Already a thread on this, but Lincoln is most likely to win and is most deserving (though Spielberg is the worst part of the movie so him winning Director is kind of silly).
I will say there's a pretty solid argument for the Avengers and a weaker argument for Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises; without the 3 of those films Hollywood would be floundering in a vacuum of resourcelessness.
I've seen very few of the films. However, going off the history of the Oscars and the general talk of Hollywood:
- There have only been three times that a winner in Best Picture didn't have the director nominated, the last of which was Driving Miss Daisy in 1989. This gives Zero Dark Thirty and Argo a bad chance of winning, as Oscar voters typically like to work in pairs with Best Director/Picture.
- There is a lot of flak in Hollywood towards Zero Dark Thirty, so doubt it will win.
- Amour is directed by Haneke, who a lot of Hollywood hate as is.
- Django Unchained had a lot of controversy around it, and the Oscars don't typically give Best Picture to a movie with that much controversy (see Brokeback Mountain).
- Les Miserables is a musical, and a lot of people are still pissed about Chicago winning. Doubtful for them, but I'm sure Anne Hathaway is getting an Oscar.
- Silver Linings Playbook is directed by David O. Russell. Fat...fucking...chance...of winning a Best Picture solely because of its dickbag director.
- Life of Pi is visually great, but there are some people that still didn't like how heavy-handed the ending is.
- Lincoln is a safe choice overall, as Daniel Day-Lewis is...well...he's Daniel fucking Day-Lewis. He wins Oscars. It's what he does. He should have won an Oscar for every single fucking performance he's done, but sometimes people are dickbags. I still can't believe the muthafucker didn't get it for Bill The Butcher! Anyways, back on topic... It's Spielberg and DDL in a movie about a president that people have been taught was great and excellent in the middle of an American presidency where the current president has constantly been compared to Lincoln in and out.
Yeah. Lincoln is gonna win it. It's kind of bullshit, because Zero Dark Thirty is fucking brilliantly done all around...and it's a vastly more important movie than Lincoln in a lot of ways.
Also, I'm now reminded of just how fucking amazing 2007 was for films. Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, and No Country For Old Men were all in the Best Picture category. GODDAMN THOSE MOVIES ARE GREAT!
@jakob187: I think your analysis is spot on, that is precisely the reason why I listed Lincoln as the film that will probably win. I think it would have taken Best Picture and Best Director easily even without Daniel Day-Lewis...with him it's a shoe-in, and along with a likely Best Actor nod as well, making it his third win. Crazy.
I think Argo was a good movie. It was not the best movie of the year in my opinion and I am sort of continually mystified as to why people think it should win over Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, or even Les Miserables. Personally I am voting Lincoln, I think it was the all around best film of the year. It was certainly the best acted one.
Lincoln looks like the safe bet, but Argo has been cleaning up most of the pre-Oscar best picture awards, so it's hard to say. The only thing working against Argo it in terms of odds is the lack of a directing nod for Ben Affleck. That's normally a clear indication that a film isn't going to win, but normally films with no director nod don't collect as many pre-Oscar accolades. So it could go either way, but I'm going to say Lincoln. I think the academy feels like they owe Spielberg a 2nd best picture after the whole Shakespeare in Love thing anyway.
Anything past those two is an extreme long shot.
My favorite films of the year were The Master, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Searching for Sugar Man. Lincoln and Argo were both very good but didn't jump out at me the way a lot other films did this year.