Oscar poll and predictions: Lincoln will win most major categories

Staff writer Stephanie Diehl lists her picks for the major categories at this year's Academy Awards.

With the Academy Awards on Sunday, the film industry is abuzz with guesses about who will take home the coveted trophies. Here are some NewsHouse staff predictions for the night's biggest categories:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams: The Master

Sally Field: Lincoln

Anne Hathaway: Les Miserables

Helen Hunt: The Sessions

Jacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook

Stephanie's Pick — Anne Hathaway for Les MiserablesThis is one of the most certain categories of the night. Having already won the Golden Globe, the SAG Award and the Critics’ Choice Award, Hathaway seems like a clear winner for her role as Fantine in the musical. Despite less than 20 minutes on screen, she is sweeping the awards season and there’s no reason the Oscars should be any different. Especially now, with a spoof of her “I Dreamed a Dream” performance gone viral, it is nearly impossible to miss this role.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin: Argo

Robert De Niro: Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The Master

Tommy Lee Jones: Lincoln

Christoph Waltz: Django Unchained

Stephanie's Pick — Tommy Lee Jones for LincolnThis category is much more difficult to predict. On the one hand, De Niro’s heartbreaking performance in Silver Linings Playbook is his best in the past decade. Then there’s the already Oscar-proven duo of Waltz and Director Quentin Tarantino. But the slight edge goes to Jones’ brilliant performance as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, which recently picked up the SAG award as well.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain: Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence: Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva: Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts: The Impossible

Stephanie's Pick — Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings PlaybookThis category is a battle of the J’s: Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, in two very different roles. Chastain is nominated for her role as a CIA operative determined to capture Osama bin Laden, while Lawrence plays a mentally ill young widow trying to heal both herself and Bradley Cooper’s character. The slight advantage goes to Lawrence for being so present in the media lately. This seems like a case where campaigning will get her the statue.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper: Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis: Lincoln

Hugh Jackman: Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix: The Master

Denzel Washington: Flight

Stephanie's Pick — Daniel Day-Lewis for LincolnThis is another clear-cut category, so it seems very likely that Day-Lewis will pick up his third Oscar. It will be a hard-earned award, as the actor truly transformed to play the 16th president. Everyone on set called him Mr. President and the director, Steven Spielberg, wore a suit to work every day out of respect.


Best Director

Michael Haneke: Amour

Ang Lee: Life of Pi

David O. Russell: Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg: Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Stephanie's Pick — Steven Spielberg for LincolnThis category has the most controversy surrounding it: The Academy snubbed both Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), two top contenders for Best Picture. It seems likely the award that many thought would go to Affleck will go instead to Oscar favorite Spielberg. Leading the pack with 12 nominations, Lincoln definitely had a large effect on the members of the Academy.


Best Motion Picture of the Year



Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Stephanie's Pick — ArgoAll signs point to the Academy making up for the Best Director snub by giving Ben Affleck and Argo the Best Picture win. Having already picked up the Golden Globe and the SAG award for the equivalent category, this inspiring story about the Iran Hostage Crisis seems like a sure thing.


And some additional commentary by Arts Journalism Graduate Student Zach Marshall:

Even thoughs she wasn't nominated, Kathryn Bigelow should win Best Director for Zero Dark Thirty.

I also predict: No one will try to oversell Anne Hathway's performance; host Seth McFarlane will not say "what the hell"; and that the lifetime achievement award will be an interesting segment.

Bigelow was likely robbed of a nomination because the Academy is protesting her portrayal of torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty. The film makes clear that torture lead the CIA nowhere, and Bigelow is too smart to know that showing the act doesn't necessarily glorify it. SPOILER ALERT: She never shows the exact methods used to obtain the clinching piece of evidence.

By the Academy's logic, we should be wary of furniture makers. Didn't the Les Miz hooligans defending the barricades use chairs, tables and coat racks to keep the police at bay? Perhaps someone should interrogate the good people at Raymour & Flanigan on whether or not they support social uprisings. 


The 85th Annual Academy Awards will air this Sunday Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC. 


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