It’s been a long time since the Oscar race for Best Picture has been this tight. Director Tom Hooper is coming off of his 2011 win for “The King’s Speech” with “Les Mis,” while Kathryn Bigelow is looking for another Academy Award after “The Hurt Locker” in 2008.
Then there’s Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and Ben Affleck’s awards-sweeping “Argo.” However, after foreign film “The Artist” won the top award last year, “Amour” could swoop in and take the trophy.
We’ve gathered together all the best picture nominations to help in selecting the winning pick on your Oscar ballot.
familiarise yourself with the nominations, and see which one is most likely to take home the Oscar prize Sunday night.
Anne Hathaway had us mesmerized with her flawless rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' and even went the extra mile by shaving off all of her hair for the film (something director Tom Hooper didn't even ask her to do).
However, no matter how much Hugh Jackman brought the story to life every time he appeared on screen, the adaptation of the hit Broadway play was bogged down by Russell Crowe's vocals--bringing to mind Pierce Brosnan's singing in 'Mamma Mia'--and a lengthy script that clocked in at more than two-and-a-half hours on screen.
WINS: Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy and Best Ensemble at both the Satellite Awards and WAFCA Awards
Nominated for 8 Oscars.
The traditional foreign film
Though many weren't familiar with 'Amour' when it was nominated, the French film has a story that can resonate with most anyone.
Emmanuelle Riva plays an 80-year old woman, Anne, whose health continues to decline after she's left paralysed. This leaves her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) with the difficult decision of how to handle his wife's illness.
WINS: European Film Award and NSFC for Best Film, BAFTA, Critics Choice Award, and Golden Globe for Foreign language film
Nominated for 5 Oscars.
The Cinderella Darling
The film following a mental home outpatient and his road back to normalcy unexpectedly became a big winner for The Weinstein Company.
The chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is undeniably electrifying every time the two are on screen together.
What's most impressive about the estimated $21 million budget film is its A-list star power and its ability to perform by word of mouth.
Not only did Weinstein manage to pool together Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles, and long-gone actor Chris Tucker, but the film also resonated with audiences. In its first eight weeks, the film earned close to $35 million airing in only 745 theatres before receiving Oscar nods.
WINS: Best Ensemble at the Critics Choice Award
Nominated for 8 Oscars.
It's the film most are rooting for to receive the Oscar after its recent Critic's Choice Awards and SAG wins; however, after Ben Affleck received an Oscar snub as director, it's unlikely the Academy will give Affleck the award.
The film has all the makings of an Oscar Best Picture. Based on a 2007 Wired article, Ben Affleck stars as CIA operative Tony Mendez working to rescue six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.
Together with Bryan Cranston and John Goodman, the three embark on an elaborate plan to bring the men home by setting up a phony film studio and telling those abroad the Americans are, in fact, film makers.
The film not only received critical acclaim, but has also taken in more than $204 million worldwide at the box office.
WINS: BAFTA Best Film, Critics Choice Award Best Picture, Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, SAG for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Nominated for 7 Oscars.
The Controversial Film
Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up film to 2008 Oscar-winner 'The Hurt Locker' follows CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) on the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
The film follows the book 'No Easy Day' which lays out the events leading up to, and eventually, bin Laden's capture. Despite Chastain's performance as the woman who took down bin Laden, the film received a lot of flack for its depictions of torture.
WINS: Austin Film Critics Award for Best Film, BSFC, CFCA, NYFCC, SFFCC, and VFCC Best Film, and National Board Review Best Film
Nominated for 5 Oscars.
The Usual Suspect
Is there any role Daniel Day-Lewis he can't transform into without ease?
Steven Spielberg's story of the 16th president during the president's fight to abolish slavery and get the 13th amendment of the Constitution passed delved deeper into the character of a man who most audiences solely know as 'Honest Abe.'
Sure, it may not be 100 per cent historically accurate, but Day-Lewis, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his son Robert, Sally Field as first lady, and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, breathe life into the mid-19th century history that fills American textbooks today.
WINS: Best ensemble at the Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards
Nominated for 12 Oscars.
It's the visually stimulating appeal that keeps the audience intrigued in the adaptation of Yann Martel's book. After all, the majority of the story's time takes place on a boat in the middle of an ocean with a ravenous Bengal tiger, Richard Parker.
It took Lee much of four years to get the film just right with an entire year spent testing how to animate the tiger.
This isn't Ang Lee's first time nominated for best picture. 'The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' director was nominated in 2000. He also won best director in 2006 for 'Brokeback Mountain.'
WINS: Most of the film's wins are for its cinematography and visual effects. It did win an AFI Movie of the Year award and Best Picture at the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards
Nominated for 11 Oscars.
The quirky outlier
Sure, it's a bit long-winded at two hours and 15 minutes, and the film has come under fire for making light of slavery; however, the unexpected tale of revenge is pure Tarantino fun complete with explosions, gore, and a third act when all hope seems lost for our protagonist, Jamie Foxx.
The four lead actors throw themselves into their roles. Foxx has no remorse and doesn't take prisoners as a newly freed slave trying to reunite with his wife.
Christoph Waltz comes off his 'Inglorious Basterds' Oscar win with another brilliant performance as the German Dr. King Schultz.
The only actor to rival his command on screen is Leonardo DiCaprio who shows up as plantation owner Calvin Candie more than an hour into the film. (DiCaprio continued acting after acquiring an injury on set.)
Even Samuel L. Jackson is a scene stealer as devoted Candie servant Brother Stephens.
WINS: BAFTA and Critics Choice Award for original screenplay
Nominated for 5 Oscars.
The film no one has ever heard of, but should.
Benh Zeitlin's debut coming-of-age tale has six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) dealing with both the ailing health of her hotheaded father and a storm, in the form of melting ice-caps, that comes to wreck havoc on her Bayou home.
Based on the play 'Juicy and Delicious,' the courage of Hushpuppy and the equal devastation of her community brings to mind images of Katrina. At nine years old, Wallis' performance won her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
WINS: The film has won a number of smaller awards for best film including the Deauville Film Festival and the Ghent International, but has been overshadowed by the other nominations at the Critics' Choice Awards.
Nominated for 4 Oscars.
Given the trajectory of Awards season, 'Argo' would appear the outright winner--it's already taken home the big awards at both the Critics Choice Awards and the SAG.
However, with an Oscar snub for Best Director, it's hard to see the Academy bending Ben Affleck's way.
'Zero Dark 30' seems too controversial a film for the Academy to give the win. Though we'd love to see Weinstein Company's underdog 'Silver Lining's Playbook' come out on top with a win, it seems most likely that Steven Spielberg will take home the award for 'Lincoln,' as it's the most conservative, safe bet win for the Academy.
If they want to stir the kettle, we'll see 'Silver Linings Playbook' with a win. And, if they're feeling really bold, 'Argo' will finally get some love.
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