Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Oscars: Who Will Be Nominated?

Early tomorrow morning Hollywood time, the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced.

Many of you may know that I've been fairly obsessed with the Oscars for years now. When the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations are announced a few weeks prior to the Oscars, we make an effort to see as many films and performances nominated, and if at all possible, we try to see everything nominated in the major Oscar categories (picture, actor, actress, supporting actor/actress, director) prior to the Oscar ceremonies.

Since I track a lot of the precursor film critics awards and other recognitions, I always make my predictions of who and what will be nominated, and then compare how I did the following day. Of course, I always love a surprise nomination or two—as long as they don't occur at the expense of someone I'm rooting for.

So, here are my predictions for the names which will be announced tomorrow morning. Let's see how far off I am!

Best Picture
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Again this year, the Academy isn't announcing how many movies it will nominate for Best Picture; the number will range between 5 and 10. I went with nine again this year, although there are some possibilities for that 10th spot, including Beasts of the Southern Wild and box-office champs The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall. (My vote would go to The Dark Knight Rises, as I thought it was a better movie, but who knows?)

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Denzel Washington, Flight

Analysis: I feel fairly confident that Cooper, Day-Lewis, Hawkes, and Jackman will be nominated, but the fifth slot is up for grabs. I'd love to see Richard Gere get his first nomination for his marvelous performance in Arbitrage, and while Joaquin Phoenix was superb in The Master, I believe his quirky off-camera personality and dissing of the Oscars will work against him, leaving that fifth slot for two-time winner Washington, who was excellent in Flight.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emanuelle Riva, Amour
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Analysis: I feel confident that Chastain, Cotillard, and Lawrence will be nominated tomorrow, but there are five possibilities for the remaining two slots. Eighty-five-year-old Riva could be the oldest woman ever nominated, for her critically acclaimed performance in the tearjerker Amour, while eight-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis could be the youngest performer nominated, for her quirky film debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Perennial Academy favorite (and 2006 Best Actress) Helen Mirren could sneak in for Hitchock, as could New York Film Critics winner Rachel Weisz for Deep Blue Sea, but I think the fifth slot will go to Watts, for her tough, tender portrayal of a mother fighting for survival in the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Analysis: No one has ever been nominated for a role in a James Bond movie, but I really think Javier Bardem could be the first. I'm most hoping that Matthew McConaughey, who has won a number of film critics awards for Magic Mike (although he missed both SAG and Golden Globe nods), will get a nomination. Other possibilities include Leonardo DiCaprio and/or Samuel L. Jackson for Django Unchained, and Robert DeNiro for Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Maggie Smith, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Analysis: I have a feeling Maggie Smith, who is becoming the Betty White of British actresses, may well sneak in for her scene-stealing role in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and although I was underwhelmed by Amy Adams in The Master, she has received a great deal of critical acclaim for her small role. However, other possibilities include Nicole Kidman, who received both Golden Globe and SAG nominations for the quirky The Paperboy, critical darling Ann Dowd in the little-seen (or even heard of) Compliance, and Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook. (Heck, if Skyfall gets a Best Picture nod, Judi Dench could sneak in, too.)

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Analysis: If Ben Affleck doesn't get nominated tomorrow, you'll hear my angry scream wherever you are. Haneke is my one wild guess. Other possibilities include 2010 winner Tom Hooper for Les Miserables, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, even David O. Russell has an outside chance if the Academy goes gaga for Silver Linings Playbook.

I know I won't be perfect, but let's see how close I am! I'll be back tomorrow with a report!

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