REUTERS - If Americans had their say, presidential drama "Lincoln" or musical "Les Miserables" would win the best picture Oscar next month, while Anne Hathaway and Daniel Day-Lewis should take home the movie industry's top prizes for acting, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
Americans also think epic fantasy "The Hobbit," slavery Western "Django Unchained" and shipwreck tale "Life of Pi," should be front-runners for the coveted best picture statuette, according to the online survey of 951 people.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce on Thursday the films and names of those who will compete for Oscars after a secret ballot by its 6,000 members working in the movie industry.
According to awards watchers, while both "Lincoln" and "Les Miserables" are expected to be among the 5-10 official best picture contenders on Thursday, "The Hobbit" is considered a long-shot, despite its popularity at the worldwide box office.
Americans looked to be on the money when 27 percent of those questioned picked Hathaway as a likely Oscar winner for her role as the tragic heroine of "Les Miserables", and 18 percent picked Day-Lewis for his performance as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
Both actors are seen as leading contenders for Oscar glory at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood of February 24.
But in other areas, the poll showed a wide divergence between popular favorites and likely contenders. Some 52 percent of those questioned had seen none of the 24 movies on the Ipsos poll list.
Meryl Streep, who has a record 17 Oscar nominations and three wins, is not expected to be among this year's contenders. But 57 percent of those polled thought Streep should be a top five finalist for her role as a frustrated wife in comedy "Hope Springs" and she came second to Hathaway as their top pick to win again in February.
Among favorite actors, Americans chose Day-Lewis (18 percent), Denzel Washington's alcoholic pilot in "Flight" (16 percent), Hugh Jackman's turn as convict who makes good in "Les Miserables" (10 percent) and Jamie Foxx's performance as a slave-turned-bounty-hunter in "Django Unchained" (7 percent) as their top picks for Oscar glory.
In the best picture category - the biggest prize at the Oscars - those interviewed chose "Lincoln" (18 percent), "Les Miserables" (13 percent), "The Hobbit" (12 percent), "Django Unchained" and "Life of Pi" (both 6 percent), "The Dark Night Rises" and Bond movie "Skyfall" (both 5 percent), as the films they would pick to win.
The poll was conducted between Jan 8-9 and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sandra Maler