Monday, January 23, 2012

If I were the Academy...

One of my most favorite times of year is about to arrive.

Tomorrow morning at approximately 8:37 a.m. ET, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (specifically, the Academy president along with last year's Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence) will announce this year's Oscar nominations. Even though there is no shortage of film awards given out nowadays, which certainly reduces the surprises the nominations bring, Oscar nomination day always gives me the nervous chills.

I've seen almost every movie in contention for major awards this year (there are still a few pesky films yet to be released in the Washington area) so I feel like I have a fairly good handle on which names will be called tomorrow, but there's always a surprise or two in store. And since the Academy and I don't always walk in lock-step, I also have a few things that I'd like to see happen (which probably won't).

So, here are my predictions for who (and what) I think will get the call tomorrow:

Best Actor
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Analysis: Clooney, Dujardin, and Pitt are locks for nominations. I think Fassbender will get in for his no-holds-barred (and no-clothes-worn) performance, and I'm going with outside contender Oldman for his first nomination, although Leonardo DiCaprio has a strong shot for J. Edgar. My favorite performance of the year is Michael Shannon in the amazing independent feature Take Shelter. (Add that to your Netflix queue.)

Best Actress
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk about Kevin
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Analysis: Meryl Streep is a lock for her 17th nomination; Davis and Williams are locks for their performances, and I think Swinton is fairly solid. If there's an outside contender, it's Rooney Mara for her star-making portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If Academy voters feel strongly about Mara, she could bump either Close or Swinton.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Analysis: I feel pretty safe with Branagh and Plummer, slightly less so with Brooks (only because he didn't get a SAG nomination). Jonah Hill seems a safe bet, but I'm never quite sure with the way the Academy treats the not-so-serious young actor suddenly taking a serious role (see Mila Kunis last year). And I'm going out on a limb with Nick Nolte, who received a SAG nomination for his transcending-against-type role in Warrior.

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Analysis: Octavia Spencer and Berenice Bejo are locks, as is Jessica Chastain, who gave terrific performances in six movies in 2011. Melissa McCarthy has had a heck of a year, which very well might get capped off with an Oscar nomination. If there's a shaky plank in this category it's the youngster, Shailene Woodley, who absolutely deserves a nomination, but runs the risk of getting eclipsed either by Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs or Carey Mulligan for Shame.

Best Director
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Analysis: I went with the five men nominated by the Directors Guild, although their results are rarely paralelled in total by Oscar. Outside contenders include Steven Spielberg for War Horse, Terrence Malick for Tree of Life (folks either LOVED it or hated it), and if The Help or Moneyball makes a really strong showing in the nominations tomorrow, either Tate Taylor or Bennett Miller could find themselves on this list.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

Analysis: The biggest variable is the Best Picture category, because this year the Academy has announced there will be no less than five nominees and no less than ten, but isn't setting a fixed number. I'm betting on seven and am going with the films above; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Bridesmaids and possibly even The Tree of Life could fill the category if the number of nominees expands.

What will happen? Tune in tomorrow—or at least come back to my blog tomorrow—and see how I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment