Adam Predicts the 2013 Oscar Nominees

     January 9, 2013


At last, Oscar is upon us.  Back in November I shared a look at the early awards season race by way of our 2013 Oscar Preview articles, and now nearly two months later there’s still quite a bit up in the air.  This truly is one of the more exciting awards races in recent years, as 2012 is so stacked with quality that there are a surprising number of uncertainties this close to the Academy Awards ceremony.  Nevertheless, I am once again foolishly going to attempt to predict how the Oscar nominations will shake out when they’re announced tomorrow morning, January 10th.  Hit the jump to check out my predictions.

As was the case last year, there will be anywhere between 5 and 10 nominations for Best Picture.  The math that comes up with the golden number is pretty complicated, but I hear that the formula makes it highly improbable for that number to hit 10 while it’s entirely possible for 9 films to be nominated.  This all has to do with how many number one votes each film gets, and seeing as how there is still no consensus around one frontrunner for the trophy (or even two for that matter), I’m gonna go ahead and say there will be 9 nominees.

lincoln-movie-posterBEST PICTURE:



Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Silver Linings Playbook


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Alternates: Moonrise Kingdom, Skyfall, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I don’t think we’ll be seeing many filler nominees this year akin to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or The Blind Side, as it looks to be a fierce race to the finish line and the quality of contenders makes this thing pretty exciting.  Odds are incredibly high that Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, and Life of Pi will all secure nominations. If this were a year with five nominees, these would likely be them.  Each film has its fair share of supporters, but the important thing is that you’re able to find a large number of people that flat out love one or more of the five aforementioned films.  All five also appeared on the DGA list of nominees, and the guilds are one of the best Oscar predictors since there’s heavy crossover between guild members and Academy members.

Silver Linings Playbook is also a safe bet for a Best Picture nomination.  The pic was singled out by both the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild, and at one point found itself in the Best Picture frontrunner position.  The buzz has waned a bit in the ensuing months, and with no DGA nomination and lackluster box office, it looks like a nomination is as far as SLP will get as far as Best Picture is concerned

Amour-posterNow is when things get tricky.  I’m going to say there will be nine Best Picture nominees when all is said and done, leaving three spots left open to fill out the roster.  These spots could go a number of ways, but I think the “fringe” contender that has the best shot at a nomination is Amour.  The French-language drama has been a bit of a dark horse contender all year long following its Palm d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival, and given its strong showing with critics I expect it’ll land a Best Picture nomination.  The Academy showed surprising amount of love for The Tree of Life last year, and I have a feeling that Amour will be their 2012 “arthouse” nominee.

The Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild also has a very strong shot at a Best Picture nomination, as the emotional drama has also landed on a number of Top 10 lists and secured a PGA nomination.  Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is another very strong candidate, but it remains to be seen if the violent and “controversial” content is too much for the older-skewing Academy members.  The film’s box office and PGA nomination work in its favor, but the DGA’s shafting of Tarantino for Best Director gives me slight pause as to its Best Picture nomination chances.  Even so, I think Django will ultimately land on the list.

There are a couple of other outside candidates that also have shots at securing a Best Picture nomination, but for one reason or another I have a feeling they might not make it in: Wes Anderson’s glorious “young love” pic Moonrise Kingdom, the James Bond actioner Skyfall, and the comedic drama Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  If anything takes the place of the aforementioned films that I’ve predicted to fill out the Best Picture category, I think it will be one (or more) of these three films.  I had an incredibly hard time filling out the final three slots in this prediction list and wavered back and forth with regards to these last few films.  As I said, it’s an excitingly unpredictable year with plenty of great films to choose from.


zero-dark-thirty-kathryn-bigelowSteven Spielberg Lincoln

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Ben Affleck Argo

Ang Lee – Life of Pi

Tom Hooper – Les Miserables

Alternates: Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino 

Best Director is another tricky category.  Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, and Ben Affleck all appear to be safe bets for a nomination, with Ang Lee a very likely possibility.  The Directors Guild Awards nominated all of the four aforementioned names, and gave the fifth spot to Tom Hooper. But very rarely do the DGA nominations and the Oscar nominations match up exactly.  Most years, one DGA nomination doesn’t make the Oscar cut, and the spot that’s up for debate appears to be Hooper’s.

