oscar-nomineesHere are my predictions for the 85th Academy Award nominations, announced in the United States on January 10. Note: I have not yet seen some of the films in contention, so I am relying on 'informed speculation' to come up with these picks.

 

Best Picture

Lincoln

Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables

Argo

Silver Linings Playbook

Life of Pi

Django Unchained

The Master

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Possible Spoilers:

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Moonrise Kingdom

Amour

Skyfall

I think there are now seven locks for Best Picture following the Golden Globe/PGA/WGA momentum Django Unchained is riding. The top six I have listed have been amongst the conversations for several months now. Argo was the favourite for a while. Then Les Miserables. Then Zero Dark Thirty. I think Lincoln is the favourite again. Anyway, what interests me at the moment is the bottom of the list and because The Master is an incredible film and because it is set to feature prominently in other categories, I think it is difficult to overlook for a Best Picture nomination. I have it in at 8, an opinion not shared by many others. If the list stretches to 9 or 10, then I think any of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Moonrise Kingdom, Amour and Skyfall will slot in. I'd like to think Moonrise Kingdom and Amour. The former is amongst Wes Anderson's best work, and he has never been nominated, and it would be great to see a foreign language film nominated once again for Best Picture. Amour is also looking likely to feature amongst multiple categories (Best Actress, Screenplay, Foreign Language Film). Beasts and Skyfall deserve technical nominations (score and cinematography respectively) but their just not good enough overall, for me, to have them on the ballot.

 

Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty

Steven Spielberg - Lincoln

Ben Affleck - Argo

Ang Li - Life of Pi

Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained

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David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master

Michael Haneke - Amour

Tom Hooper - Les Miserables

A lottery, really. I don't know. My gut tells me that QT will miss out (and join PTA, Russell and Haneke on the sidelines) and that Tom Hooper will be nominated. I refuse to believe that is possible. Hooper makes some bold decisions in Les Miserables - shooting the singing live - but his casting is inconsistent, his camera work is disastrous at times and he also fails to capture the scope of the city his story is set in. I'm leaving him out, and because Django has momentum, I think QT will slot in. Depending on how much they love Silver Linings (likely to receive at least four nominations) and The Master (I am predicting six), then Russell and PTA could feature too. I doubt it, though.

 

Best Actor

Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln

Denzel Washington - Flight

John Hawkes - The Sessions

Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables

Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook

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Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour

 

I think DDL, Washington, Jackman and Hawkes are locked in, and it will come down to Phoenix vs. Cooper. Personally, I wouldn't have Jackman there (and I haven't seen DDL, Washington or Cooper at work yet) but it is his story that keeps the film engaging, so I respect his work. The best performance I have seen here is Phoenix's in The Master but because of some recent comments he made about the Oscars and his general unpopularity following I'm Still Here it looks like he'll miss out. I would be overjoyed if he made the cut, but it looks to be at the expense of Bradley Cooper, who I am glad to see feature. I never would have guessed years back he'd be an Academy Award-nominated actor.

 

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook

Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone

Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

Naomi Watts - The Impossible

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Helen Mirren - Hitchcock

Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed

Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild

Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea

Pretty confident these will be the five nominees. It will be between Lawrence and Chastain (how attractive is this category, seriously) but I sincerely hope Riva makes the cut for her work in Amour. Amazing performance. She has won a heap of critics awards, so I think she will overcome the SAG snub and make it in over Helen Mirren. Watts has been amongst the talk a lot recently, and the only other outside chances that could foil her and Riva are Wallis and Weisz.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln

Phillip Seymour Hoffman - The Master

Matthew McConaughey - Magic Mike

Alan Arkin - Argo

Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained

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Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook

Javier Bardem - Skyfall

Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Samuel L. Jackson - Django Unchained

