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Oscars 2013, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, attracted a TV audience of 40.3 million, a million more than tuned in to 2012’s broadcast.
According to the ABC network, the show – hosted by Seth MacFarlane, creator of hit TV cartoon Family Guy – drew the largest Oscar audience for three years.
Last year’s show, hosted by comic Billy Crystal, was seen by 39.3 million, while 2011’s was seen by 37.6 million.
Argo won best picture at this year’s event, while Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor for a record third time.
According to statistics company Nielsen, Seth MacFarlane’s involvement helped boost interest among young men and the 18- to 49-year-old age group.
Figures for the latter demographic, which is much coveted by TV advertisers, were up 11% on last year, while the 18- to 34-year-old male audience saw a 34% increase.
Reaction to Seth MacFarlane’s performance has been mixed, with Rolling Stone saying he resembled a “bumbling rookie” in his first stab at Oscar host.
The New Yorker was no less scathing, saying that watching the three-and-a-half hour ceremony “meant sitting through a series of crudely sexist antics”.
Oscars 2013, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, attracted a TV audience of 40.3 million, a million more than tuned in to 2012’s broadcast
Satirical website The Onion also found itself under fire on Sunday after calling Quvenzhane Wallis, the 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, a “crude and offensive” name on Twitter.
Steve Hannah, the website’s chief executive, apologized to the best actress nominee, saying that “no person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire”.
It has also emerged that an Oscar-winning producer was briefly ejected from Sunday’s star-studded ceremony for throwing paper airplanes around the auditorium.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, security staff at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre took issue with Kristina Reed for recreating the action of Paperman, this year’s best animated short.
Life of Pi took home the most awards on Sunday, winning four prizes including a best director accolade for Taiwan’s Ang Lee.
Argo and Les Miserables won three Oscars apiece, with Django Unchained, Lincoln and Bond movie Skyfall receiving two awards each.
ACADEMY AWARDS 2013 WINNERS FULL LIST
Best Picture: Argo
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Foreign Language Film: Amour, Austria
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Animated Feature Film: Brave
Production Design: Lincoln
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Oscars 2013 Winners Full List
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Sound Editing: Life of Pi, Skyfall (tie)
Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Original Song: Skyfall from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Costume: Anna Karenina
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Documentary (short subject): Inocente
Film Editing: Argo
Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Miserables
Animated Short Film: Paperman
Live Action Short Film: Curfew
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Daniel Day-Lewis has made history at Oscars 2013 after becoming the first person to win the best actor prize three times.
British-born star Daniel Day-Lewis, who had been the runaway favorite, was rewarded for his role in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
“I really don’t know how any of this happened. I do know I’ve received much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life,” he said.
Ben Affleck’s Iran-set rescue thriller Argo won the prize for best picture.
In a live broadcast from the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to help present the best picture prize at the end of the night.
Argo is the first best picture winner not to have a concurrent nomination for best director since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy.
But despite Ben Affleck’s omission from the best director category, the film had been widely-tipped to take the top prize.
Oscars host Seth MacFarlane joked at the start of the ceremony: “Argo’s story is so top-secret that its director remains unknown to the Academy.”
Accepting his award alongside fellow producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck paid tribute to the “genius” Steven Spielberg who lost out in the same category.
Referring to his previous Oscar success with 1997’s Good Will Hunting, he said: “I never thought I would be back here and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight.”
He added: “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is that you get up.”
The Oscar victory for Daniel Day-Lewis puts him ahead of Hollywood legends Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks – who all have two best actor wins to their name.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who holds UK-Irish citizenship, previously won for My Left Foot (in 1990) and There Will Be Blood (2008) and has a reputation for immersing himself in his roles.
Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for best actress for her role as a troubled young widow in Silver Linings Playbook. The 22-year-old actress, who stumbled over her dress on her way to the stage, joked: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that’s embarrassing.”
