Alynda's OSCAR PICKS

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You'd have to be trapped in the secret hiding space under the Canadian embassy in Tehran not to know that the wind is at Argo's back going into the 85th Academy Awards. I'm actually perfectly fine with that (particularly in protest of the unforgivable snubbing of Ben Affleck for a Best Director nomination). Still, I'm rooting for my sentimental favorite for Best Picture.

Silver Linings Playbook is about as divisive and unsettling as family comedies get. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence's characters are so disturbed you might overlook his codependent mom (Jacki Weaver) and dad (Robert De Niro) with OCD, rage issues and a gambling addiction. But the revelation is Lawrence, who showed such vibrance as Tiffany, the funny, brilliant, lying, trampy widow down the road. Her comic timing is impeccable, her range apparently unlimited, and her dancing skills, um, well, I said she's funny, right? Thanks to bold direction from David O. Russell (who deserves Best Director in Affleck's stead), she and the rest of the cast get a safe space to play with daring ideas, like that mental illness is something to live with, not simply endure. That's worth applauding-even if Silver Linings doesn't win.

Best PICTURE

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

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Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Best ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain

Zero Dark Thirty

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Jennifer Lawrence

Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva

Amour

Quvenzhane Wallis

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts

The Impossible

Sally Field has said that when she met Day-Lewis as she prepared to be the Mary Todd to his Abraham, they spent the entire time chatting in character. I'll wager that by then he didn't have much of a choice. No one goes deeper into roles than Day-Lewis, transforming in what seem to be feats of sorcery. With direction from Steven Spielberg and a fresh, surprisingly funny script from Tony Kushner, Day-Lewis delivers a Great Emancipator who is principled and conniving, witty and subtle, gentle yet commanding. Most astonishing, though, is that he digs under the weight of all that history and brings us a man.

Best ACTOR

Bradley Cooper

Silver Linings Playbook

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Daniel Day-Lewis

Lincoln

Hugh Jackman

Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix

The Master

Denzel Washington

Flight

Best SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams

The Master

Sally Field

Lincoln

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Anne Hathaway

Les Miserables

Helen Hunt

The Sessions

Jacki Weaver

Silver Linings Playbook

While not as pithy as Judi Dench's eight-minute sprint for the gold in Shakespeare in Love, Hathaway's turn as a young mother left to wither in the streets of France is all the more poignant for its brevity. She conveys the tragedy of a life wasted in a choking sob of a solo, "I Dreamed a Dream," that gives Les Mis emotional heft before it's even finished introducing the cast. That, my friends, is how you seize a moment.

Best SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin

Argo

Robert De Niro

Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Master

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Tommy Lee Jones

Lincoln

Christoph Waltz

Django Unchained

The movie is titled Lincoln, and Day-Lewis gave it the performance of his life. But Jones was so thunderous and aflame with rectitude as Sen. Thaddeus Stevens that I left the theater wondering when I could see his biopic. With Waltz and Hoffman dazzling voters in roles so substantial they nearly warrant Best Actor consideration, an Oscar for Jones is far from assured, but it is merited.

BEST SONG

Adele's "Skyfall" is a quintessential Bond theme, yet it still sounds so uniquely her.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

With sly nods to old-school monsters, Frankenweenie resurrected a rough year in animation.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

Amour redefines what love means with great performances and brutal honesty.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

When former heads of Israel's Shin Bet security service talk in The Gatekeepers, you listen, because what they say is stunning.

BEST PICTURE

• Amour

• Argo

• Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Django Unchained

• Les Miserables

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Silver Linings Playbook

• Zero Dark Thirty

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

• Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

• Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

• Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

• Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

• Denzel Washington in Flight

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

• Alan Arkin in Argo

• Robert De Niro in

Silver Linings Playbook

• Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master

• Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln

• Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

• Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

• Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

• Emmanuelle Riva in Amour

• Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Naomi Watts in The Impossible

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

• Amy Adams in The Master

• Sally Field in Lincoln

• Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables

• Helen Hunt in The Sessions

• Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

• Brave

• Frankenweenie

• ParaNorman

• The Pirates! Band of Misfits

• Wreck-It Ralph

CINEMATOGRAPHY

• Anna Karenina

• Django Unchained

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Skyfall

COSTUME DESIGN

• Anna Karenina

• Les Miserables

• Lincoln

• Mirror Mirror

• Snow White and the Huntsman

DIRECTING

• Michael Haneke, Amour

• Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Ang Lee, Life of Pi

• Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

• David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

• 5 Broken Cameras

• The Gatekeepers

• How to Survive a Plague

• The Invisible War

• Searching for Sugar Man

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

• Inocente

• Kings Point

• Mondays at Racine

• Open Heart

• Redemption

FILM EDITING

• Argo

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Silver Linings Playbook

• Zero Dark Thirty

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

• Amour, Austria

• Kon-Tiki, Norway

• No, Chile

• A Royal Affair, Denmark

• War Witch, Canada

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

• Hitchcock

• The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

• Les Miserables

MUSIC ORIGINAL SCORE

• Anna Karenina

• Argo

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Skyfall

MUSIC ORIGINAL SONG

• "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice

• "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted

• "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi

• "Skyfall" from Skyfall

• "Suddenly" from Les Miserables

PRODUCTION DESIGN

• Anna Karenina

• The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

• Les Miserables

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

SHORT FILM ANIMATED

• Adam and Dog

• Fresh Guacamole

• Head over Heels

• Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"

• Paperman

SHORT FILM LIVE ACTION

• Asad

• Buzkashi Boys

• Curfew

• Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)

• Henry

SOUND EDITING

• Argo

• Django Unchained

• Life of Pi

• Skyfall

• Zero Dark Thirty

SOUND MIXING

• Argo

• Les Miserables

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Skyfall

VISUAL EFFECTS

• The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

• Life of Pi

• Marvel's The Avengers

• Prometheus

• Snow White and the Huntsman

WRITING ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

• Argo

• Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Life of Pi

• Lincoln

• Silver Linings Playbook

WRITING ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

• Amour

• Django Unchained

• Flight

• Moonrise Kingdom

• Zero Dark Thirty

WATCH THE OSCARS! FEB. 24 AT 7 P.M. ET ON ABC