Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer - "Anna Karenina"
J. Michael Riva, Leslie A. Pope - "Django Unchained"
Eve Stewart - "Les Miserables"
Rick Carter, Jim Erickson, Peter T Frank - "Lincoln"
Arthur Max, Sonja Klaus - "Prometheus"
Arguably the toughest of the tech categories, the only one I'm 100% certain on here is "Anna Karenina." "Lincoln" and "Les Miserables" are decent bets, but unlikely winners, while "The Master" missed out with the Art Directors' Guild; not a disastrous sign, but certainly an obstacle. "Argo" has the 70s period factor, but isn't super showy (there's a lot of filing cabinets in there, while "Django Unchained" has a lot of exteriors, but was also the final work of designer J. Michael Riva, who passed away in the summer, which could always be a factor. And tentpoles "Skyfall," "Prometheus" and "The Hobbit" are in the running too. I think "Lincoln" and "Les Mis" are fine, and I think "Django" and "Prometheus" will join them.
Birdy & Mumford & Sons - "Learn Me Right" ("Brave")
Elisa Toffoli - "Ancora Qui" ("Django Unchained")
Neil Finn - "Song of the Lonely Mountain" ("The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey")
Hugh Jackman - "Suddenly" ("Les Miserables")
Adele - "Skyfall" ("Skyfall")
The Academy are keen to not repeat last year's fiasco (only two films nominated, neither one that great), so have shaken up the rules, with 75 songs on the long list. There are two sure things; Adele's "Skyfall" theme (which had eligibility questions, but made the cut) and the new song "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables." The winner will be one of the two. Beyond that, we'd go with one of the two from "Brave" (the one with Mumford & Sons on it...), the Ennio Morricone-penned track from "Django Unchained" (though with four eligible songs, including crackers from John Legend and Rick Ross, the vote may be again split), and the closing credits "Hobbit" song. But we could also be looking at tracks from "Paul Williams: Still Alive," "Life Of Pi," "Frankenweenie," "Lawless" or "This Is 40" in the cut; this category, as ever, it's hard to tell.
Dario Marianelli - "Anna Karenina"
Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin - "Beasts Of The Southern Wild"
Mychael Danna - "Life Of Pi"
John Williams - "Lincoln"
Jonny Greenwood - "The Master"
Again, there only seem to be two scores that are totally locked in here; "Anna Karenina" and "Life Of Pi" (happily, also the two best scores of the year). John Williams is enough of a fixture that "Lincoln" should make the cut, but there could always be a surprise there. Beyond that, there's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," a non-traditional kind of score (plus the branch have been resistant to nominating scores by directors), but with the category somewhat thin, I think it'll get there. I'm honestly a bit baffled on the fifth slot, but my gut says the branch will make up for the disqualification of "There Will Be Blood" by nominating Jonny Greenwood for "The Master" over the scores for "Argo" and "Cloud Atlas."
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Men In Black 3"
A pretty wide open category, almost any combination of three from the seven on the short list could make it in. "The Hobbit" and "Men In Black 3" have the most variety, with the criticisms of some for "Looper" and "Hitchcock" possibly putting them at a disadvantage, while "Snow White" isn't as immediately showy as its tentpole competition. I'm leaning with "Les Miserables" over "Lincoln" for the third slot, just because it uses the always-popular aging make-up, but you never know.
William Goldenberg - Argo
Tim Squyres - "Life Of Pi"
Michael Kahn - Lincoln
Leslie Jones, Peter McNulty - "The Master"
William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor - Zero Dark Thirty
Beyond the two nominations for William Goldenberg (who cut both "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," the latter alongside Dylan Tichenor), this is a tougher one to call. Given its dominance elsewhere, I expect "Lincoln" to make the cut, and I can't see how Tim Squyres' work on "Life Of Pi" gets overlooked, given the impressive transitions (and that it's significantly shorter than the others. The work on "The Master" would be entirely deserving, but is a touch and go: "Les Miserables" or "Skyfall" could make more sense, while the well-publicized languidity of "Django Unchained" probably rules that out. I'm gonna lean "The Master" here, just because I think the branch will recognize the craft, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the bridesmaid here either.
Jacqueline Durran - "Anna Karenina"
Sharen Davis - "Django Unchained"
Paco Delgado - "Les Miserables"
Eiko Ishioka - "Mirror Mirror"
Manon Rasmussen - "A Royal Affair"
As ever, the period pieces are looking good for nominations, and as such, "Anna Karenina," "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" should all make the cut. Beyond that, it's trickier to tell. A posthumous nod for Eiko Ishioka and "Mirror Mirror" is a good bet, but far from certain. And then, will the less-than-showy 70s wear of "Argo" get a "Milk"-style nomination? Will "A Royal Affair" be this year's "Young Victoria?" Or will the "Lincoln" ship keep going? Any of those (plus "The Master" and "Snow White & The Huntsman" could sneak in. My money's on "A Royal Affair," but it honestly could be any of them.
Seamus McGarvey - "Anna Karenina"
Claudio Miranda - "Life Of Pi"
Janusz Kaminski - "Lincoln"
Roger Deakins - "Skyfall"
Greig Fraser - "Zero Dark Thirty"
Probably the most high-profile category where the Best Picture contenders aren't necessarily the front-runners. "Life Of PI" might lead the field, even though the film isn't going to mount a real challenge to actually win Best Picture, but just behind are Roger Deakins' work for "Skyfall" and Seamus McGarvey's on "Anna Karenina." Behind them are the three more serious Best Picture films, in the shape of "Django Unchained," "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty," with "The Master" hanging around the fringes too. Janusz Kaminski and Robert Richardson, as multiple winners, are 'in the club' more than Greig Fraser and Mihai Malamaire Jr, but that's not everything. My gut says that Kaminski and Fraser get in, but any two of the four would make some degree of sense.
Quentin Tarantino - "Django Unchained"
Rian Johnson - "Looper"
Paul Thomas Anderson - "The Master"
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola - "Moonrise Kingdom"
Mark Boal - "Zero Dark Thirty"
In contrast to some, this is relatively locked down; Mark Boal, Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino all feel pretty likely to make the cut. Paul Thomas Anderson is less rock solid, but this feels like a category where he gets a consolation nomination to me. That leaves a few competitors for that last slot. It may be that my skepticism that enough Academy members watched "Amour" is my undoing this year, but I don't think that's likely to change in this category. That puts it down between two WGA nominees, "Flight" and "Looper," and I think the originality of Rian Johnson's script will see him through here.
Chris Terrio - "Argo
David Magee - "Life Of Pi"
Tony Kushner - "Lincoln"
Stephen Chbosky - "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower"
David O. Russell - "Silver Linings Playbook"
As with Original Screenplay, there are a few more locked in here than in many of the other categories; "Argo," "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook" are all certain, and will duke it out for the statuette (we could see it going to any of the three). Beyond that, it's more fluid. As Best Picture contenders, some would favor "Life Of Pi" and "Les Miserables," but the former often got pointed to as the weak link (unfairly I'd say) in reviews, and the latter is dismissed by some as a simple adaptation job. The non-WGA eligible "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" is certainly in the hunt, but may be less as less of a writer's film than some; namely, "Perks of Being A Wallflower," which did get the WGA nod. And "The Sessions," "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and even "Skyfall" shouldn't be totally dismissed. We think Pi will make the cut, with 'Perks' joining it (a consolation prize for a film that lots of people like, but no one wants to vote for in anything else), but I wouldn't be surprised if 'Beasts' replaced one or the other.