Surveying the huge audience in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, she added: “This is nuts.”
It was the first Oscar win for Jennifer Lawrence, who was previously nominated for best actress in 2011 for her performance in Winter’s Bone.
Anne Hathaway won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role as tragic factory worker Fantine in movie musical Les Miserables.
With her cropped hair and gaunt face, Anne Hathaway’s teary version of I Dreamed a Dream had made her an Oscar favorite.
“It came true,” the actress said when she collected her statuette.
Anne Hathaway’s Oscar was her first, the actress having been previously nominated in 2008 for Rachel Getting Married.
The actress said: “Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life.”
Daniel Day-Lewis has made history at Oscars 2013 after becoming the first person to win the best actor prize three times
British singer Adele won the Oscar for best original song for her Bond theme Skyfall, which she also performed during the show.
She struggled through tears to thank the Bond producers and her co-writer Paul Epworth, who collected the award alongside her.
Ang Lee won his second Oscar for directing Life of Pi, the adaption of Yann Martel’s fantasy novel about a boy stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The film won four Oscars in total, more than any other film.
The Taiwanese-born director, who won previously for Brokeback Mountain (2006), exclaimed: “Thank you, movie god!”
Life of Pi picked up two Oscars in the early stages of the awards for cinematography and visual effects.
Cinematographer Claudio Miranda admitted in an emotional acceptance speech: “This movie was quite a beast to make.”
Later, Mychael Danna picked up the statuette for Life of Pi’s original score.
Christoph Waltz won his second Oscar for best supporting actor in a Quentin Tarantino film, this time as a German bounty hunter in the slave revenge story Django Unchained.
Picking up the first award of the night, Christoph Waltz offered thanks to his character Dr. King Schultz and to “his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino.”
The Austrian actor won his first Oscar as a Nazi colonel in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2010.
Quentin Tarantino won the original screenplay prize for Django Unchained, adding to the Oscar he won for writing Pulp Fiction in 1994.
“I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive and boy this time did I do it,” he said.
The best adapted screenplay Oscar went to Chris Terrio for Ben Affleck’s Iran-set siege thriller Argo.
The best short animated film category was won by Paperman, while Pixar’s Scottish adventure Brave won best animated feature.
The award for costume design went to Briton Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina. She described the win as “completely overwhelming” and paid tribute to her children who were “fast asleep in England”.
The make-up and hairstyling award went to fellow Brits Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Miserables. Tom Hooper’s musical also picked up the Oscar for sound mixing.
Unusually, there was a tie in the sound editing category – the Oscar was shared by Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall.
Searching for Sugar Man, which tells the story of musician Rodriguez who disappeared from public view in the early 1970s but developed a cult following in South Africa, won the Oscar for best documentary.
Producer Simon Chinn said: “Rodriguez isn’t here tonight because he didn’t want to take any of the credit himself.”
Austrian drama Amour won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
The French-language film, directed by Michael Haneke, portrays the indignities of an elderly Parisian couple – Anne and Georges – as they cope with Anne’s wish to die after a stroke.
Host Seth MacFarlane kicked off the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with the quip: “I honestly cannot believe I’m here. It’s an honor that everyone else said <<no>>.”
After an exchange with William Shatner, who appeared as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, the Family Guy creator launched into a satirical song about topless appearances by actresses in the movies.
Almost an hour into the three-and-a-half hour show, Halle Berry introduced a tribute to the James Bond franchise, followed by Dame Shirley Bassey who sang her theme song to the 1960s Bond classic Goldfinger.
The show also featured a salute to movie musicals of the past decade, with Chicago Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dreamgirls winner Jennifer Hudson joining Les Miserables cast members that included Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter and Amanda Seyfried.
During the section of the show that pays tribute to those who died in 2012, Barbra Streisand sang the late Marvin Hamlisch’s The Way We Were, from the 1973 romantic drama in which she starred with Robert Redford. It was Barbra Streisand’s first Oscars performance for 36 years.
