There are few certainties in this year’s Oscars – the wildest and most unpredictable field in years – but you can count on a few things. Host Seth MacFarlane will make cruel jokes about Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck. He’ll make an off-colour joke about 85-year-old nominee Emmanuelle Riva, because, you know, she’s old and stuff. And someone will stumble over the pronounciation of Quvenzhané Wallis (for the record, it’s kwa-venja-nay).
Time Out reckons we can guess who will win – but the great thing about the Oscars are the maddeningly perverse surprises. If we’re 100 per cent right this time, we’ll be a shocked as anyone…
What will win? Argo
What will lose? Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
For a while it looked like Zero Dark Thirty had this in the bag – but it’s become too controversial. Lincoln is admired and a box-office hit, and might sneak in, but it doesn’t have what Argo has: Hollywood producers as heroes. And you do realise who votes for these things, don’t you?
Who will win? Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Who will lose? Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Through a quirk of voting, Argo's Ben Affleck missed out on a nomination, so Spielberg is set to join the three-Oscars club this year, together with his star, Daniel-Day Lewis. And it’s well deserved: the veteran showman displayed his remarkable versatility with a gripping, non-sentimental historical drama that’s unlike anything he’s done before.
Who will win? Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Who will lose? Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Denzel Washington (Flight)
Day-Lewis is like Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep rolled into one – a commanding presence who is also a chameleon. It’s fitting that he should join their ranks as a three-time Academy Awards champ. While he’s playing Lincoln – a massively different role to his Oscar-garlanded turns in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood – you simply can’t take your eyes off him.
Who will win? Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Who will lose? Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Is there a hotter talent in the world right now than Lawrence, 21-year-old star of the Hunger Games franchise and an amazing actor to boot? Perhaps only Jessica Chastain, who is in with an Oscar chance for Zero Dark Thirty. But if Chastain’s obsessed Osama-hunter doesn’t triumph then it’ll be Lawrence as the sassy and troubled young widow in Silver Linings Playbook who takes home the gold.
Best Supporting Actor
Who will win? Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Who will lose? Alan Arkin (Argo), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Every nominee in this category has won an Oscar before. De Niro has won twice – for The Godfather Part IIand Raging Bull. But his track record has been so poor lately – no nominations for 22 years – that he’s likely to be rewarded simply for being good in a well-written role (the neurotic, gambling dad in Silver Linings Playbook). If not, expect Tommy Lee Jones to mount the podium for his performance as the earnest and ornery congressman in Lincoln.
Best Supporting Actress
Who will win? Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Who will lose? Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Done and dusted. Hathaway’s stirring rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ reduced even haters to tears. We’ve long admired Hathaway’s dramatic chops, not just her comedy stylings, so it’ll be an honour well earned by the doe-eyed star, who was so also much fun as the Cat Woman in The Dark Knight Rises. Sorry Jacki Weaver – we love you, but your small part in Silver Linings Playbook barely registers in comparison.
Best Foreign Film
What will win? Amour (Austria)
What will lose? Kon-Tiki (Norway), No (Chile), A Royal Affair (Denmark), War Witch (Canada)
Denmark’s A Royal Affair could be a spoiler, but Michael Haneke’s intimate and emotionally charged French-language drama Amour is nominated for Best Picture as well as this award and is unlikely to be overshadowed here. Well, probably…
85th Academy Awards, Mon Feb 25 (Melbourne time)