Oscar 2013 predictions: Who will win, who really deserves to win, and why

By Columbus Alive
From the February 21, 2013 edition

This year’s Oscars are shaping up to be predictably predictable, but they’re all over the place, so don’t be surprised by surprises! Here’s who I think will win (and who really should) in the major categories.

BEST PICTURE

“Amour”

“Argo”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Django Unchained”

“Les Misérables”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Will win: It wasn’t the favorite when the nominations came out, but “Argo” has become an awards season juggernaut (deservedly, as it’s really good). “Lincoln” is the only likely spoiler.

Deserves to win: Of these, I ranked “Silver Linings Playbook” the highest. I’ve yet to meet an unsatisfied customer. Go see it if you haven’t.

BEST DIRECTOR

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Will win: Ben Affleck’s egregious snub means Best Picture and Best Director will likely be a rare split. Safe money is on Spielberg, but I’m going to predict a dark horse here and go with David O. Russell.

Deserves to win: Russell is still my favorite, but no one in this category directed film more boldly than Haneke. I’d be happy either way.

BEST ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Will win: Day-Lewis is considered a lock. He’s in rarified air in the acting game, also responsible for two of the greatest performances of the past decade (“There Will Be Blood” and “Gangs of New York”). It’s hard to argue, but …

Deserves to win: Joaquin Phoenix called the Oscars “utter bullsh--," which isn’t likely to endear him to voters, but his performance was my favorite of the year.

BEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Will win: Wallis is the youngest nominee in this category ever. Riva is the oldest — and far closer to the average age of Academy votes. But at 22, Lawrence is already becoming a Hollywood darling. I’m betting she gives an adorable acceptance speech.

Deserves to win: “Silver Linings Playbook” wouldn’t have been nearly as high on my list without Lawrence’s funny, touching and unguarded performance. She’s my new Hollywood darling, too.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Will win: The de facto horse race of the night. Five former winners, and any of them could win. De Niro, who hasn’t won since 1981, may spoil, but it looks like a Waltz/Jones photo finish. I’ll give the edge to Jones for appearing in a more Oscar-friendly film.

Deserves to win: Waltz is who I’m rooting for, though, even though Leonardo DiCaprio also could have gotten a nod for “Django.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Will win: Three things are certain in life. Death, taxes and Anne Hathaway winning an Oscar for her impassioned and showy turn in “Les Mis.”

Deserves to win: The most daring of these performances is also the best. Helen Hunt flew way too far under the radar this season. That’s a shame.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“Brave”

“Frankenweenie”

“ParaNorman”

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”

“Wreck-It Ralph”

Will win: “Wreck-It Ralph” has picked up popularity, but aren’t Academy voters too old for video game nostalgia? (Yes, they’re that old.) I think even a lesser Pixar movie still gets the trophy. Go with “Brave.”

Deserves to win: I preferred the darker kids tales this year. “ParaNorman” was a blast, but I’d love to see Tim Burton’s stylized ode to old thrillers, “Frankenweenie,” win the night.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

“Amour,” Austria

“Kon-Tiki,” Norway

“No,” Chile

“A Royal Affair,” Denmark

“War Witch,” Canada

Will win: Hint: One of these is also nominated for Best Picture. Take “Amour” to the bank.

Deserves to win: Many foreign language nominees don’t even see U.S. release until after the Oscars, but “Amour” is worth the hype. Haneke should have won for his last film, “The White Ribbon,” too.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Amour”

“Django Unchained”

“Flight”

“Moonrise Kingdom”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Will win: Writing seems to be the only area where the Academy is willing to award Tarantino. If the tide turning against “Zero Dark Thirty” continues to hold — how is that original anyway? — QT will get to give a nice rapid-fire acceptance speech, hopefully without including the N-word.

Deserves to win: I’m a sucker for Tarantino, but it took a second viewing to really appreciate how well constructed the “Django” script really is. He’s on his game, as per usual.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Argo”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

Will win: With “Argo” the clear frontrunner for Best Picture and Affleck a Best Director snub, the Academy almost has to give credit to the screenplay, right?

Deserves to win: I’m going to go back to trumpeting David O. Russell and “Silver Linings Playbook.” I don’t think the movie will have a huge night, but nothing would make me happier.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Anna Karenina”

“Les Misérables”

“Lincoln”

“Mirror Mirror”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Will win: “Anna Karenina” edges “Les Mis” on account of fancier costumes.

Deserves to win: This isn’t really my area of expertise, is it? I wouldn’t argue with the above.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”

“Pi”s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”

“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”

“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”

Will win: Tossing a new song into the “Les Mis” adaptation kinda feels like cheating, doesn’t it? Adele’s “Skyfall” theme wins, regardless. It helps that there’s no new Randy Newman songs here.

Deserves to win: A talented pop star doing a sweet Bond theme? I won’t argue. I just wish Duran Duran would have won for “A View to a Kill.”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“Anna Karenina”

“Argo”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Skyfall”

Will win: John Williams’ “Lincoln” score may be too understated. That’s not a problem for the lively “Life of Pi” score by Mychael Danna.

Deserves to win: I enjoyed “Life of Pi” quite a bit, but I’d also like to see some more love for the most artistically legit Bond film yet with “Skyfall.”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

“5 Broken Cameras”

“The Gatekeepers”

“How to Survive a Plague”

“The Invisible War”

“Searching for Sugar Man”

Will win: The too-wild-to-be-true tale of “Searching for Sugar Man” is a crowd-pleaser and an excellent doc. Anything else would be a bit of a shocker.

Deserves to win: I’m happy with “Sugar Man” out of these, although the French doc “The Imposter” was my pick for best doc, and it’s not even nominated.

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“Inocente”

“Kings Point”

“Mondays at Racine”

“Open Heart”

“Redemption”

Will win: “Open Heart”

Deserves to win: TBD

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

“Hitchcock”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Les Misérables”

Will win: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Deserves to win: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Anna Karenina”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Les Misérables”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

Will win: “Les Misérables”

Deserves to win: “Anna Karenina”

BEST FILM EDITING

“Argo”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Will win: “Argo”

Deserves to win: “Argo”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Anna Karenina”

“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Skyfall”

Will win: “Life of Pi”

Deserves to win: “Skyfall”

BEST SOUND EDITING

“Argo”

“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”

“Skyfall”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Will win: “Zero Dark Thirty”

Deserves to win: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST SOUND MIXING

“Argo”

“Les Misérables”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Skyfall”

Will win: “Les Misérables”

Deserves to win: “Skyfall”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Life of Pi”

“Marvel’s The Avengers”

“Prometheus”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Will win: “Life of Pi”

Deserves to win: “Life of Pi”

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

“Adam and Dog”

“Fresh Guacamole”

“Head over Heels”

“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’”

“Paperman”

Will win: “Paperman”

Deserves to win: “Paperman”

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

“Asad”

“Buzkashi Boys”

“Curfew”

“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”

“Henry

Will win: “Curfew”

Deserves to win: TBD