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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oscar Predictions 2011: Round Three

       It's been a busy last several days in the awards season blitz, and it's only going to get crazier from here. A slew of different critics organizations announced their, 'Best of,' lists this week, as well as the National Board of Review, and the American Film Institute. Most importantly, however, the Screen Actors Guild, the biggest body of voters that the Academy has, announced their choices this morning. Here's how everything is shaking out:

Best Picture:
1. The Artist (Previous Ranking: 2)
        Finally, a true frontrunner has emerged! It's hard to believe that we're seriously talking about a silent French movie as Oscar's most favorite flick, but after just about every critic organization in the land handed it their highest honor, all bets are off. The SAG nominations only furthered its stance as the film to beat.
2. The Descendants (Previous Ranking: 1)
        At the front of the pack for all of two seconds, The Descendants is already seeing diminished buzz. Winning the prize seems a bit far off, but grabbing a nomination, after the SAG and others have all declared their love for the film, is a foregone conclusion at this point.
3. Hugo (Previous Ranking: 18)
        What a week it's been for Hugo! The film had the honor of being thrust right into the thick of awards season by being named the National Board of Review's movie of the year, and has since enjoyed a heavy stream of love from critics across the country. The quality of the film puts it in contention; The fact that it's directed by Martin Scorsese makes it a lock for a nomination.
4. War Horse (Previous Ranking: 3)
        Reviews have only started trickling in, but War Horse sounds like another Spielberg winner. An epic of this size, with this name attached to it, is all but certain to grab a nomination, and might even put up a good fight for the night's top prize, assuming it can build some buzz upon its Christmas Day release.
5. The Help (Previous Ranking: 9)
         I've been holding out on ranking this one among my predicted nominees, but it's time to finally own up to my faulty previous picks. All doubts went out the door when it led the SAGs this morning with four nominations, the most of any movie.
6. Midnight in Paris (Previous Ranking: 5)
        The hanger-oner of this year's awards season, Midnight has stood a solid chance since its initial release way back in May. That status feels even more solid today, with the movie grabbing a SAG nod for Best Cast in a Motion Picture.
7. Moneyball (Previous Ranking: 10)
        I still have my doubts about wether a film about numbers and baseball can drum up the passion needed to get those first-place votes and play with the big boys, but with a slew of critics love, the NBR and AFI, and now the SAG showing it major love, it seems like a good bet.
8. The Tree of Life (Previous Ranking: 8)
        Missing completely from the SAG nominations this morning, we still have yet to see inner-Academy love for The Tree of Life, but the well-spring of critical adoration, along with being the most passion-provoking movie of the year, keep it in the hunt.

As of now, I am predicting that these will be the Eight that get nominated (I don't have some crazy math problem that helped me determine the number, these just seem like the ones). The following is where I rank the next movies in line.

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Previous Ranking: 4)
        Last month, I was boasting to the heavens about how I was calling this one while no one else was. I suppose there might have been a reason for that. While Dragon Tattoo is having a go with the critics this week, and will be the beneficiary of a late-year push, it failed to snag a single SAG nomination this morning, which is pretty damning.

10. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Previous Ranking: 6)
        The presence of Oscar-favorite Director Stephen Daldry, as well as lovable stars (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock) and serious 9/11 subject matter will keep the movie in the race until the end. One just wonders if they've waited too long to press start on the hype machine.

Best Actor:
1. Jean Dujardin (The Artist) (Previous Ranking: 1)
        This one is a true three-horse race, but I have to side with the performer who A) has yet to be recognized (sorry, George), and B) headlines the biggest flick of the night.
2. George Clooney (The Descendants) (Previous Ranking: 2)
        As the lead of a Best Picture lock, and one of America's true acting sweethearts, he's every bit as in this thing as Dujardin.
3. Brad Pitt (Moneyball) (Previous Ranking: 4)
        The final member of the inner circle, Pitt would have what it takes to slot number one if his performance wasn't up against the leading turns from what look to be Oscar's big frontrunners.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar) (Previous Ranking: 6)
        I still have my doubts about this one, but a big name among the eight actors with a fighting chance, this morning's SAG nominee is looking alright for the nod.
5. Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) (Previous Ranking: 3)
        He's been shut out of the Critic's Choice Awards, and the SAGs, but considering Oldman as a zero-time oscar nominee is almost embarrassing for the voters, and this would be a pretty perfect time to change that.
6. Demián Bichir (A Better Life) (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        Possibly the biggest surprise of this morning's SAG nominations, Bichir went from delirious long-shot to legitimate possibility, but his movie remains very small and unseen.

7. Michael Fassbender (Shame) (Previous Ranking: 5)
        Still a real possibility because of his stunning performance, and great body of work on the year. Still a long-shot, because of his film's NC-17 rating.

8. Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) (Previous Ranking: 7)
        A small actor from a smaller movie, but the performance is strong, and the critics have been singing about it all year long.

Best Actress:
1. Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) (Previous Ranking: 2)
        An annual nominee, Streep has failed to actually win the prize for decades now. With a role this juicy, and a field this open, the Oscar is her's to lose.
2. Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) (Previous Ranking: 1)
        I feel no where near as awesome about this one as I have in the past, as the critics seem to have weakened her campaign thus far, but a SAG nod and her veteran status ensure that she's still a good bet.
3. Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) (Previous Ranking: 6)
        Treated fairly well by the award's circuit, Williams is an actor who Oscar has already shown love to, playing one of the Oscar-baitiest roles of the year.
4. Viola Davis (The Help) (Previous Ranking: 3)
        Solidified by her SAG nomination this morning, Davis looks like a lock for a nod, and remains in the race to snag the actual golden man.
5. Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) (Previous Ranking: 8)
        Her movie might be impossibly small, and especially dark, but the early awards season has shown her lavish praise, and being slotted in by the SAGs this morning showed that she has real clout with the acting branch.
6. Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) (Previous Ranking: 4)
        Absurdly showy role right at the center of a buzzy, late-year release. Oscar often likes to invite a new face in this category, and being directed by David Fincher doesn't hurt either.
7. Charlize Theron (Young Adult) (Previous Ranking: 5)
        Jason Reitman tends to coax strong performances, especially from his ladies, and this one's late release date ensures that it will not have lost steam by the fateful night.
8. Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) (Previous Ranking: 8)
        A pretty big outsider at this point, but there's been all kinds of critic love, so who knows?
9. Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) (Previous Ranking: 7)
        Ditto above.

Best Supporting Actor:
1. Christopher Plummer (Beginners) (Previous Ranking: 1)
        The biggest frontrunner in a major category of all of the Oscars, Plummer has not only slaughtered the competition in the critic's awards so far, but also received a boost when two of his major competitors, Albert Brooks and Max von Sydow, both failed to snag nods. It's his to lose.
2. Albert Brooks (Drive) (Previous Ranking: 2)
        His omission from the SAGs this morning is a heavy blow for what looked like the only other sure thing in this category, but up until today, Brooks had been tearing it up with publications across the land, so until a more sold #2 arrises, here Brooks stays.
3. Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) (Previous Ranking: 3)
        This category is such a crap shoot that betting against a known actor, playing an iconic thespian is strictly for fools.his SAG nomination this morning doesn't hurt either.
4. Jonah Hill (Moneyball) (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        A winning turn in a Best Picture player. That's about as solid as I'm going to get from this group, I suppose.
5. Ben Kingsley (Hugo) (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        There's no real grounds for assuming that this will happen, as Kingsley has been a no-show thus far, but as the only actor with any chance at being recognized from what might be a real Oscar favorite, I say he has a chance.

Best Supporting Actress:
1. Octavia Spencer (The Help) (Previous Ranking: 4)
        Now that I'm willing to admit that The Help is a real Oscar player, I'm beginning to accept that the Academy might look to reward the film somewhere, and this seems like the most likely choice.
2. Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) (Previous Ranking: 1)
        Lauded performance in support of Oscar's heaviest heavyweight so far. Throw in her status as an exciting unknown, and you've got a contender.
3. Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) (Previous Ranking: Unranked)
        I never thought the day would come when I'd have her this high up on the list, but here she is. Comedic turn or not, McCarthy has already snagged a slew of precursors, and her SAG nomination this morning showed that even her peers think she deserves the honor.
4. Jessica Chastain (The Help) (Previous Ranking: 5)
        I'm still pretty worried about a voter's split between this and her zillion other movies in release this year, but this is looking like the one that they'll use to praise her sensational 2011.
5. Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) (Previous Ranking: 3)
        A very troubling no-show on this morning SAG list, Woodley still seems like a good bet because of the size of her movie, even if former front-runner Vanessa Redgrave waits patiently to strike.

***All categories are ranked according the how I PREDICT things will turn out, not what I would wish.***

***Links to the imdb pages of each of he individual titles, where you can read cast lists and synopses. This is already a lengthy article; Explaining every movie would be pretty rough***


  1. Great job! I think you might have gotten them all right!

  2. Pretty good listing, but I think Fassbender will be up in the top three by the end, and Streep's problem is that although she's terrific the film really isn't.