Around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane, along with some old guy from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will announce the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. Who will get picked? Who will get snubbed? The Oscars are never entirely predictable, but we have some educated guesses in the so-called major categories, before we bring you the full nominations list bright and early.
Note: Because of new-ish Academy rules, there could be anywhere between five and ten nominees. We'll list ten here, but the first five are the ones we think are the likely bets. The rest are in descending order of likelihood.
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Life of Pi
- Les Misérables
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Django Unchained
Why Them: Argo and Lincoln have had near-unanimous critical support since they their release and were directed by big Hollywood favorites. Zero Dark Thirty has a jittery seriousness that tends to appeal to some Academy voters (see: Traffic), despite the film's many controversies. Silver Linings is a crowd-pleaser, as is the artsy Beasts. Beyond that, Les Miz has obvious, bombastic Oscar appeal, Life of Pi was (simplistically) spiritual and lovely to behold, Django had cool factor, Amour was one of the best-reviewed films of the year, and Skyfall was a huge box-office success that the brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakins (always a bridesmaid, never a bride at these things — but maybe not this year!) turned into art.