The 85th annual Academy Awards are nearly here and the sound of backs being slapped will soon be heard echoing across the world. I should say that I have not seen every film that has been nominated but I have seen most and my predictions are based slightly on hype, but mainly individual merit. Nonetheless, I am going to stick my neck out so here is my guide to who will win and who should win.
Who will win: Jessica Chastain
Who should win: Quvenzhané Wallis
I think this is Jessica Chastain's year. She seems not to have put a foot wrong in the roles she has played so far in her career and her name has been preceded by, "The up-and-coming actress", for a while now. It wouldn't be undeserved, she puts in a powerful performance as a focused, strong-willed woman in a masculine world. I also think Zero Dark Thirty will be overlooked in the other categories it's nominated in because it just cannot shake the criticism that it endorses torture. Jennifer Lawrence is not the finished article yet but no doubt she will appear in this category again.
Wallis would win if I were in charge because of the ones I have seen, her performance is the most authentic. At just nine years old performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild is brilliant because you do not for a second question she is growing up in a mystical American deep south village. Simply because she is so young it is so natural whereas the others are much more crafted.
Who will win Daniel Day-Lewis
Who should win Daniel Day-Lewis
Who else but Day-Lewis? In this category he is like Barcelona FC competing in the Championship; the other actors are solid, admirable even but they pail in significance next to a once in a generation talent. He made a film which is 99% dialogue engaging. He also stands a real chance to become the first actor in history to win three best actor Oscars.
Who will win Steven Spielberg
Who should win (Quentin Tarantino but since he's not nominated...) Ang Lee
This category is wide open which is why I think the judges will go for the least contentious choice. Spielberg is an Oscars favourite whereas David O'Russell would probably start shouting at everyone if he won. My pick is Ang Lee for Life of Pi because he has actually used 3D in an ungimmicky way and created something that is technically and visually stunning.
What will win Argo
What should win Licoln
In my opinion, Django Unchained is the best film on the list but I would be disappointed if it won. Here's why: the best films buck trends, challenge opinions and make you feel something. Django is one of those films that leave you feeling intoxicated and your skin bristling. To be recognised would remove the very reason that makes it cool, that it is dangerous and different and its jagged edges mean it doesn't fit in. So I will be happy to see it lose.
As for Argo, which don't get me wrong is a brilliant film, it will ultimately win because it is about movies doing good in the world and the Academy won't be able to resist the chance to celebrate that.
Licoln ticks all the right boxes but I think it will just miss out.
We'll see on Sunday.