Long before passing judgment became my job, I sucked at Oscar picks. For the past two years, I haven’t even tried to choose them myself. In 2012, I consulted an assortment of fortune-telling devices (this failed), and in 2011, my editor and I developed a scientific algorithm that turned out to be about as scientific as phrenology.

I began to wonder if someone who had seen none of the movies could pick the winners better than I can. Then I realized I know someone who hadn’t gone to the theater once in 2012 — my mom, Katy Page. Surely I could beat her.

We broadened the experiment by bringing in my 4-year-old son, Jack, to make his picks based on film posters and pictures of actors. Left to his own devices, he would have said Batman for everything. Not “The Dark Knight Rises,” but ACTUAL BATMAN. Hence the costume.

If Mom’s the control, I’m the expert and Jack is the Dark Knight of randomness, we should be able to determine whether it’s possible for anyone to guess the winners correctly.

There’s no consequence if I lose to either one of them, except that I’ll hear about it at every family dinner for the rest of time.

Kristen’s Picks

30 of 53 Oscar-nominated movies seen.

Will you top that by Sunday night? If so, you deserve your own Oscar.

Best Picture: “Lincoln”
“Argo” is taking all the early awards, but Oscar voters are more overwhelmingly older white men. And older white men love movies about older white men.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
It’s incredibly rare to have a split between best director and best picture, and I don’t see it happening this year.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
This is the one award “Lincoln” actually deserves. Despite a weak script and heavy-handed direction, Day-Lewis’ wholesale transformation into the 16th president was astounding.

Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
I didn’t care for his performance as Thaddeus Stevens — it reeked of Oscar bait. The bait usually catches the fish, though.

Best Actress: Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
I think my favorite film of the year will meet the same fate as 1997’s “L.A. Confidential,” a great movie that scored only one major trophy (best supporting actress, for Kim Basinger). Voters will want to reward “Beasts” but won’t want to give it best picture or director, so the kid will take it.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
In a shoddy hodgepodge of a film, Hathaway reinvigorated “I Dreamed a Dream,” a song that’s become a musical theater cliche. Too bad she’s only in the movie for 20 minutes.

Best Animated Feature: “Brave”
Pixar is slipping: “Brave” didn’t even deserve a nomination. “Wreck-It Ralph” should triumph, but voters will stick with the powerhouse animation studio.

Katy’s Picks

0 Oscar-nominated movies seen

Best Picture: “Argo”
“That’s winning everything, right?”

Best Director: Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Didn’t you like that one a lot?”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
“I don’t even know who that is, but I hear he’s really good.”

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
“My friend saw that and said he was good.”

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
“Jessica … what’s her name? I pick her.”

Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field, “Lincoln”
“You can’t vote against Gidget!”

Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-It Ralph”
“Is that the video-game one? I heard that was good.”

Jack’s Picks

4.5 Oscar-nominated movies seen
(“Frankenweenie” got too scary, so we turned it off midway)

Best Picture: “Life of Pi”
“I think it’s silly.”

Best Director: David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
“His name is David, like from the books!” (He means the No, David! series of picture books by David Shannon.)

Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
“He’s the best man. He looks silly. He’s wearing a necklace.”

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
“I think he looks cool.”

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
“She looks cool.”

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”
“Her name is almost like Jack!”

Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-It Ralph”
“[Ralph] is big and has big fists to break stuff.”


Seth MacFarlane hosts the 85th Academy Awards at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC. For a list of all nominations, visit