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The Ones to Beat

Nearly all of this year’s Oscar contenders have been seen. Here’s a look at the leader of each category and how the front-runner still might lose.


Best Picture

The Front-Runner:
Les Misérables

But Wait ...
Early screenings have ended in standing ovations. But if voters aren’t in the mood for a lengthy musical, the well-received Argo or Lincoln could emerge as a spoiler.

Predicted Nominees:
Amour; Argo; Beasts of the Southern Wild; Les Misérables; Life of Pi; Lincoln; Silver Linings Playbook; Zero Dark Thirty.



Best Director

The Front-Runner:
Ben Affleck, Argo

But Wait ...
Les Miz director Tom Hooper just won in 2010 for The King’s Speech, so the Academy will probably spread the love and reward Affleck’s stunning career comeback.

Predicted Nominees:
Ben Affleck (Argo); Tom Hooper (Les Miserables); Ang Lee (Life of Pi); David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook); Steven Spielberg (Lincoln).



Best Actor

The Front-Runner:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

But Wait ...
Day-Lewis is the favorite, but this category is packed with other performances that would be mortal locks to win in any other year.

Predicted Nominees:
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln); John Hawkes (The Sessions); Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables); Joaquin Phoenix (The Master); Denzel Washington (Flight).



Best Actress

The Front-Runner:
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

But Wait ...
Lawrence is the one to beat in a race not nearly as competitive as Best Actor. But Silver Linings’ weak box office could open the door for Jessica Chastain.

Predicted Nominees:
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty); Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone); Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook); Emmanuelle Riva (Amour); Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild).



Best Supporting Actor

The Front-Runner:
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

But Wait ...
Jones is a crowd-pleaser as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. But Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lead-size performance had early buzz, and watch out for Leonardo DiCaprio, too.

Predicted Nominees:
Alan Arkin (Argo); Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook); Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained); Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master); Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln).



Best Supporting Actress

The Front-Runner:
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

But Wait ...
Pack up this category and put it away, because Hathaway has it in the bag. She doesn’t have much screen time—but she absolutely slays her big number, “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Predicted Nominees:
Amy Adams (The Master); Samantha Barks (Les Misérables); Sally Field (Lincoln); Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables); Helen Hunt (The Sessions).


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