otherwise, who cares?

My Vote: Les Misérables. Because I don’t care about the category and want to see this get some Oscars.

What Would Be On My Ballot: Les Misérables

Most Likely to Win: Les Misérables. They’ll give it something. This seems like a good spot.

Biggest Competition: Hitchcock. Physical transformations and all. Not the greatest makeup job, but it still holds some weight.

Spoiler Alert: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Because it’s the only other nominee. They won this the other three times, so if there’s a winner that’s not Les Mis, this is probably it. If I weren’t lazy, I’d have put this up a category. But it doesn’t matter. All you care about is the bottom part anyway.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Les Misérables 2) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3) Hitchcock

If I were a betting man: I’m taking Les Misérables. You fools do what you want. I imagine The Hobbit is the other choice.

You should take: Les Misérables. Because it seems like the obvious choice. You have a 1/3 shot, so you might as well go with the one that people will look to give something to. (Though, actually, if it’s not Les Mis, it’s The Hobbit. It’s gonna be one or the other. So it’s almost a 50/50.)

On my ballot: Les Misérables

– – – – –

Best Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi

Marvel’s The Avengers

Prometheus

Snow White and the Huntsman

My Rankings:

1. Life of Pi

2. Prometheus

3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

4. The Avengers

5. Snow White and the Huntsman

One of these things is not like the others…

(When Cloud Atlas and Skyfall weren’t nominated, I didn’t go back to look at this category once. It was locked months ago.)

My Vote: Life of Pi

What Would Be On My Ballot: Life of Pi

Most Likely to Win: Life of Pi. It WILL win.

Biggest Competition: The Avengers. It’s not winning. It doesn’t matter.

Spoiler Alert: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Irrelevant, so let’s just put this here. The other three did win this category, after all.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Life of Pi 2) The Avengers 3) Prometheus 4) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 5) Snow White and the Huntsman

If I were a betting man: Life of Pi. It’s not losing. Trust me when I say it’s not losing. Remember when everyone was all, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes is gonna win” last year and I said, “Fuck you, Hugo is winning,” and then Hugo won? Best Picture nominees DO NOT lose in this category. Since the advent of modern special effects (Star Wars), no Best Picture nominee has ever lost in this category (unless up against another Best Picture nominee). It’s not losing.

You should take: You’re insane if you don’t take Life of Pi. You can fuck around elsewhere. Not here. This is an easy one. Don’t fuck it up.

On my ballot: Life of Pi

– – – – –

Best Sound Editing

Argo

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Skyfall

Zero Dark Thirty

My Rankings:

1. Skyfall

2. Django Unchained

3. Life of Pi

4. Argo

5. Zero Dark Thirty

Not sure why Argo is here. Otherwise, decent category. The Impossible should be here, though.

My Vote: Skyfall

What Would Be On My Ballot: Skyfall

Most Likely to Win: Good question. I think it’s Life of Pi. I watched it again. They had a lot of sounds to work on. The other thing is — it won two awards from MPSE. And every time a film has won more than one MPSE award, it won the Oscar all times but one (and that time was Avatar, which was almost definitely a case where they didn’t want to vote for it). It just feels like it’s gonna win.

Biggest Competition: Skyfall. It won an MPSE Award, and in the last few years, when something doesn’t win at MPSE, it doesn’t win at the Oscars. (Though we really only have about six years to look at there, so it’s not that much of a guide.) So I think this is the second choice right now, that also could win very, very easily. (And should, since the sound design was the best.)

Spoiler Alert: Probably Argo. Or Zero Dark Thirty. Let’s go with Zero Dark Thirty. People will definitely vote for it. It might even win. There’s your upset winner. Argo has the sweep factor going for it, but I don’t know if that’s happening. This is your upset choice, since people will definitely be voting for it.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Life of Pi 2) Skyfall 3) Argo 4) Zero Dark Thirty 5) Django Unchained

If I were a betting man: I’m taking Life of Pi. I just know they’re gonna vote for it. Though this category has a big of a logjam going for it. This will get votes, Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall will get votes, and Argo will probably get votes too. But this won some MPSE Awards, so I figure this is the most likely choice. This is one of the categories that I’m completely leaving to the wind. I’m assuming I’ll get it wrong.

