Oscar Watch: Academy Awards Predictions

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When it comes to the 2013 Academy Award nominations, predicting the winners is not as cut and dry as in past years. A true race has emerged since the nods were announced. But we have gone through the categories that will be awarded Oscar gold February 24 and give you our best bet for who is going to win. It's been a fascinating Oscar race as several categories, including Best Picture, saw the momentum change and a new favorite emerge as we knock on the door of the 85th Academy Awards.

The Academy Award

Without further ado... here are the 2013 Movie Fanatic Oscar predictions:

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: Argo
Why: It's been an Oscar race for the ages. And the operative word in that sentence is "race." When it's said that movie journalists like a horse race for awards, Academy Awards 2013 saw a near-the-top film (Argo) gather a head of steam and eclipse the previous front-runner (Lincoln). Guess the lesson here is don't snub Ben Affleck for Best Director!

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Winner: Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln
Why: Have you seen the film or even the Lincoln trailer? That is a once in a lifetime performance the likes of which we may never see again.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook.
Why: Movie Fanatic adored Lawrence in the Bradley Cooper co-starring film, but never truly felt that she was a front-runner for Best Actress. In fact, we thought she belonged in the Best Supporting Actress category. But, the change in perception has everything to do with Harvey Weinstein and his uncanny ability to woo Oscar voters to his way of thinking. We think our exclusive video interview subject for Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain, deserves it, but this will be Lawrence's night.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

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

Winner: Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Why: The same thing that goes for Lawrence's Best Actress victory will spell Oscar gold for De Niro on February 24 at the Dolby Theater. De Niro has leap-frogged Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln to walk the champion's shuffle to the podium to accept his third Oscar. Weinstein has mounted one of his classic award-winning campaigns and managed to turn the tide in several of the biggest races. Our Oscar Watch: Predicting Best Supporting Actor column shows how quickly this race has changed. This category is the night's tightest.


Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Winner: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Why:  The Best Supporting Actress category has not really altered much in terms of who will win since nominations were announced -- as we predicted in our Les Miserables review. This was always Hathaway's to lose and it will also serve as the Academy's way of paying tribute to the stage-to-screen effort.

Best Director
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Winner: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Why: Because Ben Affleck's not nominated! The love this year will be spread around and Lincoln will not have to settle solely for a Best Actor victory. Spielberg will take home another Oscar and a well-deserved one. As told to us in our Steven Spielberg Lincoln interview, this was a film decades in the making. It was so worth the wait.

Steven Spielberg Directs Lincoln

Best Original Screenplay
Flight, John Gatins
Amour, Michael Hanake
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Winner: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Why: The "meat" in the dialogue for Django Unchained is like a gift from heaven. Particularly for Christoph Waltz, who again excels at emitting Tarantino verbal candy -- as evidenced in our Django Unchained quotes.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Winner: Tony Kushner for Lincoln
Why: Yes, Spielberg and Lewis will not be alone in the Lincoln victory lap. The screenplay Kushner has written is like the best operatic material. His words move us beyond emotion and capture the spirit and relevance of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals... the biography that spawned the film.

Best Animated Feature
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Winner: Wreck-It Ralph
Why: Momentum! And it is frankly the Best Animated Feature. The surprising emotional ebbs and flows of the Disney film was enhanced by stellar performances by John C. Reilly as the title character and Sarah Silverman as his trusty sidekick.

Wreck-It Ralph John C. Reilly

Best Animated Short
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare

Winner: Paperman
Why: Check out the Paperman full movie and tell us there isn't a more romantic and beautiful short film that you have seen in recent memory!

Best Foreign Language Film
A Royal Affair
War Witch

Winner: Amour
Why: One does not earn the kind of nominations that the Austrian-German film received and not take something home. The easiest, and most appropriate, way to reward this instant classic is in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Best Cinematography
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Winner: Life of Pi
Why: Even though so much of Ang Lee's film is computer-generated, it still takes the magician behind the camera to maximize the power of the visuals. You would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful motion picture released in 2012.

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Winner: Anna Karenina
Why: Simply watch the Anna Karenina trailer and see how this film deserves the most prestigious award in movie costuming.

Best Original Score
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi

Winner: Life of Pi
Why: The story is powerful. The direction is impeccable. The acting is otherworldly and the cinematography is beyond brilliant. But it would all feel a little more hollow if not for Mychael Danna's musical powerhouse of a score.

Best Original Song
Before My Time from Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs a Best Friend from Ted
Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi
Skyfall from Skyfall
Suddenly from Les Miserables

Winner: Skyfall from Skyfall
Why: Adele's Skyfall theme deserves this for managing to craft a James Bond theme song that frankly sounds like James Bond himself. It is smooth, debonair, powerful and fiercely accurate in its mission.

Adele Skyfall Photo

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit
Life of Pi
The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Winner: Life of Pi
Why: The visual landscape created by the special effects team working on Life of Pi had an extraordinary challenge. Bring the visuals from the iconic book to life on screen. To say it's brilliantly beautiful is too tame of a description for this miracle of movie magic.

Best Sound Editing
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: Life of Pi
Why: The sound editing on Life of Pi is the embodiment of a true aural experience as it is meant to be at the cinemas. From the streets of India to the desolation of the ocean where the only soundtrack is the wind, waves and that pesky tiger, Lee's film crackles with a life provided for it miraculously by stellar sound editing.

Life of Pi Suraj Sharma

Best Sound Mixing
Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Winner: Life of Pi
Why: Life of Pi brought the world of being shipwrecked with a wild tiger to life in a manner that was breathtaking. And that is largely due to the reality of the sound provided by the sound mixing team.

Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

Winner: Searching for Sugar Man
Why: Although the Academy loves to put the spotlight on films that showcase the cost the AIDS virus has taken on society, like How to Survive a Plague, Movie Fanatic believes they want to reward the feel good fun of Searching for Sugar Man.

Best Documentary Short
King's Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

Winner: Inocente
Why: Simply, Oscar adores stories such as Inocente!

Best Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: Argo
Why: Argo crackles with excitement around every turn, and yet can manage to change its feeling on a dime (such as the Hollywood element to the story). You don't win Best Picture for a film like Argo without having one heck of an editing job.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Les Miserables
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Winner: Les Miserables
Why: Any film that can make Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway appear on the ugly side of the spectrum deserves a golden statue.

Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Winner: Anna Karenina
Why: The film was as beautiful as a Renaissance painting and brought Leo Tolsty's world to life in the most gorgeous swatches of color, black and white and explosions of visual wizardry.

Short Film, Live Action
Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow

Winner: Curfew
Why: The film is about as timely as there is in this category and given the Academy's penchant for rewarding films that put up a mirror to our society, look for Curfew to win.

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