February 1, 2010
Early tomorrow morning, Anne Hathaway will announce the nominations for this year's Oscars. Once again, I won't predict the nominees in every category. Instead, I'll stick to the awards that are the most discussed and debated. It's been a real pleasure this year to have a group of people on Twitter who love to talk about what and who will be nominated. They all either have or will post their nomination predictions. Here's hoping my predictions will leave all of theirs in the dust! Let the predictions begin.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon- Invictus
Woody Harrelson- The Messenger
Christian McKay- Me and Orson Welles
Stanley Tucci- The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz- Inglourious Basterds
(Outside chance- Christopher Plummer- The Last Station)
(Long shots- Peter Capaldi- In the Loop, Anthony Mackie- The Hurt Locker, Paul Schneider- Bright Star, Alfred Molina- An Education)
Does it even really matter who the other nominees are besides Christoph Waltz? If the other four show up, they don't need to bring an acceptance speech with them. There's no "just in case" if you're a nominee this year against Waltz. He's really the only actor with a 100% chance of a nomination. I'd bet good money on Harrelson and Tucci, though Tucci could possibly be hit with a backlash against the fact that The Lovely Bones proved to be a huge disappointment. Assuming that won't happen, I'm left with two spots completely open for Plummer and/or some of the long shots to possibly squeeze their way in. I am going to go with Damon who may simply be nominated because he's earned a lot of respect as an actor lately. Someone of Damon's talent should have more nominations by now, and I think Academy voters will give him a nomination for that reason. I'm taking a risk by choosing Christian McKay as a nominee. Me and Orson Welles is a little seen, little respected trifle of a film, but I hear (haven't seen it yet) that McKay completely steals the scenes he's in as Welles. Other than Waltz, Capaldi and maybe Tucci, none of the other possible nominees' roles were very showy, and you don't get more showy than Orson Welles. That's why I expect to hear McKay's name tomorrow morning. Plummer, Capaldi and Schneider are hurt by films that lack awards season momentum. Personally, I didn't like Molina in An Education, so I'm going to maybe assume that I'm not alone on that. Mackie's got a shot considering The Hurt Locker's momentum; however, if voters are going to reward someone from The Hurt Locker with an acting nomination, it's going to be Jeremy Renner.
Best Supporting Actress
Vera Farmiga- Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick- Up in the Air
Julianne Moore- A Single Man
Samantha Morton- The Messenger
(Outside chance- Melanie Laurent- Inglourious Basterds)
(Long shots- Maggie Gyllenhaal- Crazy Heart, Marion Cotillard- Nine, Penelope Cruz- Nine, Natalie Portman- Brothers, Diane Kruger- Inglourious Basterds)
Again, the four nominees not named Mo'Nique do not need to prepare speeches. This is a strange category this year. I think Farmiga, Kendrick and Mo'Nique are locks. I also think Julianne Moore will be in the category as well considering that she's Julianne Moore, an actress loved by Oscar voters. Also, her performance is truly excellent and memorable. That fifth spot is so difficult to predict. The real issue is that I'm not sure if Cotillard and Kruger are eligible for Lead Actress, Supporting Actress or both. Last year, I predicted Kate Winslet to be nominated for Supporting Actress for The Reader, and to my surprise, she was nominated in the lead category and deservedly so. I really didn't like Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, and again, I'm guessing that I might not be alone on that one. Penelope Cruz is also loved by the Academy, and she's great in Nine, but Cotillard is better and Nine is terrible so don't expect last year's winner in this category to be nominated again. I don't think Brothers will be nominated for anything, but the fact that Brothers is her best performance since her nominated turn in Closer might make Portman worthy of consideration. Ultimately, I think it's between Samantha Morton and Melanie Laurent. Melanie Laurent has no buzz at all, and considering that Samantha Morton has won one critics award this season, she's got the leg up. Also, she's fantastic in The Messenger (even better than Harrelson and Foster) and she's one of the most reliable actresses working today. She should see some love early tomorrow morning.
Jeff Bridges- Crazy Heart
George Clooney- Up in the Air
Colin Firth- A Single Man
Morgan Freeman- Invictus
Jeremy Renner- The Hurt Locker
(Outside chance- Michael Stuhlbarg- A Serious Man)
(Long shots- Matt Damon- The Informant!, Sam Rockwell- Moon, Daniel Day-Lewis- Nine, Robert Downey Jr.- Sherlock Holmes, Viggo Mortensen- The Road)
The only suspense in the Lead Actor category is who will get that fifth spot. Bridges, Clooney, Firth and Freeman are all locks. Personally, I think Renner will also get nominated. The Hurt Locker has a lot of momentum, and Renner's performance is one of the elements that makes it one of the great films of the year. I find it hard to believe that voters will ignore him. On the other hand, I liked Michael Stuhlbarg and Sam Rockwell even better than Renner and Freeman so I'd be happy if one of the two of them receives a nomination. Unfortunately, Rockwell doesn't have the buzz which is too bad. If he receives a nomination, that will be the biggest story tomorrow once the nominees are announced. Stuhlbarg's got a shot but A Serious Man has not been a force during this awards season. I don't think Damon or Downey Jr. will be nominated, but hey, they're Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. Daniel Day-Lewis and Viggo Mortenson are unbelievably well respected; however, their movies disappointed many which I think ultimately kills their chances.