You should take: Life of Pi. You could take Skyfall or Zero Dark Thirty, but I just feel like this one’s winning. Also, the amount that I want Skyfall to win this is actually what’s keeping me from voting for it, since if it loses (which it probably will), and I guess against it, then I’m right, and go me. (Though, watch it not win and me not guess the actual winner. Wouldn’t that be just my luck?) And if it wins, then hey, it won! Still, though — I keep feeling like Pi is taking one of the sound categories, even though it makes sense for other things to win.

On my ballot: Life of Pi

– – – – –

Best Sound Mixing

Argo

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

My Rankings:

1. Les Misérables

2. Skyfall

3. Life of Pi

4. Argo

5. Lincoln

Argo and Lincoln make no sense here at all. The other three — great job. I’d put The Impossible here myself, and the last one… whatever. I just want The Impossible here. For a vote, though, I should take Skyfall, but they sang live…

My Vote: Les Misérables

What Would Be On My Ballot: Les Misérables

Most Likely to Win: Les Misérables. It won CAS, and those winners typically win the Oscar. Plus, they love musicals. Walk the Line won this category. Typically, if a musical doesn’t win this, what does win is a complex sound design or a big action movie. So Skyfall could take both, or Life of Pi could take both, but if that’s not gonna happen, then this should win. They like movies in this category that are either big and loud or have complex (musical) sounds. And the fact that they know they did the singing live here…

Biggest Competition: Skyfall. It’s the best sound design of the bunch, all around. It technically should win, but I just don’t know if they’re gonna vote for a James Bond film. (Plus the sound mixer here is the dude that hasn’t won in like, 16 tries. This would break a huge streak for him. What number was Susan Lucci? Maybe I’ll wait for that to vote for him. He’s almost there.)

Spoiler Alert: Life of Pi. Complex musical design, very Slumdog in terms of its design. It could win. It could win both. Theoretically it makes more sense winning this than Sound Editing.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Les Misérables 2) Life of Pi 3) Skyfall 4) Argo 5) Lincoln

If I were a betting man: Les Misérables is the choice, I think. They did the singing live. That’s sound mixing! It’s not a guarantee, but I think it’s gonna win. If it’s gonna win anything outside Anne, it’s this.

You should take: Les Misérables. You could make a case for Skyfall or Life of Pi, but I feel the most likely winner is this, so that’s what I think you should take. It’s pretty wide open though, the category. You have options.

On my ballot: Les Misérables

– – – – –

Best Foreign Language Film

Amour

Kon-Tiki

A Royal Affair

No

War Witch

My Rankings:

Can’t rank. Didn’t see them all.

My Vote: Amour. Since I did see three of them.

What Would Be On My Ballot: Amour (Assuming I could vote, having only seen three of them.)

Most Likely to Win: Amour. It’s winning. Not 100% guarantee, since this category’s come up with some real bombers in recent memory (It’s the Belmont Stakes of Oscar categories), but I think you can be pretty certain. 99% guarantee.

Biggest Competition: No. Because fuck if I know. (Or is it “Fuck if I No?”)

Spoiler Alert: War Witch. Might as well put the two I haven’t seen here, right?

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Amour 2) No 3) War Witch 4) Kon-Tiki 5) A Royal Affair

If I were a betting man: Amour. It’s nominated for BEST PICTURE!

You should take: Amour. Did you really need me to tell you that? Wouldn’t that be weird if it won Screenplay and/or Actress but not this?

On my ballot: Amour. If it’s not winning, I sure as shit don’t know what’s beating it. I’ll take it til it loses. Plus, everyone is gonna have it on their ballot. So either 98% of us are getting it, or 2% of people will catch one. (But those 2% of people only have like a 2% chance of getting it right, so… weigh your options, is all I’m saying.)

– – – – –

Best Documentary Feature

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man

Can’t rank. Didn’t see them all.

