Difficult to judge where the little tin/copper, gold plated men will go to this year as many of the contenders for awards (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, The Sessions) are yet to be released in the UK.
The next 3 weeks should see to that, so I will revisit this initial assessment but, based on what I’ve seen and Oscar’s own personal tastes, this is what I predict right now will win in the main four categories:
Best Picture – Lincoln. Friends in America have been none to impressed by this judging it to be long and dull, but the critics seem happy and it’s not as if a big Civil War epic hasn’t cleaned up before (ahem, Gone With the Wind).
Best Director – Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. It usually follows that the Best Director made the Best Picture. None of the other nominations, with the possible exception of Benh Zeitlin for the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild would, in my mind, stand much of a chance. The other films are good, but Lincoln has that old style craftsmanship and tells a good political/moral that could tickle older Academy voters (according to this incisive investigation by the LA Times , the average age is 62) and see it through.
Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix for The Master. This was a stunning turn. As much as I think Daniel Day-Lewis deserves it for Lincoln (and on the basis of the trailer, his performance is just as extraordinary), Phoenix is a revelation as the physical personification of a tortured, confused soul. Definitely not Hugh Jackman (Les Mis is a musical and musicals don’t usually win for the lead actor roles).
Best Actress – difficult one to call as the actresses here are all great. Oscar could be sentimental and give it to their oldest Best Actress nominee Emanuelle Riva for Amour but, Marion Cotillard aside as an anomaly French actress winning for speaking French in a French film, my money would be on Naomi Watts in The Impossible (tragedy, human interest – Oscar can still be sentimental).