Well, the Really Big Show is Sunday night. I thought I'd weigh in a couple of days early since I'm having trouble sleeping tonight and time will be at a premium from now until Oscar night. Here are my predictions with a little random reasoning as well as what I hope to see crowned the winner in each category.
1. Best Picture
Prediction: Argo. I held out for Lincoln up until a few days ago, but the drumbeat for Argo is just too loud. I haven't seen Amour, but I think the nominated films for Best Picture are a classy lot.An Argo win is not undeserved, even if I did prefer two or three of the other nominees.
Hope: Lincoln. Smart and brilliant.
2. Best Director:
Prediction: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln. Honestly, with Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, and Quentin Tarantino out of the running, the other nominees pale in comparison to Spielberg's work this year.
Hope: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln. No other director has made more films that I truly love. And he deserves his win here.
3. Best Actor:
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. Day-Lewis will join that rarefied group of performers with three Oscars. And he will be the only one with three Best Actor statuettes.I thought Bradley Cooper's and Denzel Washington's nominations were richly deserved. I haven't seen The Master yet.
Hope: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. He was exactly the Lincoln that I always envisioned.
4. Best Actress:
Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. She's quite good, but I'm not convinced that she was the only one who could play the role. I liked her chemistry with Bradley Cooper. A win by Emmanuelle Riva for Amour wouldn't surprise me as Lawrence should have many more nominations ahead of her. Haven't seen Amour or The Impossible.
Hope: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty. Wow, she's good.
5. Best Supporting Actor:
Prediction: Robert De Niro. Silver Linings Playbook. De Niro does a good job, but there's nothing special about the role or the performance. He campaigned hard, he's revered among actors, Harvey Weinstein has been whispering to the Academy on his behalf, and it has been 31 years since his last win. Look for him to also join the "3 Oscar" club of actors. He's unbeatable.
Hope: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln. He's a scene-stealing charmer. I also loved Christoph Waltz's performance in Django Unchained, but it is really a lead performance.
6. Best Supporting Actress:
Prediction: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables. Yes, she sings "I Dreamed a Dream" to perfection. But should an Oscar be awarded for simply nailing a song? I won't complain about her win though as I like her a great deal and she REALLY nailed that song.
Hope: Sally Field, Lincoln. Here is a supporting performance with depth and complexity. But the Academy doesn't really, really like her enough to give her a 3-peat. I haven't seen The Sessions.
7. Best Original Screenplay
Prediction: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty. Tarantino might squeak in with Django Unchained, even though it's not his best script.
Hope: Zero Dark Thirty
8. Adapted Screenplay.
Prediction: Chris Terrio, Argo. Terrio will be a beneficiary of the Argo Express.
Hope: Tony Kushner, Lincoln. Kushner will be robbed.
9. Best Animated Feature
Prediction: Brave. I haven't seen any of these, but I doubt the Academy will resist a plucky heroine.
Hope: Frankenweenie looked like the one I would like best.
10. Best Foreign Film.
Prediction: Amour. There is no real competition.
Hope: Kon-Tiki is the one that I most want to see.
Prediction: Life of Pi. Even if it is CGI.
Hope: Skyfall. Exquisite cinematography, but I don't see the Academy giving such a prestigious award to a Bond film -- no matter how deserving.
12. Production Design
Prediction: Life of Pi. Those supposedly in the know are selecting Anna Karenina here, but did enough of the Academy see that film?
Hope: Lincoln. Yeah, I know. I have a theme going.
Prediction: Les Miserables, even though Anna Karenina is getting a lot of talk here too.
Hope: Of what I've seen, I thought the costuming in Lincoln was great.
14. Makeup and Hairstyling
Hope and prediction: Les Miserables. I hope The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey doesn't win.
15. Original score
Prediction: Life of Pi seems to be the favorite -- though I can't remember the score.
Hope: Skyfall did it for me.
16. Best Song
Hope and prediction: Skyfall will become the first Bond theme song to win an Oscar. There is no real competition.
Hope and prediction: Argo. Here is where Argo is the unquestioned champ.
18. Sound mixing
Hope and prediction: Les Miserables. The way the singing was filmed was incredible.
19. Sound editing
Hope and prediction: Zero Dark Thirty is my choice, though any of the nominees except Argo are deserving
20. Visual effects
Hope and prediction: Life of Pi. Is there any competition?
21. Documentary feature
Hope and prediction. Searching for Sugar Man seems to be the audience favorite, though a win by The Gatekeepers wouldn't surprise me.
22. Documentary short subject
Hope and prediction: I've heard good things about Inocente.
23. Animated short.
Hope and prediction: For the first time ever, I've seen all 5 of these nominees before the Oscar telecast. Paperman is the absolute best. I also enjoyed Adam and Dog.
24. Live action short
Hope and prediction: Death of a Shadow has the best title.