Ezra Miller - The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Tough category to predict. Any of the ten I have mentioned here could be nominated. I believe Waltz is more of a co-lead than a supporting, and it is possible that the Django trio could cancel one another out. Still, I have heard such great things about Leo's performance that I envision seeing him there. Jones, Hoffman and Arkin are locks (the latter was great, but I don't think he's worthy of a nomination) and I am rounding it out with Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike. He has had a terrific year (fantastic in Killer Joe and Bernie also) and I'd like to see him recognised. Then there's De Niro, who more knowledgeable people than myself predict to be a lock.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

Sally Field - Lincoln

Helen Hunt - The Sessions

Amy Adams - The Master

Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy

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Ann Dowd - Compliance

Maggie Smith - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Not much to say here. I find it hard to believe Maggie Smith will be nominated, and though I haven't seen Field or Kidman there is enough buzz to suggest they will be recongised. I wonder whether the less-than-positive reaction to The Paperboy will hurt Kidman's chances. It doesn't matter, Hathaway will win this.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Mark Boal - Zero Dark Thirty

Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained

Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master

Michael Haneke - Amour

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola - Moonrise Kingdom

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Rian Johnson - Looper

John Gatins - Flight

If Moonrise Kingdom and Amour receive a Best Pic nominations you can bet Anderson/ Coppola and Haneke will be honoured here. If not, they might be replaced by Rian Johnson. I think Boal, Tarantino and PTA are locks, but the final two categories will be challenges by the aforementioned.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Tony Kushner - Lincoln

Chris Terrio - Argo

David O. Russell - Silver Lining Playbook

David Magee - Life of Pi

Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being A Wallflower

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Ben Lewin - The Sessions

William Nicholson - Les Miserables

 

The top four are locks. The fifth spot...well it will likely be Les Mis, but I am holding hope for Perks to pick up a single nomination. Chbosky did such a great job with that film.

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Amour

The Intouchables

A Royal Affair

Beyond the Hills

Kon-Tiki

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No

Sister

War Witch

 

No certainly whatsoever. I know that Amour and The Intouchables will be there.

 

Best Documentary Feature

Searching For Sugar Man

The Imposter

The Gatekeepers

How To Survive A Plague

The Invisible War

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The House I Live In

Chasing Ice

This is Not A Film

 

The same. Searching For Sugar Man and The Imposter (I hope!) will be there.

Animated Feature

From Up On Poppy Hill

Frankenweenie

ParaNorman

Brave

Wreck-It Ralph

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Le Tableau

Rise of the Guardians

Here's another of my bold predictions. I loved From Up On Poppy Hill, and I feel like it is better than all of the other nominees and deserves a nomination. I also enjoyed Frankenweenie and Brave, so I hope they are amongst it. Wreck-It Ralph (the likely winner) was average. I wouldn't nominate it.

 

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins - Skyfall

Mihai Malaimare Jr. - The Master

Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi

Grieg Fraser - Zero Dark Thirty

Robert Richardson - Django Unchained

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Janusz Kaminski - Lincoln

Seamus McGarvey - Anna Karenina

Wally Pfister - The Dark Knight Rises

Best Editing

Zero Dark Thirty

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

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Django Unchained

The Master

Best Original Score

Lincoln

Anna Karenina

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Master

Zero Dark Thirty

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Argo

Life of Pi

The Dark Knight Rises

 

Best Art Direction 

Life of Pi

Lincoln

The Master

Anna Karenina

Les Miserables 

 

Best Costume Design 

Anna Karenina

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Mirror Mirror

Django Unchained

 

Best Visual Effects 

Life of Pi

Cloud Atlas

The Avengers

Prometheus

The Dark Knight Rises 

 

Best Make-up/Hairstyling

Les Miserables

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Lincoln

 

I have left out the categories of Best Original Song, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing because I am not informed enough about those categories and it would be blind guessing.

 

So, with the exception of those categories, here's how my Best Picture nominees stand:

Lincoln is down for 11, The Master 7, Zero Dark Thirty 7, Life of Pi 7, Les Miserables 6, Django Unchained 6, Argo 5 and Silver Linings Playbook 5.

What are your thoughts? I am prepared for a heap of feedback regarding The Master.