The Academy Awards are this Sunday (6 p.m.), like you weren't already stocking up on wine and making sure you have E! and ABC on your "last" channel presets for comprehensive red carpet coverage.
Or maybe not. Perhaps, like certain bloggers who prefer to remain nameless, your interest is financial in nature. There are website contests aplenty (The Numbers, for example, is giving away DVD or Blu-ray copies of every Best Picture nominee to their contest winner), as well as office pool, Oscar parties, and offshore sites for those of you who may actually be foolish enough to wager real money on one of the most arbitrary popularity contests this side of, well, the Golden Globes.
Whatever form Gamblor has taken in your own personal compulsive betting Ghostbusters-style "choose the form of the Destructor" scenario, I'm here to help. I only ask for a 15 percent cut and Jessica Chastain's phone number.
Best Picture Amour Argo Beasts of the Southern Wild Django Unchained Les Misérables Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty
Remember back when the nominations were announced and Kathryn Bigleow's flick about the long, dark tea time of America's soul was the presumptive favorite? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Argo is much more crowd pleasing and much less controversial, which is funny considering it's probably much more fabricated than ZDT was.
Best Actor Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln Hugh Jackman - Les Misérables Joaquin Phoenix - The Master Denzel Washington - Flight
Phoenix and Washington were both excellent, but it wouldn't matter if anyone had understood The Master or if Flight *hadn't* been a manipulative piece of garbage, the only way DDL loses this is if the T-1000 goes back in time and murders him as an infant.
Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis
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
Chastain faded down the stretch, thanks to a bunch of wins for Lawrence, who rides the momentum in. Voters are also possibly afraid of Seth MacFarlane making Quvenzhané jokes.
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence
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
Hey America, you just re-elected your first black President! What are you gonna do next? We're giving Steven Spielberg his third Best Director Oscar! This will time for second all-time alongside William Wyler and Frank Capra.
Winner: Steven Spielberg
Best Supporting Actor Alan Arkin - Argo Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
This is a tough one, but not for reasons you might think. This is going down to the wire between Jones and Waltz, both of whom have won once before. It's a tough call, but I think you have to give it to TLJ. What tipped it for me is he's a 66-year old man who still goes by "Tommy."
Winner: Tommy Lee Jones
Best Supporting Actress Amy Adams - The Master Sally Field - Lincoln Anne Hathaway - Les Misérables Helen Hunt - The Sessions Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook
Adams gave the most uncomfortable handjob I've seen in a movie since I Spit on Your Grave, and Hunt and Field were both outstanding, but singing with visible snot bubbles before dying of tuberculosis is the Academy equivalent of a Royal flush.
Winner: Anne Hathaway
Best Original Screenplay Amour - Michael Haneke Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino Flight - John Gatins Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal
Both screenplay awards are tough to call, but I'll give QT a slight edge over Boal, since this is likely to be the only major award Django wins.
Winner: Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay Argo - Chris Terrio Beasts of the Southern Wild - Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin Life of Pi - David Magee Lincoln - Tony Kushner Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell
SO CLOSE, but I think you have go with Kushner over Terrio. I mean, they did nothing *but* talk in that freaking movie.
Best Animated Feature Brave Frankenweenie ParaNorman The Pirates! Band of Misfits Wreck-It Ralph
Both ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph were better than Brave, which will nevertheless win. The latter is making a strong late push, though. How apropos.
Best Cinematography Anna Karenina - Seamus McGarvey Django Unchained - Robert Richardson Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda Lincoln - Janusz Kaminski Skyfall - Roger Deakins
Is 10-time nominee Deakins every going to win this? Not this year.
Winner: Life of Pi
Best Documentary Feature 5 Broken Cameras The Gatekeepers How to Survive a Plague The Invisible War Searching for Sugar Man
I think everyone should see The Invisible War, especially if you have daughters who are thinking of enlisting, but the Academy likes feel-good endings, and Searching for Sugar Man has that (in addition to being a damn good film in its own right).
Winner: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Foreign Language Film Amour Kon-Tiki No A Royal Affair War Witch
Any other year, I'd like No, about the last days of the Pinochet regime, but this is really the only shot Amour -- a Best Picture nominee, recall -- has of winning anything.
Best Original Song "Before My Time" - Chasing Ice "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" - Ted "Pi's Lullaby" - Life of Pi "Skyfall" - Skyfall "Suddenly" - Les Misérables
The only music anyone should remember from Ted is the Flash Gordon theme.
The rest of my picks are offered below with no commentary because Jesus is this a pain in the ass.
Best Animated Short: Paperman
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Best Documentary Short: Open Heart
Best Film Editing Argo
Best Live Action Short Film: Curfew
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit: And Unexpected Journey
Best Original Score: Life of Pi
Best Production Design: Les Miserables
Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Happy wagering. Remember: 15 percent. Chastain.