My Vote: Searching for Sugar Man. I did see that one.

What Would Be On My Ballot: Can’t fairly say, having only seen one of the nominees.

Most Likely to Win: Searching for Sugar Man. It’s won everything, and it makes people feel happy. In order to win this category, a doc has to make them feel good about themselves or feel angry about the government or something of that nature. This has a shitload of precursors under its belt and is a great story. I think it wins.

Biggest Competition: Probably The Invisible War. It’s the one of the four that makes you feel bad about the government.

Spoiler Alert: 5 Broken Cameras. It’s got that “power of movies” thing going on. They break all the dude’s cameras and he still manages to make the movie. They like that shit. I can see this getting votes.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Searching for Sugar Man 2) The Invisible War 3) 5 Broken Cameras 4) How to Survive a Plague 5) The Gatekeepers

If I were a betting man: I’m taking Searching for Sugar Man until it loses. Since I like voting for shit that makes me interested in this category. Otherwise it’s just boring and masturbation. (Though, I will say — since 2007, I’ve averaged about one documentary a year. And every time, that documentary has won this category. 2007, I watched Taxi to the Dark Side. 2008, Man on Wire. 2009, The Cove. 2010, I didn’t watch any documentaries, though if I did, it would have been Exit Through the Gift Shop, which lost to Inside Job. And last year, all I saw was Undefeated. And this year, the one documentary I saw was Searching for Sugar Man. I don’t think we need to cut out a goat’s entrails to figure out what that means…)

You should take: Searching for Sugar Man. Because if you think something’s gonna beat this and you think you know what that is, more power to you.

On my ballot: Searching for Sugar Man

– – – – –

Best Documentary Short-Subject

Inocente

Kings Point

Mondays at Racine

Open Heart

Redemption

Can’t rank. Didn’t see them all. (And by that I mean… any of them.)

My Vote: N/A

What Would Be On My Ballot: N/A

Most Likely to Win: Open Heart. Rwandan children making a perilous journey for dangerous open heart surgery. This is the shit that wins this. (Note: Here are the last winners of this category — a film about a surgeon who tries to fix the faces of Pakistani women who have acid thrown in them, a film about a bunch of schoolchildren from different countries who go to the same school in Israel, a film about a girl with a disability who overcomes the stigmas her country has against disabilities to become a singer, a film about a five-year-old with a cleft lip in the poor section of India, a film about the NJ police officer with lung cancer trying to give her pension benefits to her partner, one about the effects of AIDS on Chinese orphans — notice a trend there? This is more than likely the favorite.)

Biggest Competition: Inocente. Poor child who overcomes being homeless to paint. Human interest written all over it. If not Open Heart, then this.

Spoiler Alert: Mondays at Racine. A hair salon for women with cancer. This is your third candidate. Don’t even bother with anything else. (Not that you more than likely know anything about these nominees, anyway.)

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Open Heart 2) Inocente 3) Mondays at Racine 4) Redemption 5) Kings Point

If I were a betting man: Open Heart all the way. I’m not guaranteeing it, but knowing what wins in this category — I’d say you have some pretty good odds. Plus, don’t you just assume you’re gonna get this category wrong anyway?

You should take: Open Heart.  And if not that, then take Inocente. I’d say there’s greater than a 90% chance the winner is one of those two. (The other ten percent goes to Mondays at Racine. And even then, I’d like to pull a Jessica Chastain and say, “99%, since I know certainty freaks you guys out, but it’s a hundred.”) You’re taking either Open Heart or Inocente, and personally, I feel like poor, heart surgery and Rwanda overcomes homeless, uplifting and American. It could happen, but America hasn’t won in this category in six years. And even then, you had lung cancer and lesbian and the government being douchebags. Here she’s just homeless. It could win, I’m just saying, I’m personally taking Open Heart. You have a 50/50 shot with it.

On my ballot: Open Heart

– – – – –

Best Live-Action Short

Asad

Buzkashi Boys

Curfew

Death of a Shadow

Henry

Can’t rank. Didn’t see them all.

