Oscar nominations: Where the heat is for Best Picture

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 1/10/2013 11:42 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

Since the Academy started nominating more than five movies for Best Picture recently, the easiest way to tell which films were the serious contenders is through the Best Director nominees. They very often also line up with the Directors Guild of America choices.

This year, the Academy voters made a big departure from the DGA, only matching up with two choices: Spielberg and Lee.

DGA Nominees:
Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Tom Hooper, "Les Miserables"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"

Academy Nominees:
Michael Haneke, "Amour"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Behn Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Now, consider the Academy nominees for Best Picture:
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Django Unchained"
"Les Miserables"
"Life of Pi"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

It's close to impossible for a movie to win Best Picture without it's director at least being nominated. It has happened three times in 85 Academy Awards: "Wings" (1927), "Grand Hotel (1931), and "Driving Miss Daisey (1989). In addition, the Best Picture and Best Director winners have matched up 62 times.

The DGA winner also matches up with the Best Director Oscar winner 88 percent of the time.

So judging from those statistics, and the fact that it got the most nominations overall, the odds-on favorite right now are Spielberg and "Lincoln" to win.

But I have this nagging feeling that Haneke will snag the win from Spielberg, even though I haven't even seen "Amour." Spielberg has won the Directing honor before for "Saving Private Ryan," which then went on to lose Best Picture to "Shakespeare in Love."

Could we have yet another split decision?

Either way, the head of steam "Zero Dark Thirty" had coming into this awards season seems to have been snuffed out with Bigelow ignored. And geez, I can't help feeling bad for Affleck, who has now directed three great movies.

Oscar can be a cruel mistress indeed.

Here is he full list of nominees:

Best Picture



Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


Michael Haneke - Amour

Ang Lee - Life of Pi

David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg - Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild

Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln

Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

Denzel Washington - Flight

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts - The Impossible

Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin - Argo

Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master

Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln

Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams - The Master

Sally Field - Lincoln

Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

Helen Hunt - The Sessions

Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook

Adapted Screenplay


Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Life Of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Original Screenplay

Amour - Michael Haneke

Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino

Flight - John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal

Animated Feature Film


The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph



Foreign Language Film



War Witch

A Royal Affair


Original Song

Before My Time - Chasing Ice

Everybody Needs A Best Friend
- Ted

Pi's Lullaby
- Life of Pi

- Skyfall

- Les Miserables

Original Score

Dario Marianelli - Anna Karenina

Alexandre Desplat - Argo

Mychael Danna - Life of Pi

John Williams - Lincoln

Thomas Newman - Skyfall

Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi

Marvel's The Avengers


Snow White and the Huntsman

Makeup and Hairstyling


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables


Seamus McGarvey - Anna Karenina

Robert Richardson - Django Unchained

Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi

Janusz Kaminski - Lincoln

Roger Deakins - Skyfall

Production Design

Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Costume Design

Jacqueline Durran - Anna Karenina

Paco Delgado - Les Miserables

Joanna Johnston - Lincoln

Eiko Ishioka - Mirror Mirror

Colleen Atwood - Snow White and the Huntsman

Documentary Feature

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man

Documentary Short


Kings Point

Mondays at Racine

Open Heart


Short Film - Animated

Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head over Heels

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare


Short Film - Live Action


Buzkashi Boys


Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)


Film Editing

William Goldenberg - Argo

Tim Squyres - Life of Pi

Michael Kahn - Lincoln

Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers - Silver Linings Playbook

Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg - Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Editing


Django Unchained

Life of Pi


Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Mixing


Les Miserables

Life of Pi



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