Haven't seen all the nominated films, but that's not going to stop me. I have a dart board.
Life of Pi
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master. Phoenix is fabulous, skirting the edge of excess and then pulling back. The plot meanders but the performances are riveting.
Naomi Watts, The Impossible. Bought into her character completely. WIth Phoenix I was aware at times he was performing, but Watts is so natural here you forget.
Best Supporting Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman. His subdued sophisticate plays extremely well off the caged animal that is Phoenix.
Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway. Because she's cute and I don't to see another Sally Field acceptance speech.
Ang Lee, Life of Pi. Didn't care for the book, but the movie is both breathtaking and thought provoking. It can also be slow and frustrating. Argo had a better flow, but somehow felt slight and empty, giving the edge to Pi.
Animated Feature Film
Wreck-It Ralph. Couldn't stand the idea of sitting through Frankenweenie, thought The PIrates was tepid, and the ending of ParaNorman overwrought.
Chris Terrio, Argo
Amour, because Django Unchained is too glib and irreverent for The Academy. The cinematic equivalent of All Bran, it makes The Academy feel good about itself.
Life of Pi
Life of Pi. Bright and cheery visuals masking dark subject matter. The only picture that surprised me with the visuals, or that felt truly innovative in any way. A CGI fest that didn't feel like a CGI fest. Awesome.
Anna Karenina, because Russia is more exotic than France.
How to Survive a Plague. Dart.
Documentary Short Subject
Foreign Language Film
War Witch. Patriotism. It's Canadian.
Les Misérables. Didn't like the look of the dwarves in Hobbit. They reminded me of Peter Sellers in Revenge of the Pink Panther, where his prosthetic nose melts.
Life of Pi
"Suddenly," Les Mis. I liked the live musical.
Short Film (Animated)
Paperman. Only one I've seen of the nominees. Bias. But it was pretty good.
Short Film (Live Action)
Death of a Shadow. Dart.
Zero Dark Thirty
Prometheus. The Hobbit had some truly impressive effects, but these were undermined by subpar sequences. See below. Avengers was a cacophonous spectacle, but lacked the sophisticated edge of Prometheus. Second choice: LIfe of Pi.
Ted. I wasn't expecting much, but this flick is gloriously stupid fun.
Most Harrowing Viewing Experience:
Most Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner Style Action Sequences:
Tightest, Most Suffocating Art Direction Using One Point Perspective:
Moonrise Kingdom. Anderson lets his inner control freak go bananas, ordering everything in every shot down to the subatomic level. This film is a must see for quantum physicists.
Moonrise Kingdom. Wins over Beasts of the Southern Wild, which leans more eccentric.