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And yes I am going to pick the favourites!

Best Picture

Having seen how the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Baftas played out, I’m beginning to backtrack on my initial claim that Life of Pi would take home the Best Picture gong. Argo now looks to be the film to beat, and with its mix of incredible performances and riveting tension, who can argue?

Best Director

When I first heard that Steven Spielberg was going to direct a biopic of the 16th American President’s life, I immediately had what the complete film would be in my head; an epic drama full of schmaltz, sentimentality and emotionally stirring Civil War battle sequences. He instead surprisingly delivered an intricate yet gripping political drama based solely around the passing of the 13th amendment. Lincoln is by far the most un-Spielbergian of all of his films to date, and for that I commend him. However, if Ben Affleck had not been shamefully overlooked in this category, I would now be writing about how the actor/director is now moments from achieving his second Oscar win; alas, the Academy sometimes (…every year) get things wrong.

Best Actor

The fact that whilst watching Lincoln I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t watching the real Abraham Lincoln, is testament to just how great an actor Daniel Day Lewis is. The Brit WILL soon pick up his third Best Actor gong, rightfully confirming him as the most successful male in the award ceremony’s history.

Best Actress

If it was my responsibly to decide the best performance by a lead actress, I simply wouldn’t be able to call it between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence this year. But the Academy do love a good transformation, and to me Lawrence was almost unrecognisable as the strange and social inept Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. If I’m being really picky, Marion Cotillard should have been nominated for Rust and Bone to make it a three-way tie; nevertheless, its certainly a very hotly contested category this year, but I see Lawrence just about coming out on top.

Best Supporting Actor

Again, if this was my choice I’d probably go against the Academy by awarding Philip Seymour Hoffman for his powerhouse performance in the flawed epic The Master. It is my belief however that the award will go to Tommy Lee Jones this year. Why? Because Lincoln is not only a depiction of the abolition of slavery but also of politics as a whole, and Jones’ turn as radical Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens is central to the film’s conveyance of the importance of compromise. Stevens is forced to suppress his radical principles to achieve his goal, and the character’s inner-conflict is perfectly captured by Academy Award winner Jones.

Best Supporting Actress

I have to say that I struggle to enjoy musicals, and aside from Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter’s comedic double act as the thieving landlords, Anne Hathaway’s tragic fallen woman Fantine was the only thing that maintained my interest in Les Miserables. Its a shame then that after a scene-stealing performance, *SPOILER* she gets killed off half way through and we are left with shouty Russell Crowe for the remaining hour and a half. The way she delivers ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ so powerfully whist looking on the verge of crumbling into floods of tears at any moment is pretty breathtaking.

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