With days left to go until the Academy Awards, some things seem more sure than ever-- Adele will perform "Skyfall" and then take home an Oscar for it, Daniel Day-Lewis will humbly accept Best Actor, and it will take a shock of huge proportions to take Best Picture away from Argo. But this year is chock full of categories with potential to surprise, and if you wind up watching Sunday's awards with any kind of Oscar fanatic, you might catch them screaming at the television even in seemingly innocuous categories like Best Sound Mixing or Production Design.

It's just been that kind of year. And that makes the process of making my actual Oscar predictions nearly impossible, since there are so many different ways to change my mind to equally believable scenarios. Before you go calling me a terrible predictor, I promise I"m not the only one-- this year's race is widely considered one of the tightest and wiliest ever. So with all of that in mind, here are my final predictions for the 2013 Oscars. Take a look, use them if you like, and feel free to come back Monday to tell me how many I got wrong.


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
And the winner is: Argo. Much as I like to believe in a contest, this prize belongs to Argo, and honestly has from the moment the film premiered. Yes, we've flirted with a lot of other Best Picture frontrunners this year, and for a few moments on nomination morning it looked like Argo was dead in the water. But its remarkable comeback in previous weeks could have been predicted by a simple fact: this is a movie about Hollywood saving lives. And there is nothing the Academy likes voting for more than themselves.


Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Michael Haneke, Amour
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
And the winner is: Steven Spielberg. This hasn't looked like a wild category over the last two months of awards shows, since Ben Affleck has been winning pretty much every prize available. But without him in this crop of nominees there's a serious power vacuum, and really anyone's guess is valid as to which of the five the Academy will rally behind. I go with Spielberg because he's had the best shot for this all long, and as a beloved industry veteran who still hasn't won as many Oscars as he deserves, he'll get to take another victory lap for Lincoln-- especially since everyone knows by now that film probably won't win Best Picture. If you're looking for an upset, though, Ang Lee is a favorite among plenty of other pundits.

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