The Academy Awards are tonight and I feel somewhat obligated to make a few token predictions, and add some.thoughts.
First up - Seth McFarlane. Very interesting choice for host. Quite out of the box as usually the hosts are known as performers foremost. But McFarlane is inarguably both smart and funny, so I for one am curious.
Best Supporting Actor: This category is interesting this year as no nominee is without an Oscar. That simultaneously makes it.kind of boring. I think this makes it largely a "whose turn" question, which puts DeNiro in the pole position for coming back to form. A showier performance by Tommy Lee Jones could edge him out. I don't think any other options are realistic bets.
Best Supporting Actress: I haven't seen Les Miserables, but I have heard Anne Hathaway's viscerally devastating rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" and there are moments within it that tease me to tears. It seems that is common to universal and the expectation is that she is a lock on the category.
Best Actress: I think this is the most up for grabs category. Lots of unnecessary hoopla about the simultaneous nominations of both the oldest and youngest nominees. I'm going to predict an "it girl split" leaving Emmanuelle Riva with an awesome birthday present. I would like to believe that as adorable as she was, the Academy won't be so silly as to vote in numbers for Quvenzhané Wallis.
Best Actor: As with Best Supporting Actress it sounds as though this category is a foregone conclusion and Daniel Day Lewis tie the record for most wins.
Best Director: While he is no longer my favourite director, I do believe that Steven Spielberg's Oscar count falls short of his talent, and it is time to provide some balance to the world.
Best Picture: Soapbox time. This is the third year the Academy has lofted an expanded field for the Best Picture category, and while an interesting experiment, I think it is time to end. The category is not improved by elevating faux contenders. All that is happening is that the competition is being watered down by films whose inclusion is laughable. Case in point, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fine film which exceeds the expectations of its budget, source and marquee, but it has no business being included on this list. It is doomed to a future of inflated expectations and perhaps even mockery for having been in consideration.
I figure the "real" field is Lincoln, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty. The latter of which will be overlooked due largely to the nature of controversial content, and to a lesser degree by the win, two years ago by Katherine Bigelow's previous film, The Hurt Locker. I expect Argo will continue its defiant march through award season, but won't be surprised, nor disappointed by a win for Lincoln.