My Vote: N/A

What Would Be On My Ballot: N/A

Most Likely to Win: Curfew. It’s the one everyone is saying is most likely to win. Historically, this is the hardest category to pick, so that’s good enough for me. It sounds like one that’ll win. It sounds like the one I’d most likely end up liking the most.

Biggest Competition: Death of a Shadow. Because it’s the coolest concept of the bunch, and at this point, what the fuck else do we have?

Spoiler Alert: Asad. This has a real good chance of spoiling. This should be your alternate if not Curfew. It sounds like something that would win this.

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Curfew 2) Death of a Shadow 3) Asad 4) Henry 5) Buzkashi Boys

If I were a betting man: I’m taking either Curfew or Asad. Right now, I’m leaning toward Curfew.

You should take: Curfew. Because chances are you don’t know anything about this category. And I’m telling you, in recent years, shit like this has won. Remember God of Love? This has that vibe to it. It’ll probably win. If not that, take Asad, if not that, probably take Death of a Shadow. Or, just look all five of them up and decide based on the synopses. What do you want me to tell you? This category is always a crap shoot. We should all mark this down as a probable loss and hope for the best. All I’m doing is putting you in a better position to get it right than you were.

On my ballot: Curfew.

– – – – –

Best Animated Short

Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”

Paperman

(My rankings will contain links to where you can watch them all.)

My Rankings:

1. Paperman

2. Fresh Guacamole

3. Head Over Heels

4. Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”

5. Adam and Dog

My Vote: Paperman

What Would Be On My Ballot: Paperman

Most Likely to Win: Paperman. It’s a two-horse race and a two-horse race alone. Right now, this has the emotional aspect and the broad support (probably). I think it can be considered a favorite.

Biggest Competition: Adam and Dog. If Paperman doesn’t win, this will. I can all but guarantee it. This is more low key, but the animation is still great. I’m telling you, one or the other is almost certainly winning this.

Spoiler Alert: Head Over Heels. Why not? Unless people love The Simpsons and are gonna vote based on that. They could. But I don’t think it matters what I put here, since I still say one of two nominees will win. (Though if you’re gonna vote elsewhere, you should probably take The Simpsons.)

Rankings of likelihood to win: 1) Paperman 2) Adam and Dog 3) The Longest Daycare 4) Head Over Heels 5) Fresh Guacamole

If I were a betting man: Paperman. Because I like to think the ones that make them feel something are more likely to win. (Tell that to Pixar, who has almost never won this category.)

You should take: Paperman. Consider Adam and Dog, though. Strongly consider it. In fact, you couldn’t really go wrong taking either one of them, since they’re both contenders and this category is typically a strange one. I’m taking emotional over pure animation. But honestly, your guess is as good as mine.

On my ballot: Paperman

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are my Oscar predictions. I always leave the caveat of saying I may still change my picks up to show time, but I generally don’t. I forget about it and then leave it alone. Because why second guess? It’s not like the tally matters. I’m gonna report on it tomorrow and then forget about it until next February.

But those are my picks. I’m not even gonna look and see how that ends up tallying out to total votes. Because I don’t care. I just take each category on its own, make my guesses, then sit back and enjoy the show.

(Also, there will be an article coming later that consolidates all this into a brief, logical list of, “Here’s what I’m taking, here’s what you should take, here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision.” Look for that around — I was gonna put it up an hour before showtime, but let’s bump it up a half hour. So look for it five hours from now.)

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4 responses

  1. Great post :) I really enjoy your rankings!

    Check out my predictions- http://kevinsmovies.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/2013-oscar-predictions/

    February 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

  2. That Is So Rich… Thanks a lot!
    And Paperman is totally the best)

    February 24, 2013 at 10:47 am

  3. Chinoiserie

    I am so excited tonight since it is the first time I have seen all Best Picture nominees before the show. Maybe I’ll watch everything next year since I only missed a few.

    February 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

  4. Chinoiserie

    Oh and by the way I learned from a anymous directors picts that you can leave spots empty on a preferential ballot so I would do that and leave most spots empty to support my favorites.

    February 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm

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