Here's how I did in predicting the 2012 Oscar nominees, with a few comments about each category:
Best Picture: The Academy went with nine nominees, and all nine were in the ten I selected. The film that didn't squeak in was Moonrise Kingdom, which I felt was a long shot anyway.
Best Director: Holy cow! I only went 1 for 5 here, correctly predicting Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Sure things Ben Affleck (for Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (for Zero Dark Thirty) were omitted from the list and both had received DGA nominations. Tom Hooper (also a DGA nominee for Les Miserables) was also missing from the Final Five. And while the Academy had some affection for Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino was not recognized for his direction (though he was nominated for his screenplay.)
So who else made it. Well, the Academy showed a lot of love to both Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook, and the directors of those movies, Ang Lee and David O. Russell, were nominated. So was Michael Haneke for the French film Amour. Benh Zeitlin was also nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Both of the latter two films received broad support from the Academy and both directors were surprise nominations.
Spielberg, with Best Director Oscar wins for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, received his 7th Best Director nomination. His other nominated turns behind the camera were for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, and Munich. Additionally, he directed three films that were nominated for Best Picture but not for his direction -- Jaws, The Color Purple, and War Horse.
Ang Lee, an Oscar-winning director for Brokeback Mountain, was also previously nominated for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Life of Pi is his 3rd directorial nomination. He also directed former Best Picture nominee Sense and Sensibility without earning a directing nod.
This is David O. Russell's 2nd directing nomination. He was a prior nominee for The Fighter.
These are the first nominations for Haneke and Zeitlin.
Best Actor: I went 5 for 5!
These are the first Oscar nominations for Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman.
Joaquin Phoenix received his 3rd acting nomination. He was previously nominated for his supporting performance in Gladiator and his lead performance in Walk the Line.
Two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood) was also previously nominated for In the Name of the Father and Gangs of New York. This is his fifth nomination.
And Denzel Washington picked up his 6th acting nomination. He previously received a supporting nomination for Cry Freedom and Best Actor nominations for Malcolm X and The Hurricane. He has won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Glory and a Best Actor Oscar for Training Day.
Best Actress: I went 4 for 5. Quvenzhane Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated instead of Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone. Emmanuelle Riva (for Amour) and Wallis, the oldest and youngest Oscar nominees ever, received their first nominations.
The other three ladies each scored their second nominations. Jennifer Lawrence previously was nominated for Winter's Bone and Naomi Watts was a former nominee for 21 Grams. Jessica Chastain previously received a supporting nomination for The Help.
Supporting Actor: i went 4 for 5. Christoph Waltz was nominated for Django Unchained instead of Javier Bardem in Skyfall. I loved Waltz's performance, but I think it is really a lead role.
All of the nominees in this category are previous Oscar winners.
It is Waltz's 2nd nomination. He previously won Best Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds.
It is Philip Seymour Hoffman's 3rd nomination. He won Best Actor for Capote, and was nominated as Supporting Actor for Doubt.
It is Tommy Lee Jones's 4th nomination in the supporting actor category. He won for The Fugitive and was nominated for JFK and In the Valley of Elah.
Alan Arkin also received his 4th nomination. He was Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine, and has two Best Actor nods for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians are Coming and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
And Robert De Niro received nomination # 7. He previously won Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II and Best Actor for Raging Bull. He was nominated as Best Actor for Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings, and Cape Fear.
Supporting Actress: I went 3 for 5. Amy Adams (The Master) and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) took the places where I predicted Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith. All of the actresses in this category are previous nominees.
Jacki Weaver received her 2nd supporting nomination. She was previously nominated for Animal Kingdom.
Anne Hathaway also received a 2nd nomination. She was previously nominated as Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married.
Helen Hunt received nomination number 2. She's a prior Best Actress winner for As Good As It Gets.
Sally Field received her third nomination. She has two Best Actress wins, for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart.
And Amy Adams picked up her 4th supporting actress nomination. She was previously nominated for Junebug, Doubt, and The Fighter.
It's been a great year for movies. I hope 2013 fares as well.