85th Academy Awards, Oscar Nominees

As of Tuesday evening, voting for the 85th Academy Awards is closed. Tardy Academy members still filling out the ballots, sorry, but counting is underway. The results will be announced at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday night, and the nominees now have a few days off from campaigning to catch up on beauty sleep before they head to the Dolby Theater.

So, with voting closed, it seemed like a good time to unveil my final Oscar predictions. As the ostensible awards correspondent for The Playlist, I've been weighing in here and there throughout the season, and my opinions have certainly shifted through the twists and turns of a particularly twisty-and-turny six months or so. It's finally crunch time.

There are essentially four possible narratives that could unfold. 1) "Argo" continues its general awards sweep. 2) The Weinsteins' campaigning pays off in spades, and "Silver Linings Playbook" sweeps. 3) "Lincoln" takes Best Picture, Director and Actor, being deemed the most "important" of the nominees. 4) Everyone's been underestimating "Life Of Pi," and it surprises with the top prize. All are feasible, but as you'll see below, I'm leaning closest to that first narrative. This isn't going to be a year where one film sweeps the board; we're likely to see few films win more than three or four prizes, with the love spread fairly equally.

But I could (and will) be wrong in some categories. You can take a look at my predictions below, with each category ranked in order of likelihood of the nominees taking the prize. And let us know your own predictions in the comments section below. See you back here Sunday night for the results.

Mondays At Racine
Best Documentary Short

1. "Inocente"
2. "Mondays At Racine"
3. "Open Heart"
4. "Redemption"
5. "Kings Point"

Should Win: I've already spoken of my love for "Mondays At Racine," the most emotional, and best-made of the nominees here, about a beauty salon that devotes one day a month to woman undergoing chemotherapy. My fingers are crossed for it.
Will Win: "Inocente" feels like it has the slight edge over 'Racine' -- it's a bit glossier, and a bit more uplifting. But "Open Heart" has a good chance too.

Best Live-Action Short

1. "Curfew"
2. "Death Of A Shadow'
3. "Asad"
4. "Buzkashi Boys"
5. "Henry"

Should Win: The Matthias Schoenaerts-starring "Death of A Shadow," by some distance the best of a weak batch.
Will Win: "Death Of A Shadow" is in with a chance, but I think "Curfew," looking at the recent history of the award, has a better chance. Which will mean the man who wrote the Taylor Lautner vehicle "Abduction" will be an Oscar winner.

Best Animated Short

1. "Paperman
2. "Adam And Dog"
3. "Head Over Heels"
4. "Fresh Guacamole"
5. "The Longest Daycare"

Should Win: A strong field, but Disney's "Paperman" has my heart; a swooningly romantic, beautifully crafted and close-to-revolutionary piece of work.
Will Win: The studios don't often fare well in this category, but "Paperman" has momentum, and manages not to feel too corporate. That said, "Adam and Dog" could upset.

Skyfall Train
Best Sound Editing

1. "Skyfall"
2. "Life Of Pi"
3. "Argo"
4. "Zero Dark Thirty"
5. "Django Unchained

Should Win: "Zero Dark Thirty" had the most punch to these ears, but this, more than most, is hard for the layman to judge.
Will Win: It generally goes to the noisiest film, or the Best Picture nominee, and I think "Skyfall" will just have the edge over "Life of Pi."

Les Miserables, Redmayne, Barks
Best Sound Mixing

1. "Les Miserables"
2. "Skyfall"
3. "Argo"
4. "Life Of PI"
5. "Lincoln"

Should Win: Again, hard to judge, but "Les Miserables" probably has my vote.
Will Win: "Les Miserables." If Universal's campaign to raise awareness about the film's live-on-set technique achieved nothing else, it was to get across how tricky it must have been to capture the vocals on set while a rehearsal pianist banged away in the next room. BTW, should "Skyfall" happen to win here, which we doubt, it will be American sound engineer Greg P. Russell's first Academy Award win. He has been nominated for sixteen Academy Awards for Sound, but has never won.

Anne Hathaway Les Miserables
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

1. "Les Miserables"
2. " The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
3. "Hitchcock"

Should Win: In a year when "Snow White & The Huntsman" has two nominations, "Hitchcock" is still the worst film to get an Oscar nod this year. This wouldn't necessarily be a barrier to it winning here, but it's not like the fat-suit job on Anthony Hopkins was particularly special. As such, I don't care who wins, so long as it's not that.
Will Win: Close between the top two -- Peter Jackson's film has more obvious prosthetics, and the "Lord of the Rings" films went 2/3 in this category. But when a Best Picture nominee is in contention (and it hasn't happened since 'Benjamin Button' in 2008), they tend to win, so I'd lean towards "Les Miserables."

Life Of Pi, Richard Parker
Best Visual Effects

1. "Life Of Pi"
2. "Marvel's The Avengers"
3. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
4. "Promethus"
5. "Snow White and the Hunstman"

Should Win: 100% "Life of Pi," which might have the most impressive and photo-realistic use of CGI I've ever seen.
Will Win: I suspect the Academy will agree with me on "Life of Pi," especially given that it's the only Best Picture nominee in a field of blockbusters (witness "Hugo" beating "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" last year to see how crucial that is).

Adele Skyfall Single Artwork Header
Best Original Song

1. "Skyfall" from "Skyfall" - Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
2. "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables" - Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boubil
3. "Before My Time" from "Chasing Ice" - J. Ralph
4. "Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from "Ted" - Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane
5. "Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi" - Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri

Should Win: "Skyfall." It's the best Bond theme in decades, a song fit to sit beside "Goldfinger" et al, and the best nominee in the category since "Lose Yourself."
Will Win: No Bond theme has ever won this category, but I think it's going to change, given Adele's status as a Grammy-magnet and just generally well-loved performer. That said, despite the song being deeply dull, don't count out "Les Miserables" entirely.