Will Ben Affleck's "Argo" beat Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and David O Russel's "Silver Linings Playbook" at tonight's (Feb. 24) Academy Awards? I don't think so. Despite the last-minute hype and push for "Argo" and complaints about historical inaccuracies of "Lincoln," I'm going to predict "Lincoln" will win.
Who am I to offer my predictions on this year's Oscar race? No one, really. I'm not a film critic. I've never even seen an, um, officially obtained screener for anything other than a TBS show (thanks TBS! for remember the little newspapers) and I don't think I've ever even won an Oscar picking contest in my own home. Consider that carefully before choosing to take my advice and feel free to pick the opposite of everything I do. That strategy has been working for my husband for more than 10 years! I am, however, a huge film fan -- one willing to drive to Atlanta to see this year's delightful animated short films and compelling live action shorts. So, at least I've seen most of the films that I'll be picking. My huge miss of the year is not seeing "The Master." It comes out on DVD Tuesday (Feb. 26) and I can't wait to watch it.
I'm live blogging about fashions and winners here. Official ABC coverage of the The Academy Awards begins at 7 p.m. EST. Expect an hour and half of red-carpet fashion coverage before the awards ceremony begins at 8:30 p.m. EST. E! offers live streaming from the red carpet at 5:30 p.m. Visit www.eonline.com to learn more.
Hosting a viewing party? Click here to download a ballot of Oscar nominees, so you can have your own Oscar picking contest.
Here are my 2013 Oscar predictions:
Nominees: "Silver Linings Playbook," Lincoln, Les Miserables, DJango Unchained, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty Beasts of the Southern Wild "Life of Pi" and "Amour."
My pick: "Lincoln." I won't be surprised to see "Argo," which seems to be the critics last-minute favorite. "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty" aren't bad choices either.
Noteworthy: "Les Miserables" and "Argo" won Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild best cast award went to "Argo."
Fun fact: "Lincoln" received the most Oscar noms with 12, "Life of Pi" got 11 and "Les Miserables" and "Silver Linings Playbook" earned 8 each.
Nominees: Naomi Watts for "The Impossible," Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour" and Quvenzhane Wallis for "The Beasts of the Southern Wild."
My pick: Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook." She was brilliant as were all the nominees in this category although (confession) I didn't see "The Impossible." My heart would chose Emmanuelle Riva. Her performance had such depth and her portrayal was physical and mental anguish was powerful.
Of note: Golden Globe winners were Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain and the SAG went to Jennifer Lawrence. Fun fact: Emmanuelle Riva, at age 85, is the oldest Oscar nominee in Oscar history. Quvenzhane Wallis, at age 9, is the youngest nominee.
Nominees: Daniel Day Lewis for "Lincoln," Denzel Washington for "Flight," Hugh Jackman for "Les Miserables," Bradley Cooper for "Silver Livings Playbook" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
My pick: Daniel Day Lewis for "Lincoln." The passionate speeches, the meandering stories, the arguments with his cabinet, the standoffish family behaviors... an all-around great performance of one of our most beloved presidents.
Of note: Daniel Day Lewis won the Globe and SAG. Hugh Jackman also won a Globe.
Nominees: David O Russel for "Silver Linings Playbook," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Michael Haneke for "Amour" and Ben H Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild:"
My pick: Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln." From small husband-wife scenes to big battlefield scenes, Spielberg showed his directorial range.
Of note: Much drama surrounded the Academy's not nominating Ben Affleck for "Argo." He won the Golden Globe. Several critics really like Michael Haneke for "Amour" but I'm not sure it had an Oscar-worthy range of material.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Christoph Waltz for "Django Unchained," Phillip Seymor Hoffman for "The Master," Robert De Niro "Silver Linings Playbook," Alan Arkin for "Argo" and Tommy Lee Jones for "Lincoln."
My pick Christoph Waltz for "Django Unchained." He was amazing! Is it too similar to the role he won an Oscar for in "Inglorious Bastards?" Well, he was equally as awesome in that Quentin Tarantino role.
Of note: Christoph Waltz won the Globe but Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG.
Fun fact: All the Supporting Actor nominees are previous Oscar winners.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Sally Field for "Lincoln," Anne Hathaway for "Les Miserables," Jacki Weaver: for "Silver Linings Playbook," Helen Hunt for "The Sessions" and Amy Adams for "The Master."
My pick: Anne Hathaway for "Les Miserables." She was easily the best part of that film, in my opinion, of course.
Of note: Anne Hathaway won the Globe and the SAG.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Nominees: "Frankenweenie," "The Pirates Band of Misfits," "Wreck it Ralph" "ParaNorman" "Brave."
My pick: "Brave." Why? We need more female heroes in animation. Confession: I saw none of these.
Of note: "Brave" won the Globe. "ParaNorman" has received a lot of praise from critics, though I think most like "Brave" for the win.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Nominees: John Gatins for "Flight," Mark Boal for "Zero Dark Thirty," Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained," Michael Haneke for "Amour" and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for "Moonrise Kingdom."
