The Oscars are finally upon us, and before the ceremony officially begins, it's time to start the predictions. A list of nominees can be found here, which covers everything from Sound-Mixing, to Make-Up, to Best Picture. This article will focus on Best Picture, though the other categories are well-woth recognition as well. After the somewhat recent decision to expand the Best Picture category to include up to ten films, this year's batch features nine: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. I've included a short discussion of each, and ranked them in order of likelihood of taking home the Oscar, one being most likely, and nine being least.
1 - Argo: A historical dramatization of the CIA-Canadian operation to rescue six American hostages form Iran, Argo pretty much has the Oscar in the bag. Not only is it political and historical but it's also action-filled, a deadly combination when it comes to the Academy. Argo has also won other recent award shows, which is a good indication of it's Oscar success.
2 - Lincoln: Lincoln is the film that poses the biggest challenge to Argo. The Academy has generally been a fan of historical films, and a film about one of the most beloved American presidents is sure to garner a lot of support. Also, Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Abraham Lincoln is the main front-runner for Best Actor.
3 - Les Misérables: Les Mis is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's renowned play and the famous Broadway musical on the French Revolution. The all-star cast and masterful score make Les Mis a front-runner at the Oscars, although it would be very surprising for Les Mis to beat out Argo or Lincoln.
4 - Silver Linings Playbook: This movie is a drama about a former teacher returned from a mental institution. Actors Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have gained critical acclaim for their roles in the film, and the film as a whole has been nominate for eight Oscars.
5 - Beasts of the Southern Wild: Beasts of the Southern Wild is a universally loved indie pick that somewhat fantasizes the post-Hurricane Katrina climate. The young actress Quvenzhané Wallis plays six-year-old Hushpuppy, a girl that experiences adventure in her flooded bayou community. It would be a big leap for Beasts to win an Oscar, but would also be a great nod to the independent film community.
6 - Life of Pi: Another adaptation of a popular book, Life of Pi is a work of cinematic genius. The fantastical story of a young boy sailing on a lifeboat with a tiger, Life of Pi has been most acclaimed for it's beautiful cinematography. Although it got the Best Picture nod, it's most likely Life of Pi will be most successful in the more artistic categories.
7 - Zero Dark Thirty: A film about the the man-hunt for Osama bid Laden, the controversial Zero Dark Thirty has received mixed reviews. However, like Argo, the political nature of the film has led it to critical acclaim.
8 - Django Unchained: This violent but comedic Tarantino film is a different take on slavery from Lincoln. Though it gained impressive critical acclaim for such a violent movie, it's still very unlikely that Django Unchained will win the Best Picture nomination. It's nominated for five categories though, so it has a good chance at taking home at least a few others.
9 - Amour: Amour is an emotional Austrian film about the love of an elderly couple and the ways that love is tested. Writer-director Michael Haneke explores the deep connection between man and wife in a way that's rarely delved into on screen, which definitely earned this film an Oscar nod. However, considering it's also nominated in Best Foreign Film (a category it's almost sure to win), it's very unlikely it will win the Oscar.