Here's Ed's annual list of predictions and "if onlys" for the Academy Award extravaganza this Sunday night. The documentary categories have been omitted, as only one or two of the films played in Indianapolis.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty or Lincoln
Why? Zero Dark Thirty is a better based-on-fact CIA thriller than Argo, but ever since Ben Affleck got shut out of the Academy's Best Director nominees list, Argo has been winning everything. Lincoln is a fine film, despite going on for about 20 minutes after the moment we all thought was the closing scene, and it might eke out a win, but I'm betting on the Argo directorial justice/revenge train to keep chugging through the weekend.
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Will Win: Steven Spielberg
Should Win: David O. Russell
Why? Academy members really like Lincoln, but they're going to vote for Argo for Best Picture in part to protest Ben Affleck's exclusion from this category. Accordingly, they will reward Lincoln by giving Spielberg the Best Director statue. Oscar karma. David O. Russell is just a bit more deserving, but he won't be making any speeches this year.
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Why? He's a two-time Best Actor winner who delivered again. Simple as that. Plus he has a hyphenated last name and who doesn't love people with hyphenated last names?
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should Win: Jessica Chastain
Why? Jennifer Lawrence is on a hot streak. She's been very good in a variety of roles, plus she's been honest and quirky on the talk show circuit. But Jessica Chastain did a wonderful job embodying the never-quit mindset that finally led the USA to Osama bin Laden. And she kept her obsessed character human and highly relatable. Alas, her character was dismissed as underdeveloped by some, so Jennifer will likely take the prize.
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones
Should Win: Chistoph Waltz or Tommy Lee Jones
Why? Tommy Lee was larger-than-life yet credible in an attention-getting role. Christoph Waltz was too. I'm betting Academy members will vote for Tommy Lee so he won't scowl at them. Now watch Robert De Niro sidle in and take the trophy for his dandy non-self-parodying work in Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Will Win: Anne Hathaway
Should Win: Helen Hunt
Why? Helen Hunt was brave, graceful, subtle and believable in The Sessions. But Anne Hathaway has been widely praised as the best element of Les Mis, so she will win handily.