This is the first time in years that there are actual races at the Oscars, with several categories up for grabs. Although it’s fairly certain that Best Picture will be Argo, Best Actor will be Daniel Day-Lewis, and Best Supporting Actress will be Anne Hathaway, here are some possible Oscar surprises in each category.
Best Picture: Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, or Lincoln over Argo
Miracle of miracles, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, or Lincoln takes the award away from Argo. A large part of the reason for why Argo has been sweeping most of the awards lately is because of Ben Affleck’s Best Director snub, but think about it – the whole point of not nominating Affleck for Best Director means the Academy did not believe ‘Argo’ to be worthy of getting the director nod in the first place and thus probably not worthy of Best Picture. Will they give in to the industry’s pressure or stick by what they wanted initially and vote for any of the three ‘dark horses’?
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva over Jennifer Lawrence
There would be no surprise if either Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, or Jessica Chastain won here. All three have had different moments of frontrunner status throughout award season and although Lawrence is still ahead of everyone going into the Oscars, there’s a very very strong chance that Riva wins – after all, it’s her birthday tomorrow, she’s turning 86, she genuinely gave the most impressive performance of the lot, and this might be her last nomination.
Best Actor: Hugh Jackman over Daniel Day-Lewis [unlikely]
There is literally no room for surprises here, but the distant [very, very distant] runners-up are Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper.
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field over Anne Hathaway [unlikely]
Similar to Best Actor, if anyone but Anne Hathaway wins this award, it will be shocking. A distant runner-up is Sally Field, but too many people in the Academy love Anne to vote otherwise. This is her year.
Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro over Christoph Waltz
This is another tough category to call – is it a surprise if no one knows who’s going to win to begin with? All 5 nominees have won before, and all 5 [save for Alan Arkin] have won at least 1 major precursor award. Smart money says Christoph Waltz due to having the most number of major precursor awards, but Robert De Niro has been more visible on this awards campaign than he’s ever been in his life.
Best Director: Ang Lee or David O. Russell over Steven Spielberg
Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow are not nominated. That leaves Steven Spielberg as a sure thing, right? Well, don’t be too surprised if you hear Ang Lee or David O. Russell called instead of Spielberg. There has been a shift away from Spielberg in the past couple of weeks and a lot of people are putting their weight behind Lee instead. There’s also a solid chance that David O. Russell wins for Best Director as Silver Linings Playbook was almost universally loved among Academy members.