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Mr. Brown's Oscar Predictions

Tomorrow morning Oscar host Seth McFarlane, along with Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man will announce the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards. I haven't given any real comments on the Oscar race thus far, and the big reason for this is that there are people out there who know this game better than I do, and I'll leave it to the professionals, like Kris Tapley of In Contention and the dynamic duo of Sasha Stone and Ryan Adams of Awards and the like. But that doesn't mean I can't personally place my bets and say who's getting nominated for what come 5:30 tomorrow morning, so here are my picks, surprises and who's going to get screwed by the old foggies.

Best Picture: There's only going to be 8 nominees in this year's race, and just about most of them are locks at this point: Argo, Les Miserables, LincolnZero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, and Django Unchained. The last slot, I think, comes down to The Master and Skyfall. Yes, 007, after 50 years, 5 actors playing the titular secret agent, two lawsuits over distribution rights and one bad Woody Allen spoof later, Bond maybe finally getting his due credit: not only is Skyfall the highest grossing movie released by Sony Pictures, making a whopping $1 billion worldwide, but Oscar is going to celebrate the film franchise's 50th anniversary during the ceremonies this year. Still, this movie has one thing going against it: even with an expanded base from between 5 to 10 nominees, Oscar still has problems nominating well-made mainstream blockbusters. For further proof of this, see The Dark Knight in 2008 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II in 2011. In the end, they'll stick with Paul Thomas Anderson's character drama about a WWII drifter who falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader. Sorry, James.

The Nominees Will Be...
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Master
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director: Again, 4 of the five slots, I think, are set in stone: Spielberg, Bigelow, Lee and Affleck are going to be battling it out for the Director's prize/.The last slot is between three guys: Quentin Tarantino for Django, David O'Russell for SLP, and Tom Hooper for Les Mis. O'Russell should get a nomination for Adapted Screenplay, and the Academy rarely nominates directors for comedy films, so let's cross his name out.That leaves us with QT vs Hooper. Tarantino's been nominated twice for Director (Pulp Fiction in 1994 and Inglorious Basterds in 2009) whereas Hooper won it on his first attempt with The King's Speech in 2010. Hooper received a Director's Guild nomination this year for Les Miz whereas QT got snubbed, but I think Tarantino edges out Hooper, despite that directors who don't receive a DGA nod generally don't get a nomination for Best Director.

The Nominees Will Be...
Ben Affleck; Argo
Katheryn Bigelow; Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee; Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg; Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino; Django Unchained

Best Actor: What you've heard about from various rumors and Award tracker sites is pretty much what we're going to see on Thursday morning: Bradley, Denzel, Daniel Day, Wolverine and John Hawkes. There's maybe an outside chance that Joaquin Phoenix sneaks in and replaces Hawkes, but his tirade against the Oscar season earlier on in the year has made it all but certain the Academy gives him the cold shoulder.

The Nominees Will Be...
Bradley Cooper; Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman; Les Miserables
John Hawkes; The Sessions
Daniel Day Lewis; Lincoln
Denzel Washington; Flight

Best Actress: Like Best Actor, Don't hold out for any real surprises for this category: What you see is pretty much what you're going to get.

The Nominees Will Be...
Jessica Chastain; Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard; Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence; Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuel Riva; Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis; Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Supporting Actor:  Four of the five slots are pretty much known: Alan Arkin for Argo, Phillip Seymore Hoffman for The Master, Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook, and Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. The last spot is between three actors (Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz - all of whom are in the same film: Django Unchained. Sam, as great as he was, just hasn't gotten the kind of traction needed, so I think he's out. It comes down to Waltz and DiCaprio. The majority seems to be with Waltz, but the Academy has loved Leo for a while now, and my gut feeling is that they're going to want to give him is due here. DiCaprio, in - Waltz, out.

The Nominees Will Be...
Alan Arkin; Argo
Robert DeNiro; Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio; Django Unchained
Phillip Seymore Hoffman; The Master
Tommy Lee Jones; Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress: This maybe the weakest of the lot. Not because the performances are bad, which is further from the truth. Sally Field is terrific as Mary Todd in Lincoln, Amy Adams is sharp as a knife in The Master, Helen Hunt is fierce and intimate in The Sessions, and Anne Hathaway breaks your heart with her voice in Les Mis. Unfortunately, the rotten apple in the group is Nicole Kidman. Yeah, I'd never thought i'd say that in one of her movies, but it's true: The Paperboy opened to mixed reviews, and the only reason she's in contention is due to name recognition, the fact Oscar adores the Aussie actress, and the fact she pissed on Zac Effron's head. I feel Oscar should give the nomination to the toughest Bond girl in ages....Dame Judi Dench as 007's boss in Skyfall. I doubt that'll happen.

The Nominees Will Be...
Amy Adams; The Master
Sally Field; Lincoln
Anne Hathaway; Les Miserables
Helen Hunt; The Sessions
Nicole Kidman; The Paperboy


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