By Francisco Salazar ( | First Posted: Feb 22, 2013 10:37 AM EST

Warner Bros

This year the Best Picture category sees ninefilms competing for the highest honor. After Guild awards one film has emerged as the front-runner. However that film is not nominated for Best Director and that could potentially lead to a surprise winner on Sunday. Previous winners are "The Artist," "The King's Speech," "The Hurt Locker," "Slumdog Millionaire," and "No Country for Old Men."

Amour-"Amour" is the first foreign film to be nominated for Best Picture since "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" obtained the honor in 2000. It marks the eighth time that this occurs in Oscar history. Michael Haneke's drama has won four Best Picture awards including the European Film Award and the National Society of Film Critics. The film is nominated for 5 Academy Awards and is expected to go home with the Best Foreign Film and Best Actress awards.

Argo-Ben Affleck's CIA thriller scored seven nominations at the Academy Awards. It scored victories at all the major awards including the Golden Globes, the British Academy Awards, and the Critics' Choice. Additionally, it won all the major Guilds, prompting it to be the favorite for the Best Picture. However Affleck is not nominated for Best Director and this has brought about skepticism. If "Argo" loses Best Picture, it will be the first film in the history of the Academy Awards to have won all the Guilds and lost the Oscar.    

Beasts of the Southern Wild- Benh Zeitlin's film made history with its 4 nominations. He became the seventh youngest director to be honored in the directing category and Quvenzhane Wallis became the youngest Best Actress candidate. The film has not won a single Best Picture award and is not expected to do to so on Sunday.

Django Unchained- Nominated for five Academy Awards, Quentin Tarantino's controversial adventure movie marked the director's third work to be honored in the Best Picture category. The film has not won a single top honor and Tarantino's failure to be nominated for Best Director singles it out as one of the weakest candidates. 

 Les Miserables-Tom Hooper's musical epic received eight nominations. The film won the Golden Globe but failed to be honored by anyone else. "Les Miserables" received mixed reviews from critics and did not get shortlisted for Best Director. These factors may end up killing its opportunity for the top prize. Additionally, the Tom Hooper film "The King's Speech" won two years ago and it is likely that the Academy votes for someone else. However "Les Miserables" is expected to go home with three statues including Best Supporting Actress fro Anne Hathaway.

 Life of Pi-The fantasy film, "Life of Pi" is nominated for 11 awards. The film became the second highest nominee of the year and made history by getting nominated for every technical award. The Ang Lee effort only received one precursor award and failed to get a SAG nomination. Like "Avatar,"   "Inception," and "Hugo," "Pi" looks to be honored for its technical achievement but ignored for Best Picture.

Lincoln-Steven Spielberg's biopic garnered 12nominations and became the most honored film of the year. During precursor season "Lincoln" was hailed as the front-runner to win. However its failure to obtain any Guild awards and win the Golden Globe or BAFTA showed that film was not favored by Academy members or awards organizations. Nevertheless, if the Academy decides to throw a curveball, "Lincoln" could easily slip in and win.

Silver Linings Playbook-David O.Russell's crowd pleaser scored eight nominations on Jan. 10. The film became the first in 31 years to be nominated for all four acting awards and also surprised with a directing nomination.  "Playbook" won five precursor awards including the Satellite and the Australian Film Institute's top honor. While it was not nominated for the BAFTA and the Directors Guild of America, it has emerged as one of the potential surprise choices.

Zero Dark Thirty-The Osama Bin Laden themed movie "Zero Dark Thirty" received five nominations. The Kathryn Bigelow film was at one point considered the front-runner as it won thirteen precursor awards including the New York Film Critics and the National Board of review. However when controversy struck, the film started to lose favor with organizations and eventually led to Bigelow's omission in the Best Director category. With Academy member's asking to boycott it and the senate opening an investigation on the film, "Zero Dark Thirty" had a good run but is sure to lose on Sunday.

Predictions: "Argo" is sure to win after victories at the Producers, Screen Actors, Writers and Directors guilds. However if it makes history by losing then "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook" could steal the award   

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