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Here's our Oscar night guide: Predictions, parties, food and more

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oscar Credit: (Getty Images)

We pick who will/should win

After all the pricey campaigning, the hours spent sitting through lesser awards shows and the endless speculation about Ben Affleck's directing snub, Hollywood's biggest night has finally arrived.

Period pieces are the story at the 85th Academy Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday. The Oscars are headlined by a Best Picture race that has come down to a faceoff between a 1979-set Iranian hostage drama (Affleck's "Argo") and Steven Spielberg's take on Abraham "Lincoln."

The 19th-century France set "Les Misérables," hunt-for-Osama drama "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Silver Linings Playbook," which takes place in Philadelphia circa 2008, also seem poised to come home with trophies.

In many ways, the 2013 Oscar race is harder to predict than its recent predecessors. But that hasn't stopped us at amNewYork. These are our predictions in the major categories:

BEST PICTURE
"Amour"
"Argo"
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Django Unchained"
"Les Misérables"
"Life of Pi"
"Lincoln"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"
Will win: "Argo" has all the awards season momentum.
Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty" is the year's most important movie.

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Misérables"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Denzel Washington, "Flight"
Will/Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis had this wrapped up as soon as he signed on to play the 16th president.

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"
Will win: With a commercial hit in "The Hunger Games" and a critical hit in "Silver Linings," this is Jennifer Lawrence's year.
Should win: The chameleonic Jessica Chastain might be her generation's Meryl Streep.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
WIll/should win: Robert De Niro gives his most heartfelt performance in years to narrowly triumph over Tommy Lee Jones.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, "The Master"
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Will/Should win: Anne Hathaway is in "Les Misérables" for just about 15 minutes, but she leaves an indelible impression on the whole 2 1/2 hours.

BEST DIRECTOR
Michael Haneke, "Amour"
Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Will win: We think Steven Spielberg narrowly takes it over Ang Lee, but this is by far the most difficult category to predict.
Should win: Benh Zeitlin, a first-time director, brought a wholly unique vision to "Beasts of the Southern Wild," creating a mythological world unlike any we've seen before.

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Oscar fun at home

Recent Culinary Hall of Fame inductee chef Daniel Boulud and New York Events director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Patrick Harrison shared their tips on throwing a red-carpet worthy Oscar party in a New York City home.

1. As long as space permits it, invite all your friends. The Oscars should be watched in large groups.

2. Serve food family-style. Appetizers, canapés and finger foods allow for maximum guest attendance (no tables needed!) and minimal after-party cleanup.

3. Unlike your typical cocktail party, the food will be a supporting actor to the television on Oscar night. Spread the flow of food throughout the evening and during the commercial breaks so no one misses an acceptance speech.

4. The Oscars are one of the most glamorous events on television, so serve fancier fare that is sure to win Best Classy Cuisine.

5. But don't forget to have a little fun. Harrison suggested an Oscar drinking game to keep acceptance speeches exciting: Drink every time someone thanks their agent.

6. Tailor drinks and dishes to your favorite movies nominated for awards this year. Boulud suggested to "try to capture the soul of the movie, sometimes the journey that the movie takes you on or sometimes the life of the character."

(ALESSANDRIA MASSI)

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Nitehawk
Nitehawk's Ultra Mega Awards Show promises an evening full of trivia, drinking games and a commercial-free viewing of Hollywood's biggest night. Specialty meals based on Oscar-nominated films will be served and complimentary drinks will be given to those who dress to impress. (Sun., 7 p.m., 136 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, 718-384-3980, $25)

Joe's Pub
Take a break from the seriousness of the Academy Awards and head to Joe's Pub, where comedian Murray Hill and special guests will spoof movies. People can compete for the best and worst dressed, and enter to win a prize after submitting their Oscar ballots. (Sun. 7:30 p.m., 425 Lafayette St., 212-967- 7555, $25)

KTCHN
At KTCHN, relive the glitz and glamour of the first Academy Award ceremony. A meal inspired by the 1929 Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will be served. The night includes prize contests, edible Oscar awards and a live DJ. Reserve your table at ktchnnyc.com. (Sun. 7 p.m., 508 W. 42nd St., 212-868-2999)

92YTribeca
Back-to-back Oscars events starting with The Big Oscars Quiz Thing, followed by an Oscar Night Viewing Party. Test your Academy Awards IQ and then join comedians Eliot Glazer and Giulia Rozzi for the big show from Hollywood. (Sun., 6 p.m., 200 Hudson St., 212-601-1000, $15)

XL Nightclub
Catch the club's seventh annual Alt.Oscar Awards party featuring DJs, dancers, and more. Proceeds from the event will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. (6 p.m.-1 a.m., 512 W 42nd St., 212-239-2999, $10)

54 Below
An Old Hollywood-themed Oscar viewing party. Watch the ceremony live on the club's big-screen TVs. (7 p.m., 254 W 54th St., 646-476-3551, no cover charge, food and beverage minimum $25)

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