Life Of Pi – Four awards, including best director for Ang Lee
Argo – Three awards, including best film
Les Miserables – Three awards, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway
Django Unchained, Lincoln, Skyfall – Two awards apiece
Oscar is the most coveted award in Hollywood – reducing winners and losers in equal measure to tears when the iconic gold statue is handed out.
But even the stars who don’t win an Oscar at this weekend’s ceremony won’t go home empty handed.
A Los Angeles-based marketing firm will be handing out gift bags worth $45,000 to all the nominees and presenters at the prestigious event on Sunday night.
Known as swag bags, among the items included are trips to Hawaii and Mexico, personal training sessions, condoms, a bottle of tequila, cosmetic treatments, and a one-year membership to London’s Heathrow Airport’s private VIP service.
The confirmation of condoms in this year’s gift bag has raised eyebrows amongst some.
This year’s goodie bags also include a $12,000 trip to Australia, a $600 acupuncture appointment and a package of 10 personal training sessions valued at $850 from marketing firm Distinctive Assets.
In addition there are circus lessons for the nominee’s children worth $400 are also included, as well as a $5,000 face-lift procedure.
They will also be given free hair care products by Phyto, skincare cosmetics by Lierac and, at the lower end of the scale, a $1 bottle of Windex glass cleaning fluid.
The prizes only can be used by the nominees who receive them and cannot be given to friends, according to Distinctive Assets.
“It was a way for us to reach the exact talent we wanted [major nominees] without having to deal with the immense production challenges of the Hollywood/Highland area during Oscar week,” said Distinctive Assets CEO Lash Fary to ABCNews.com.
Those nominated in the major acting categories, Best Director as well as host Seth McFarlane will have the packs delivered to their doors the day after the awards.
“Even Hollywood’s most acclaimed stars are disappointed over this particular loss,” said Lash Fary.
“And when our consolation gift shows up the next day, we like to think it is welcome distraction.”
Oscars 2013 swag bags include trips to Hawaii and Mexico, personal training sessions, condoms, a bottle of tequila, cosmetic treatments, and a one-year membership to London’s Heathrow Airport’s private VIP service
Celebrities who receive gifts and free trips at awards shows are expected to declare them to the Inland Revenue Service as income and pay the appropriate taxes.
The Distinctive Assets gift bag is not endorsed by the Academy but has been creating consolation goodie bags for 11 years now. The bags are delivered to the losing nominees to their homes directly or through their agents or publicists.
It has become something of a tradition for A-list stars to receive a treasure chest of goodies at the Oscars.
Brands and manufacturers hope that the celebrities will be seen wearing or using their products and ensure free publicity.
The gift bags have been put together over the past 11 years by US company Distinctive Assets, with the cost of the packages having slowly risen.
In 2003, nominees received $8,000 worth of items, including mobile phones, cameras, designer clothes and jewellery.
The 2004 gift bag included a holiday at a luxury resort in Mexico.
Gwyneth Paltrow, who presented an award at the Oscars that year, was said to have used the holiday for her honeymoon with Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
Actress Calista Flockhart once received a Dritti T-shirt in a gift basket from Distinctive Assets and loved it so much that she wore it for an entire episode of Ally McBeal.
Similarly, another T-shirt designer saw their gifts end up on Beyonce Knowles on the cover of Ebony magazine.
In recent years, stars are said to have been worried about alienating recession-hit fans by being seen with heavily laden gift bags.
However, Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen is one of the stars who has spoken of his delight at his gift haul.
“They’re the most wonderful goodies,” Ian McKellen explained.
“They keep you going for a year.”
Lash Fry, founder of Distinctive Assets, said: “It’s first come, first served, because we do offer product exclusivity.
“We’re always looking for new and unusual products, it’s not always about the most expensive.
“We’ve got things at both ends of the spectrum and everything in between, stuff for guys and stuff for girls. More is more is our philosophy.”
