Oscar Predictions: 13/10/2011


There hasn’t been a ton of movement overall, though even the slightest shifts can be significant. My Week with Marilyn has started to screen, and it has boosted Michelle Williams’ standing significantly. Polanski’s Carnage screened more…and most generally agree it’s a non-starter in terms of Oscar. And Scorsese’s Hugo gave New York Film Festival audiences a preview glimpse populated with mostly temp work, but the master’s intent was clear enough to engender some early raves. It’s one to watch…and not just because I’m a Marty disciple.

There was a boom of trailer debuts since my last chart. J. Edgar showed itself but remains a question mark, though an ambitious one. War Horse updated its insipid teaser to expose some of the themes that I think will make its legit case for a big-time Best Picture play. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close strode into the public eye on the back of a clichéd U2 music cue…need to see more before passing judgment on that one. Its biggest buzz came not from the trailer, but from whispers of big potential for Max Von Sydow’s word-less supporting performance. Young Adult debuted a trailer that showed the sting of what Reitman and Cody are trying to do, and it’s intriguing…plus Theron may well be a lock for a Best Actress nomination. And The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo went through a couple more iterations, each one making a slightly different case for various nominations, most clearly Rooney Mara for Best Actress.

And of course, The Ides of March released wide, and it’s great. I’m not sure if the movie is a contender for a Best Picture win, but a nomination is likely. Ryan Gosling has been thrust into the thick of the Best Actor conversation, and I think the film itself is a player for several nominations.

Here is a shiny new set of prediction charts, reflecting some of the movement we’ve seen over the past few weeks:

Best Picture**
•    The Artist – Still The One until further notice.
•    The Descendants – Pitted itself as the second great discovery of the fall at Telluride and Toronto…should be in.
•    The Help – The big, quality, commercial success…box-office and a slew of great performances should assure its place.
•    The Ides of March – The movie is great and Gosling’s performance is its beating heart. It’s the real deal on every level.
•    War Horse – The new trailer still has some nauseating moments, but it also reveals some of the crowd-pleasing, heart-tugging moments that will make this a big hit. I’m finally sold on Spielberg’s latest opus as a major Oscar player.
•    Moneyball – Still in the thick of the conversation, which boosts its chances across the board.
•    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – LA press screenings bowed to some conservative raves. Still a sleeper, but it has re-positioned for an Oscar-focused December release.
•    Midnight in Paris – It has dropped out of the conversation for the moment, but its specter still lingers. We’ll see what happens when the Blu-Ray drops and the inevitable barrage of Academy screenings and screeners start making the rounds.
•    The Tree of Life – It’s out now on Blu-Ray and DVD…we’ll see how big an impression it makes in the conversations to come.
•    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – This one is poised to make a big splash, and the slew of variations on the trailer keeps it in play at every turn. If the movie delivers, could be one to watch.

**It should be noted that this list is reflective of the top ten possibilities, not reflective of a prediction that there will actually be ten nominees. Based on the Academy’s new voting system, I think there will be somewhere between six and nine nominees, and right now I’d put my money on eight as the magic number.

Other possibilities: The Young Adult trailer is promising, but we still need to see the movie. Eastwood’s J. Edgar is another wait-and-see prospect, but it will be screening very soon. The word on Marty’s Hugo is that it’s film history lesson packed with endlessly creative references in a family-movie shell…we’ll see if it’s transcendent enough to make the Oscar cut. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close debuted an iffy trailer. I’m way down on that one…but again, wait and see. Also not counting out We Bought a Zoo, which itself debuted a questionable trailer, but Cameron Crowe can be great…

Best Director
•    Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist – He is the upstart insurgent with the film of the moment.
•    Alexander Payne, The Descendants – Another ostensible lock.
•    George Clooney, The Ides of March – Great work with the 70s-era sting that Clooney loves. He’s not the winner, but a likely nominee.
•    Steven Spielberg, War Horse – If the film at all delivers, he’s likely in.
•    Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life – Still holding out that respect for the enormity of the film and the work will secure Malick this slot.

Other possibilities: Eastwood and Reitman, obviously. Fincher too. Tomas Alfredson is the sleeper director in the sleeper movie, Tinker, Tailor… Also, Bennett Miller for Moneyball, Stephen Daldry for Extremely Loud, and hell, why not Martin Scorsese?

Best Actress – Leading Role
•    Viola Davis, The Help – Still the surest lock for a nomination…but…
•    Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn – …if word trickling out of its early screenings is any indication, Williams could be The One.
•    Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady – The customary ‘Meryl Slot’…though I don’t think she’s going to win it.
•    Charlize Theron, Young Adult – The trailer gave a glimpse to what most are expecting to be a big, brilliant performance. The film is still holding back, but Theron is likely in, and more nominations for the film could be in the cards…
•    Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs – Still a likely fifth-slot nominee.

Other possibilities: The case is stronger and stronger for Rooney Mara in Dragon Tattoo…she could easily unseat someone on the list above. Plus, there is still rightful love for Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene and Felicity Jones in Like Crazy. And the big sleeper: Michelle Yeoh in Luc Besson’s The Lady.

Best Actor – Leading Role
•    Jean Dujardin, The Artist – Odds-on favorite to win at this point, IMHO…
•    George Clooney, The Descendants – Another lock…and could eventually take over the top spot.
•    Michael Fassbender, Shame – Deadly sleeper to end all deadly sleepers…Searchlight picked the film up and will push hard. I think it will work.
•    Brad Pitt, Moneyball – Great work from Pitt, and the movie is still buzz-y. Seems solid.
•    Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March – In a career year, it’s his best work and surest bet for a nomination. Right now, I think it’s gonna happen.

Other possibilities: Gary Oldman is still a strong possibility for Tinker, Tailor, but it’s such a subtle performance that right now it’s being edged out. And until we see if the movie is a game-changer, I think Leonardo DiCaprio’s work in J. Edgar is on the outside looking in. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is indeed great in 50/50, but it’s a Golden Globe nod waiting to happen…and maybe a SAG nomination…but not Oscar. The criminal box-office failure of Warrior means Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are out. And I’m still waiting to see how Take Shelter catches on…if it does, Michael Shannon is likely in.

Best Supporting Actress
•    Octavia Spencer, The Help – In a film that could literally fill this category by itself, Spencer seems the most likely nominee.
•    Jessica Chastain, The Help – For an actress who could literally fill this category by herself, this is her biggest, most visible, entirely beguiling performance. Plus, this is the Year of Chastain…she has to get recognized, doesn’t she?
•    Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus – Word out of the festivals is that she’s a lock…
•    Shailene Woodley, The Descendants – The recipient of the biggest boost coming out of the festivals…she will be a well-loved figure for the entirety of this season.
•    Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method – She may soon be on the outside…the film is kinky and it turns off a lot of folks.

Other possibilities: Look at literally any of Jessica Chastain’s other performances…maybe Take Shelter above all the others. Or any of the other supporting actresses in The Help, most notably Bryce Dallas Howard. Also Judi Dench in J. Edgar, Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs, Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud, Carey Mulligan in Shame, Berenice Bejo in The Artist, and Evan Rachel Wood in The Ides of March.

Best Supporting Actor
•    Christopher Plummer, Beginners – In the most unsure, unstable, wide-open category, this is the one performance that has held up in conversations since May.
•    Albert Brooks, Drive – I think his stock has actually risen a bit…a tentative lock, if that’s even possible.
•    Nick Nolte, Warrior – He’s fading because the film has already faded, but we haven’t seen most of the other possibilities, so I’m keeping him here for now…
•    Patton Oswalt, Young Adult – Speaking of unseen possibilities, here’s the biggest one. The trailer didn’t tell us much about the performance, but I’ll hang on it for now.
•    Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – I’ll believe the buzz for this one, for the moment.

Other possibilities: Brad Pitt is still in the hunt for The Tree of Life. Kenneth Branagh has been overshadowed by Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, but we’ll see. Also, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Ides of March…or maybe even George Clooney in The Ides of March. Other small possible includes John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Jim Broadbent in The Iron Lady, David Thewlis in The Lady, and Armie Hammer in J. Edgar. Jonah Hill in Moneyball is still a possibility, but his chances are slimming faster than his body.

Best Original Screenplay
•    The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius –Until there is a clear, major shift, the film is simply a front-runner across the board.
•    Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen – If nothing else, this nomination is a guarantee.
•    Young Adult, Diablo Cody – Very buzz-y.
•    The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick – Waiting on the next wave of buzz…
•    Martha Marcy May Marlene, Sean Durkin – A guess, based on the notion that there is usually one surprise.

Other possibilities: J. Edgar (Dustin Lance Black), Win Win (Tom McCarthy, Joe Tibani), Beginners (Mike Mills), The Iron Lady (Abi Morgan)…wishful thinking on my part for Warrior (Cliff Dorfman, Gavin O’Connor, and Anthony Tambakis)…and I’d love it if John Logan’s Rango script got some recognition here.

Best Adapted Screenplay
•    The Descendants, Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, Jim Rash – Easily the front-runner.
•    Moneyball, Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin  - A homerun script by two of the absolute giants of screenwriting.
•    The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov – Another strong possibility for a movie filled with strong possibilities across the board.
•    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan – It’s a screenplay movie, so this slot should be secured.
•    War Horse, Richard Curtis, Lee Hall – Pedigree.

Other possibilities: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Eric Roth), The Help (Tate Taylor), and if the movie is for real, We Bought a Zoo (Cameron Crowe and Aline Brosh McKenna).

Jason McKiernan

I married into the cult of cinema at a very young age - I wasn't of legal marriage age, but I didn't care. It has taken advantage of me and abused me many times. Yet I stay in this marriage because I'm obsessed and consumed. Don't try to save me -- I'm too far gone.
  • http://twitter.com/NextProjection Christopher Misch

    Is it just me or does Young Adult look like a complete waste? Here’s to hoping I’m wrong….