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There was a time when films were kind. When they were soft and inviting and oh-so innocently blind. Not in 2012. This was the Year of the Cinema — whatever that means.

This was the year of knock-down, drag-out silver screen slobberknockers, between feuding character titans and between movies seizing our suspensions of reality. And it cost me money. Yes, lots of money. I was nearly forced to cash in my 401(k) to see all of the good stuff once, sometimes twice, and admittedly maybe even three times.

What do I have to show for it? A handy-dandy list of predictions for the major Oscar categories.

Best Picture
This is relative easy — not because the nominees are necessarily no-brainers, but because the dollars spent by studios and the hype liberally doled out by the mainstream media demand them.

My predictions: Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Moonrise Kingdom, and of course Ted.

Best Actor
I know, I know. Just give the damned thing to Daniel Day-Lewis already and don’t bother with nominations. Watching Lincoln made me feel like I knew him. Lincoln, that is. Not Daniel. No one has a freaking clue what that freakshow is really like.

My predictions: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables; Denzel Washington, Flight; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; and Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actress
The nods for the best actress on the planet are tough calls for me. It’s not so much that the performances are too close to call, it’s that I just don’t understand women — especially when women are pretending to be other women.

My predictions: Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone; Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Naomi Watts, The Impossible; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour.

Best Supporting Actor
The top wing-man category’s cup runneth over with worthy candidates. There were so many good movies with so many great characters to be played. Bravo to casting directors this time around; you guys really showed us. And sorry Russell Crowe, you missed my list by thismuch.

My predictions: Javier Bardem, Skyfall; Philip “Psh” Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained; Ted, Ted.

Best Supporting Actress
If I could nominate the entire female cast of Les Miz, I would. Well, I can — but I won’t. Seriously, those beautiful, beautiful ladies collectively changed me. Does that make me Jean Valjean 2.0? I don’t know; ask me in eight years. But their singing and stuff cracked the surface of my emotional unavailability just enough to let a little feeling in. And that’s what the cinema is all about, no?

My predictions: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables; Sally Field, Lincoln; Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy; Amy Adams, The Master; Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook.