Photo: Warner Bros
How much does "Lincoln" have to lose? The 16th president won the War Between the States but seems to be fighting a losing battle against "Argo." With a little over two weeks before the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, we're taking the pulse of the Oscar race.
Front-runner: "Argo" took the lead with accolades from the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the PGAs, and the DGAs. How's that for an Argo-eff-yourself to the academy for snubbing director Ben Affleck?
Upset: "Lincoln" has the most nominations, with 12, and could still pull out a win.
Long shot: "Silver Linings Playbook" has strong support with eight nominations -- including all four major acting races, best pic, and best director.
Front-runner: Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln") will take his third Oscar home for bringing humor and pathos to the president who emancipated the slaves while entangled with wife Mary Todd Lincoln.
Upset: Hugh Jackman ("Les Misérables") has never won an Academy Award, and he does everything the Oscars could demand: sing, lose weight, gain weight, grow old, experience tragedy, and die -- as well as show up for every possible award event.
Long shot: Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook") does his very best work as a lovesick bipolar teacher struggling to put his life back together -- and learn the quick-step with co-star Jennifer Lawrence. But it's ultimately a comedy, which puts him at the end of the line for this award.
Front-runner: Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") could be the only actor to bring home the gold for "SLP," and if the actors' branch predicts the winner, Lawrence's SAG Award sealed the deal (with a little help from her blockbuster role in "The Hunger Games"). Still, this race is nearly too close to call.
Upset: Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") played a character who brought down Osama bin Laden in a movie that was the front-runner earlier in the season. She was nominated last year and had the early lead in this category, but recent slippage for "ZD30" has slowed her momentum. Still, don't discount a last-minute surge.
Long shot: Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") has been making movies for longer than most of us have been alive. Her compassionate and cantankerous senior citizen was heartbreakingly real. Though the movie is a lock for best foreign-language film, it's crossed over as a mainstream contender with a meaty five nominations, including best picture.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Front-runner: Previous Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") cannot manage much more than a grimace as he goes from award show to award show. How much of a stretch was it for him to play a crotchety, radical politician in league with Lincoln? Maybe he's still in character.
Upset: Robert DeNiro ("Silver Linings Playbook") doesn't seem to enjoy award ceremonies much more than Jones does, but his subtle, emotional performance playing the OCD patriarch to Cooper's bipolar son provides cohesion and counterpoint in every scene he generously shares with the ensemble.
Long shot: Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained") plays the wily European that brought him an Oscar for "Inglourious Basterds," only this time around, Quentin Tarantino casts him as a good(ish) guy rather than a Nazi. Waltz is the movie's spark plug; when he's not onscreen, it sputters.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Front-runner: Anne Hathaway ("Les Misérables") sang out directly to the Oscar voters. Despite wardrobe malfunctions and gooey acceptance speeches, her two minutes of tragic tonsil-wagging will score her this Oscar.
Upset: Sally Field ("Lincoln") really, really wants this award and has been given universal acclaim for her harridan in a hoop skirt married to that man with the beard in the White House.
Long shot: Amy Adams ("The Master") really deserves this award for playing the steely wife to Philip Seymour Hoffman's creepy, charismatic cult leader. It's a tough, complex role in a sweeping, difficult film -- and a performance that couldn't be more different from, say, her plucky Amelia Earhart in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."
Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24, and keep returning to Yahoo! Movies for up-to-date coverage of the race to the Oscars and the personalities behind the headlines.