LOS ANGELES – Give the golden statuettes already to Daniel Day-Lewis (for Best Actor) and Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress). Come Sunday evening (Monday morning in the Philippines) at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, the suspenseful moment will be when the Best Actress envelope is opened.
It will be a toss-up between Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) and Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”). If Emmanuelle gets the trophy for her portrayal of a former piano teacher grappling with her mortality, it will be a great birthday present for her. The French actress turns 86 right on Oscars day.
Whether she wins or not, though, Emmanuelle holds the record for being the oldest Best Actress nominee ever. With Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), 9, the youngest nominee in the Best Actress category, we have a precedent setting pair of nominees. Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) completes the contenders in this race.
With Ben Affleck left out in the Best Director nominations, a controversial topic since the nods were announced last January 10, who will win this race? Many pundits are betting on Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) although some are counting on Michael Haneke (“Amour”) or Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) to win. The dark horses are David O. Russell (“Silver Linings”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts”).
With Ben snubbed but his “Argo” in the running for Best Picture, will he be vindicated when the evening’s top prize is announced? “Argo’s” sweep of the Best Picture honors in this awards season couldn’t be all due to what they call sympathy votes over his snub. Award-giving bodies saw exceptional merit in Ben’s third directorial effort about a real-life CIA rescue mission in Tehran, disguised as a sci-fi location shoot.
Will the Academy voters give the final accolade of the season to “Argo”? Many believe that Ben may get to do that sprint onstage before host Seth MacFarlane and singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth break into their announced closing number. However, some are claiming that a so-called tradition-bound voting bloc will make it possible for “Lincoln” to prevail.
The Best Supporting Actor derby is another exciting race. Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”), Robert De Niro (“Silver”) and Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) are favored but don’t count out Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”) and Alan Arkin (“Argo”) yet.
In the Best Foreign-Language Film, give the bald-headed trophy already to “Amour.” Same betting sentiment applies to the Best Song contest. Just hand the statuette to Adele (and her fellow composer Paul Epworth) before she goes on stage and sings the theme from “Skyfall” before a live audience for the first time.
“Brave” may domi
nate the best animated feature category but two other films, also from Disney, may pull off a coup: “Frankenweenie” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” “ParaNorman” and “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” are the other contenders.
“Amour’s” Michael Haneke may also get another trophy for Best Original Screenplay but standing in his way are Mark Boal (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”). Here’s a little shout out to nominees Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. Do watch their “Moonrise Kingdom”— it’s a small quirky film that offers huge pleasures. Rounding out this race is John Gatins (“Flight”).
For Best Adapted Screenplay, the Oscar may go to Tony Kushner for his superb work in “Lincoln.” The “Argo” grand-slam momentum, however, may give Chris Terrio a fighting chance.
As for the other categories, we’ll just wish you good luck and hope that you made educated guesses in your own ballot choices for the office pool.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him