Hollywood stars are gearing up for what is likely to be one of the most unpredictable Academy Awards for years.
No film is likely to sweep the board, although the best picture prize is expected to go to hostage drama Argo.
That has overtaken historical epic Lincoln in most predictions. However, Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Abraham Lincoln, is favorite for best actor.
Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway is tipped for supporting actress, but the other acting categories are more open.
All five nominees for best supporting actor have won Oscars before.
This year, it is thought to be a three-horse race between Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook, Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln and Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained.
Tommy Lee Jones, who plays radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens, picked up the Screen Actors Guild prize for supporting actor, a possible indicator to Oscars success.
But Christoph Waltz won at the Golden Globes, and 10 out of the last 12 Globe winners in this category have gone on to win the equivalent Oscar, according to Oscar predictions website Gold Derby.
Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor in 2010 for another Quentin Tarantino film, Inglorious Basterds – and some voters may feel it is too soon to honor him again.
Instead, the Academy may feel it is time to reward Robert De Niro again, 21 years after he was last nominated, for Cape Fear, and 32 years since he last won, for Raging Bull. If he triumphs, it will be his third Oscar win.
Alan Arkin (Argo) and The Master’s Philip Seymour Hoffman are the other contenders on the supporting actor list.
Best actress is another unpredictable contest. Emmanuelle Riva, the leading lady in Michael Haneke’s old age drama Amour, could become the oldest actress to win an Oscar. The ceremony falls on her 86th birthday.
Emmanuelle Riva is challenging Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence, who is thought to be the front-runner for that statuette.
Another rival, Quvenzhane Wallis, could potentially be the youngest ever winner at the age of nine for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, although she is seen as an outsider.
They are up against Jessica Chastain, who appears as a CIA agent on the trail of Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, and Naomi Watts, for her raw performance in tsunami movie The Impossible.
Hollywood stars are gearing up for what is likely to be one of the most unpredictable Academy Awards for years
Daniel Day-Lewis is thought to be the biggest dead cert to be called to the podium at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.
His turn as the 19th Century US president is universally expected to put him in the Oscar history books by making him the first person to win best actor three times.
Daniel Day-Lewis first win came in 1990 for My Left Foot, followed by a victory for There Will Be Blood in 2008.
Lincoln had also been a hot ticket for best picture before Christmas, but Argo, which tells the story of how the CIA and Hollywood helped rescue US hostages in Iran in 1980, has gained momentum in recent weeks.
The fact it focuses on real-life Hollywood producers saving the day probably has not done it any harm, and it has cleaned up at most major awards ceremonies so far, including the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Producers Guild Awards and Directors Guild Awards.
But Argo director Ben Affleck was a surprise omission from the Academy Awards’ best director shortlist.
That category is another close race, with Lincoln‘s Steven Spielberg in a duel with Ang Lee for Life Of Pi.
There are outside chances for David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Michael Haneke for Amour and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Adele’s Skyfall could win best original song and Brits are well represented in the best animated feature category with Paranorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which was made in the UK.
Searching for Sugarman was produced by Man on a Wire’s Simon Chinn, while the UK could perform well in many technical categories – hopes are high for Jacqueline Durran for best costume (Anna Karenina).
It could be 11th time lucky for Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins – but after missing out so many times, he will probably not be holding his breath.
Oscars 2013: Main contenders
Lincoln – 12 nominations
Life of Pi – 11 nominations
Les Miserables – 8 nominations
Silver Linings Playbook – 8 nominations
Argo – 7 nominations
Hollywood is gearing up for the announcement of the 2013 Academy Award nominations ahead of the Oscars ceremony on February 24.
Films expected to make the best picture shortlist include Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Steven Spielberg’s presidential drama, Lincoln.
Ben Affleck’s drama Argo and Quentin Tarantino’s western Django Unchained could also be in the running.
Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone will announce the nominations on Thursday.
