However, it's about time that I make a few "early" predictions, about the Academy Awards this year. Not something I'm particularly interested in doing that, but, it's starting to become that time. I'll probably make for complete predictions as the Oscars get closer, but it's very early right now, and more importantly, I haven't seen most of these films, and the ones I have seen like "The Tree of Life," I'm pretty bias in that film's corner right now. Saying that though, I don't think most of the predictors so far have actually seen most of the films and nominees. Now, there's a few educated Oscar prognosticators, but before I make my own, there's a few I want to advise to avoid at all costs. The first ones are the people who do I what I am going to do, make predictions on not seeing the films, and mostly comparing trends and theories, thinking they can find a secret way to compute Oscar nominations. They're not necessarily wrong, but I prefer votes of people who have seen the movies. These people aren't so much cinephiles as they are, pollsters probably, and they aren't even really of that level, they're more like cultural analyzers. They study from what they think they see from outside the actual perception. The only worse kind than them are the ones who predict based on what they think the Acadamy want to show this year. Sometimes, they might say something like, this person might give a good speech, so they might give it to him. I hear that one all the time, and these are the dumbest of the dumb. At least the people who've not seen the movies, usually are somewhat educated about film, and know that most of the time, people don't vote for the Oscars like that. People who think like that are the most cynical of all. Of course, we are talking about an Award show where people in Hollywood honor people in Hollywood, but still, it's disturbing to hear people talk like that. No matter whether I agree or disagree with the results of most Award shows, especially with the Oscars, I genuinely think that they honestly try to give the award to who they think is the most deserving. Sure, there's a few exceptions, like Renee Zellweger winning for "Cold Mountain," or "Gladiator," winning Best Picture, but not everyone's perfect.
And yet, here I am, making a hypocrite of myself, basically doing what all these other prognosticators are doing, trying to figure out the Oscar nominations through trends and patterns, while having only seen, a handful of potential nominees at best. As i write this, I'm also thinking of ways that I can,... I'm not sure of the word actually, but, some way to rearrange this discussion from which I am of the point of view of an expert or at a well-educated person on the subject, but it won't happen for a while, at least not when analyzing this year Oscars, until long past. Although admittedly, if I can make a bold prediction now that turn out to be remarkably accurate, that would give me some bragging rights, and for that I find it necessary to be so bold and take a look at the complete field at this time, and see if I can foresee what the future envelopes might hold. Let's start with Best Picture
BEST PICTURE: Analysis: Oh, before I begin, actually, since their are so many award show to keep track of up until the Oscars, I'm using an indiewire.com article which details the list of winners and nominees of all the awards shows, the link is below. I use this link because it's mostly a factual representation, and has little opinion to it:
Anyway, the Best Picture category seems unpredictable so far, except for what I consider the 2 lock nominations:
BEST PICTURE LOCKS
"These two films have shown up in practically every Best Picture ballot they've been eligible for, while also winning numerous critic awards in multiple categories. Some have noted the oddity that "The Artist," has been winning the Awards from the East Coast Critics primarily, while "The Descendants," has been winning in the West Coast mainly; that will be something to keep an eye on as more critic awards get named in the coming weeks. (Although earlier in the week, my town, the Las Vegas film critics, named "The Artist," as its best picture.) I'm not sure it's a lock to win Best Picture quite yet, but it will be nominated, as will "The Descendants." The trickier question is what else will be. They've changed the Best Picture rules again, so it's between 5 and 9 nominees, depending on percentage of votes, so it could get tricky guessing how many nominations, and for which films. Okay, here's what I'm thinking.
The Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
I think these four films are going to get in. Scorsese's "Hugo," and Spielberg's "War Horse," seem to be showing up on most ballots themselves, and have taken a few Best Film Awards. I wasn't sure about "Midnight in Paris," sneaking in at first, because of its early release date, I thought it could've been forgotten, but it's shown remarkably well at many of these Awards, and is getting more and more recognition in the category. It's Woody Allen's biggest hit in over two decades, and while he's normally polarizing, I think he struck a cord with that one this year, and I have a feeling after its released on DVD, it's gonna trend upward even more. If they pick five, "The Tree of Life," is the biggest question mark of the group. It's easily the most polarizing potential nominee out there. It's sometimes surprised everybody and won every award, or its sometimes not mentioned in any category. That one has and will split audiences, but I'm throwing it in there because I think those that like it, are gonna fight for it and I think it'll sneak in, to a few categories, including Best Picture.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March
These films are the next batch, after that, I don't think many films stand a chance outside of a longshot at best, and I think I'm stretching it with a few of them. "Drive," and "The Help," especially the latter, seem to be doing particularly well with most of the Awards, gut instinct, at least one will get nominated, but I think they're more likely stronger in other categories, but I wouldn't be shocked by them. I've learned my lesson now never to count out Stephen Daldry, but I have doubts on "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." It didn't get a SAG nomination, that's worthy of concern; his films have usually done better there. "Moneyball," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and "J. Edgar," I think are viable longshots, and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and "The Ides of March," are extreme longshots, but they're capable of a getting a last-second push, so I'm throwing them into this category. I would be very shocked if a Best Picture came from a film outside of these 14.
