‘Argo’ to vindicate Affleck, and other Oscar predictions

John Goodman, left, Alan Arkin, center, and actor-director Ben Affleck in 'Argo.' Arkin was nominated  for an Academy Award for best supporting actor. The 85th Acadamy Awards will air live Sunday on ABC.
John Goodman, left, Alan Arkin, center, and actor-director Ben Affleck in "Argo." Arkin was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor. The 85th Acadamy Awards will air live Sunday on ABC.

Who'll win an Oscar Sunday night? Let's give that prediction thing a whirl.

Best Picture: "Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty."

Holy moly, the underdog just might do it! "Lincoln" had seemed like a sure thing - until "Argo" started its recent roll of victories. It won best-picture awards at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America Awards and walked off with the best ensemble in a movie trophy at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I dare to dream a dream that it might nab an Oscar, too. How great would it be if, after being overlooked as best director, Ben Affleck won an Oscar for being one of "Argo's" producers.

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

Do you really have to ask who'll win? Oh, Danny boy...

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."

Jessica or Jennifer? Jennifer or Jessica? Close call. I expect that Jessica Chastain will prove victorious, in part because her role had more depth and in part as a nod to "Zero Dark Thirty."

I'd vote for the irrepressibly irreverent Jennifer Lawrence, if only to hear what she'd conjure up for her acceptance speech.

Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Argo"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"; Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."

This is the one category where no clear front-runner has emerged. Let's try to analyze the field.

Philip Seymour Hoffman gave the most fully realized performance of the lot, but the fact that "The Master" was an unlikeable movie might work against him. "Lincoln" is already getting an acting award for Daniel Day-Lewis, so maybe voters won't feel compelled to give the perennially irascible Jones one. Waltz could certainly win, as he did at the Golden Globes. Or De Niro could, for giving his first deeply felt performance in years. (Sorry, "Fockers.") And, hey, Arkin was an upset winner when he nabbed the Academy Award for "Little Miss Sunshine" in 2007; everyone was sure Eddie Murphy would be the choice, for "Dreamgirls." Arkin is clearly well-liked and could be a surprise victor again. Most likely scenario, though: De Niro gets the Oscar.

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

Could the fact that Hathaway's performance hangs mainly on the strength of just a single song hurt her chances? Um, Jennifer Hudson's singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and winning for "Dreamgirls" suggests not. Could Anne Hathaway's overly precious acceptance speeches mean academy members cast their votes elsewhere? Possibly. (Calling her Golden Globe trophy "this lovely blunt object that I will ever more use as a weapon against self-doubt"? Oh, please.) Still, though, Hathaway will pull out the victory.

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

The most exciting thing about this line-up is who is NOT there: Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated for "Zero Dark Thirty," and Ben Affleck wasn't for "Argo." Shameful. Who's left? Spielberg and Lee.

Foreign Language Film: "Amour," Austria; "Kon-Tiki," Norway; "No," Chile; "A Royal Affair," Denmark; "War Witch," Canada.

Since "Amour" was nominated in the best-picture category, it's pretty much guaranteed to win here.

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

We Connecticutians shouldn't encourage Kushner, considering he inaccurately portrayed our Congressmen's votes on the 13th Amendment - right, Joe Courtney? So let's say it all together now: Anyone but Kushner ... anyone but Kushner ...


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