Oscar predictions: who will win, who should win

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 2/22/2013 10:44 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

Click the video for the TV report including clips from the films. Commentary below:

The past year was such a good one at the movies that it's hard to complain too much about nearly anyone who will be awarded an Oscar Sunday night. There are a few performances and films that do have the most momentum going into the big night, though.

Below you'll find my Oscar predictions (who I think will win), and my preferences, (who I would vote for).

Predictions will be in Bold. Preferences will be marked with a (**).

Best Picture



Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

** Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Three weeks ago, I would have told you "Lincoln" was the sure-fire choice. But then "Argo" started winning everything and it will probably take the top prize. I have no problem with that. It's an excellent movie. My choice for the Best Picture of 2012, "The Master," wasn't nominated. That's nuts. Could they not have included it for an even ten movies in this category?


** Michael Haneke - Amour

Ang Lee - Life of Pi

David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg - Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild

I'm going out on a limb with Haneke. Since Affleck isn't nominated, this category is tough. Spielberg is probably the safer choice, but he's won twice already. Haneke's choices in "Amour" are part of the reason it's so powerful.

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

Daniel Day Lewis will make history as the only actor to win this award three times. And while he's good as Lincoln, it's a performance that is just perfectly adequate to me. Phoenix in "The Master" is stunning - an emotionally exhausting and physical performance. But many would say the same about Day-Lewis' work.

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

I would argue Lawrence may have been better in "The Hunger Games" than "Silver Linings." I would also say she'll do better work in the future. That said, she's awfully good in "Silver Linings." But Riva tore my heart out in "Amour" as a woman imprisoned in her dying body. It's devastating - and scary.

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

Between five guys who have won Oscars, I think Jones will barely edge out De Niro for his crowd-pleasing grandstanding in "Lincoln." But I so loved Waltz in "Django," a completely different role than Hanz Landa - the other Tarantino character he played that won him an Oscar three years ago.

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

Hathaway is the right choice, and not just because of "I Dreamed a Dream." She creates a complete character out of very little screen time.

Adapted Screenplay


Beasts Of The Southern Wild

** Life Of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

"Argo" will win this, but "Life of Pi" moved me like no other movie this year.

Original Screenplay

Amour - Michael Haneke

** Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino

Flight - John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal

There's a lot of love in the Academy for "Amour," which is often effective in how spare it is. But Tarantino's dialogue in "Django" is some of his best. I don't think it can win because voters may not want to award that many N-words.

Animated Feature Film


The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph



I'm not really crazy about any of these movies. Just please don't give this to "Brave," and award Pixar for another mediocre effort.

Foreign Language Film



War Witch

A Royal Affair


"Amour." Duh.

Original Song

Before My Time - Chasing Ice

Everybody Needs A Best Friend
- Ted

Pi's Lullaby
- Life of Pi

** Skyfall
- Skyfall

- Les Miserables

It's one of the best Bond songs ever, and it's a rule that Adele wins everything.

Original Score

Dario Marianelli - Anna Karenina

Alexandre Desplat - Argo

** Mychael Danna - Life of Pi

John Williams - Lincoln

Thomas Newman - Skyfall

I'm still pissed Johnny Greenwood's work for "The Master" wasn't recognized, but it's too outside the box for the fuddy-duddies in the Academy. Williams has been nominated 48 times, and won five times. It's been 20 years since his last one. I think he gets this one. But Danna's score for "Life of Pi" is my favorite of the bunch.

Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

** Life of Pi

Marvel's The Avengers


Snow White and the Huntsman

Richard Parker wins.

Makeup and Hairstyling


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

** Les Miserables

This is "Les Mis," although whoever cut Hathaway's hair butchered it.


Seamus McGarvey - Anna Karenina

Robert Richardson - Django Unchained

** Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi

Janusz Kaminski - Lincoln

Roger Deakins - Skyfall

"Lincoln" probably wins, but did you see a movie this year more beautiful than "Life of Pi?"

Production Design

Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

** Les Miserables

Life of Pi


The stage production was brought to screen beautifully.

Costume Design

Jacqueline Durran - Anna Karenina

** Paco Delgado - Les Miserables

Joanna Johnston - Lincoln

Eiko Ishioka - Mirror Mirror

Colleen Atwood - Snow White and the Huntsman

Usually, I'd advise to look for the big dresses. But since "Les Mis" was a bigger hit, I'll give it the edge over "Anna Karenina."

Documentary Feature

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man

The first Palestinian documentary film to be nominated will probably win, but the politics of it may put a damper on things.

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

Editing almost always matches up with the Best Picture winner. But editing is a key component of how "Life of Pi" is told. Besides, the most impressively edited movie of the year was "Cloud Atlas."

Sound Editing


Django Unchained

** Life of Pi


Zero Dark Thirty

The sounds of the storms, wind and waves were crucial to immersing you in "Pi," and it just picked up two prizes from the Motion Picture Sound Editors over the weekend. The academy should follow suit.

Sound Mixing


Les Miserables

** Life of Pi



"Pie" could win this too, but the living singing of "Les Mis" will probably prevail.

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