Look for ‘Lincoln,’ ‘Argo,’ ‘ZD30’ to dominate Oscar nods

Depending upon what time you are reading this, the Academy Award nominations have been announced.

Traditionally, that has happened on a Tuesday morning, which made it easy to write a reaction piece on the nominees.

This year the nominations are coming on the same day as Ticket, so I decided to try to predict what I think will happen at 8:35 a.m. today.

BEST PICTURE: This is the toughest to gauge, only because there is no way of knowing exactly how many films will make the cut. Current rules allow for anywhere from five to 10 films to compete for Oscar’s top prize.

I’ll say eight films will make the cut: “Lincoln,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Argo,” “Les Miserables,” “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Life of Pi” and “Skyfall.”

Of those only “Skyfall” would be considered a longshot, but I think a significant number of Academy members will want to recognize what is considered one of the best, if not the best, installment of the James Bond franchise. There also is a strong Anglophile contingent among Oscar voters, and while “Les Miz” was directed by an Englishman, there isn’t that traditional British drama in the class of 2012 contenders to snatch up a few nominations.

If it’s 10, add “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Amour.”

BEST DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”), Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) seem like sure things. I’ll say Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”) joins them.

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”), Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Denzel Washington (“Flight”) and John Hawkes (“The Sessions”). If there’s a surprise, Richard Gere (“Arbitrage”) may bump off Hawkes.

BEST ACTRESS: Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”), Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) and Marion Cotillard (“Rust and Bone”).

As much as I like Quvenzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” I can’t see voters putting someone in the Best Actress category who was 6 years old at the time the movie was filmed.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: This is the toughest category for me. Only a fool would leave out Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”) or Alan Arkin (“Argo”). Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”) was considered a front runner here a few months ago and deserves a nomination. I gotta include Javier Bardem if I’m picking a strong showing for “Skyfall.” But I also think Academy voters might reward Matthew McConaughey for a year of adventurous choices (“Bernie,” “Killer Joe”) by recognizing him for “Magic Mike.”

I think Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson will split the vote among “Django” fans, keeping all three on the sidelines, and I’ll pick McConaughey to edge out Bardem for the fifth slot.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”), Sally Field (“Lincoln”) and Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”) are locks. I think the “Skyfall” windfall will get Judi Dench a nod, and I’m going to pick Ann Dowd (“Compliance”) for the fifth slot, mainly because I would like to see the movie get some recognition, and a nomination for a veteran liked Dowd would be a life-changer for her more than anyone else in contention. Amy Adams (“The Master”) would be a safer pick.

A correction to my top 10 list: When including “Cabin in the Woods” on my top 10 list a couple weeks ago, I mistakenly credited Joss Whedon with directing the film. He co-wrote and produced it, but he didn’t direct it. Drew Goddard did.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at grayareas@tribtoday. com.