Les Miserables has undeniably elicited a polarizing reaction, and most of the film’s criticism has been directed at Hooper’s directorial style.  His appearance on the DGA list was a bit of a surprise, and before the DGA nominations I had little faith that he would secure an Oscar nod.  Alas, the DGA’s have me rethinking my strategy, and a tiny part of me thinks the faction of Les Mis love just may be enough to thrust Hooper into the category.  If it’s not, though, I think Michael Haneke just could make the cut a la Terrence Malick’s surprise nomination last year.

There’s also a small possibility that Ang Lee will see a snub in the Oscars, but Life of Pi is such a director-driven film that I have a really hard time seeing the Academy overlooking such an overwhelmingly fantastic achievement.  Don’t be shocked if you see David O. Russell or Quentin Tarantino’s names pop up either, though I’d give the slight edge to Russell in the case that one of them makes the cut.

hugh-jackman-les-miserables-imageBEST ACTOR

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

Denzel Washington – Flight

John Hawkes – The Sessions

Alternates: Joaquin Phoenix, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jack Black 

Somewhat surprisingly, given that 2012 was such a strong year, there’s not too much debate regarding the Best Actor nominees.  Daniel Day-Lewis is as close to a lock as you’ll ever see for his superb turn in Lincoln, and he looks to be joined by fellow previous Best Actor winner Denzel Washington for his impressive work in Flight.  And then there’s Hugh Jackman’s career-best turn in Les Miserables which should secure him his first Oscar nomination, along with Bradley Cooper, who will also likely see his first-ever Oscar nomination for his swell work in Silver Linings Playbook.  I predict that Sundance favorite and previous Best Supporting Actor nominee John Hawkes will also find himself among the Best Actor ranks for The Sessions.

Though he undoubtedly gave one of the best performances of the year, Joaquin Phoenix may very well find himself on the sidelines come Oscar night.  The Master’s polarizing response, disappointing box office, and general lack of buzz have sadly diminished its awards chances, and Phoenix’s negative comments about the awards season in general look to have negatively affected his shot at a nomination.  It’s not out of the question, but at least Phoenix won’t be upset should he find himself snubbed.

My Dark Horse pick would be Jack Black for his excellent turn in Bernie.  I doubt enough Academy members have seen the film to actually warrant Black a nomination, but if there were to be a surprise nominee, my gut says a very deserving Black would be it. 

zero-dark-thirty-jessica-chastainBEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone

Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts – The Impossible 

Alternates: Emmanuelle Riva, Helen Mirren, Rachel Weisz 

Our frontrunners for the Best Actress trophy are Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, and the two have been neck-and-neck for weeks.  With Chastain and Lawrence all but guaranteed nominations, that leaves three open slots.  Previous winner Marion Cotillard has been a stalwart contender over the past couple of months for Rust and Bone, so I think she’ll make the cut, and Naomi Watts has been gaining considerable steam so I expect her to land her second Best Actress nomination for The Impossible.

There’s been some concern over whether an actor as young as Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis could make it in, but seeing as how she single-handedly carries the film and it has strong support in the other categories, I predict the 9-year-old will make Oscar history as the youngest Best Actress nominee.

The most formidable threat to Wallis or Watts is Amour star Emmanuelle Riva, who’s heartbreaking turn could land her a Best Actress nomination at the age of 85.  Again, Amour seems to be the big question mark of the season.  If enough Academy members actually decided to watch the film (its heavy material makes it difficult to sit through), I wouldn’t be shocked if it pulls some surprise nominations in Actress and Director.

Continued on Page 2 with Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Screenplay, and Adapted Screenplay

Around The Web
  • Peter

    Why do we care about the Oscars? It’s not for giving it to the best. It’s about giving it to the popular. Example: Reese Witherspoon winning over Felicity Huffman.

    • gerard kennelly

      i agree
      TRANSAMERICA was mind blowing fearless acting
      walk the line was amazing too
      but it was oscar bait to be honest

  • Nate

    Skyfall isn’t a best picture worthy film. Sure, it was pretty good. I’d love to see Moonrise slip in there and even more so, Cloud Atlas, but I sure as hell know that’s not gonna happen.

