The glitz, the glamour, the long speeches, and the overblown musical numbers: Yes, it’s awards season, culminating with the 85th Academy Awards. That means it’s time for you to do a little research to prepare for any Oscar pools you’re participating in ahead of the February 24, 2013 broadcast.
A few years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweaked the rules so that at least five but no more than 10 films can receive nominations for best picture. This year, nine movies received best picture Oscar nominations. Only the most committed movie buff will have seen all nine Oscar nominated films or all of the performances in the acting categories. Fortunately, you can get a glimpse of what you’ve missed online. Better yet if you’re participating in an Oscar pool, catching a sneak peek of the Oscar nominees can help increase your odds of picking the winners.
2013 OSCAR NOMINEES IN THE TOP CATEGORIES
This year's Oscar nominee for best picture include a range of topics from an adventure like no other, to overcoming personal setbacks, to accomplishing missions that seem impossible. The 2013 Oscar nominees for best picture are: Amour, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty. As noted, all of the Oscar nominees for best director have their films up for best picture.
Best Director Oscar Nominees
Michael Haneke - Amour
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
Many of the Oscar nominations for best actor and best actress stem from the best picture nominees. There are also a fair number of nominees from pictures you may not have heard of yet, but the noteworthy performances are definitely a reason to watch the films. Here are the 2013 Oscar nominees for best actor/actress:
Best Actor Oscar Nominees
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Hugh Jackman - Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight
Best Actress Oscar Nominees
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
WATCH CLIPS OF OSCAR NOMINEES FOR BEST PICTURE
The official Academy Awards website features clips and trailers from all of the Oscar nominated movies. Although the Academy expanded the field of best picture Oscar nominees, the best director category is still limited to five. Though it’s usually a safe bet that the film with best director will also win best picture, but that may not be the case this year.
Online betting site Bovada lists the odds for all the major Oscar categories. Lincoln was initially the odds-on favorite at 1/3 immediately after the nominations were announced; Argo was a distant third. But that film has picked up just about every other top award this season leading up to the Oscars. So despite the fact that Ben Affleck did not receive a best director nod, momentum has been on the film’s side. As of February 11, 2013, Argo was a 1/5 favorite on Bovada, with Lincoln at 4/1.
WATCH CLIPS OF BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS OSCAR NOMINEES
Sometimes you don’t need to see a performance to know who will win. While Lincoln has slipped from being the odds-on favorite, Daniel Day-Lewis appears to be a lock to win best actor in a leading role for his performance as the 16th president. You can take a look at Mr. Method Acting’s performance in the clip below.
The field for best actress in a leading role is more competitive. Jennifer Lawrence is favored to win for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, according to Bovada, though Jessica Chastain’s portrayal of a relentless CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty cannot be overlooked. The dark horse among best actress Oscar nominees is Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. At 85, she’s the oldest person ever to be nominated for best actress. The youngest person ever to receive an Oscar nomination for best actress is nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is a 40/1 long shot.
WATCH BEST ANIMATED SHORT OSCAR NOMINEES
If you want to get a leg up on your friends in one of the more obscure award categories, you can watch four of the five Oscar nominees for best animated short film in their entirety for free on YouTube, including Fresh Guacamole, Head Over Heels, andAdam and Dog (only Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare isn’t available). Disney’s neoclassic Paperman, a charming black-and-white tale that mixes computer-generated and hand-drawn animation, seems like a good bet to win the category.
FOLLOW THE 2013 OSCAR NOMINEES ON MOBILE DEVICES
The official Oscar mobile app is now available and is free to download for iPhones, iPad, Android, and Kindle mobile devices. The app is full of information on the Oscar nominees, previews into the show, and tips on picking Oscar winners. During the Oscar show you can use the app to watch your favorite 2013 Oscar nominees walk the Red Carpet and follow the winners backstage. It's a great companion for the ultimate second screen experience while watching the awards show. To find more video trailers of 2013 Oscar nominees download the free RealPlayer Android app and use the search feature to find videos and clips online to watch on your mobile device.
What are your Oscar picks in the major categories? Who do you think was overlooked among this year’s Oscar nominees? Tell us in the comments section below.
John is a longtime technology journalist and author — long enough to remember when the CD-ROM was going to change the media landscape as we know it. He’s written for PC Magazine, CNET, CNBC, and CNN/Money among other media outlets. His favorite lost cause: the New York Mets.