Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Oscar Nominee Predictions - Best Picture

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silverliningsplaybookposter.jpgYou can never underestimate the need for recognition and credibility.  Those are two things many in Hollywood crave.  Sure, they crave money, sex and drugs more, BUT recognition and credibility can help you get all of those and more. 

After months of hype, campaigning, buzz, letdowns, surprises and old fashioned compelling movie making, several films will be held up as the best of the year on Thursday when The Academy unveils its nominees for Best Picture, and they convinced the lovely Miss Emma Stone to wake up at Zero Dark Thirty to be ready to make the announcements at 5:38 AM Pacific.

A nomination here puts you in the league and hush-filled rarefied air of movies like Schindler's ListTitanic, Gandhi, The Godfather, Casablanca, and Around The World In 80 Days (OK, they can't all be Casablanca, so give the guy behind Around The World In 80 Days a break).

What movies will be nominated for Best Picture this year?

The nominees will be:

Lincoln

Les Miserables

Zero Dark Thirty

Argo

Silver Linings Playbook

Life of Pi

Moonrise Kingdom


Stop gasping at that prediction of Moonrise Kingdom.  I can explain.

The Academy no longer has a set number of Best Picture nominees.  At a minimum, we get 5 nominees.  At a maximum, we get 10 nominees.

When voting, Academy members choose their 5 favorite or best movies of the year and list them in preferential, weighted order.  You get more "votes" when named #1 on the list instead of being listed #5. 

Then, in addition, you need to be listed as the top choice on over 5% of the ballots.  The Pythagoreon Theorem may be involved, too, but we leave that to the accountants.  That's how they earn a moment of glory while walking on the stage during the show.

SOOOOOOOOOO, if you get 5% of the first place votes, you get a nomination, provided there aren't 11 movies with 5% of the first place votes.

That's why I think Moonrise Kingdom shockingly picks up a nomination.  It is the one truly indie film out there, and all of those indie supporters want to recognize their community.  They want a seat at the table if you will, and a small film with a fervent base of fans can sneak in.  Just ask last year's improbable nominee, The Tree of Life.  95% of us fell asleep somewhere during the first 30 minutes.  5% felt it was a life-altering experience.  I even know one woman who got a tattoo celebrating the movie (she's a nice person, so don't judge).    

Yes, I am still holding out hope Skyfall will score a nomination, and it did from the Producers Guild of America this weekend, but I don't know if enough voters will give it a first place vote.  The Academy still doesn't give enough credit to comedy and action movies.  Maybe if James Bond wore French peasant clothes and broke out into song? (Who am I?  Who am I? 007!) 

The rest are obvious.  Lincoln is the frontrunner right now with all sorts of support.  I swear, I have never seen a movie studio fight and campaign so hard for a movie.  As a voter for the Critics Choice Awards (live on DC50tv and The CW Thursday night at 8 PM), I have been sent so much swag it is embarrassing.

I have received the movie on DVD, a letter from Spielberg, a letter from Sally Field, a letter from producer and Academy Governor Kathleen Kennedy, a book about Spielberg, and The Lincoln Cookbook, which is some collection of recipes popular during the Civil War.  I haven't opened up the book because I fear possum may be a main ingredient in many of the dishes.  

Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty are all mentioned as major contenders, so those nominations seem locked in. 

Argo is held in major acclaim, but I don't see it winning.  In essence, people who love Argo love Lincoln more.  It is the 2nd place vote on many ballots, but it will get a nomination.

Why did I predict Life of Pi?  I think it has been on the potential list of nominees for so long during the campaign season, it gets a nomination almost out of laziness or expectation.  Voters put it on the ballot because they have had it in their minds for a long time, even if I hated it.

Will anyone shock us on Thursday?  Will some dark horse emerge? 

Predicted Oscar Nominees - Best Director

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Predicted Oscar Nominees - Best Supporting Actor   

Predicted Oscar Nominees - Best Supporting Actress