The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards (a.k.a. the Oscars) goes down this Sunday but before you go and bet the farm on these picks please bear in mind I haven't seen all the films, and some of the ones I did see are kind of purple hazy. Here are my picks for Hollywood's biggest night/commercial/fashion show:
Best Actor: The general rule is that when Daniel Day Lewis is nominated you just give it to him. And even though I'm still miffed about being fleeced into watching My Left Foot when I was a kid there's no doubt DDL was the best part of that stinker Lincoln. I'm hoping for Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) to take this category except everyone is probably still pissed at him for being such a dick when he made that meta-doc/rapper movie a couple years ago.
Best Supporting Actor: This is the real race of the whole evening with some real heavy hitters nominated. The favourite seems to be Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) because he is the Jack Nicholson of character actors, but I gotta give this one to Christoph Walz (Django Unchained) for absolutely anchoring the best movie of the year with charm, grace and perfect comedic timing.
Best Actress: Another strong field. Quvenzhané Wallis ought to win based on the fact that she was five years old when she stole the show in the ethereally excellent Beasts of the Southern Wild (her first job!). The Academy rarely gives it to a kid though, so I suspect the real race is between Emmanual Rivas (Amour), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Jennifer Lawrence (Sliver Linings Playbook.) Advantage Chastain because the Academy is mostly old-school Yanks stoked on watching a sassy redheaded terrorist killer with great legs, but I'm giving it to Jennifer Lawrence in Playbook based solely on the off-centre-but-true "Never go full retard" speech from Tropic Thunder.
Best Supporting Actress: Not an exciting year for the supporting ladies so give the statue to Amy Adams for The Master. Anne Hathaway is the dark horse for Les Miserables – Hollywood was built on musicals and everyone loves Anne.
Best Animated Feature: Not the strongest year for cartoons but Brave should take this one because it's Pixar and a little bit Riot Grrrl (1990s culture sill seems hip and fresh to many of the aging Academy voters). I'm pulling for Wreck-It Ralph.
Best Foreign Language: Cheer for Canada's War Witch but Amour is also up for Best Picture, so it seems like a lock for this category.
Best Original Song: I wish so much that "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted would win. I bet Adele takes it with the song from Skyfall, the new Bond flick. People love Adele and Bond.
Best Documentary: I didn't see any of them. Give it to How to Survive a Plague because that sounds useful.
Best Director/Picture: In theory, the best director would be the one who made the Best Picture — how can you be the best if someone else's movie is better? But that isn't how it always works. Often the Academy uses Best Director as a sort of runner-up for Best Picture. The favourite Best Picture right now is Ben Affleck's Argo, but he is not even nominated for Best Director. Nor is Tarantino for Django Unchained. I say Django deserves best picture, Argo gets best-adapted screenplay, and The Academy will give Best Director to Spielberg for Lincoln, because who doesn't love revisionist history? Enjoy the show, it's fun to try and do a shot of Jack every time someone thanks God.