Predicting the Oscars is not really that difficult of a task to do each year. So many of the spots in each category are shoo-ins, with usually only the last spot up for grabs - even if that one. The problem with predicting this year's Oscar race comes in the form of predicting just how many Best Pictures nominees will be announced on Tuesday morning. After upping the BP category to ten nominees a couple of years ago (from the previous amount of five - which in my not-so-humble opinion is the perfect amount) the Academy has announced that this year there will be between five and ten nominees for the top prize. There is a whole set of convoluted rules that go with this decision, reading like one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, but I will not bother you with trying to explain them. This of course makes it a bit more difficult, but who am I to complain. Anyway, on with the show. Below are my nomination predictions, with each category ordered in probability of nomination.
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- Midnight in Paris
- The Help
If it goes further (my guess is seven nominees)
- The Tree of Life
And if it goes even further (still in order of probability)
- War Horse
- The Ides of March
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Dark Horses: Bridesmaids and/or Harry Potter 7.5
The first three are shoo-ins. As for the next two, either one could be bumped for the two after that. It would give me such delight to see The Tree of Life get in there. Some little guy in the back of my head wants me to place the films in that top five, but that is just wishful thinking. Hell, placing it in the seventh spot may be a bit of wishful thinking as well. As for those last three, I do not think it will go that far, though number eight could replace The Tree of Life (egads no!!), but just in case, there they are. As for the dark horse choices, they may seem a bit silly, but it would not surprise me to hear either's name called on Tuesday morning. I guess there is always the possibility of something like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Drive (I would love that), My Week With Marilyn, J. Edgar or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close sneaking in there as well, (the latter of which had plenty of Oscar buzz early on but not so much these days) but these are unlikely.
- Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
- Martin Scorsese for Hugo
- Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
- Alexander Payne for The Descendants
- Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life
Dark Horse: David Fincher for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
I think the top four are pretty much locks for the nomination. The number five spot is a killer though. Again, this may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I believe that even if his film is left out of the eventual nominees, Malick will get that fifth spot. Of course there is always the possibility of Tate Taylor or Bennett Miller grabbing that spot for either The Help or Moneyball respectively. These, especially Miller, are more likely scenarios but I must go with my heart here. Then again, we could always see Spielberg's name pop in there, even if he was snubbed (rightfully so, his film is typical Oscar dreck) by the DGA. They also snubbed (unrightfully if you ask me) Malick but let's just ignore that. As for the dark horse choice, a second possibility, though less likely (but more desirous) is Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive. Yeah, right.
- George Clooney in The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin in The Artist
- Brad Pitt in Moneyball
- Michael Fassbender in Shame
- Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Dark Horse: Michael Shannon in Take Shelter
The first three are locks (with Clooney a near lock for the actual Oscar - for now) and I think the number four spot is close to a lock, as long as the AMPAS voters can get past the NC-17 rating (and possible jealousy over the rather enormous size of the actor's schlong). The number five spot is a bit trickier. Leo DiCaprio was a seeming lock when the awards season first kicked off, but after such mediocre reviews for his film, his Oscar buzz has dropped significantly. Still though, he is Leo DiCaprio and therefore is a possibility. Dropping Leo and adding Oldman as the fifth spot may not be a sure thing though. Oldman, who strangely enough has never been nominated before, gives a solid performance in the retro spy thriller, but it is one of those strong quiet performances that tend not to get noticed. But then the Academy does like to correct past errors and Oldman's lack of nominations could help him get that notice. Then again, Michael Shannon (the dark horse choice) has been the critical darling so him getting that fifth spot is quite possible. Of course I would love to see Ryan Gosling get nominated. Preferably for Drive, but more likely for The Ides of March. Perhaps the Gosman should be my dark horse.
- Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
- Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn
- Viola Davis in The Help
- Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
- Charlize Theron in Young Adult
Dark Horse: Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin
The first three are locks, and I believe they are also the three that will battle for the win. Davis won the Critic's Choice Award while Streep and Williams split the Golden Globes (Drama and Comedy respectively). Personally I think with Octavia Spencer being the frontrunner for Supporting Actress (voters like spreading the wealth in the acting categories) and the less-than luke warm response that The Iron Lady has received (everything about the film sans La Streep's performances has been much criticized) that Williams' portrayal of Marilyn Monroe (the Academy loves actors playing other actors) could pull off a relatively shocking surprise come Oscar night. But that is speculation for another time. Right now I am just predicting the nominees, and all three of these ladies are going to be among them. I think the number four spot is pretty much a forgone conclusion as well. Not many people out in Peoria have seen the film yet but Glenn Close is highly respected and should be able to procure a nomination. Then (like in most categories) you have that fifth spot. This spot is pretty much a battle between Theron and the dark horse Swinton. It could pretty much go either way really. One other possibility (though not a strong one) is Elizabeth Olsen for her turn in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Earlier on she seemed like a shoo-in, but all that buzz has long gone away. Even Kiera Knightley or Rooney Mara could surprise but that is highly unlikely.