BEST ACTOR-On to Best Actor. This category is usually loaded, and this year is no exception, but there's been a little more erraticness than usual. Last year for instance, everybody got 4 out of the 5 nominees right, while only the fifth, which eventually went to Javier Bardem, was a crapshoot. This year, I think it's more erratic outside of the two locks
BEST ACTOR LOCKS
Jean Dujardin-"The Artist"
George Clooney"-"The Descendants"
It's the same two films as the Best Picture categories, but with the exception of Clooney not getting a Spirit nomination, they've pretty much shown up across the board. It's a little more unpredictable, but here's where I'm leaning right now to fill out the rest.
Leonardo DiCaprio-"J. Edgar"
Brad Pitt is the one that's been surprising me, I thought "Moneyball," might have been a film that would fall through the cracks, and it is when it comes to Best Picture and Director, but it's getting remember for Best Actor, and a couple other categories, so I'm playing the odds on Brad Pitt, he also might be getting honored, for a good year, also being in "The Tree of Life," but this'll be the performance he gets nominated for. I thought Michael Fassbender would've been a lock, and he's had a really strong year overall as well, but he's mostly the only one getting nominated for "Shame," and he's not been getting nominating for everything either. No SAG nomination is worrysome with him, but right now I have him in, 'cause some of the other possibilities have fallen off as well. DiCaprio, has bounce into this category. "J. Edgar," looked like it was going to be forgotten, but with the Globes, and the SAGs sneaking him in, I think that's a big clue that he'll get remember for it this year. They remembered Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon for "Invictus," a few years back when that failed to get a Picture and Director nomination, so precedent here for Clint Eastwood in this regard.
Michael Shannon-"Take Shelter"
Gary Oldman-"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brendan Glesson-"The Guard"
Owen Wilson-"Midnight in Paris"
I had Michael Shannon a lock until this week, when he suddenly was nowhere to be found on the most recent ballots, but his name showing wouldn't surprise me much at all. Neither would Gary Oldman, who's never been nominated before, and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," seems like the kind of vehicle where he could finally sneak in this year. Gosling, Harrelson, Gordon-Levitt, Gleeson and Wilson, have good chances of getting a push, so I'm throwing them in here, as well, but I think they're longshots. A few other names were getting nominations, but... I would not be surprised here, if there's a performance nominated, that is completely off everybody else's ballot right now. It's happened before, Tommy Lee Jones most recently for "In the Valley of Elah," getting a surprise nomination in this category, when hardly any other Award show even nominated him, and I think there's a possibility of an outside-the-box nominee here. Daniel Craig maybe for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," maybe Gosling gets nominated for "The Ides of March," instead of "Drive," maybe Asa Butterfield for "Hugo", wouldn't be the first time a child got nominated for a Scorsese film (Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver" was 12). Tom Hanks for "Extremely Lous and Incredibly Close"? He hasn't been nominated in a while. Maybe I'm overthinking this category, but this doesn't look like the complete list to me, so if there's a completely out-of-nowhere nominee this year, I think it could happen in this category.
BEST ACTRESS-Best Actress looks it it's starting to get pretty formed right now in terms of nominees, in terms of a winner, I'm still unsure, and I've been caught off-guard in this category before. Many times I've seen people who I thought were locks, suddenly not show up on the Oscar ballot. Recently, Amy Adams in "Enchanted," and "Angelina Jolie," for "A Mighty Heart". I aslo thought last year, Julianne Moore was going to sneak in with Annette Bening for "The Kids Are All Right", and that one irks at me. I was very surprise they only nominated one of them from that film.
BEST ACTRESS LOCKS
Meryl Streep-"The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams-"My Week with Marilyn"
Viola Davis-"The Help"
Honest to God, "The Help," has caught me off-guard in basically every category. I just moved it up on my Netflix, way ahead of schedule because of it. I didn't read particular great reviews of it, I read some good reviews of it, but nothing that indicated to me that it was gonna this prevalent a role in Award season. So, part of me is a little surprised, every time I see it come up, so that's one I'm gonna watch, ASAP. Saying that, though, it has a lot of female characters, and good actresses playing them, including Viola Davis, so maybe I should've thought about that, 'cause rarely are there good lead roles for female actors, and it looks like that appeal is transferring to the acting categories. Meryl Streep, is almost always a lock even when I think they nominate her, just to fill up the category, but she is great in general, Margaret Thatcher is a tough character to play, as is Marilyn Monroe for Michelle Williams, and personally I loved Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine," last year, which I think you can argue she maybe should've won for that. All three of these, I'm fairly certain are locks.
