You can see a full list of predictions in all categories here.
1. Ben Affleck (Argo)
2. Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
3. Tom Hooper (Les Misérables)
4. Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
5. Michael Haneke (Amour)
Alternative: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
I’m starting to feel that the Toronto hit Silver Linings Playbook will end up being this year’s The Help despite Russell’s recognizable name, meaning that multiple acting nominations and possibly Screenplay and Best Picture are in the cards, but it will be an actors’ film, not a director’s. Haneke and Anderson will quite likely battle for the auteur spots with Ang Lee, but the top three look like sure bets at this point, unless Les Misérables is a major flop.
What about the fringe possibilities though? Can Sacha Gervasi be a real contender now that his film is firmly in the race? How about the directors’ branch getting behind a likely critical favourite like Benh Zeitlin? What if Bigelow’s or Tarantino’s film finds support? They’re both former Oscar winners after all.
Best Original Screenplay
1. The Master
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Django Unchained
5. Magic Mike
Alternative: Seven Psychopaths
There are several possibilities here depending on what mood the branch is in. Commercial? Promised Land. Foreign? The Intouchables. Sci-fi? Looper. Off-kilter comedy? Damsels in Distress.
One thing is for certain though: Michael Haneke’s critical darling and Paul Thomas Anderson auteurial vision will not miss the cut-off. But beyond those two, everything is up for grabs. Is Wes Anderson a contender? He certainly can be if the critics keep his film in the conversation. Is Tarantino in for another nomination? This one will depend on how big a box office hit his film is.
Best Adapted Screenplay
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
4. Silver Linings Playbook
5. Life of Pi
Alternative: The Sessions
This category is usually filled with Best Picture nominees and at the moment I think all five of my predictions have a decent shot at a nod in that category. Then there are Anna Karenina and Les Misérables, but the former has been really divisive on the festival circuit and the latter is a musical and musicals don’t fare well here. Anna Karenina will need help from mainstream critics and the public. Les Misérables will need to be a massive Oscar player with possibly a nomination count in double digits to score in Adapted Screenplay. The Sessions, meanwhile, is lighter and funnier and could be a surprise nominee, especially if Silver Linings Playbook misses out.