85th Academy Awards Predictions

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Contributed by Jim Batts, Tom Stockman, Ken Parker, Melissa Thompson and Michelle McCue

On Oscar Sunday the great and good of the silver screen will assemble at the Dolby Theatre for the 85th Academy Awards. This year’s extravaganza will surely be a night to remember.

With it being the biggest event in movie geekdom, the WAMG crew came up with their own Oscar predictions. Some of the categories there was a consensus on, while others we were divided.

Throughout the awards season, frontrunners jockeyed for position, all hoping to head into Sunday’s ceremony as the favorite to take home gold.


Best motion picture of the year

  • “Amour” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Argo” (Warner Bros.)  JIM, TOM, KEN, MICHELLE
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Fox Searchlight)
  • “Django Unchained” (The Weinstein Company)
  • “Les Misérables” (Universal) MELISSA
  • “Life of Pi” (20th Century Fox)
  • “Lincoln” (Walt Disney/20th Century Fox)
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” (The Weinstein Company)
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Will win: ARGO Spoiler: LINCOLN. Affleck’s omission in the directing has garnered support for ARGO. Since Ben’s a producer, this will be a way to give him an Oscar.


Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”  JIM, TOM, KEN, MICHELLE
  • Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables” MELISSA
  • Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
  • Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Will and should win: Daniel Day Lewis. All five nominees had their moments, but Lewis made the man on the penny into a real human being. Spoiler: Jackman


Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Alan Arkin in “Argo”
  • Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”  TOM
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
  • Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln” MELISSA, MICHELLE
  • Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained” JIM, KEN

Will win: Tommy Lee Jones. Should win: Christoph Waltz. Spoiler: Robert DeNiro. DeNiro didn’t do a parody of previous roles and made this father a guy who might live next door.


Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” JIM, TOM, KEN, MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
  • Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”

Will win: Jennifer Lawrence. Should win: Jessica Chastain. Spoiler: Riva


Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in “The Master”
  • Sally Field in “Lincoln”
  • Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”  JIM, TOM, KEN, MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
  • Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Should and will win: Anne Hathaway. Sure it’s pretty much one song in a nearly 3 hour musical, but it’s the best and strongest five minutes in the film.


Best animated feature film of the year

  • “Brave” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman  KEN, JIM
  • “Frankenweenie” Tim Burton  TOM, MELISSA
  • “ParaNorman” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” Peter Lord
  • “Wreck-It Ralph” Rich Moore  MICHELLE

Will win: FRANKENWEENIE. Should win: WRECK-IT RALPH. Spoiler: BRAVE. Yeah Pixar’s back on track after the dreary CARS 2, but the stop motion horror comedy PARANORMAN really had something for everyone.


Achievement in cinematography

  • “Anna Karenina” Seamus McGarvey
  • “Django Unchained” Robert Richardson
  • “Life of Pi” Claudio Miranda  JIM, TOM, KEN, MELISSA
  • “Lincoln” Janusz Kaminski
  • “Skyfall” Roger Deakins  MICHELLE

Will win: LIFE OF PI. Should win: SKYFALL. LIFE OF PI is the most beautifully shot film of the year. Unfortunately this would leave Deakins Oscar-less again for the 10th time.

Anna Karenina

Achievement in costume design

  • “Anna Karenina” Jacqueline Durran  JIM, MICHELLE
  • “Les Misérables” Paco Delgado  KEN, MELISSA
  • “Lincoln” Joanna Johnston  TOM
  • “Mirror Mirror” Eiko Ishioka
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” Colleen Atwood

Will win: ANNA KARENINA Should win: LES MISERABLES The ANNA KARENINA costumes are more eye-popping and showy, while the work in LES MIS really defined the characters.


Achievement in directing

  • “Amour” Michael Haneke
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” Ang Lee
  • “Lincoln” Steven Spielberg  JIM, MICHELLE, MELISSA, KEN
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell  TOM

Will and should win: Spielberg. Spoiler: Lee. It’s the Academy voters way of giving Spielberg an Oscar every decade or so to say thanks for all he’s done for the movie industry.

searching for sugarman

Best documentary feature

  • “5 Broken Cameras”
  • “The Gatekeepers” 
  • “How to Survive a Plague” JIM
  • “The Invisible War” 
  • “Searching for Sugar Man” MICHELLE, MELISSA

Will win: HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE. Should win: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN. Its popularity and upbeat story is usually pushed aside in this category for more serious subject matter.


