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Oscar Predictions: "Lincoln" Leads The Way

Mallory Arkin |
December 19, 2012 | 11:15 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Daniel Day Lewis is a clear frontrunner for best actor. (Dreamworks Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox)
Daniel Day Lewis is a clear frontrunner for best actor. (Dreamworks Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox)
With Oscar season upon us, it’s time to start placing your bets. The biggest winners are often not the highest grossing or most critically well received, but films and performances that cater to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which is largely made up of white males over 60). With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the top contenders for the industry’s highest honors:

Best Picture
The Best Picture category is notoriously hardest to predict due to the Academy’s voting system. However, it’s safe to say this year’s competition is a toss-up between the Steven Spielberg-directed biopic “Lincoln” and Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables,” both of which are sure to have the most nominations overall. Academy voters will be drawn to Lincoln’s great performances and political relevance while the commercial spectacle that is “Les Miz” surely hits a lot of marks that the Academy is known to appreciate. “Zero Dark Thirty,” while a smart film that is sure to secure a nomination, does not have the emotional and heart-tugging factor that is often needed to procure the title of Best Picture. Be sure not to count out “Argo,” which seems to be this year’s dark horse competitor. It has been making a comeback in recent prediction polls and Academy members love Ben Affleck’s Hollywood actor turned respected director story, not to mention how Hollywood loves movies about making movies.

1.    “Lincoln”
2.    “Les Miserables”
3.    “Zero Dark Thirty”
4.    “Argo”
5.    “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Director
The categories of Best Picture and Best Director are often linked. Both Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper are recent winners for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker” and 2010’s “The King’s Speech,” which makes one wonder if Academy voters will be inclined to give the award to someone else. With “Lincoln” seeming to lead the way in the Best Picture category, Spielberg has a good chance of winning.

1.    Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
2.    Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
3.    Ben Affleck, “Argo”
4.    Tom Hooper, “Les Miserables”
5.    Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are this year’s front-runners, though at this point Lawrence seems to have a slight edge. She gave what is surely the best performance of her career thus far as a recovering sex-addict in one of the best films of the year, "Silver Linings Playbook." An Oscar would cap off what has already been a remarkable year for Lawrence, who starred in the third highest grossing film of 2012, "The Hunger Games." Chastain has been receiving rave reviews for her performance in the recently released “Zero Dark Thirty” which has already won her the National Board of Review’s Best Actress award. Both Lawrence and Chastain are recent Academy Award nominees, with Lawrence having been nominated for Best Actress in 2010 for her performance in “Winter’s Bone” and Chastain for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 for her role in “The Help.” The rest of the category is not as solidified, though Marion Cotillard and Naomi Watts are getting some buzz.

1.    Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
2.    Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
3.    Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
4.    Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
5.    Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis will win. Though there were some great performances this year, in the Academy's eyes, nothing will compare to the physical and emotional transformation of Day-Lewis. He's already won two Oscars, and a third win would give him the record for most Best Actor awards. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, has never been nominated before, but his performance as Jean Valijean makes him a shoo-in for at least a nomination. Denzel Washington is a familiar face at the Academy Awards, but he's not likely to win this year against such tough competition.

1.    Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
2.    Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
3.    Denzel Washington, “Flight”
4.    John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
5.    Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Have opinions of your own? Weigh-in in the comments below.

Reach Staff Reporter Mallory Arkin here.



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