With the Golden Globe nominations announced next week, plus a slew of critics awards, it’s time to try to get ahead of the curve of Oscar prognostication, but this year I gleefully throw up my hands and declare I know nothing. This year, at least in the all-important Best Picture category, is unusually fluid. I have no clue what the favorite to win is. Usually it’s down to only a few films by now, but there’s a wide variety of possibilities this year. Here goes nothing:
Locks: The Descendants, The Artist
Safe Bets: The Help; Midnight in Paris, Hugo, War Horse
Also Possible: Moneyball, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
I’m really stretching the definition of “Lock,” since it wouldn’t unduly shock me if either of those two were left out. But I’m pretty sure the nominees, however many there are, will come from this list. The one film that could play spoiler is The Tree of Life. Incredibly Close has not had many screenings, so no one knows if its any good, but if it’s even half-way decent it has all the earmarks of Oscar bait.
Locks: George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Safe Bets: Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Also possible: Woody Harrelson (Rampart), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Michael Shannon, (Take Shelter), Ryan Gosling (Drive or The Ides of March).
If I’m right there are four actors pretty much set, with the fifth slot wide open, though I think Oldman is the frontrunner for it at this point.
Locks: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Viola Davis (The Help)
Safe Bets: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Also Possible: Charline Theron (Young Adult), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Tilda Swinton (We Have to Talk About Kevin), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
It’s not often the Best Actress category is this deep. My guess at this point is that Theron will get the fifth slot, so the entire category will be previous nominees.
Locks: Alexander Payne (The Descendants) Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Safe Bets: Michael Hazavinicius (The Artist), Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
Also possible: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Terence Malick (The Tree of Life), Tate Taylor (The Help), David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Bennett Miller (Moneyball), Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Director goes the way of picture, as since the Best Picture category was expanded (admittedly a small sample size) no director has been nominated without his/her picture also nominated. That could change with Malick, who would seem to be more of a director’s darling than the average Academy member. But I’m going to guess Allen in the fifth slot.
Best Supporting Actor:
Safe Bets: Albert Brooks (Drive), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Ben Kingsley (Hugo)
Also possible: Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
This is a gloriously jumbled category, with no clear favorites at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the eventual winner isn’t even listed here.
Best Supporting Actress:
Locks: Octavia Spencer (The Help), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
Safe Bets: Jessica Chastain (The Help or Take Shelter), Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
Also possible: Vanessa Redgrave, (Coriolanus), Carey Mulligan (Shame), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
The first four I’m pretty sure about, while the fifth is wide open and subject to a surprise.
Please note these are not my personal preferences. I will have a new slate of predictions before the nominations are announced in late January.