Here are movies editor Janice Page’s Oscar picks.
Will win: “Argo”
Should win: “Amour”
Shouldn’t be here: “Life of Pi”
Was robbed: “Moonrise Kingdom”
Only three films have ever won a best picture Oscar without their directors being nominated; “Argo” will make it four. Post-academy snub, Ben Affleck has been an unstoppable awards hoarder. “Amour” is too dark and too foreign, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Life of Pi” too flawed, Wes Anderson’s brilliant “Moonrise Kingdom” too not here. “Lincoln”? It only has Daniel Day-Lewis emancipating slaves. “Argo” has Hollywood itself emancipating hostages.
Will win: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Should win: Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Shouldn’t be here: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Was robbed: Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Given that the worst thing about the otherwise first-rate “Lincoln” is its schmaltzy Spielbergian touches, from soldiers reciting the Gettysburg Address (hey, at least they cast some black people) to an ending that can’t resist making an aria of a son’s grief, it would be nice to see an upset in this category. But no Affleck and no Kathryn Bigelow equals no competition for Spielberg. Unless Harvey Weinstein can manage to . . . Nah.
Actor in a Leading Role
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Should win: Denzel Washington, “Flight”
Shouldn’t be here: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Was robbed: Anders Danielsen Lie, “Oslo, August 31st”
Go ahead, bet the house on it. The only way Day-Lewis could lose is if he’s disqualified for doping, and by doping I mean he’s not going to lose. That’s fine; Day-Lewis deserves all the praise he’s getting. It’s just that Washington is so good as a pilot in a tailspin, without history or Tony Kushner’s pithy words to draw from, even his minibar tab is epic. Cooper’s a revelation, he’s just not in this league; Danielsen Lie could be, if anyone had seen “Oslo.”
Actress in a Leading Role
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Should win: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Shouldn’t be here: Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Was robbed: Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”
Jessica Chastain’s “Zero Dark Thirty” swagger might have some pull here. But Lawrence has the clear momentum, not to mention a knack for delightful acceptance speeches. If age plays a factor, it would be something to see Riva collect a well-earned Oscar (on her 86th birthday, no less) for her harrowing portrait of dementia.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Will win: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Should win: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Shouldn’t be here: Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Was robbed: Samuel L. Jackson, “Django Unchained”
Sure, Tommy Lee Jones could take home a trophy for trademark cantankerousness (bewigged this time). Or Waltz could extend his debt to Quentin Tarantino. But I’m betting that voters will reward De Niro for reversing decades of bad movie choices by turning in just one performance that indicates he still cares, kind of. Jackson, who’s at least as deserving as Waltz, should be sitting in Arkin’s spot.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Will win: Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Should win: Amy Adams, “The Master”
Shouldn’t be here: Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Was robbed: Ann Dowd, “Compliance”
Another upset? Front-runner Anne Hathaway is a Hollywood darling but she may be a victim of viral video parodies and her own hyper-prattling Golden Globes speech. Field could swoop in (please, God, let her talk off the cuff) or Adams, who quietly commanded every inch of “The Master.” Never heard of Ann Dowd? She’s from Holyoke, and she made a throwaway movie something to see.
Will win: “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino
Should win: “Moonrise Kingdom,” Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. The best film of last year, “Moonrise Kingdom,” has only one chance at an Oscar. Alas, it ain’t gonna happen. The odds favor Mark Boal’s brawny “Zero Dark Thirty” script, or Tarantino’s combustible “Django.” I pick the one in which the “d” is silent.
Will win: “Lincoln,” Tony Kushner
Should win: “Lincoln”
Even the people who think that “Lincoln” is “too talky” aren’t arguing that it ever speaks less than eloquently. You don’t question the pedigree of Tony “Angels in America” Kushner. You just hand him a little gold statue and a microphone.
Will win: “Brave”
Should win: “Frankenweenie”
This is a harder call than usual, with five very watchable nominees. The smart money has to be on the Disney-Pixar collaboration, “Brave.” But Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” wittily transported me back to days of watching vintage creature double features on black-and-white television, and I only hope it transported a fair number of Oscar voters, too.
Foreign Language Feature
Will win: “Amour”
Should win: “Amour”
Does it matter that I’ve only seen two of the five nominees? Probably not. Austrian entry “Amour” wins, hands down, no matter the competition. It’s extraordinary. The rest of the field can get drunk now.
Will win: “The Gatekeepers”
Should win: “Searching for Sugar Man”
This is why artistic awards are so silly. How do you weigh a documentary about Israel’s top secret servicemen (“The Gatekeepers”) against expertly crafted films about AIDS activism (“How to Survive a Plague”) and an unsuspecting rock icon (“Searching for Sugar Man”)? You don’t. But the one you’d watch, and listen to, again and again and again is “Sugar Man.”