My pick: Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained." His mind must be a very scary place but I'm thoroughly entertained and surprised with the alternate universes that he creates.
Of note: Quentin Tarantino won the Globe.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nominees: Lucy Alibar and BenH Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Chris Terrio for "Argo," Tony Kushner for "Lincoln," David O'Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," David Magee for "Life of Pi."
My pick: Lucy Alibar and BenH Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." This is where my heart usually starts to get me in trouble. I want this surprise film to get some deserved Oscar glory.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: "Amour" from France/Austria, "No" from Chile, "War Witch" from Canada, "A Royal Affair" from Denmark, "Kon Tiki" from Norway.
My pick: "Amour." My heart would be happy if this won best picture, so I'm obviously picking it for best foreign film. It's such an agonizingly accurate look at life-ending illness, loneliness and loss.
Of note: "Amour" won the Globe.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: Before my Time from "Chasing Ice," Pi's Lullaby from "Life of Pi," Suddenly from "Les Miserables," Everybody Needs a Best Friend from "Ted:" Skyfall from "Skyfall."
My pick: Adele for "Skyfall." Adele is just so cute and funny. How can I not pick her song?
Of note: Adele won a Globe and a Grammy this year.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: "Anna Karenina," "Argo," "Life of Pi," Lincoln" and "Skyfall."
My pick: "Skyfall."
Nominees: "5 Broken Cameras" from Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, "The Gatekeepers" from Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon, "How to Survive a Plague" from David France and Howard Gertler, "The Invisible War" from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and "Searching for Sugar Man" from Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn.
My pick: "How to Survive a Plague" from David France and Howard Gertler. This documentary does just what a documentary should. It gives background and context to an issue, in this case the Aids epidemic. It gets viewers emotionally involved with the sufferers, in this case those with Aids or who have friends/family dying from Aids. It takes a big-picture approach, in this case by explaining how Aids activists helped change the way drug companies and government agencies responded to patients concerning their care. It promotes activism, in this case by encouraging viewers to stand up for their rights even when it seems impossible to do so.
Of note: Most critics are picking the delightful "Searching for Sugar Man," about Detroit singer Rodriguez, to win. It was enjoyable but I just don't think it's Oscar worthy.
Nominees: "Inocente" by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, "Kings Point" by Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider, "Mondays at Racine" by Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan, "Open Heart" by Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern and "Redemption" by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill.
My pick: "Open Heart" Alas, I've not seen any of these, so this is purely a guess.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Nominees: "Hitchcock" by Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" by Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane and "Les Misérables" by Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell.
My pick: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Nominees: "Anna Karenina," Sarah Greenwood (Production Design) and Katie Spencer (Set Decoration); "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Dan Hennah (Production Design) and Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration); "Les Misérables" Eve Stewart (Production Design) and Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Decoration); "Life of Pi:" David Gropman (Production Design) and Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration); and "Lincoln" Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration).
My pick: "Les Misérables"
ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
Nominees: "Adam and Dog" by Minkyu Lee, "Fresh Guacamole" by PES, "Head over Heels" by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly, "Maggie Simpson" David Silverman and "Paperman" by John Kahrs.
My pick: "Head over Heels" by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. I've seen all these! Anyone who's married understands how it can sometimes seem as if you and your spouse do everything the opposite. A charming little look at married life with a feel-good ending.
SHORT FILM LIVE ACTION
Nominees: "Asad" by Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura, "Buzkashi Boys" by Sam French and Ariel Nasr, "Curfew" by Shawn Christensen, "Death of a Shadow" by Dood van een Schaduw, Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele; "Henry" by Yan England
My pick: "Henry" by Yan England. A man is losing his mind and at times he's tragically aware of that.
Nominees: Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Skyfall
My pick: "Life of Pi." Bringing these imaginative scenes to life was superbly done.
Nominees: "Anna Karenina," "Les Misérables," "Lincoln," "Mirror Mirror" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."
My pick: "Les Misérables." Amazing costumes. Less amazing singing.
Nominees: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "Life of Pi," "Marvels The Avengers," "Prometheus," "Snow White and the Huntsman."
My pick: "Life of Pi." Warning: This is a beautiful but dangerous pick.
Nominees: "Argo," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
My pick: "Lincoln."
Sound editors find or create and capture noises such as gunshot sounds and animals sounds. Nominees: "Argo," "Django Unchained," "Life of Pi," "Skyfall" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
My pick: "Django Unchained." Confession: I don't really get this category but creating gun shot sounds must be cool, right?
This is the process of putting sounds together for the films final track. Making sure all sounds -- dialogue, music and sounds -- can be heard.
Nominees: "Argo," "Les Misérables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln" and "Skyfall"
My pick: "Life of Pi." Confession: I don't really get this category either but combining the music, animal sounds, water sounds, storm sounds and dialogue between a boy and a tiger must have been tricky.
Learn more about the Oscar nominees at oscar.go.com/nominees