Glenn Close-"Albert Nobbs"
Tilda Swinton-"We Need to Talk About Kevin"
I'm very tempted to replace one of these probables with Charlize Theron for "Young Adult." That movie has surprised a lot of people with the good reviews and buzz it's getting for the film and Theron (I almost put it into the Best Picture Possibles), but I'm not sure which one it would replace. Glenn Close got the SAG and Globes nominations this week, the Acadamy loves to nominate her, she hasn't been nominated recently, if she gets a BAFTA nomination, and I think she will, then I would move her to a lock, but, I have the same thought with Tilda Swinton. These two are in the lead, right now..., man this is tough. These two have the last spots, at the moment, but that could change.
Charlize Theron-"Young Adult"
Rooney Mara-"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Elizabeth Olson-"Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Vera Farmiga-"Higher Ground"
Mia Wasikowska-"Jane Eyre"
I think their might even be a couple other possibilities outside of these, that can maybe get nominated, but these have the strongest possibilities of getting a push. However, this is an unusually top-heavy field. If there's a steal here, I think Theron, who I already mentioned, and Rooney Mara have the best shots at taking one of the nomination spots, while everyone else seems like a big longshot, but they are possible. Elizabeth Olson and Kirsten Dunst were legitimate probables for awhile, but now it's unlikely.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR-Interestingly this is only category where I'm fairly confident who's going to win, while simultaneously, I'm unsure of most of the other nominees. They've had a tendency to be extremely random at Awards seasons. I've even seen completely CGI performances show up in this category in some well-respected Award shows. That would be a first for the Oscars. (Although Brad Pitt performance was mostly CGI in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which he got nominated for). It's early, but I think the writing is on the wall for the Award, but most of the nominations are up for grabs.
SUPPORTING ACTOR LOCKS
With the only exception being Albert Brooks, surprisingly not getting a SAG nomination, these two have been nominated for practically every major award they've been eligible for, and it looks like its gonna stay that way. Interesting, with Plummer and Brooks, you get two actors who have been overlooked for years by most Awards, while both have greatly contributed to film. I would say, especially with Brooks, when you consider him writing and directing on top of acting, both have about the same amount of impact in cinema history over the years. It's a nice story to see these two battling it out here. While I haven't seen either film, career-wise anyway, they're both more than deserving.
Kenneth Branagh-"My Week with Marilyn"
I think it's possible I could be wrong on all three of these nominations, but they all got SAG and Globe nomination, I think that means they're going into the Oscars with the most push right now. All three of them have surprised me as well, Branagh and Nolte in particular seem to have come out of nowhere to get major nominations in this category. I was pretty convinced only Williams was going to be considered from "My Week with Marilyn," but Kenneth Branagh has aparently snuck in here as well. Nick Nolte for "Warrior," surprised me, 'cause until he started getting nominations, I never heard of "Warrior,"; this a really late-comer here. I thought Jonah Hill might slip a bit, but again, along with Brad Pitt, "Moneyball," has stayed in the conscious of many of the big Awards so far, but just as easily as they're on top right now, I could see more than a few others taking them away from these three.
John Hawkes-"Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Armie Hammer-"J. Edgar"
Andy Serkis-"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Patton Oswalt-"Young Adult"
Viggo Mortenson-"A Dangerous Method"
Max von Sydow-"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
Tom Hardy-"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Corey Stoll-"Midnight in Paris"
Benedict Cumberbatch-"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
I think the mostly likely one here to sneak in would be John Hawkes for "Martha Marcy May Marlene", Hawkes got a surprise nomination last year for "Winter's Bone," so, he's fresh in most Academy minds for giving good supporting performances, but Hawkes got a big push from a SAG nomination last year, and he didn't get it this year, that went to Armie Hammer for "J. Edgar," instead, so that might push him over instead. Andy Serkis is interesting here, playing an entirely CGI character, second time playing a monkey oddly enough, after "King Kong," in CGI, but until the Academy actually nominates somebody for a CGI and/or Voiceover performance, I think it's best to not presume it'll happen. This has come up a few times before, but they're reluctant on it. The rest of these can get big pushes though, particularly Patton Oswalt, if "Young Adult," can push Theron in, it might also push Oswalt, and also "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," has a couple strong possible supporting nominees, it looks to me like, it's an 'if' issue for that film. "If," enough people see it, then maybe it sneaks in Tom Hardy, possibly Cumberbatch. Right now, I think it's on the outside, looking in.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS-I should note that Viola Davis has won one Award, the Indiana Critics gave her Supporting Actress for "The Help," but I put her in the lead category already. This kind of conundrum has happened before. Last year even, my ballot was completely screwed up because nobody was sure which category Hailee Steinfeld was going to be in for her performance in "True Grit", eventually she was nominated for Supporting even though she's actually in the most scenes in that film. So that possibility exists, but for the time being, I'm not gonna include her in this category, which I think is the most wide open of all the main categories right now.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS LOCKS
Shailene Woodley-"The Descendants"
Janet McTeer-"Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer-"The Help"
I am leasted convinced of these "Locks" than any other. Shailene Woodley looks like the most likely to me, even though she didn't get a SAG nomination, she's gotten all the others so far, and "The Descendants" looks like the film to beat along with "The Artist" overall. Again, with "The Help," surprised originally, but could get multiple nominees in this category. Janet McTeer, I think surprising nominations for her by SAG and the Globes, but it looks like if Glenn Close gets in, and right now it looks like she will, than Janet McTeer is probably getting in as well.
