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Oscar Predictions: 2012

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This year’s Academy Awards are set to be even more of a snoozefest than usual, I’m afraid. Many of the likely winners already have a trophy or two on their mantle, while the rest hardly seem fit to join their company. There are relatively few sure bets this year, which is exciting in theory but considerably less so given the potential spoilers.

Part of the problem is an overall lack of new blood. Of the 16 acting nominees, for instance, 12 have already been nominated. (Every single Supporting Actress nominee has previously been up for an Oscar and everyone in the Supporting Actor field has already taken one home.) If Anne Hathaway can win for singing a song in one melodramatic take – which, you know, is what every single on-stage Fantine has done since the musical first debuted – then Jessica Chastain deserves one for the last shot of Zero Dark Thirty alone, but I digress.

With just a few hours left before the actual ceremony, it’s still Kathryn Bigelow’s snub that stings the worst. Her exclusion – no doubt a result of the misguided swiftboat campaign against her led by a misreading of Zero Dark Thirty's depiction of torture – is easily the Academy's most egregious in years, and I can already feel the future judging them for it.

Best Picture
Will win: Argo
Could win: Lincoln
Should win: Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director
Will win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Could win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Should win: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Foreign-Language Film
Will win: Amour
Could win: No
Should win: War Witch

Original screenplay
Will win: Michael Haneke, Amour
Could win: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Should win: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Adapted screenplay
Will win: Chris Terrio, Argo
Could win: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Should win: Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Actor
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Could win: N/A
Should win: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Actress
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Could win: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Should win: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Supporting Actress
Will win: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Could win: Sally Field, Lincoln
Should win: Amy Adams, The Master

Supporting Actor
Will win: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Could win: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Should win: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained