Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oscar Predictions: January 2011, aka Final Predictions

Yes, folks, the Oscar nominations are a mere four days away (and if anybody wants to join me, I will be up to watch the announcement Tuesday morning). So these are my fearless final predictions; last year I did pretty well, getting 32 of the 35 nominees correct, so I'm hoping that this year will treat me well too. And it should, since every category seems to have been locked up for the last month (the actresses excepted). So, here you are, my final predictions:
BEST PICTURE
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
Inception
The King's Speech
The Social Network
The Fighter
True Grit
Winter's Bone
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
I hate to do it, but there are two films here that are vulnerable, and of the two, Winter's Bone has the stronger momentum at the moment. That means I'm dropping 127 Hours, which is depressing since the film is phenomenal, but recently it seems that only Franco has received any attention in regards to it. But there's still a possibility it could be nominated, so don't be surprised if it does. Also jockeying for that last spot is The Town, but I'm seeing Blue Valentine as the final nominee. It needed some wins this past month (wins it didn't get), but its a critical favorite and will probably get a lot of first-place votes, which is important. The others are pretty much locks at this point.
BEST DIRECTOR
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Fincher, The Social Network
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
With 127 Hours out of my Best Picture list, I don't think Danny Boyle stands a chance at being a nominee either (the "lone wolf" phenomenon, in which a director was nominated but his film wasn't, is probably over for the most part now that there are 10 Best Picture nominees but only five director nominees). David O. Russell (The Fighter) earned nominations from the Golden Globes and DGA, but the last time all three organizations lined up 5-for-5 was in 1977. He's still a strong contender, but the Oscars love the Coen Brothers, and they'll probably want to reward them for True Grit becoming their first film to gross over $100 million.
BEST ACTOR
James Franco, 127 Hours
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
I'm dropping Wahlberg, since he's received virtually no attention this awards season, and I don't think The Fighter is strong enough to carry him to a nomination. Since basically only Firth and Eisenberg have been winning any prizes, its hard to figure it out beyond those two. Franco is a really safe bet, even though he'll probably be the only nomination his film gets. Bridges seems like a good choice, but since he won last year, they may not want to throw him another nod so soon. Robert Duvall (Get Low) could very easily score a "veteran" nomination, and he was nominated for a SAG Award, but I'm going with Gosling for this one. If voters see his film, he'll get in.
BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
I know I'm on a bit of a Blue Valentine bent here, but I seriously believe that this film is going to score in a very big way as voters see it. But I also can't see Lesley Manville (Another Year) getting in; her performance has been hailed by pretty much every critic, but she's been ignored by virtually every awards group since December. That doesn't bode well for her campaign, and I think she's going to be lost in the crowd. There's still a good chance that several other women could score a nomination here, but I Kidman and Lawrence are fairly safe bets. And this race has been Bening vs. Portman for the win for over a month now, so their nominations are set in stone.
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 didn't make any changes to this category because I don't really think anyone else is going to be nominated. This seems pretty well-established. I have noticed how misleading Renner's picture up there is; if you've seen the movie, you know why.
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
I didn't make any changes here, either, but I might be underestimating Mila Kunis (Black Swan) and overestimating Weaver, who deserves a nomination but is probably more vulnerable that I prefer. Steinfeld has a very interesting predicament: she's being campaigned as "supporting," but anyone who's seen the film can see that she is clearly, without a doubt the lead. Oscar's been known to call out category fraud, especially when it comes to actresses (see: Keisha Castle-Hughes in 2003, Kate Winslet in 2008), so I suspect Steinfeld could earn a lot of votes for Best Actress. However, that category is particularly volatile this year, and Jennifer Lawrence will probably get the "young actress" nomination, so I believe this year they'll willingly accept category fraud in order to recognize Steinfeld's outstanding work.
So what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.

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