As usual, the 2013 nominations were full of worthy nominees right alongside a tremendous list of head-scratchers.
With that in mind, here are our picks for the winners, losers and should have beens come Feb. 24:
BEST ACTOR: Nominees: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Denzel Washington (Flight), Bradley Cooper (The Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis is the clear, miles-ahead favorite. The Academy loves him (he’s got two Best Actor Oscars already) and his performance as Honest Abe is befitting of Oscar.
Should win: It’s hard to argue against Day-Lewis, although Washington’s turn as a drunk pilot in Flightis one of the best in his career.
Worst omission: Jamie Foxx’s titular role in Django Unchained deserved some recognition here.
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emannuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Will win: It’s a two-horse race between Lawrence and Chastain, with Chastain just a hair ahead at this point. This might be the category where the Academy decides to honor Zero Dark Thirty.
Should win: Quvenzhane Wallis was six when she gave her astonishing performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Give her the gold.
Worst omission: Marion Cotillard, the Dark Knight Rises actress who was fantastic in the French film Rust and Bone.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln)
Will win: When in doubt, go with the girl with the big song performance. That means Anne Hathaway will take it for her turn as Fantine in Les Miserables.
Should win: Sally Field captured the tortured soul of Mary Todd Lincoln perfectly in Lincoln.
Worst omission: How about Ann Dowd for her role in the mesmerizing and disturbing Compliance?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Alan Arkin (Argo), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Will win: The night’s most loaded category. All five have won Oscars before (and four have won Best Supporting Oscars). Tommy Lee Jones is a few ticks ahead of DeNiro right now, but the Academy may reward the latter’s dizzying return to form in Silver Linings.
Should win: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s L.Ron Hubbard-like “master”was riveting and brave.
Worst omission: Javier Bardem deserved a nod as the spooky bad guy fromSkyfall.
BEST DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Will win: In the year’s most surprising category, one of Hollywood’s darlings is set for gold. This is Spielberg’s year.
Should win: Of the five nominated, Spielberg deserves it.
Worst omission: Where to start … how about Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchainedand Ben Affleck for Argo? All three deserve nods over directors like Lee and Russell.
BEST PICTURE: Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Amour, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty
Will win: After reading the Best Director tea leaves, it’s going to beLincoln‘s year.
Should win: Django Unchained was the most vibrant and captivating movie of 2012.
Worst omission: It’s a tie between the exciting Skyfalland the charming Moonrise Kingdom.