Best Picture: Despite Ben Affleck’s Best Director snub, there doesn’t appear to be anything standing in the way of “Argo.”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis is about to become both the first person ever to win three Best Actor Oscars and the first person ever to win an acting Oscar for a Steven Spielberg movie. Bonus: He gives awesome speeches.
Best Actress: “Amour’s” Emmanuelle Riva has come on strong, but Jennifer Lawrence is still a favorite for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Best Supporting Actor: Sorry, Alan Arkin and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this hotly contested category is probably going to Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones or Christoph Waltz. Ask again in an hour and we may say something different, but right now we’re going with Tommy Lee Jones.
Best Supporting Actress: Anyone but Anne Hathaway would be a huge (and delightful) surprise.
Best Director: The toughest category to call. We say Steven Spielberg. Just don’t put any money on it.
Best Adapted Screenplay: It’s outrageous that Chris Terrio’s “Argo” is likely to beat Tony Kushner’s “Lincoln,” but it’s also true. David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is the worthy darkhorse.
Best Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke’s “Amour” is considerably less controversial than Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and Mark Boal’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” and should make for an unconventional, yet oddly safe, winner.
Best Animated Feature Film: Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” deserves to triumph over studio sibling Pixar’s “Brave,” so hopefully that’s what happens. “Frankenweenie” is the darkhorse, but “ParaNorman” is the one you should watch immediately, if you haven’t already.
Best Foreign Language Film: Best Picture nominee “Amour” should safely take it, though whispers of an upset from Chile’s “No” or Canada’s “War Witch” can’t be discounted entirely.
Documentary Feature: Inspirational music docu “Searching for Sugar Man” is likely to sneak by AIDS chronicle “How to Survive a Plague” and critically-hailed inside look at Israeli secret service “The Gatekeepers.”
Production Design: “Anna Karenina” is flashy, “Les Miserables” is big (but an eyesore), “Life of Pi” is gorgeous and “Lincoln” is stately. Only “The Hobbit” doesn’t have a shot. Go with “Lincoln.”
Cinematography: In the battle of visually lush drama “Life of Pi” vs. visually lush action picture “Skyfall,” give the edge to the Best Picture nominated drama.
Costume: “Les Miserables” and “Lincoln” are both in the running for Best Picture, which could help, but “Anna Karenina” trumps even fairy tale twosome “Mirror, Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman” as the most ostentatious nominee — which is hard to bet against.
Film Editing: As the Best Picture favorite (and a flashy piece of editing), “Argo” has the edge.
Makeup and Hairstyling: Bet on the dirty job of making movie stars look miserable in “Les Miserables.”
Original Score: A case can be made why voters will side with any of the five nominees, but “Life of Pi” offers the strongest blend of emotional and exotic.
Original Song: There could be an upset, but Adele’s “Skyfall” theme is likely to become the first James Bond tune to win an Oscar.
Sound Mixing: “Les Miserables” is the safe choice for capturing all that much-ballyhooed live singing. But watch out for “Life of Pi,” “Skyfall” or even “Argo.”
Sound Editing: Shotguns (“Django Unchained”) and tigers (“Life of Pi”) and Navy SEALs (“Zero Dark Thirty”), oh my. A tough call, but the shaken-not-stirred action of “Skyfall” could triumph in a field that also includes “Argo.”
Visual Effects: “Life of Pi” — both a Best Picture nominee and a visual effects dazzler — should take this easily.