A Day to remember
Leigh Paatsch is confident Daniel Day- Lewis is set to take out his third Oscar for his highly acclaimed portrayal of Abe Lincoln
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook Daniel Day- Lewis for Lincoln Denzel Washington for Flight Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
REHEARSE THAT FAKE SMILE
Just the nomination is enough for Phoenix. Don’t forget it was only five years ago he’d retired to perpetrate that crummy ‘‘ I wanna be a rapper’’ hoax. First- time nominee Jackman has no chance given he is representing a musical. Although he was the heart and soul of Les Mis, when it comes to the big acting categories, warblers ain’t winners.
DESERVES TO WIN, BUT WON’T
Any other ( Day- Lewis- free) year, Cooper would be the clear fave for his brilliant breakthrough display in Silver Linings. At least this might finally stop people immediately thinking of him as ‘‘ that good- looking dude from The
Hangover.’’ The ultra- consistent Washington is equally unlucky. His unfailingly authentic portrayal of functional alcoholism in Flight is far superior to his Oscar- winning turn in Training Day.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
Daniel Day- Lewis. Yet again, DDL proved why he is the best big- ticket actor in the business with Lincoln. Playing one of America’s most iconic figures, Lewis slipped right inside the imposing persona of Honest Abe, and never once came out for a single, showy, ‘‘ look at me!’’ moment. A historymaking third Best Actor win for a true master of his craft awaits.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Alan Arkin for Argo Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln
HEY, IT’S A NIGHT OUT, ISN’T IT? This is the hottest Best Supporting Actor line- up in the Academy’s history, with every nominee a past Oscar- winner. Arkin and Hoffman are arguably the outsiders in a very even field. Arkin went MIA for long periods in Argo, and hasn’t drawn much heat across the whole of the awards season. Ditto Hoffman, whose enigmatic performance is either too mannered or too nuanced for most voters.
DESERVES TO WIN, BUT WON’T Waltz will go mighty close for yet another movie- stealing display as the garrulous bounty hunter in Django Unchained. But a recent win in this category in another Tarantino film ( Inglourious Basterds) will count against him.
Silver Linings marked the first occasion De Niro has been great in a movie in years. A win here just might remind Bob he shouldn’t be ending a once- glorious career as a hack- for- hire.
AND THE WINNER IS . . . Tommy Lee Jones. If you got noticed in a movie featuring a performance as perfect as that of
Daniel Day- Lewis in Lincoln, you must have been pretty darn great. That should be enough to have craggy- headed ol’ Tommy looking the goods in the tightest race of the night. Past
winner here for The Fugitive in 1993.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty Naomi Watts for The Impossible Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern
TELL THE SEAT- WARMER TO GO HOME EARLY A second nomination for Watts ( after 2003’ s
21 Grams) and a second likely loss. Never mind. Her day at the podium will surely come. You just don’t win these days for disaster movies. Eighty- five- year- old French veteran Riva racks up another birthday on Oscar night. She surprised many by scoring at the BAFTAs, but foreign- language nominees are always up against it on US turf.
DESERVES TO WIN, BUT WON’T Chastain was the clear front- runner at the start of awards season, but has lost support with each passing week. There was something a bit cool and clinical about her ZD30 role that just hasn’t resonated with voters. Youngest- ever nominee Wallis was extraordinary in Beasts. Arguably the strongest performance here, but suspect most won’t see past her tender age to give her the backing needed. A shame.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
Jennifer Lawrence. As a recent past nominee for the first featured performance of her career ( 2010’ s Winter’s Bone), the timing could not be better for a rapidly rising star like Lawrence. Her work in Silver Linings was flawless, controlling the film’s sudden mood swings with both unrelenting poise and intensity. Won’t be the last time she scores this statuette.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams for The Master Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables Helen Hunt for The Sessions Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook Sally Field for Lincoln
DON’T OVERSPEND ON THAT OUTFIT Weaver is becoming a bit of a regular on the Hollywood trophy circuit, ain’t she. Great( ish) in the semi- sunny Silver Linings, but if she’s ever going to win an Oscar, it will be for darker fare. Field’s effort as Abe’s manic missus gets on some people’s nerves. A shame, as she got the character absolutely right.
DESERVES TO WIN, BUT WON’T Hunt’s unwavering commitment to a demanding role was impressive. However, the subject matter of The Sessions is too racy for your typical Oscar- voting slowpoke. Adams’s effort in The Master has been highly underrated, combining the sweet and the sinister to eerily unsettling effect. Has been thereabouts this awards season, but not getting much love.
AND THE WINNER IS . . . Hathaway. The hottest favourite of the night, Hathaway has won every other key- indicator award in this category. The former Oscars co- host owned the entire first act of Les Mis, courtesy of a show- stopping, heart- melting rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. Wasn’t just about the singing, though. A past nominee in this category ( 2008’ s Rachel Getting Married) who won’t be losing this time.
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
Argo Amour Beasts of the Southern Wild Django Unchained Les Miserables Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty
HONOUR’S YOURS, SPOILS THEIRS Another year, another two- horse race. The recent experiment of expanding the field beyond five nominees must be deemed a failure by now. This is not to denigrate any of the worthy titles listed here, all of which warranted recognition in what was a very strong year for mainstream cinema. Nevertheless, there will not be an upset in the biggest category of the evening.
DESERVES TO WIN, BUT WON’T Every pundit has Lincoln inked as the only possible challenger to a very likely victor. Lofty subject matter and behind- the- scenes pedigree certainly fits the profile of a Best Picture winner. Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of
the SouthernWild are landmark films but fated to miss out due to lack of box- office success.
AND THE WINNER IS . . . Argo. It’s all in the eyes of the beholders. Andwhen those beholders are the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, you can bet your bottom dollar Argo is their clear top pick. This exciting and entertaining thriller centred on the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 is a traditional crowd- pleaser with a distinctly modern edge. The right result? Absolutely.
CONTENDERS: Clockwise from left: Tommy Lee Jones looks the goods; Anne Hathaway should be a clear winner; Bradley Cooper is the unlikely favourite; rising star Jennifer Lawrence; and a scene from Argo starring Ben Affleck.