    • Alex Hajna

      The only reason it’s being considered by critics, is because it’s directed by Sam Mendes, an Oscar-winning director, and the Academy is infamous for rewarding previous winners, even if there are more worthy contenders.

    • Shaun

      Agreed. First Bond movie I’ve seen in over two decades (and I’ve since made a point of checking out the first two Craig as Bond movies), and I really liked it. But “Best Picture” material? No, it’s not.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Moonrise Kingdom get a nomination either.

  • oppo

    Where is The Master? Definitely best movie of the year.

    • oppo

      And Les Miserables is pretty bland movie. And got the pretty mediocre reviews.

      • Chad

        Yeah, 70% Fresh on RT is the ultimate definition of “pretty mediocre reviews”.

        Please research before you post.

      • Matt

        RE: Chad.

        I assume your response is sarcastic. Perhaps mediocre was a bit harsh, but certainly a 70% does not quite qualify as overwhelmingly positive. Above average at best. Most top critics derided the film and most reviews would qualify as tepid. Les Mis is only getting the love it is, outside Hathaway and Jackman, because its got the backing of the public.

      • Jim

        RE Chad: Rotten Tomatoes is a joke. The Metacritic score, the only one worth noting, is at 63. For comparison, The Hunger Games is at 67. It got mediocre reviews, stop being a fanboy and deal with the fact that it was poorly done.

  • Jake

    No Cloud Atlas love really shouldn’t surprise me, but goddamn. If it doesn’t get any recognition this year, I’ll be pissed. It was one of my most anticipated films this year, and boy did it put up. At least Rian Johnson is expected to get a “Best Original Screenplay” nom. He wholly deserves to win it, though I won’t hold my breath. The Academy fucking sucks.

  • gerard kennelly

    will somebody
    any body please tell me
    why have Mary Elizabeth Winstead (smashed)
    and Guy Pearce (lawless) been ignored this awards season ? ?

    • Bob

      Haven’t seen Smashed so I can’t say. But I am also a supporter of Guy Pierce. He did amazing for that movie and should be nominated. But he won’t be. Michael Pene is another actor I feel being extremly underlooked for End of Watch.

  • Bob

    I prettty much agree with a lot on this list. My Best Picture predictions are the same except I had Moonrise Kingdom in the place of Amour. Though I could see Amour taking its spot or there just being ten nominees with Amour added on with Moonrise Kingdom.

    For Best Director I really hope Hooper doesn’t get the nomination. He did win already once, so that means the Academy does like him, so they could give him another nomnation. I did have Bigelow, Lee, Spielberg, and Affleck as a lock. The last spot I hope goes to either Tarantinio or Russel. I would prefer Tarantino. And tbh, I’m not a Lee fan so I would prefer Russel over him but that prob won’t happen.

    For Best Actor I’m thinking Daniel-Day Lewis is a lock to win Best Actor for a 3rd time. Only other actor I could see winning is Jackman(just cause it’s the type of performance that could win) or maybe…..what am I say Lewis prettty much just wins…

    For Best Actress like everyone knows its a battle of Chastain vs Lawrence. And I’m rooting for Lawrence. I don’t know how to spell her name so I won’t try but I believe the actress for Amour is a lock.

    Best Supporting actor…I also predict the 4 Old timmers as well as Watlz, with the only other possibilities being Leonardo DiCaprio or Samuel L. Jackson.

    Best Supporting Actres is a battle between Hathaway, who will most likely win, or Sally Field.

    I’m tired of writing so I’m gonna stop now….

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  • Anon

    Though Waltz was fine in Django I never thought he was “scene stealing” not like he was in Inglourious. I definitely thought Dicaprio and Jackson were the life blood of the movie and would have liked to see more time given to their relationship. Waltz probably has the least risky role in terms of content where as Dicaprio and Jackson really put themselves out there.

  • Qt Better Win Screenplay, Director and Best Picture

    That Zero Dark Thirty is Yankee propaganda. Thrill as the USA shoots a man in the head without trial. USA! USA!

    • Andrew

      Please shut up.

