The nominations for the annual Academy Awards are out this week and you’ll please trust that I’m writing this at least a week prior to the actual announcement. We are blessed with a good number of quality American films this year but many have yet to arrive in Connecticut thus postponing my annual “Ten Best Films” list for another week so I can play catch-up. In the meantime, I’m happy to ponder about the potential nominations in the major categories:

Best Picture: This has become a wildcard category now since up to ten titles can be nominated. I think the frontrunners are clearly “Lincoln,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Les Miserables,” “Argo” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild“ with maybe some room for the foreign film “Amour,” the romantic dramedy, “Silver Linings Playbook,” Quentin Tarantino’s audacious “Django Unchained” and Ang Lee’s poetic “Life of Pi.”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis will cruise easily to another nomination for his masterful portrayal of the 16th President in “Lincoln,” a role that the two-time winner may see award him his third Oscar! Also in the running should be Denzel Washington for “Flight,” John Hawkes (“The Sessions”), Richard Gere (“Arbitrage”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”). If there’s a comedy god in heaven, however, I’d love to see Jack Black’s peerless performance as a jovial funeral director in “Bernie” recognized.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence broke hearts in “Silver Linings Playbook” and had a huge hit in “The Hunger Games.” She should have no trouble being nominated for the former along with Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Keira Knightley (“Anna Karenina”), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) and Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”). I also wonder if the Academy will be progressive enough to include youngster Quvenzhane Wallis for her amazing work as the 8-year-old star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

The director list must include yet another nod to Steve Spielberg for his epic work on “Lincoln.” You can also count on Ben Afleck to be honored for “Argo,” Katherine Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”), Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”) and, perhaps, David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”).

Supporting performances were plentiful this year and I expect to see Robert DeNiro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”), Christopher Walken (“The Late Quartet”), Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) representing the men while Amy Adams (“The Master”), Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”), Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”), Maggie Smith (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) and Sally Field (“Lincoln”) holding up the women’s branch.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: