Our take on who will win at the Oscars
Welcome to the preview of the 85th Oscars, and what a pageantry of Hollywood flash and glamour it’s going to be. The knives have been out early with manoeuvrings ol’ Abe would have been proud of. Already Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Ben Affleck (Argo) are directorial casualties, and there have been some interesting betting moves.
Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects: These are separate categories, but any visual award should go to The Life of Pi. Forget the period dramas, this film tantalised the eyeballs.
Best Costume: Anna Karenina is the hot favourite in front of Les Miserable, but the money has been for Les Mis. There could be an upset here and this is one category both films excelled in. Some may say it’s the only category Anna excelled in.
Best Foreign Film: The Cannes Palme d’Or winner Amour is the deserved favourite and will win here. It’s also nominated for Best Film, but the chances of a third foreign film winning in a row are impossible, no matter how good this one is. And it is.
Best Original Screenplay: How are they going to separate these? Django Unchained – where every third word starts with ‘n’; Zero Dark 30’s CIA approved scripting and Amour, where there is hardly any dialogue. Quentin is overdue, and the money says: Django.
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway’s long cameo in Les Miserables has already won her awards and she’s the red hot favourite ahead of Sally Fields (Lincoln) - who has put that nun behind her - Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Amy Adams (The Master) and ‘overnight sensation’ Jackie Weaver who should be happy her stroll through Silver Linings Playbook earned her a second Oscar nom. But it will be Anne Hathaway.
Best Supporting Actor: There’s been a bit of money on Christopher Waltz (Django Unchained) to make him equal favourite with Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln). This could go either way. Waltz pulled off his audacious role with aplomb, and Tommy Lee was venomous, but a little monotone. Seymour Hoffman (Master) and De Niro (Silver Linings) are close enough in the market to be threats, and Alan Arkin is a threat to their PG rating if he repeats his famous ‘Argo f*** yourself’ catchcry. Close but I’m tipping: Tommy Lee Jones.
Best Actress: Two of the more startling performers this year were incredibly young Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and French veteran Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) who, like Naomi Watts, spent half the film in bed. Riva has been attracting most of the money lately and could surprise. Jessica Chastain was solid in Zero Dark Thirty but the red hot favourite is Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook). As real as her performance was, she could learn from some of the other contenders. Winner: Jennifer Lawrence.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis amazed as Abe. He’s at Black Caviar odds and is just as sure to win. Our Hugh should treasure his BAFTA because England is as close as he’ll get to winning here. He is second favourite ahead of Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) who has returned to reality, Bradley Cooper’s bipolar battle with reality (Silver Linings Playbook) and Denzel Washington’s drug-addled flight from it (Flight).
Best Director: The Affleck snub has left hot favourite Stephen Spielberg in front on his own. Pity, as Affleck would have challenged and Ang Lee deserves his second for Life of Pi. Michael Haneke (Amour) is too challenging for American audiences, David O Russel (Silver Linings Playbook) is a surprising no-hoper at 20/1 and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) would turn the industry on its head if his low budget drama won for him. Winner: Spielberg.
Best Film: This bloated category features films lucky to be here (this means you Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained), blessed to make it (well done Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Mis) but there are only two real chances: Lincoln opened long odds on (1/3) but has blown out to as much as 6/1, while Argo has been the big firmer and is now at 1/6. Can it win without being nominated for Best Director or Actor? It is the better film and in Hollywood, money talks. My tip is: Argo.
First celeb insult: Charlie Sheen is favourite, ahead of Kirsten Stewart and Kim Kardashian. There were no odds offered yet on another notorious Oscar, but it wouldn’t surprise if he wins.
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