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Oscar predictions: who will take home the gold

If you're a regular reader of this blog (and you should be!), then you know I'm a big movie fan. And while I don't get to see as many movies as I'd like anymore, I do obsessively follow the award-season hoopla and just film reviews in general. I like to be in the know. And because I'm a reader and viewer of all-things-Oscar, today I'd like to help you win your office pool or just make you look really smart at your viewing party. So, without further ado, I give you my predictions for who will take home Oscar gold in the major categories (because no one cares about sound editing...sorry, sound editors). Drumroll please... Best Picture:

There are nine contenders in this category - nine! But really only 4 have a chance at winning. "Lincoln," because it's Spielberg and Day-Lewis; "Zero Dark Thirty," because it's supposed to be amazing and is based on real-life; "Argo," because, well, it's supposed to be amazing and is based on real-life; and "Silver Linings Playbook," which could sneak in there thanks to performances by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

So which will win? My bet is on "Argo." Since Ben Affleck was, many thought, snubbed in the Best Director category, the voters might give him this as a consolation prize.

Best Actor:

I don't think Denzel or Joaquin has a chance in this category. I'd love to see Hugh Jackman win for "Les Miserables" but I think it's a long shot. So it comes down to Daniel Day-Lewis and Bradley Cooper. My gut tells me Bradley will have to wait for his "Syriana" moment. He's a pretty boy who did his first serious film and I think the Academy will make him wait. And pretty much no one can win when they're up against Daniel Day-Lewis. Especially when playing Lincoln and directed by Spielberg.

Best Actress:

Another category where five become three. I don't think Quvenzhane Wallis will be the youngest winner ever for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." It's too small a film and she's an unknown. Naomi Watts gives an amazing performance in "The Impossible" but again, the film itself was little-seen. Jennifer Lawrence definitely has a shot but my money's on Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty." She was nominated last year for "The Help" but her gritty and determined performance as the woman who found and took down Osama Bin Laden should nab her the statue.

Supporting Actor and Actress:

Anne Hathaway is a sure bet. Don't even bother picking anyone else. It's done. She plays a mother-turned-prostitute who has her hair cut off - live on screen, while singing - and her teeth pulled out. Um, yeah, she's won.

As for the gents, I think De Niro will win for his heartfelt portrayal of a father struggling to come to terms with his son's mental illness. It's the first good movie he's made in years. Let's throw him a bone. However, outside shot goes to Alan Arkin for "Argo."

Best Director:

Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow should have won, but, oh yeah, they weren't nominated. So, in the dark horse category I'm picking David O. Russell. Sure, Spielberg could win for Lincoln, but I just don't think it's gotten enough buzz. And the Academy likes a quirky film that looks art-housey but really is big budget and "Silver Linings Playbook" fits the bill.

What are your predictions for the Oscar race?

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