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Oscars gongs up for grabs

The world's best actors, actresses and directors will be vying for the movie industry's holy grail at midday on Monday (AEST). Ashley Shenker previews the top six categories of the 85th Academy Awards.

A dramatic thriller, one of the best musicals ever made and Quentin Tarantino at his wierd best make up the majority of this year’s Oscar nominations.

Three Aussies will also be hoping to return home with an Oscar in the suitcase, but when you come up against the likes of Daniel Day Lewis and Anne Hathway, that becomes a difficult task.

So let’s take a look at who’s in the running for the top six awards at the 85th Academy Awards.

Best Picture:

Ben Affleck and George Clooney’s Argo has already won several international awards and will be the hot favourite to take out the ‘big one’ at the Oscars. But Argo will have stiff competition from Les Misérables and Django Unchained, which have both had a host of nominations at the Golden Globes, British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), the Screen Actors Guild Awards and several other award ceremonies. Then you have the roughies such as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty, which have all been critically acclaimed and can’t be ruled out. Life of Pi, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild round out the nominations.

Likely winner – Argo


Best Director: spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s sublime work in Lincoln will hold him in good stead to win this award, which could possibly be his third after winning it with Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998)David O. Russell will return to the nominations thanks to his efforts in directing Silver Linings Playbook. He will hope to go one step further than he did with The Fighter and trump Spielberg to take out the award. Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) will also be vying for the award, but will probably be overlooked.

Likely winner – Steven Spielberg


Best Actor:

Daniel Day LewisThis is the hardest one to call as all five nominees are equally deserving of winning this award. Englishman Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the one most would pick for his portrayal of the 16th United States president in Lincoln. He has already won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. And If he does take it out, it would be his third, after winning it previously with My Left Foot (1989) and There Will Be Blood (2007). But our local hero Hugh Jackman will give him a run for his money, with his role as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables earning him a nomination for the Best Actor award for the first time in his illustrious career. Bradley Cooper’s lead in Silver Linings Playbook could also hold him in good stead to take the prize, while Denzel Washington (Flight) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) are two of the best actors going around and should not be counted out either.

Likely winner – Daniel Day-Lewis


Best Actress:Jessica Chastain

Another tough one for the judges to pick as five quality females line up for the award. From our perspective, let’s hope they believe Naomi Watts’s incredible role in The Impossiblebis good enough to win her what would be her maiden Oscar as well. But Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), who won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), who won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, will both be the hot tips to win the award. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) will most likely just be going to the Oscars for a few drinks and to hear their named called out.

Likely winner – Jessica Chastain


Best Supporting Actor:Christoph Waltz

If you thought the nominees for the Best Actor award were top quality, then how about the likes of Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Alan Arkin (Argo). This one could seriously go any way, with all five nominees previously winning awards for their roles. Waltz, who won both the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, will probably be the favourite going into the awards, but as we’ve seen in previous years, anything can happen at the Oscars. Arkin will probably be the dark horse after his outstanding performance in Argo, while all three of Jones, De Niro and Hoffman will also be right up there to win the award.

Likely winner – Christoph Waltz


Best Supporting Actress:anne hathway

Much the same as the previous award, these five ladies are also some of the best in the business and each have good reason to win the award. Again, aussie hopes will be on late-bloomer Jacki Weaver, whose role in Silver Linings Playbook has her on the big stage for the second time in three years after previously earning a nomination for Animal Kingdom (2010)But it will be hard to beat Anne Hathaway, who has been nominated for a whopping 50 American and international awards for her unbelievable portrayal of Fantine in Les Misérables. Veteran Sally Field will also be right in the running to win the award after dazzling audiences in Lincoln, as will both Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Amy Adams (The Master), who has come close before.

Likely winner – Anne Hathaway

The 85th Academy Awards will be on the Nine Network from 12:30pm (AEST).

Ashley Shenker is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @shenks7




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