The Oscars almost killed me once. Like literally. Like I was sitting in a hotel room in Austin, Texas, stripped to the waist, sweaty and delirious, waiting for the imminent heart attack that I was sure would end it all.
A few hours earlier I'd paid off on an Oscar bet that I had lost. On the old IFC News Podcast, I had wagered on the Academy Awards with my co-host Alison Willmore. The loser had to drink a bowl of queso, a delicious cheese dip popular in Austin's Tex-Mex restaurants. How we settled on this particular punishment I don't recall. Truth be told, my memory of just about everything pre-The 2010 Oscar Queso Challenge is pretty fuzzy. I think my brain receptors remain permanently clogged with lactose.
Regardless, I lost, and I drank -- no chips, just straight chugs -- until I was physically incapable of putting any more liquid cheese into my body. And then I returned to my hotel room and collapsed. As I prayed for death's sweat embrace, I imagined the newspaper headlines: "Film Critic Who Lost Idiotic Oscar Bet and Drank Entire Bowl of Coagulated Dairy Found Dead."
In short: you should not trust my Oscar picks. As I've said before, you can know a lot about movies and almost nothing about predicting the Academy Awards -- and that certainly describes me. I've never won an Oscar pool. I've tied for second once or twice. Pretty much every other time, I've lost.
If you're looking to win your own Oscar pool this Sunday, my advice would be this: don't listen to me. Check out election guru Nate Silver's stat-backed predictions at his Five Thirty Eight blog, or read Wesley Morris at Grantland or Anthony Breznican at Entertainment Weekly or Movie City News' Gurus O' Gold. See what they have to say. Or, pull a Costanza: look at my picks below and then do the opposite. It worked for George. It could work for you.
With that in mind, here are my picks. I'm very confident they're all wrong. Tomorrow at our live Filmspotting: Streaming Video Unit podcast, Alison and I will announce this year's Ill-Advised Oscar Wager™. I will almost certainly lose and suffer a horrible fate. But at least this year it won't involve drinking cheese.
Matt Singer's (Guaranteed To Be Wrong) 2013 Oscar Picks
Best Picture: "Argo"
Best Director: Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, "Argo"
Best Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke, "Amour"
Best Animated Feature: "Wreck-It Ralph"
Best Animated Short: "Paperman"
Best Cinematography: "Life of Pi"
Best Costume Design: "Anna Karenina"
Best Documentary Feature: "Searching For Sugar Man"
Best Documentary Short: "Mondays at Racine"
Best Editing: "Argo"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Amour"
Best Live Action Short: "Curfew"
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: "Les Miserables"
Best Original Song: "Skyfall"
Best Score: "Life of Pi"
Best Production Design: "Anna Karenina"
Best Sound Editing: "Skyfall"
Best Sound Mixing: "Les Miserables"
Best Visual Effects: "Life of Pi"