  • Sajorij

    I hate how the categories “Best Picture” and “Best Director” are so closely tied. While surely Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were one of the best movies of the year, Affleck’s/Bigelow’s direction was not even close to The Master, Moonrise Kingdom or even more mainstream films like Skyfall or Looper. Especially Bigelow with that boring pseudo-gritty style. And don’t even get me started on that hack Tom Hooper.

  • Andrew

    “…Seeing as how there is still no consensus around one frontrunner for the trophy”

    I disagree. I think Zero Dark Thirty is the clear frontrunner for Best Picture, with Lincoln and Les Mis being close second choices.

    • I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy

      Please Shut Up.
      The only reason Zero Dark has a shot is cause it’s Yankee porn. ‘Merica loves to pat itself on the back and justify torture through propaganda. Asshats.

      • =(


  • BOO

    Why is The Master not the art house pick?

  • gotheeeem

    i would like to see sam mendes get nominated and win best director- skyfall broke a billion dollars and is the most successful bond movie ever.

    rachel weisz should win best actress for deep blue sea. she’s such a better actress than chastain.

    i saw django- leo should get nominated and win for best supporting actor but with all the p.c. and controversy re the film i think he might get screwed over. too bad to because he really was great in this movie and has always been passed over- the departed, blood diamond, inception.

    lastly- i think that nolan should be nominated for best director.

    • Shaun

      In a different year, for a different movie, I would’ve agreed with about Nolan. But TDKR was such a clusterfuck of a film. He doesn’t deserve any Oscar love for that mess. The goodwill he (rightly) earned with the first two Bat-films (and his other work) was somewhat squandered this past year.

  • Max Drome

    if Joaquin Pheonix doesn’t get nominated, i will call 911 coz i have just witnessed a crime.

  • Keegan

    Give The Master more of a chance. Joaquin Phoenix gave the performance of a life time, definitely the second best of the year (after Day-Lewis, who, as deserved, will win). Seymour Hoffman has surely secured a nomination and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wins. I think it will get a Best Picture nod. It won’t win because it’s too dark for the Academy, but really? Not even going to put in the alternates? Below Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? I don’t know. who knows, really? Great year in film, I guess these are just MY predictions. We’ll see how it turns out tomorrow when MacFarlane and, for NO reason, Emma Stone announce the nominations.

  • Stephen

    I know a lot of people wont agree with me, but Matthew Mcconaughey was incredible in Magic Mike. Im not saying he should win, but he should at least get some recognition.

  • SeanPhilly

    Zero Dark Thirty
    Les Miserables
    Life of Pi
    Django Unchained
    Silver Linings Playbook
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    The Master

    Steven Spielberg
    Kathryn Bigelow
    Ben Affleck
    Ang Lee
    Tom Hooper

    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Denzel Washington
    Hugh Jackman
    Bradley Cooper
    Joaquin Phoenix

    Jessica Chastain
    Jennifer Lawrence
    Emmanuelle Riva
    Quvenzhane Walls
    Marion Cotillard

    Tommy Lee Jones
    Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Robert De Niro
    Leonardo DiCaprio
    Matthew McConaughey

    Anne Hathaway
    Amy Adams
    Sally Field
    Helen Hunt
    Maggie Smith

    Zero Dark Thirty
    Django Unchained
    The Master
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Silver Linings Playbook
    Life of Pi
    Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Life of Pi
    The Master
    The Dark Knight Rises

    Zero Dark Thirty
    Les Miserables
    The Dark Knight Rises

    • Guy Smiley

      Good picks, overall, though I am surprised to learn that TDKR was actually edited. Edited by an autistic eight-year old, maybe?

  • John

    I really don’t think anyone should be complaining about snubs this year. 2012 was an excellent year and there are way too many movies that could be nominated. There will be snubs in every category but you have to expect it.

    That being said, I’d love to see Skyfall get a Best Picture nom. It has no shot in hell winning and even though it’s my favorite movie of the year, I wouldn’t give it a Best Picture Oscar. I’d just love to see a James Bond film get a Best Picture nom. And a 23rd film in a franchise.

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  • Ugh at Zero Dark

    Why would anyone whose not an american wanna watch that snuff porno?

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