The Academy Awards 2013 nominations will be announced in a few hours. When checking out the Oscar nominees, remember that the Academy uses the preferential voting system. That means a) only one choice counts out of each voter's selections (top five or top ten, depending on the category) b) those that receive enough no. 1 and/or no. 2 votes – about 1/6 of the total votes in that category – have a much better chance of landing a nomination than an individual or a movie that every single voting Academy member places at, say, no. 3 and/or no. 4 and/or no. 5. Something else, in this case an AMPASian particularity: in order to be nominated, each film or individual must be featured at the very top on at least one ballot.
Below are our last-minute predictions in several categories. If our list and the Academy's aren't exact matches, blame the Academy, not us. [Watch Oscar 2013 Nominations Live-Streaming Online.]
Best Picture, which will feature anywhere between five and ten nominees. If five nominees: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Les Misérables, Zero Dark Thirty. Sixth option: Silver Linings Playbook. Seventh option: Django Unchained. Eighth option: Amour. Ninth option: Moonrise Kingdom. Tenth option: Beasts of the Southern Wild. Possibilities: Sam Mendes' Skyfall; John Madden's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Robert Zemeckis' Flight, Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible. Unlikely: Gary Ross' The Hunger Games, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; John Hawkes, The Sessions; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Denzel Washington, Flight. Possibilities: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Richard Gere, Arbitrage. Unlikely: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour; Matt Damon, Promised Land.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Naomi Watts, The Impossible. Possibilities: Helen Mirren, Hitchcock; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea; Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Argo; Javier Bardem, Skyfall; Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained. Possibilities: Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained. Less likely: Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field, Lincoln; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy; Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Possibilities: Amy Adams, The Master; Judi Dench, Skyfall; Ann Dowd, Compliance.
Best Dir.: Ben Affleck, Argo; Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty; Michael Haneke, Amour; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg, Lincoln. Possibilities: Tom Hooper, Les Misérables; Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained. Less likely: David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook; Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom; Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Best Original Screenplay Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty. Possibilities: Looper, The Master, Arbitrage. Unlikely: Holy Motors.
Best Adapted Screenplay Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook. Possibilities: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Les Misérables.
Best Animated Feature: Brave, Frankenweenie, Paranorman, The Rabbi's Cat, Wreck-it Ralph.
Best Documentary Feature: Bully, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, This Is Not a Film.
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi, Lincoln, Les Misérables, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.
Best Original Score: Anna Karenina, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, Life of Pi.
Best Editing: Argo, Lincoln, Les Misérables, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.
Best Art Direction: Anna Karenina, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Lincoln, Les Misérables.
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Les Misérables, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Best Visual Effects: The Avengers, Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi.
Best Sound Mixing: The Avengers, Django Unchained, The Hunger Games, Les Misérables, Skyfall.
Best Sound Editing: Argo, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables, Skyfall.
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling: Lincoln, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Snow White and the Huntsman.