02/18/2013 09:12 am ET Updated Feb 22, 2013

Best Supporting Actor Winner: Which Prior Champ Will Take Home The Academy Award?

Oscar season kicked off in January of 2012 when "Beasts of the Southern Wild" wowed audiences at the Sundance Film Festival. Thirteen months later, "Beasts" will compete for a host of Oscars at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24. With awards season mercifully coming to a close, HuffPost Entertainment is here with a preview of the major categories at the Oscars 2013 ceremony. Next up: picking the Best Supporting Actor winner.

Best Supporting Actor Nominees: Alan Arkin ("Argo"), Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master"), Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln"), Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained")

The Race Thus Far: Exciting. All five nominees -- all past Oscar winners, it should be noted -- have a chance to take home Best Supporting Actor, but it's Tommy Lee Jones who stands slightly ahead at the moment. Jones has multiple show-stopping scenes in "Lincoln" and won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Supporting Actor; that's significant if only because in the last 10 years, seven SAG winners in the category went on to win the Oscar.

The Potential Spoiler(s): As mentioned, Jones is only slightly ahead, thanks mostly to pressure from Waltz and De Niro: Waltz won Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards; De Niro has campaigned everywhere (he was even on "Katie") and has an Oscar-friendly narrative that voters may embrace. De Niro hasn't won an Academy Award since taking Best Actor at the 1981 Oscars, putting him in a similar position to Meryl Streep at last year's show. (Streep had not won in 29 years and then won Best Actress.) That could give the "Silver Linings Playbook" star the push he needs to unseat Jones.

Best Supporting Actor Winner Prediction : De Niro.

In the mood for actual data and evidence instead of speculation and conjecture? The Huffington Post Oscar Predictions Dashboard can be found here.

Best Supporting Actress

Oscar Nominees 2013