Best Supporting Actor
- Christopher Plummer in Beginners
- Albert Brooks in Drive
- Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn
- Jonah Hill in Moneyball
- Nick Nolte in Warrior
Dark Horse: Patton Oswalt in Young Adult
The first three are locks, with Plummer as the frontrunner to win it all. Number four will sneak in there as long as Moneyball grabs enough attention - which I think it will (obviously). As for the fifth spot - as has been the case pretty much every time around - it is a veritable free-for-all. Early on it looked like Viggo Mortensen's performance as Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method would be a shoo-in, but pretty much all the buzz from that film has died. Patton Oswalt, our humble dark horse, had some buzz going for a while, but that has tapered off a bit. Ben Kingsley has a shot, especially with Hugo being so big in the awards world right now, and I almost went with him, but ended up going with Nolte for his role in the otherwise maligned Warrior. This culd end up being a mistake but there you have it anyway. One last possibility is Max von Sydow for Extremely Close or Loud or whatever that movie is called.
Best Supporting Actress
- Octavia Spencer in The Help
- Bérénice Bejo in The Artist
- Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
- Jessica Chastain in The Help
- Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Dark Horse: Carey Mulligan in Shame
The first three are locks and I suppose number four is close to a lock as well. After all, since Chastain was in pretty much every movie made this past year, she should get a nomination for something, right? Of course this supersaturation could split any votes she gets and end up putting her on the proverbial cutting room floor. That fifth spot however (here we go again) is another free-for-all. Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs, the great Vanessa Redgrave for Coriolanus or Carey Mulligan in Shame (our dark horse) could all take that spot, but with the campaign for Bridesmaids, it looks as if McCarthy will nab that spot after all. One last note: I would love to see Marion Cotillard sneak in here for her role in Midnight in Paris. Unlikely though.
Best Original Screenplay
- Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
- Michael Hazanavicius for The Artist
- Diablo Cody for Young Adult
- Annie Mumalo and Kristen Wiig for Bridesmaids
- Tom McCarthy for Win Win
Dark Horse: Asghar Farhadi for A Separation
The first two are definites. Woody is bound to get his sixteenth writing nomination (and third win). The Woodman already broke Billy Wilder's record with his fifteenth nod. As for number two, The Artist did not grab a coveted WGA nomination and may have limitations due to it being a silent film, but the sweep that is likely to happen on Tuesday morning (my predix - 10 nods for The Artist) will surely include this category. The third is highly probable - she is already an Oscar winner. The fourth is pretty likely as well. The fifth spot will go to either Win Win or 50/50 (both WGA nominees). I could easily switch the fifth choice between either of these, but I think Win Win has the slightest of edges. Of course our dark horse could just as easily sweep in grab the last minute nod. Then again, we should not count out J.C. Chandor for Margin Call.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian for Moneyball
- Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants
- Tate Taylor for The Help
- John Logan for Hugo
- Bridget O'Conner and Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Dark Horse: Steve Zaillian for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The first three are pretty much locks, with number one being a screenplay (the likely winner I think) written by the two best damn writers in Hollywood. Meanwhile number four is a rather sure bet as well, and number five is a fairly respectable choice as well, but since it did not receive a WGA nod it could easily be replaced by our dark horse, which incidentally did receive a WGA nod. I think the thing that will put TTSS in over TGWTDT is the fact that voters will most likely choose one or the other Steve Zaillian scripts, but probably not both. Then again, what the hell do I know. We could also see War Horse surprise, but I think only if it grabs a lot of nominations, which I do not think it will do.
Well, I think I will stop here. Sure, I could go on and say how The Tree of Life and The Artist are shoo-ins for Best Cinematography, Hugo and Harry Potter are locks for Art Direction, Moneyball and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will get Film Editing nods and The Rise of the Planet of the Apes will most likely win the Best Visual Effects Oscar - but I will not. I am just going to leave it at the big eight categories. Anyway, it helps my eventual winning percentage if I do. And speaking of winning percentages - I had an 87% accuracy rate last year, dipping down slightly from the 89% I scored in 2009. Here's hoping I can break into the ninety percentage range come Tuesday morning.