The announcement will take place at 05:30 Los Angeles time at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Tom Hooper’s musical Les Miserables, David O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi could also make the cut for best picture.
In the acting categories, Daniel Day-Lewis is hotly tipped for his portrayal of the 16th president of the United States in Lincoln, while Jessica Chastain is expected to be recognized for her role as a CIA agent hunting down Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Denzel Washington (Flight) and John Hawkes (The Sessions) could also be in contention for best actor.
Hollywood is gearing up for the announcement of the 2013 Academy Award nominations ahead of the Oscars ceremony on February 24
Possible best actress nominees include Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone, Emmanuelle Riva for Amour and Naomi Watts for The Impossible.
British hopes could lie with Dame Helen Mirren, who may be nominated for best actress for her portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville in Hitchcock.
Bond movie Skyfall could also sneak in with a best picture nod, which would a first for the 007 franchise, while Dame Judi Dench could be nominated for her turn as M.
Dame Judi Dench may also be recognized for her role as an adventurous widow in British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
The Oscars ceremony – which will take place on February 24 – will feature a tribute to 50 years of Bond films.
“We are very happy to include a special sequence on our show saluting the Bond films on their 50th birthday,” said the producers of the Oscars show, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
The nominations are selected by a ballot of 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A total of 24 categories will be announced, including the best acting performances of the year and technical awards in areas such as editing, design and music.
Nominations for this year’s awards are being announced two weeks earlier than usual.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the move would “provide members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films”.
The BAFTA nominations were announced on Wednesday with Lincoln leading the way in 10 categories.
Under rules drawn up by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, up to 10 films can be shortlisted for its best picture prize when its nominations are announced on January 10, 2013.
These are the movies that are most likely to be up for the Academy’s top award, and assess their chances of recognition in other categories.
Ben Affleck won an Oscar in 1998 for the screenplay he co-penned with fellow actor Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting.
In the decade that followed, some dubious decisions saw his leading man status wane as his friend’s rocketed.
But in recent years Ben Affleck has cannily reinvented himself as a film-maker of promise and some distinction.
Argo, his third feature after Gone Baby Gone and The Town, is his most ambitious to date, dramatizing as it does a CIA attempt to spirit US diplomats out of Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979.
The fact this real-life, recently declassified rescue operation involved a phantom film production effectively casts Hollywood as the hero of the piece.
That, and Ben Affleck’s “comeback kid” story makes it a solid bet for best picture. Ben Affleck, who also appears in the film, is expected to receive another nomination in the director category.
On the acting front, Argo‘s best hopes of another citation lie with Alan Arkin for his entertaining turn as a cantankerous producer.
Having been named best supporting actor in 2007 for Little Miss Sunshine, however, the 78-year-old shouldn’t need to write an acceptance speech.
2. Django Unchained
Under normal circumstances, Quentin Tarantino’s slavery-era western would seem a sure-fire bet for Oscar consideration.
In the wake of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, though, Django Unchained’s graphic mayhem has seen it attract censure in a reopened debate on movie violence.
The elderly, more conservative contingent of the Academy membership might balk at rewarding such a bloodily visceral film in this charged political climate.
So while it may get a decent amount of nominations, not least for Quentin Tarantino’s typically florid screenplay, its actors probably stand a better chance of accolades than the film they star in.
Three years ago Christoph Waltz won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role as an urbane Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s previous feature, the World War II caper Inglourious Basterds.
The Austrian could be in line for the same prestigious award for his role in Django Unchained as a loquacious bounty hunter.
Yet the smarter money is on co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, whose atypical portrayal of a sadistic slave-owner could finally give the three-time Oscar nominee a reason to leave his seat.
3. Life of Pi
Were there an Oscar for best performance by a computer-generated 3D tiger, Ang Lee’s adaption of Yann Martel’s Booker prize-winner would be the runaway winner.
