This year’s awards season will culminate with the 85th annual Academy Awards, with several clear favorites going into Sunday night’s ceremony. The stiffest competition will likely come in the best picture category, with nine films vying for the show’s highest honor.
Though Ben Affleck’s Argo has cleaned house throughout the season, the Steven Spielberg- produced Lincoln has emerged as a possible dark horse.
Denzel Washington has a chance to claim his third Oscar for his role in Flight, earning rave reviews for his performance despite a somewhat lukewarm reception to the film’s premise.
However, Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis remains the favorite to win his third best actor Oscar, having won for his roles in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood. Lewis has already taken home awards from this year’s SAG and Golden Globes.
In the best actress category, 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis became the youngest actress to receive an Oscar nomination for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but she will have tough competition in Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain, and Naomi Watts of The Impossible. Hunger Games up and comer Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for her part in Silver Linings Playbook, but the Academy may not look as kindly upon the romantic comedy.
Les Miserables director Tom Hooper, who also directed The King’s Speech, the 2011 Academy Award winner for best picture, required his talent to sing their numbers live in front of the camera, adding an orchestrated score behind their vocals. Using this technique, Hooper captured what was without a doubt one of the year’s strongest cinematic moments, as Anne Hathaway sang one of the most memorable pieces, “I Dreamed A Dream.”
Hooper’s camera locked into a close up of single-mother turned prostitute Fantine (Hathaway) as she contemplates her fate. During the entire song, the camera never wavers from her face, even as tears fall.
Hathaway’s performance as she carries that signature song have made her the No. 1 contender in the supporting actress category, having already earned a nod from the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes.
All of this year’s best supporting actor nominees come from films also nominated for Best Picture. Django Unchained’s Christoph Waltz is a favorite for the award, having taken home the prize in 2009 for his portrayal of Nazi Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s previous film, Inglourious Basterds. Waltz also managed to win the Golden Globe.
Waltz’s Django co-stars Leonard DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson are apparent snubs from the list, despite their pivotal roles in the film. Jackson, specifically, expected to be nominated for his role, but criticized the Academy for not giving him the award in 1995 for Pulp Fiction.
The Oscar’s will air on ABC at 7 p.m., with red carpet coverage starting as early as 1:30.