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Academy Awards watch: Best Picture

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By Joseph Mosselson

The 2013 Oscar race for Best Picture features a front-runner that failed to gain recognition in any of the other major categories (Actor, Actress, Director) and one conspicuous absence.

Could the stage be set for a bitter-sweet victory? Here’s a look at the nine nominees:

Amour

The only non-English film among the nominees. While the Academy has made nods to becoming more inclusive over the years, we’re still a long way away from a film like this being a serious contender for the win.

Argo

An awards-season favourite that somehow missed out on a Best Director nomination. A popular choice for Best Picture, but will face some stiff competition from a couple of the more prestigious candidates on the list.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

An unusual debut from an ambitious new-comer, it’s nomination for Best Picture can be seen as Hollywood’s way of saying “welcome to the club, now how about we find you a nice biopic to direct?”

Django Unchained

The Academy didn’t give Tarantino an Oscar for Pulp Fiction. They’re gradually coming around to the idea, but it’s going to take them a few more films.

Les Miserables

A perfect Oscars, prestige project, although musicals have been out of favour with the Academy for a few years now. If Tom Hooper were on the list for Best Director, this would be a serious contender. As it stands, however, Argo is likely to take the popular vote, while Lincoln is going to make a big play for the prestige picture block, leaving Les Mis out in the cold.

Life of Pi

The Academy loves Ang Lee, and they still owe him a Best Picture award for snubbing Brokeback Mountain years ago. A potential dark horse in the race.

Lincoln

The nominative favourite, based purely on pedigree. Nevertheless, Spielberg’s prestige pictures do have a habit of losing to more populist fare. Could we have another Saving Private Ryan/Shakespeare in Love split?

Silver Linings Playbook

Another potential dark horse, driven by the strong showing of it’s cast in their nominated categories. The film itself, however, has had a relatively lean time heading into the Oscars, with most of the accolades going to its cast.

Zero Dark Thirty

Perhaps even more notable than Ben Affleck’s snub for Argo was the omission of Katheryn Bigelow from the Best Director category. Add that to the film’s notorious torture scenes, which are unlikely to go over well with the generally left-leaning members of the Academy, and you have a film that is unlikely to make a strong showing in this race.

To see which of these heavyweights will walk away with Hollywood’s ultimate prize, make sure you don’t miss the 85th Annual Academy Awards, broadcast live on M-Net Movies Premiere at 03:00 on Monday, 25 February. Rebroadcast at on M-Net at 20:30 and available On Demand from Tuesday, 26 February.