Sunday, August 8, 2010

Early Oscar Predictions: August 2010

Last year, I didn't start this process until October, but I'm feeling good about this year so I'm going to start in August (if I were really brave, I would've started this a long time ago, but I'd rather wait until closer to Venice and Toronto before making these guesses). Of course, many of these films have yet to be seen, but this much is certain: having the most critical and commercial praise so far this year, Toy Story 3, Inception, and The Kids Are All Right are locks for major nominations. So, without further ado, here are my first predictions.
BEST PICTURE
127 Hours
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
Inception
The Way Back
The King's Speech
Never Let Me Go
The Social Network
Another Year
Somewhere
The aforementioned three have already been discussed, so I won't go into them. The Way Back and The King's Speech feel like locks on paper, given that they're a war drama and a regal period piece, respectively. Never Let Me Go has a lot of promise, and the fact that its based on a Kazuo Ishiguro novel certainly doesn't hurt its chances. The Social Network is building up some great buzz, and the only way I can see it failing to make this race is if it completely bombs. The Academy loves Mike Leigh's every-other movie, and Another Year comes after Happy-Go-Lucky, so its time for some major love (it was also made a huge splash at Cannes this year). And Somewhere, Sofia Coppola's new film, also seems good for a nomination, particular since its about actors and that's something the Academy loves. The only one I'm really unsure about is 127 Hours; its Danny Boyle's follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire, which won Best Picture two years ago, but its a one-man show with James Franco in the lead, and if he doesn't completely blow it out of the water, then this film doesn't really stand a chance.
BEST DIRECTOR
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Peter Weir, The Way Back
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
David Fincher, The Social Network
Hooper has proven himself to be a great director through his television work, and there's a lot of buzz around his work here. Nolan's the whole reason why the Best Picture category was expanded to ten, and his work on Inception will has turned enough heads to merit a nomination this year. Weir is an Academy favorite, and if The Way Back does well, it may be considered "his year." Fincher has a very prestige film on his hands, and his work here certainly looks deserving. Cholodenko is probably more wishful thinking than anything else; she deserves a nod, but the Academy may decide that they don't need to honor another woman director now that they've given an Oscar to one. Its a shame, but that's how they tend to roll.
BEST ACTOR
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Franco's nomination of course depends on how well he carries his film, as previously stated. Gosling has already received raves for his performance, and if enough people see his film, he should earn his second nod. Firth is playing a meaty role (a king! With a speech impediment!!), and should therefore easily make it into this race. Wahlberg, on top of having a pretty great year, is playing a boxer, and if there's one thing the Academy loves, its boxing movies. Bardem is something of a wild card, since they usually don't honor foreign language performances, but his performance is rumored to be very strong (check out his Best Actor trophy from Cannes). Where's Robert Duvall, you ask? Get Low hasn't exactly been a critical favorite, and his hype actually started for LAST year's race; I just can't see his buzz lasting through this year's Oscar season.
BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love
Robin Wright Penn, The Conspirator
I'm really not sure about this category at all yet. Penn's film hasn't even been set for release yet, so this one is by no means certain. Roberts, too, isn't a sure thing, but if her film turns out to be a huge hit then its possible. Kidman is prime for a return to the ceremony, and her role here as a grieving mother is perfect Oscar fodder. Hathaway's role is also shaky, since its unknown how substantial her role is. Bening, however, is almost certain to campaign as a lead (though she's arguably in a more supporting role), and will find herself in this category. I thought about including Hilary Swank for Conviction, since they seem to only nominate her in years when Bening is nominated so that they can make sure that Bening will never when her long-deserved Oscar and Swank can have multiple wins (or at least that's my theory). Of course, if Swank's excellent in her role, then I hope she is nominated, but please, let the best lady win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Ed Harris, The Way Back
Sam Rockwell, Conviction
This one's hard to really predict too. Bale is long overdue for his first nod, and this seems like the film that will deliver. The same goes for Ruffalo, who's excellent in The Kids Are All Right. Rush is traditionally a showy performer, and if he steals scenes in his film, he'll be nominated. Not much is known about Harris' role in this film, but there's a general consensus that he'll be campaigning as supporting, and the Academy does like him. Rockwell, who's never been nominated (what a shame!), looks to have a very for-your-consideration role, and his chances at a nod this year are good.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lesley Manville, Another Year
Helen Mirren, Brighton Rock
Andrea Riseborough, Brighton Rock
Dianne Wiest, Rabbit Hole
Elle Fanning, Somewhere
The last one's probably the riskiest, but Fanning could stun us, to say nothing of Coppola's natural talent with bringing out great performances (plus, how odd would it be if Elle scored an Oscar nomination before her big sister, Dakota?). The Brighton Rock ladies have a lot of buzz, and this category has, for the last two years, featured double nominations so it probably will again with these two. Wiest is in a role that was Tony nominated, and given her recent absence from the screen, the Academy could want to welcome her back. Manville's role is debatable (is she lead or supporting?), but whichever she campaigns for, expect a nomination to result: she received a lot of positive reviews for her role, and being directed by Mike Leigh never hurts (Hawkins was robbed!).
So what do you think: agree? Disagree? Discuss!

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