February 24, 2013

Oscars have clear favorites, wild-card MacFarlane

By DAVID GERMAIN, The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Along with front-runners Day-Lewis as best actor for "Lincoln" and Hathaway as supporting actress for "Les Miserables," the other favorites are Jennifer Lawrence as best actress for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Tommy Lee Jones as supporting actor for "Lincoln."

Day-Lewis would be only the sixth performer to earn three or more Oscars and the first to win three times as best actor. "Lincoln" also could make Spielberg just the fourth filmmaker to win three or more directing trophies.

Affleck's thriller "Argo" is in line for best picture after winning practically every top prize at earlier honors. Hollywood was shocked that Affleck was snubbed for a directing nomination, possibly earning the film some sympathy votes, particularly from actors, who love it when one of their own succeeds behind the camera.

The story of how Hollywood, Canada and the CIA teamed up to rescue six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis, "Argo" would become just the fourth film in 85 years to claim the top prize without a best-directing nomination and the first since 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy."

The best-picture prize typically ends the Oscar show, but this time, MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth will perform a closing number on the Dolby Theatre stage that producers Zadan and Meron called a "'can't miss' moment."

Keeping the wraps on whatever surprises they have in store has been a chore for them and MacFarlane.

"It's been difficult. The press, as you know, is very nosy and sneaky. They're always sniffing around trying to get any advance notice," MacFarlane said. "It's like (expletive) Christmas. Wait till Christmas morning. Don't spoil the surprise."

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