Best documentary short subject

  • “Inocente” KEN
  • “Kings Point” 
  • “Mondays at Racine” MICHELLE
  • “Open Heart” 
  • “Redemption” JIM



Achievement in film editing

  • “Argo” William Goldenberg  JIM, TOM, KEN, MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • “Life of Pi” Tim Squyres
  • “Lincoln” Michael Kahn
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Will win: ARGO. Should win: ZERO DARK THIRTY. This just beats out ZERO, but the juggling of film stocks and actual news footage was masterful.


Best foreign language film of the year

  • “Amour” Austria  JIM, TOM
  • “Kon-Tiki” Norway MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • “No” Chile
  • “A Royal Affair” Denmark
  • “War Witch” Canada

Will and should win: AMOUR. AMOUR’S inclusion in the Best Picture race makes it a lock for this award, but be on the lookout for KON-TIKI as the surprise winner.

Les Miserables

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

  • “Hitchcock”
    Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
    Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
  • “Les Misérables”
    Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell – MICHELLE, MELISSA

Will win: LES MISERABLES  Should win: LES MISERABLES. Spoiler: THE HOBBIT. Good work from the other two films, but the first of this new trilogy was such a massive spectacle.


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • “Anna Karenina” Dario Marianelli
  • “Argo” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Life of Pi” Mychael Danna  TOM, MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • “Lincoln” John Williams  KEN
  • “Skyfall” Thomas Newman  JIM

Will win: LIFE OF PI. Should win: SKYFALL. Danna’s music added to the dream-like feel of the magical PI.

Daniel Craig;Judi Dench

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • “Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”
    Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”
    Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”
    Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” from “Skyfall”  MICHELLE, MELISSA, JIM, TOM, KEN
    Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”
    Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Will and should win: SKYFALL. Best Bond theme song in years, a great tribute to the lush 60’s 007 title songs.

les miserables

Achievement in production design

  • “Anna Karenina” JIM
    Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTOM
    Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • “Les Misérables” MICHELLE, MELISSA, KEN
    Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • “Life of Pi” 
    Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Lincoln” 
    Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Will win: LES MISERABLES. Should win: ANNA KAERNINA. Spoiler: THE HOBBIT. The Academy may feel they’ve taken too many trips to Middle Earth, but it’s still an incredible achievement.


Best animated short film

  • “Adam and Dog”
  • “Fresh Guacamole” MELISSA
  • “Head over Heels” 
  • “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” 
  • “Paperman” JIM, MICHELLE, KEN

Will and should win: PAPERMAN This marriage of hand drawing and CGI to create a word-less classic love story is irresistable.


Best live action short film

  • “Asad” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • “Buzkashi Boys” Sam French and Ariel Nasr  JIM
  • “Curfew” Shawn Christensen  MICHELLE
  • “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • “Henry” Yan England  KEN

Will win: Henry, should win: Curfew,

life of pi

Achievement in sound editing

  • “Argo” Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
  • “Django Unchained” Wylie Stateman
  • “Life of Pi” Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton  JIM, MICHELLE, MELISSA
  • “Skyfall” Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers KEN
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Paul N.J. Ottosson

Will and should win: LIFE OF PI. The film is a technical marvel on every level. Spoiler: SKYFALL.


Achievement in sound mixing

  • “Argo”
    John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • “Les Misérables” MICHELLE, MELISSA, KEN
    Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
  • “Life of Pi”  JIM
    Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
  • “Lincoln” 
    Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • “Skyfall”
    Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Will win: LES MISERABLES. Musicals usually take this Oscar and with the majority of this film all in song, LES MIS should easily win this one. Spoiler: LIFE OF PI.

life of pi_a

Achievement in visual effects

  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” 
    Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
    Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
  • “Marvel’s The Avengers” 
    Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
  • “Prometheus”
    Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman”
    Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Will and should win: LIFE OF PI. One film shrunk down seven full-sized actor, while another blew up Mark Ruffalo into a green scene-stealer, but that tiger takes movie effects to a whole new level of achievement. Spoiler: AVENGERS


Adapted screenplay

  • “Argo” Screenplay by Chris Terrio MICHELLE, JIM
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” Screenplay by David Magee
  • “Lincoln” Screenplay by Tony Kushner  MELISSA
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Screenplay by David O. Russell  KEN, TOM

Will win: ARGO. Should win: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.  All five nominees are great, but we think the Academy will go out of their way to give ARGO lots of love.

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

Original screenplay

  • “Amour” Written by Michael Haneke
  • “Django Unchained” Written by Quentin Tarantino  TOM, KEN
  • “Flight” Written by John Gatins
  • “Moonrise Kingdom” Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Written by Mark Boal  JIM, MICHELLE, MELISSA

Will win: ZERO DARK THIRTY. Should win: DJANGO UNCHAINED.  The investigative research in ZERO is astounding, but there’s a reason every actor in Hollywood lines up to work with Tarantino: that great dialogue.




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