Sandra Bullock- The Blind Side
Helen Mirren- The Last Station
Carey Mulligan- An Education
Gabourey Sidibe- Precious
Meryl Streep- Julie & Julia
(Outside chance- Marion Cotillard- Nine)
(Long shots- Emily Blunt- The Young Victoria, Tilda Swinton- Julia, Zoe Saldana- Avatar, Diane Kruger- Inglourious Basterds, Penelope Cruz- Broken Embraces, Abbey Cornish- Bright Star)
I'm going out a limb here and say that I don't think Sandra Bullock is a lock for a nomination. I really didn't like her performance, and I can't help but think that some others may have had the same reaction to a mediocre film. That being said, Bullock has the momentum and has had one hell of a good year this year. I do (unfortunately) expect her to be nominated; however if she's not, I won't be as surprised as some other people I know. Sidibe, Streep and Mulligan are locks which once again leaves that fifth slot to be filled. Helen Mirren is one of the great actresses of our time, and I've heard that her performance is great in The Last Station though I haven't seen it yet for myself. My hesitation regarding her chances for a nomination focuses on whether or not enough voters actually saw The Last Station. Therefore, Mirren's far from a lock. That leaves Marion Cotillard. If people do vote for her in the lead category as they did for the Golden Globes, then she's got a pretty good shot. She is by far the best thing about Nine, and she's quickly becoming one of the most interesting and dynamic actresses in Hollywood. I placed Emily Blunt in the long shots category simply because I only like to have one person be that sixth outside shot. Yet, I think Blunt has almost as good a chance as Cotillard and Mirren so it's not that unlikely that we will hear Blunt's name announced. Swinton's a force of nature in Julia, but no one's seen it and the film is kind of terrible. Zoe Saldana, if she is to be nominated, will have to unofficially share her nomination with lots of computers. I don't think the Academy is ready to vote for an animated performance. Diane Kruger is great in Inglourious Basterds, and the film does have quite a bit of momentum going in. Yet, is she a lead or supporting? Also, Kruger herself hasn't emerged from the pack during awards season this year. One can never count out the Cruz/Almodovar pairing for Broken Embraces, but Cruz has been better in other films. Abbey Cornish is hurt by the fact that if there's going to be a nomination for a costume drama performance, it's going to go to Emily Blunt. Here's hoping Bullock gets shut out tomorrow morning. I take back what I said about Sam Rockwell earlier. If Sandra Bullock does not receive a nomination, that will be the biggest story come tomorrow morning.
Kathryn Bigelow- The Hurt Locker
James Cameron- Avatar
Clint Eastwood- Invictus
Jason Reitman- Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino- Inglourious Basterds
(Outside chance- Lee Daniels- Precious)
(Long shots- Tom Ford- A Single Man, J.J. Abrams- Star Trek)
Sorry Tom Ford and J.J. Abrams, but this race is between six directors, and sorry Lee Daniels, though you're the sixth in the race, I don't think you will be nominated. The only chances you have are Eastwood not receiving a nomination because Invictus disappointed many critics or Quentin Tarantino not receiving a nomination because he's one of those directors that other directors either love or dislike. Yet, I think the Golden Globes got these five nominees exactly correct. Bigelow, Cameron and Reitman are locks, and Tarantino is pretty much a lock as well. I also don't anticipate that Eastwood will be overlooked for the sole reason that he's Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood could direct an FBI warning before the beginning of a movie and he would still be a serious contender for an Oscar nomination.
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
(Outside chance- The Hangover)
(Long shots- Nine, A Single Man, Star Trek, District 9, An Education, Crazy Heart, Julie & Julia)
This is the hardest category to predict now that there are ten nominees. How well people do with the Best Picture predictions is really what counts. There are a few sure fire locks for nominations such as Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Up in the Air. Precious should also get a nomination, though I don't believe it to be a lock. That leaves five films, and I could be wrong about all five. Now that we have ten Best Picture nominees, I think it is going to be very rare that a director will be nominated for a film that's not up for Best Picture. Therefore, I think Invictus will get in. The Messenger is a solid film that I think voters will put it somewhere on their ballots even if no one is going to put it at the top. Personally, I think one of the reasons why the Academy went to ten nominees is so that films like WALL-E and Up would have a shot at a Best Picture nomination. Therefore, I expect to hear Up called tomorrow morning. I'm going with (500) Days of Summer and A Serious Man in the ninth and tenth spots because I absolutely believe they will both receive screenplay nominations. Therefore, I think voters will also reward these films with Best Picture nominations. Yes, The Hangover has a good shot, but again, I didn't like the film that much and I'm hoping (perhaps beyond hope) that enough voters will feel the same way. Yet, I'm probably wrong about that one. As for the long shots, any of them could come through considering the fact that I've never had to think about what sorts of films would get those sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth place spots. After this year, I think it will be somewhat easier to predict next year's nominees. Yes, I do think there will be "types of films" that will emerge as fodder for Best Picture nominees. Maybe smart, well-made blockbusters like Star Trek and District 9 will set a precedent for the future. I wouldn't be too surprised if showy films like Nine backed by scary studio executives will have a leg up on the competition. Perhaps films with standout acting such as A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Julie & Julia and An Education could be favored by voters now and in the future. I hope I'm not too off with these picks. I'm not feeling confident at all.
The nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. Come back later in the day to see the nominees!