As it is, Life of Pi will probably have to content itself with a best picture nomination and a few more citations in the technical categories.
Its captivating use of CGI to realize Yann Martel’s fantastical tale of a young Indian sharing a lifeboat with various zoo animals makes it an obvious contender for the visual effects award.
Ang Lee, meanwhile, is likely to get a best director nomination. The Taiwanese film-maker previously won the award in 2006 for bringing another literary work, Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, to the screen.
Under rules drawn up by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, up to 10 films can be shortlisted for its best picture prize when its nominations are announced on January 10, 2013
Argo‘s main competition for the best picture Oscar looks likely to come from Steven Spielberg’s respectful, hefty tribute to one of America’s most revered presidents.
Concentrating on the final few months of Honest Abe’s life and his fight to pass a bill abolishing slavery, it’s a big film about a big subject from one of Hollywood’s biggest directors.
Daniel Day-Lewis already has two Oscars, for 1989’s My Left Foot and 2007’s There Will Be Blood.
Yet there seems to be little resistance to the idea of giving him another for a dignified portrayal of Lincoln that has seen him showered with superlatives.
Sally Field’s performance as Abe’s devoted wife and Tommy Lee Jones’ turn as a wily political contemporary are likely to be included in the best supporting actor and supporting actress categories.
Steven Spielberg, meanwhile, will not be denied a seventh nomination for best achievement in directing.
5. The Master
Paul Thomas Anderson’s drama about a cult leader and his troubled chief acolyte has the weight of producer Harvey Weinstein behind it.
Even with this Hollywood powerhouse fighting its corner, though, a best picture nod is by no means certain.
Joaquin Phoenix’s public pooh-poohing of the awards race earlier this year will have undoubtedly damaged both his chances and those of the film.
The Academy has recognized his co-stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in previous years, however, and will likely do so again for their supporting performances.
6. Les Miserables
Musicals used to be the toast of Oscar night. But it has been a decade since one of that ilk – 2002’s Chicago – was named best picture.
The producers of Les Miserables, the long-awaited film adaptation of the international stage sensation, will be hoping it bucks that trend.
Tom Hooper’s film has been well-received critically and is nominated for four Golden Globes.
That should be enough to secure it a number of Oscar nods, including one for best film.
Hugh Jackman, who hosted the Oscar telecast in 2009, should expect to receive a best actor nomination for his sturdy turn as the heroic Jean Valjean.
Anne Hathaway, meanwhile – another former Oscar presenter – is widely considered a best supporting actress shoo-in for her tear-jerking turn as the tragic Fantine.
7. Silver Linings Playbook
Romantic comedies tend to get overshadowed at Oscar time by meatier dramatic fare. Yet David O Russell’s follow-up to 2010’s The Fighter could be the exception.
It is a film voters may take to their hearts, especially in a year where lighter offerings have been thin on the ground.
Its ace in the hole is Jennifer Lawrence, a rising star who has combined roles in critically acclaimed awards bait with eye-catching performances in lucrative movie franchises – notably this year’s The Hunger Games.
Glamour, smarts and talent are a potent mix and could see the 22-year-old rewarded with a best actress Oscar.
Robert De Niro, too, could receive a supporting actor nod for his quirky role as an incorrigible gambler. If this happens, it would be the seventh nomination of his career.
8. Zero Dark Thirty
A relative late-comer to this year’s awards race, Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker may have some catching up to do.
This dramatization of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden also arrives trailing controversy for its depiction of terrorist suspects being interrogated and tortured.
If the Academy wanted to make itself appear relevant and contemporary, though, it could do worse than honoring a film that draws so vividly on recent events.
Kathryn Bigelow should get a best director nomination for her daring, while her leading lady Jessica Chastain is probably Lawrence’s most formidable rival for the best actress trophy.
The film’s title, incidentally, is a military term for half past midnight, the local time at which Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was raided by US Navy Seals.
The 85th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on February 24, 2013.