The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
The King's Speech
The Social Network
There you have it: I'm finally convinced, based on the 12 nominations it garnered at the BFCAs and its Golden Globe nominations, that Black Swan will be nominated for Best Picture. This is most likely going to be the final lineup, but The Town, Another Year, Blue Valentine, and The Way Back are all waiting in the wings, and any one of them could manage to sneak in. In fact, I wouldn't even count out Hereafter; the film may have gotten terrible reviews, but the Oscars have a soft-spot for Clint Eastwood and sappy melodramas, so it wouldn't surprise me, though its an epic longshot. The film most in trouble, based on reviews, is True Grit, since its reviews range from ecstatic praise to it-was-okay; a film with a more passionate fan base could squeak past it.
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Fincher, The Social Network
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
The way I see it, the first four men are pretty comfortably locked into place here (especially Fincher, who's won practically every directing award thus far), with only Boyle's place in any immediate danger, seeing as how his film is quickly becoming the Franco show (but I have faith that the Academy will open to him). For that fifth spot, its most likely a two-way battle between Aronofsky and The Fighter's David O. Russell (who I had here last month): the latter's film is picking up momentum and ecstatic reviews, but his prickly past behavior will probably turn some voters off to him. Aronofsky is a director who should have a few nominations at this point, and I think they'll finally reward him this year for his unique work. Fun fact: The Fighter was originally supposed to be directed by Aronofsky as a quasi-sequel to The Wrestler, but he dropped out to do...Black Swan.
James Franco, 127 Hours
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Given the amount of awards and nominations that Eisenberg has been receiving, I think its finally time for me to recognize him as an Oscar contender. But who to evict from the lineup? Robert Duvall's campaign has slowed significantly, so I've chosen him to be left out, but Jeff Bridges isn't safe by any means. Neither, really, is Mark Wahlberg, since practically everyone else involved in the film is getting all the attention, but with the film's momentum, I'm sticking with him (interesting note: last night I had a dream that I went to go see The Fighter and was upset that the first 90 minutes of the film didn't have Wahlberg in them at all, that it was all about Melissa Leo and Christian Bale. Subliminal message based on the awards attention?). Waiting in the wings is Duvall, Ryan Gosling, and longshot Leonardo DiCaprio (for either Inception or Shutter Island, he's got campaigns for both).
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Lesley Manville, Another Year
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
I haven't made any changes, since this is more or less what we've been seeing all season. The absence of Manville in recent awards has been troubling, but I don't think the Oscars will be able to resist her scene-stealing (possibly scenery-chewy) performance, especially since its in a Mike Leigh film - Oscar likes actresses in his films, except when they don't (see: Sally Hawkins, Happy-G0-Lucky, 2008). I'm still hoping that Anne Hathaway (Love & Other Drugs) and Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right) can squeeze in, but unfortunately that just doesn't seem like a possibility anymore.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
I really hate to drop Rockwell from the lineup, but his film and campaign are going nowhere, and despite a few nominations, he's just not getting enough attention. Who is, on the other hand, is Renner, who did a bang-up job in The Town and will probably reap his second Oscar nod in as many years for the role. Who could take his spot? Well, Rockwell could, but Bill Murray (Get Low) and Ed Harris (The Way Back) are good for career honors if people remember or see their films, respectively.
Also, speaking of Bale, check out this delightful video of him singing the Powerpuff Girls theme song:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Let me start by saying that, given that she's the narrator, catalyst for the film's action, and featured in most of the film, Steinfeld is not, by definition, a supporting actress, but a lead. That being said, she stands a better chance of being nominated here (she's 14; youngest Supporting Actress nominee: Tatum O'Neal (10 when she was nominated in 1973) that in lead (youngest nominee: Keisha Castle-Hughes, 16 in 2003); it would be nice to pretend that age doesn't matter at the Oscars, but it does, especially when it comes to women (check it out here). Otherwise, it seems like this category has finally found its shape, with the first four showing up in just about every group's nominations.