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2013 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win In Every Category

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.

BEST PICTURE


Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Lincoln

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.

BEST DIRECTOR


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.

BEST ACTOR


Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Denzel Washington, Flight

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

And the winner is: Daniel Day-Lewis. After being underwhelmed by the film at the New York Film Festival premiere, I bet a friend $10 that Day-Lewis wouldn't win Best Actor. It's among the dumbest bets I've ever made. He's walking away with this, and even his competition can probably admit he deserves it.

BEST ACTRESS


Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

And the winner is: Jennifer Lawrence. Since Zero Dark Thirty's mysterious tumble in Oscar buzz, Lawrence has been front and center in this category, and though some are predicting a shocker from Amour's Emmanuelle Riva (she did win the BAFTA, after all), Lawrence just has too much lining up for her to lose this one.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Alan Arkin, Argo

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

And the winner is: Robert De Niro. As soon as the lineup was announced, with every single one of them a previous winner, it was clear this would be a tough category to predict. And though I've stuck with Tommy Lee Jones all season, for some reason it feels now like Robert DeNiro-- who has been campaigning hard-- can take this, making it his third Oscar. It's a tight race for sure, and Christoph Waltz is also very much in the mix. But my gut feeling goes to De Niro as I write this. That might change tomorrow.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Amy Adams, The Master

And the winner is: Anne Hathaway. When you saw your performance for yourself, you knew it as well as everyone else-- Hathaway drops the mic in "I Dreamed A Dream" and double-dares anybody else to pick it up. Nobody did. She sang and cried and snotted her way to this well-deserved statue.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

And the winner is: Lincoln. As part of my continued faith that Lincoln is a stronger contender than most believe, I'm bucking the recent trend of wins for Argo's Chris Terrio and sticking with Lincoln's Tony Kushner, a playwriting giant who really ought to have an Oscar to add to his collection of accolades. Lincoln is exquisitely written, and hopefully the many people who still like the film will want to reward that.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


Amour

Django Unchained

Flight

Moonrise Kingdom

Zero Dark Thirty

And the winner is: Zero Dark Thirty. On the other hand, Mark Boal's handful of precursor wins indicates strength for his film that it doesn't have pretty much anywhere else. This category has a lot of potential to surprise, though-- if Quentin Tarantino wins instead, for example, you might be able to expect a Best Supporting Actor statue for Christoph Waltz. There are a lot of split affections this year, and this is one place where it could really shake things up.

ANIMATED FEATURE


Brave

Frankenweenie

ParaNorman

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

And the winner is: Wreck-It Ralph. Taking home a huge stack of Annie Awards earlier this month seemed to seal the deal for Ralph, which had been a favorite all along. But there's still some competition from its fellow DIsney effort Brave, and an upset win for that Pixar film wouldn't be impossible.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM


Amour

Kon-Tiki

No

A Royal Affair

War Witch

And the winner is: Amour. The last two times a foreign-language film nominee has also been nominated for Best Picture, it has won the Foreign Language category. The buzz surrounding Michael Haneke's Amour indicates this year will be no different.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

The Invisible War

How To Survive A Plague

Searching for Sugar Man

And the winner is: Searching for Sugar Man. I was all set to choose the Israeli doc The Gatekeepers for this, until this piece reminded me of how the voting works: everyone in the Academy picks, and they don't have to prove they've seen the film. So why would you pick anything over the massively promoted, feel-good Sugar Man? You wouldn't.

CINEMATOGRAPHY


Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

And the winner is: Skyfall. As one of the most gorgeous films to ever be shot all-digitally, and with master Roger Deakins still without a single Oscar, Skyfall's win would be a symbolic nod toward the future as well as recognition for the long-overdue Deakins. Then again, Life of Pi is equally forward-thinking, and it has a ton of support in technical categories. Yet another call that feels almost impossible to make.

COSTUME DESIGN


Anna Karenina

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

And the winner is: Anna Karenina. This is a category where under-seen films can often triumph on the power of their amazing dresses-- see The Duchess, The Young Victoria and Elizabeth: The Golden Age-- and with no clear other frontrunner, Anna Karenina and its amazing corsets should take it. I've got a sentimental hope, though, for Mirror Mirror's completely nutsy dresses made by the late Eiko Ishioka.

FILM EDITING


Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

And the winner is: Argo. There's a historically close association between Best Picture and Best Editing-- it's nigh-on impossible to win the former without the latter-- and this is a good place to put all those good feelings toward Argo of late. No, this prize won't actually go to Ben Affleck, but you get the idea.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING


Hitchcock

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

And the winner is: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It is, frankly, an uninspiring set of nominees, with no opportunity to reward the incredible transformation at the center of Lincoln. But if we're thinking "most makeup" I suppose we have to go with hobbits, and I imagine that will be the logic of most of those voting too.

PRODUCTION DESIGN


Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

And the winner is: Lincoln. The production design in Anna Karenina is fairly miraculous, but I worry for the sake of this little-seen movie. Instead I think, again, affection for Lincoln-- and its incredible recreations of Civil War-era Washington-- can win out here. But honestly, it doesn't seem safe to rule out a single one of these contenders.

ORIGINAL SCORE


Anna Karenina

Argo

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

And the winner is: Life of Pi. It bums me out that the most exciting choices on this list-- Anna Karenina and Skyfall-- don't seem to stand a chance, and that John Williams is in here at all instead of Cloud Atlas. But enough about me. Life of Pi is a moving and elegantly crafted film, and Mychael Danna's score does wonders to make that happen. He'll be a perfectly deserving winner.

ORIGINAL SONG


"Before My Time," Chasing Ice

"Everybody Needs A Best Friend," Ted

"Pi's Lullaby," Life of Pi

"Skyfall," Skyfall

"Suddenly," Les Miserables

And the winner is: "Skyfall." Between Adele's performance of this song and what will hopefully be an incredible acceptance speech, I suspect we'll be finding a way to nominate her every year from now on.

SOUND EDITING


Argo

Django Unchained

Life of Pi

Skyfall

Zero Dark Thirty

And the winner is: Skyfall Big effects-heavy movies tend to do well in this category, and while that might make Life of Pi a strong contender, I think Skyfall deserves at least a few statues aside from Adele, and this would be a great place to reward it.

SOUND MIXING


Argo

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Skyfall

And the winner is: Les Miserables Effects movies also tend to do well in this category… but so do musicals. And with its much-publicized live singing gambit, Les Miserables represents a huge sound challenge, which I think gives it the edge.

VISUAL EFFECTS


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi

The Avengers

Prometheus

Snow White and the Huntsman<

And the winner is: Life of Pi This CGI effects spectacular has stiff competition in nearly every other category, but not here. It would be a real shock to see it lose this prize.

ANIMATED SHORT


Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels

Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"

Paperman

And the winner is: "Paperman." You can actually watch all of the nominees online to pick your favorite-- I'm partial to the witty and incredibly short "Fresh Guacamole." But all the momentum is behind Disney's "Paperman," and there seems no reason not to back this frontrunner.

LIVE ACTION SHORT


Asad

Buzkashi Boys

Curfew

Death of a Shadow

Henry

And the winner is: "Curfew." This is going entirely off the word of others, and specifically the very smart Anne Thompson and Kris Tapley on their Oscar Talk podcast. They say this is the best one. I'm going with them.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT


Inocente

Kings Point

Open Heart

Redemption

Mondays at Racine

And the winner is: "Open Heart." Not all of the Oscar categories automatically go for the most heartstring-tugging film, but this one generally does, which is why a documentary short about heart surgeries provided for Rwandan child refugees in Sudan seems like a perfect winner.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend