Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oscar Predictions, part 3: Acting

Here we are again. Four categories today; the acting categories.

Best Actor
Only one slot is up for grabs here. Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth, and James Franco are all locked. Any of them missing would be bizarre, though, if I had to bet one one missing, it would be Bridges. Don't count on it, though. The last spot is a little tricky, but I've a feeling the Old Hollywood Guard will pull their own through. In other words, Robert Duvall's nothing-special work on Get Low will probably get nominated because, let's face it, he's Robert Duvall. The man's pretty much a Hollywood legend. Plus, he just turned 80, and people might want to celebrate his becoming an octogenarian in style. I'd love to see Ryan Gosling show up here for Blue Valentine here, but it's probably not in the cards. Same goes for Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter (His performance is too bland) and Leonardo Dicaprio in Shutter Island (too many people hate the movie/the fact that this is the third movie in a row in which Leo has played a mentally unstable man grieving a dead wife. Show some range, man). One possible spoiler: Javier Bardem in Biutiful. Even though the movie's gotten mixed reviews, most everyone agrees that Bardem's performance is fantastic. I'd like to predict an upset here, but I just can't believe that Duvall won't pull through.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
Colin Firth-The King's Speech
James Franco-127 Hours
Jesse Eisenberg-The Social Network
Jeff Bridges-True Grit
Robert Duvall-Get Low
Alternate: Javier Bardem-Biutiful, Ryan Gosling-Blue Valentine

Best Actress
I hate this category. It's a monster to predict this year. First things first: Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, and Jennifer Lawrence are all in, for The Kids Are All Right, Black Swan, and Winter's Bone, respectively. Past that, things get a little confusing. Nicole Kidman will probably become a default nominee for her prickly work in Rabbit Hole, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see her left out. And then, the last spot...Hell if I know. There are at least five women with a strong shot at it, with two more waiting in the wings. Here they are:
Lesley Manville-Another Year: Earlier in the year, she was considered a threat to win. Something terrible and unexplained happened to Another Year, though, and it all but vanished from the circuit. That being said, if it shows up in one category, it would probably be this one. Another problem, though: category confusion. People can't decide whether Manville is lead or supporting, and, as such, she could split her votes and not get nominated in either category.
Julianne Moore-The Kids Are All Right: this nomination would come out of nowhere, but not be unexpected. Costar Bening has black-holed all the acting praise for this movie, leaving poor Julianne out in the cold. Still, both performances are fantastic, and it's sort of hard to imagine people putting Bening on their ballots without her better half Moore.
Hailee Steinfeld-True Grit: People love this performance, though it's a mystery to me just why that is. Steinfeld has (mostly) been considered supporting throughout the precursor circuit, but, then again, so was Keisha Castle-Hughes in 2003, and she ended up in the lead category. I'm hoping Steinfeld's category confusion results in her missing entirely. Fingers crossed!
Hilary Swank-Conviction: I really, really hate that I have to consider this performance as a valid option for an Oscar. Seriously? Still, people love this chick, and she did get a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Another Oscar mystery. I just can't believe this would happen. It would hurt too much.
Michelle Williams-Blue Valentine: I'd love to see this happen, but they've ignored Williams before, which is a shame, as she's easily one of the best working actresses of her generation. Sigh. It's just too hard to look past Hilary Swank's dazzling Boston accent, isn't it? -___-
The two long shots, both from foreign films:
Noomi Rapace-The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: People love this movie and this performance, but it's probably too little to make it in.
Tilda Swinton-I Am Love: This movie's even smaller, but Tilda's got a legion of rabid fans who will do anything to secure her a spot. Not sure there are enough of them, though.
...Honestly, any of these women could show up on Tuesday in the fifth spot, or even the fourth spot, in place of Kidman. Expect the unexpected!
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
Natalie Portman-Black Swan
Annette Bening-The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence-Winter's Bone
Nicole Kidman-Rabbit Hole
Julianne Moore-The Kids Are All Right
Alternate: Lesley Manville-Another Year, Hilary Swank-Conviction
(note: right until I typed that last line, I fully intended to go with Manville. Sometimes I surprise even myself. I'm not promising that I won't change my predictions in this category on Monday, though.)

Best Supporting Actor
This category is strange this year, in that I'm not too comfortable with a couple of the men I'm predicting, but there just aren't any other really valid options to take their place. Let's start with the obvious: Christian Bale is in for his work on The Fighter. Ditto Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech. Jeremy Renner is probably safe for his role in The Town. That leaves my last two slots. I'd like to give them to Mark Ruffalo and Andrew Garfield, but niether of them feel like 'Oscar' performances, and both have stumbled some in the precursors. Still, who would replace them? John Hawkes in Winter's Bone? Possible, but the film is so little. It's hard to imagine it getting more than a couple nominations. Sam Rockwell in Conviction? I thought people hated that movie, but if Hilary Swank's a possibility, than he certainly is too. Matt Damon in True Grit? He hasn't gotten any attentions whatsoever on the precursor circuit. And then there are the Social Network guys: Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer. But Garfield is struggling to get in, and he has the showy performance. If he's struggling, there's no way the smaller, less noticeable roles will make it. So I'll just stick with the five most obvious choices, even if they don't feel quite right.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
Christian Bale-The Fighter
Geoffrey Rush-The King's Speech
Jeremy Renner-The Town
Mark Ruffalo-The Kids Are All Right
Andrew Garfield-The Social Network
Alternate: John Hawkes-Winter's Bone, Sam Rockwell-Conviction

Best Supporting Actress
This one's even tougher than Best Actress. There are two sure things: Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, both from The Fighter. Past that, six women have pretty much equal shots, and at least four more women could surprise. I have no idea where this category will go. The six most likely:
Helena Bonham-Carter-The King's Speech: This performance is fairly bland, but it's in what will likely be the most-nominated film. She'll probably be swept in. Still, she might miss in favor of showier work.
Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis-Black Swan: Both women have a strong shot. Kunis has shown up more frequently on the awards circuit, but Hershey has the showier role. Maybe both of them will miss? Black Swan is very much a one-woman show.
Lesley Manville-Another Year: Yup. Her again. She's more likely to show up as a lead, but don't count her out here.
Hailee Steinfeld-True Grit: Most people are predicting Steinfeld will show up here (some even predict she'll win), but I'm hoping that enough people consider her a lead that the category confusion will keep her from getting nominated for anything. This could be one of my biggest hopes for nomination morning. Please, please, please let Hailee Steinfeld miss. There is NOTHING SPECIAL about this performance.
Jacki Weaver-Animal Kingdom: I'm conflicted here. If voters see this movie, they'll almost undoubtedly include one of the best villains of the year on their ballots. This is a great performance. That being said, this is a little Australian movie that came out during the summer and left theaters without a sound. This performance absolutely deserves to get in, but deserving usually doesn't have much to do with the nomination process.
And now, four women with less-but-still-possible odds:
Marion Cotillard-Inception: This performances is one of my favorite aspects of Inception, and it's sad that she hasn't taken off this season. Still, people love the movie, and I wouldn't be shocked to see her included.
Rebecca Hall-The Town: I don't think this will happen, but you never know. Call it a tiny hunch.
Miranda Richardson-Made in Dagenham: Here I thought this movie was dead, and then the British Academy resurrects it. That being said, I can't see this nomination happening.
Diane Wiest-Rabbit Hole: Same thing here. Rabbit Hole just hasn't gotten enough momentum. Hell, it's struggling to get its lead actress in. I can't imagine in getting any more love than that.
Once again: any of these twelve women could make it in. I've really no clue what will happen.
My Predictions, in order of likelihood:
Melissa Leo-The Fighter
Amy Adams-The Fighter
Helena Bonham-Carter-The King's Speech
Jacki Weaver-Animal Kingdom
Mila Kunis-Black Swan
Alternate: Hailee Steinfeld-True Grit, Lesley Manville-Another Year

Well, that post was longer than I expected. Still, there was an awful lot to cover. The acting races are tough this year.
Here's a schedule of the next couple days:
Tomorrow: all my tech category predictions
Monday: my final predictions: no commentary, just solidifying things.
Tuesday: Oscar nominations, complete with my inevitably indignant reaction.


  1. I think I need to see 127 hours,The Fighter,and The King's Speech. They look like they're gonna' get a ton of Oscars. I also want to see Rabbit Hole because I love Nicole Kidman - has she ever won an Oscar?

  2. The three movies are all very solid movies, and worth seeing. Rabbit Hole is good enough, but, since I know your spending money is limited, I'd say wait for it to make it to DVD. Nicole Kidman has, in fact, won before; she won best actress in 2002 for The Hours. She was also nominated for best actress in 2001 for Moulin Rouge.