The average age of a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is 60. Yet I predict this year's Oscars will be a night celebrating the talent of the young, as newcomers and other whippersnappers triumph over the veterans in some important categories. With the under-40 pottymouth Seth MacFarlane hosting, this looks to be a more relevant ceremony than the ill-fated attempt to bring in younger viewers two years ago with hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
Will win: "Argo"
You have to go back to 2005 -- and Paul Haggis' "Crash" -- to find a Best Picture winner that didn't also nab Best Director. Ben Affleck didn't even get nominated for his third film as director. The Academy likely feels rather embarrassed by now.
Should win: "Amour"
The amateurish "Argo" is in sharp contrast to the artful "Amour." But as the contenders themselves often say, "I'm just pleased -- and very surprised -- to see this foreign film nominated."
Will win: Steven Spielberg
Is there anyone alive the Academy loves more than Steven Spielberg?
Should win: Michael Haneke
Spielberg hasn't done anything innovative in a long time. With "Amour," the masterful Haneke finally garnered his first two, long-overdue Oscar nods.
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence
I'm surprised to have made that pick, but the young star of "The Hunger Games" has been building a lot of momentum for her work in the Best Picture nominee "Silver Linings Playbook."
Should win: Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain is certainly one of the best big discoveries of the last few years. But Lawrence was irresistible as the unbalanced woman who helps rebalance the also-messed-up Bradley Cooper in one of the year's most unexpected pleasures.
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Anytime you see Daniel Day-Lewis listed in this category, you can assume he's the front-runner. When he's nominated for playing a real-life figure in a historical drama, you can assume he'll win. When that figure is one of the nation's most-loved presidents, it's no contest.
Should win: Joaquin Phoenix
No nominated actor had a tougher nut to crack in terms of character. In the confusing, meandering "The Master," Phoenix managed to keep us centered, while the troubled young man he played was most certainly not.
Best Supporting Actress
Will win: Anne Hathaway
The Academy loves big musicals and the actors who show off multiple skills in them. It won't be able to resist honoring a former Oscars host, no matter how disastrous a job she did during that ceremony.
Should win: Amy Adams
None of these nominees thrills me -- some great work was overlooked, like the girl and women of "Moonrise Kingdom" -- but Adams did the best work in her thankless role in "The Master."
Best Supporting Actor
Will win: Tommy Lee Jones
The Academy will inexplicably award Jones for his work in "Lincoln," though he looks terribly uncomfortable in those period clothes and sounds stilted in those period lines.
Should win: Christoph Waltz
Actually, the Austrian actor should have been nominated -- and a winner -- in the Best Actor category. He's crucial to "Django Unchained," especially the climax that offers a surprising poignancy before all hell breaks loose.
Best Original Screenplay
Will win: "Django Unchained"
I hesitated before making this pick, wondering if Mark Boal might take it for "Zero Dark Thirty." But liberals were too incensed with the idea that enhanced interrogation techniques -- some would say torture -- might have been successful in providing intelligence. And Quentin Tarantino's film is a pastiche that becomes an original.
Should win: "Moonrise Kingdom"
The hope and hopelessness of youth, the hope and hopelessness of maturity: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola had a lot to say and said it in a very beautiful way.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: "Argo"
I suspect this is a close race between Chris Terrio's "Argo" screenplay and Tony Kushner's for "Lincoln." But Academy voters might appreciate the balancing act Terrio accomplished between political drama and wry comedy.
Should win: "Silver Linings Playbook"
David O. Russell was even more successful in his balancing act, turning a story about mental illness, adultery and assault into a sweet comedy that almost never feels like a typical romcom.
Will win: "Amour"
It's not often a foreign film gets nominated in a number of major categories. The Best Picture nod for "Amour" all but guarantees it at least one Oscar: this one.
Should win: "Amour"
Austrian director Michael Haneke is at the height of his powers and an uncompromising example to anyone, anywhere in the world, making movies.