Here's the list of nominees I actually have an opinion about, with the one I think will actually win and the one I'd give the Oscar to. Full disclosure: between the jigs and the reels, I haven't seen all the nominees. I missed out on Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Sessions. So I'm obviously not in a position to comment on those films. This makes the Best Actress category kind of difficult for me. If I manage to see any of them before the big night, I will update accordingly.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Prediction: I think it will probably be either Argo or Lincoln. Given that Argo has a lot of stuff about movie-folks in it, it might just pip Lincoln at the post. So I'm going with Argo.
Hope: I'd really like to see Zero Dark Thirty win. I've seen it three times and it's great.
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Prediction: Riva, Lawrence or Chastain. It will probably be Lawrence.
Hope: I'd be delighted to see Lawrence win because I loved Silver Linings Playbook so much. But I'd be very happy to see Jessica Chastain get the Oscar because that was a fantastic, complex role for a woman - not an adjunct to a man but a real person in her her own right - and she was perfect in it.
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight
Prediction: It'll be Wicklow's most famous resident, Daniel Day-Lewis.
Hope: I think Day-Lewis was wonderful but Phoenix was better. Jackman was amazing, Washington was excellent but it's Bradley Cooper for me. It's a wonderful role that asks a huge amount of him and he is brilliant.
Michael Haneke - Amour
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
David O Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Prediction: Probably Spielberg or Lee. I'm going to say Spielberg.
Hope: Life of Pi was an incredible directorial achievement. Just breathtaking. I'd like Ang Lee to get the Oscar.
Best supporting actor
Alan Arkin - Argo
Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones is very likely but after the BAFTAs, I'm going for Christoph Waltz.
Hope: I really enjoyed Arkin, Hoffman was brilliant and de Niro actually bothered to act and be completely wonderful again in Silver Linings Playbook. But I'd like it to be Christoph Waltz. He was hands-down the best thing about Django.
Best supporting actress
Amy Adams - The Master
Sally Field - Lincoln
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook
Prediction: Anne Hathaway. Virtually no question.
Hope: I have a lot more respect for Weaver's lovely, warm performance in SLP since she terrified the crap out of me as the grandmother of an Aussie crime family in Animal Kingdom. Fields was great in Lincoln, Adams was excellent as the cold, calculating wife in The Master but I'm going for Hathaway.
Argo - Chris Terrio
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life Of Pi - David Magee
Lincoln - Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook - David O Russell
Prediction: Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook. I think. Honestly, I'm not sure. Here's a chance to give a sop to a film that's not getting anything else so it could be any of them. After the BAFTAs, I hope it will be Silver Linings Playbook.
Hope: Silver Linings Playbook is the one for me. Loved it. Wonderful balance between pain and joy. I cried the first time I saw the film (when Pat is explaining what it was like not knowing he was bipolar: "white-knuckling it this whole time") and I have yet to see it (four times now...) without coming out with a grin like I've a coat hanger in my mouth. I almost didn't see it because I disliked Bradley Cooper (please note: past tense), was tired of watching de Niro mugging for the camera and in all the rom-com marketing, missed the darker elements of the story. I would have missed something marvellous.
Amour - Michael Haneke
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
Flight - John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal
Prediction: Zero Dark Thirty. Here is a safe enough place to give some acknowledgment to this film. Also, it is a great screenplay - how to take all that military jargon and spy-speak and interminable, dull tradecraft and make an enthralling, gripping story out of it. And the way that the physical torture itself didn't make me shudder half as much as the way the torturers were clearly breaking a person into pieces. Excellent.
Hope: I'd be happy to see Zero Dark Thirty take it but Moonrise Kingdom was so very very wonderful that I'd love it to get at least something from the Oscars. So it's my hope.