Will win: “Life of Pi,” Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott
Should win: “Life of Pi”
There’s a scene in “Life of Pi” where a luminescent whale breaches the sea and soars through the night sky. It’s a breathtaking image, but only a typical moment in a movie full of digital tigers, flying fish, enormous storms, and other CGI wonders. “Pi” isn’t just one contender in this contest, it’s the whole equation.
Will win: “Life of Pi,” Claudio Miranda
Should win: “Skyfall,” Roger Deakins
As visually stunning as “Pi” is, if you strip away the digital effects, it can’t keep up with the gorgeous camera work turned in by Deakins and his “Skyfall” crew. Witness the “Skyfall” train scene, as masterful and innovative as any chase sequence ever filmed.
Will win: “Argo,” William Goldenberg
Should win: “Zero Dark Thirty,” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
The obvious take-away here is: Everyone in Hollywood should hire Goldenberg as their next editor. It’s his work that makes even the more unlikely (see: tense airport escape) scenes in “Argo” feel plausible. Goldenberg also had a hand in the riveting final third of “Zero Dark Thirty,” for which he and his colleagues deserve the award.
Will win: “Argo,” Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Should win: “Zero Dark Thirty,” Paul N.J. Ottosson
Ottosson, the Oscar-winning sound editor on “The Hurt Locker,” worked his magic again in “Zero Dark Thirty,” which builds a whole separate score out of front-line ambient noise. If there’s a broader “Argo” movement afoot, you’ll see it first in categories such as this.
Will win: “Les Misérables,” Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes
Should win: “Les Misérables”
Groundbreaking. Live singing on this kind of scale, with every actor radio-miked, had never been done before “Les Miz.” Whatever you thought of the movie overall, it earns your respect right here.
Will win: “Anna Karenina,” Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
Should win: “Les Misérables,” Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson
The one thing to love about Joe Wright’s “Anna” was the ingenious way it made use of its theater setting, sliding scenes in and out as though they’d been choreographed on rails. The effect was dazzling. Too dazzling, ultimately, for the actors to outshine it.
Will win: “Anna Karenina,” Jacqueline Durran
Should win: “Anna Karenina”
Only Civil War reenactors would give this one to “Lincoln.” Otherwise, it comes down to fairy tales (“Mirror Mirror,’’ “Snow White and the Huntsman’’) versus historical fiction (“Anna Karenina,’’ “Les Miz’’). I’m in the historical fiction camp, and I’ll take the seeds of revolution in Russia over France.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Will win: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami Lane
Should win: “The Hobbit”
You try making hundreds of Tolkien characters, in all shapes and sizes, camera-ready for 266 days of filming “The Hobbit” in three parts. “Hitchcock” just had one double chin to worry about.
Will win: “Lincoln,” John Williams
Should win: “Argo,” Alexandre Desplat
Whenever John Williams is nominated, you have to give him the edge. Hollywood can’t get enough of that guy. Then there’s Desplat, who managed to please even picky “Twilight” fans, won me over with “Moonrise Kingdom” (yes, another plug), and sealed the deal with his exotically mesmerizing, Middle Eastern-flavored score for “Argo.”
Will win: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Should win: “Skyfall”
Last year — and the foreseeable future, probably— belongs to the artist known simply as Adele. Is there anyone who doesn’t want to see her make an Oscar speech? Will hers be the first to mention snot?
Will win: “Inocente”
Should win: “Mondays at Racine”
I loved “Inocente” and I’d be good with it taking home an Oscar. However, the film that moved me to buckets of tears, even more than the young Rwandan victims of rheumatic heart disease in “Open Heart,” was “Mondays at Racine.” So much more than a film about a charitable beauty salon, “Racine” takes a fresh, dignified, impressively layered approach to the real-world impact of breast cancer. It’s a winner, no matter what Oscar says.
Will win: “Paperman”
Should win: “Paperman”
Even if it didn’t carry the Disney stamp of approval, “Paperman” would be the favorite for its clever merging of computer-generated and hand-drawn images to tell the sweet story of a courtship that begins with paper airplanes. The clever runner-up is “Fresh Guacamole.”
Live Action Short
Will win: “Death of a Shadow”
Should win: “Death of a Shadow”
It sounds absurd: In a devilish bargain, a deceased WWI soldier collects the shadows of people as they die, thereby hoping to broker his rebirth. OK, it is absurd. But it’s also fascinating, and fascinatingly shot. Really.
Janice Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.