Ian Clark's Pop Culture Club: Ian's fearless Oscar forecast
In other words, my predictions.
Full disclosure and the main reason these are all wild guesses: I haven't seen all of the nominated films or the films in which actors were nominated. But I have seen a good many of them and I don't want to be left out. OK?
Best picture: The nominees are "Argo," "Les Miserables," "Amour," "Lincoln," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Life of Pi," "Django Unchained," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Silver Linings Playbook."
"Les Mis" blew everyone away (I didn't see it) and many viewers have raved about the emotional singing performances. It seems to be the pick to win for many prognosticators - but I'm just not feeling it.
Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" was excellent, but it seems a long shot to win. "Argo" has a chance to get director Ben Affleck his first directing Oscar (he has one for best screenplay with Matt Damon for "Good Will Hunting").
But this category often goes to films with well-established directors. That's why my pick is "Lincoln" by Steven Spielberg. It's also tough to go against Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Lincoln. That guy doesn't take a lot of roles but when he does, he's magic (as his two Best Actor Oscars attest). That combination seems like the winning one to me.
Actor in a leading role: The nominees are Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Mis"), Joaquin Phoneix ("The Master") and Denzel Washington ("Flight").
This is a really tight race and I could honestly see any of them winning. Cooper seems to be the dark horse and is probably overshadowed by big guns Day-Lewis and Washington (who also has two of these awards already). I'm going with Day-Lewis.
Actress in a leading role: The nominees are Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Naomi Watts ("The Impossible"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") and Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beast of the Southern Wild").
This category also feels wide open. This is the list with the fewest movies that I have seen, so I just have to go on what I've seen in other predictions and my own gut, which tells me that Lawrence wins.
Best animated feature film: Not one of the bigger categories, but the one I am most qualified to predict since I have two kids and I see just about every animated movie that hits theaters. The nominees are "Brave," "Wreck-it Ralph," "Frankenweenie," "Paranorman" and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits."
I liked "Wreck-it Ralph" a lot more than "Brave" (which I still thought was quite good) but it's hard to go against the Pixar juggernaut, so "Brave" will likely win it. But I'd like to see Ralph triumph.
And there you have it, the least informed Oscar prediction list you'll read today - unless they get a monkey to pick. And even the monkey may have seen more of the nominated films than I did.
Ian Clark's Pop Culture Club appears every week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Check out his "Nerdherders" podcast on iTunes or www.3nerds.us and his books, "Prophecy of Shadows" and "Plains of the Past." His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.