The 2012 movie lineup left Academy members with a deep list of considerations, but the time has come to narrow the field, and the Oscar Nominations are officially in.
So who are the favorites to win? Here is a quick breakdown of the big categories.
Best Picture - "Lincoln" seems to be the safe bet with its momentum heading into the voting. It also helps to have a few nods in the acting category, which the film has several of. An outside chance might go to "Silver Linings Playbook,"a film that has done something no other film has done in over 30 years--receive nominations for best picture, director, writing, and all acting categories. Popular opinion seems to be that "Les Miserables" doesn't have quite enough support, despite the resounding success of the film.
Best Director - Whether "Lincoln" wins best picture or not, Spielberg looks to be the frontrunner for this category. This would be his third Oscar for direction. Some critics are calling nomination "snub" however for latecomer Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and audience favorite Affleck (Argo).
Best Actor - Some of us would love to see Bradley Cooper pick this up, and he may have a shot, but Daniel Day Lewis is the likely winner for his portrayal of Lincoln. Another outside possibility, and certainly deserving candidate, would be Jackman in "Les Miserables."
Best Actress - Jennifer Lawrence is the favorite against some stiff competition, and it would be a shame if she didn't secure the Oscar. But as popular as the Silver Linings actors have been in other award events, she seems to be a really solid bet.
Supporting Actor - This category might be one of the more unpredictable ones, with a tough slate of nominations to choose from. Tommy Lee Jones may seem like the favorite, but support seems to be high for Philip Seymour Hoffman in the indie surprise "The Master." "Silver Linings Playbook" might also be able to pick up another one here from De Niro.
Supporting Actress - Hands down, Anne Hathaway ought to win the Oscar for Les Mis in maybe the toughest role of the year. She successfully brings her singing and powerful acting to the table through some long cuts and unique directing.
As always, the Oscars should bring with them a few surprises for us. But it's clear that nomination-leading "Lincoln" should rake in its fair share of awards. It will be interesting to watch how the Academy decides to reward a strong showing from so many films this year.