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Richard Roeper picks his contenders for Oscar nominations

JessicChastastars 'Zero Dark Thirty.'

Jessica Chastain stars in "Zero Dark Thirty."

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Updated: February 10, 2013 5:53PM

My copyrighted 2006 joke about Meryl Streep’s 117 Oscar nods* is Streep is so beloved by the Academy she gets nominated in years when she’ doesn’t even have a movie out.

In 2012, Streep was in a movie—“Hope Springs,” anyone?—but she probably WON’T be nominated.

Even though it was a nomination-worthy performance.

The problem is, Streep’s character in “Hope Springs” wasn’t facing an impossible choice or grieving for a love lost or taking on a giant corporation or leading a nation or battling an affliction. She was a regular person wondering if she should stay in solid but her nearly affection-free marriage.

Ugh, real life. They don’t usually give out trophies for roles in movies like that.

And the nominees will be…

The nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards will be announced at 7:30 a.m., with Oscar host Seth McFarlane and the fetching, appearing-in-every-other-movie-these-days Emma Stone doing the honors. What follows are my predictions — not my preferences — for the nominees, along with some of the names and titles that will just miss the cut.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Maggie Smith, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

Apparently I’m the only one jarred by the age difference between Sally Field and Daniel Day-Lewis. In the first scene of “Lincoln,” I swear I thought she was playing the ghost of his dead mother, who apparently had aged in the afterlife.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Notable snub: Jason Clarke gave one of the most memorable performances in recent years as the brilliant, ruthless inquisitor in “Zero Dark Thirty,” but the Academy is more likely to reward veterans such as De Niro and Jones—two legendary actors giving fine but very mainstream performances.

At the Academy Awards the year after Arkin won Best Supporting Actor for “Little Miss Sunshine,” I asked him if that had led to a bounty of additional job offers. “I got offered NOTHING!” he barked at me.

I love Alan Arkin.

Best Director

Ben Affleck, “Argo”

Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Forty”Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Writer Bret Easton “Less Than Zero” Ellis caused a stir when he Tweeted his belief Bigelow gets high praise in large part because she’s a beautiful woman. Yes, because we care so much about what the director of the movie looks like. That’s why perfect specimens such as Hitchcock and Scorsese are so beloved.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”

Cotillard plays a double amputee. Chastain is leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Lawrence is a young, unemployed widow who seems more than a little crazy. Watts is a wife and mother battling for her life after suffering severe injuries from a tsunami. Weisz plays the suicidal wife of a judge who is having an affair with a war veteran.

See what I mean about Streep having no chance seeing as how she’s playing a Midwestern gal whose husband would rather watch golf on TV than give her a kiss?

(Not that I would actually substitute Streep for any of the great performances that will be nominated. It’s a very strong year in the Best Actress category.)

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”

John Hawkes, “The Sessions”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

My copyright 2012 joke is the poster for “Lincoln” established Daniel Day-Lewis as the frontrunner. If he doesn’t get nominated, it would be the biggest snub in the history of the Oscars. Most experts are predicting Hugh Jackman rather than Gere, but you gotta throw a couple of mild upsets in there, right? And Gere was spectacularly effective in the unfairly under-seen “Arbitrage.” Check it out if you can.

Best Picture


“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Les Miserables”

“Life of Pi”


“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Through a process more confounding than negotiations to resolve the Fiscal Cliff, the Academy can nominate up to 10 movies. Films with an outside chance to make the cut include “Django Unchained,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Impossible” and “Skyfall.”

But no, I don’t think “Skfall” will be the breakthrough Bond film.

*Meryl Streep does not in fact have 117 Oscar nods. She has a mere 17 Oscar nominations and 27 Golden Globe nominations. Twenty-seven! That’s batty! I think the Hollywood Foreign Press Association really might have nominated one year when she wasn’t in anything.

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