Jessica Chastain-"The Help"
If Melissa McCarthy can get in, and it looks like they're remembering her, she got the SAG nomination, and she's won many Critics nominations, it'll be the first comedic performance by a female to get nominated in the category in fifteen years. (Joan Cusack for "In & Out" was the last one). I've got Jessica Chastain in as the last nominee, but she's got an interesting problem. She was in too many movies this year, that have strong possibilities for Awards. She's the most likely acting nominee for "The Tree of Life," on top of which, she was in "Take Shelter," which I thought until recently was the one she was going to get nominated for, but "The Help," is taking these nominations from some of these other films, and luckily for her, lose one nomination, gain another. (She might be eligible for lead actress in "The Tree of Life," but I don't see that happening.)
Berenice Bejo-"The Artist"
Jessica Chastain-"Take Shelter"
Jessica Chastain-"The Tree of Life"
Judy Greer-"The Descendants"
Berenice Bejo, with a SAG and Golden Globe nominee has the momentum out of this group and is the most likely to sneak in, although the reaction to "Shame," is going to be interesting. Carey Mulligan's name shows up everywhere across the pond in Britian, I'm expecting her to get a BAFTA nomination, but other than Michael Fassbender, "Shame," hasn't done well with nominations here, other than a few Critics groups. It got the dreaded NC-17 rating, so it's possible not a lot have seen it yet, but if the reaction to "Shame," switches back to positive at all, over the next few weeks, I think Carey Mulligan could also get a nomination. They remember her from "An Education," a couple years ago, and she's had strong performances in films since. If there's one out-of-nowhere nomination available here, complete gut instinct, but Marion Cotilliard has surprised in the past, and I wouldn't be shocked if even without a nomination at any previous Award show if she snuck in for "Midnight in Paris."
BEST DIRECTOR-This'll be the last category I'll do today, and this one will be a little tricky, mainly because we're not going to get a really good sense of this Award until the DGAs (Director's Guild of America) announces their nominees next month. However, because of the inconsistent and unknown factors involved in the Best Picture category, it's prudent to consider Best Director now as the de facto five best films now. That wasn't always the case, their usually was a nominee or two that didn't get a Best Picture, but that is unlikely nowadays. Still though, this is more of a guess than typical considering the Guild hasn't voted yet. (The DGA has an unusual high rate of predicting the Oscar winner in recent years. If I'm not mistaken, I think only in 2002 and 2000 have they not been accurate predictors for the Oscar winner this decade. (Although they aren't always good nominees predictors)
BEST DIRECTOR LOCKS
Michel Hazanavicius-"The Artist"
Alexander Payne-"The Descendants"
These two again, and it doesn't look like they're going to lose any steam in the foreseeable future. Every Award show they've been eligible for basically, they've been nominated, and especially since they're unconditional front-runners for Best Picture, that makes Best Director Oscars that much more inevitable. After that however, it's a little more guesswork. Too many really good filmmakers have made strong movies this year, and no one is quite sure how this will eventually play out. Again the DGA is going to be the first key, but before then, we're looking at Critics Awards mostly, as well as how strong a Best Picture contender the film is.
Terrence Malick-"The Tree of Life"
Steven Spielberg-"War Horse"
If there's been an anamoly in the Critcs Group, it's probably gone to either "Hugo," or "The Tree of Life." "Hugo," is pretty close to being a lock for me actually, it's mostly the crowded field behind it's that's actually preventing me for placing it as a lock already. "The Tree of Life," is once again the most polarizing, however, if there's a film that could easily get a Best Director nomination and not get Best Picture, it's "The Tree of Life," (Or not get in the Top 5 anyway); I think it could be very difficult to overlook Terrence Malick's work here, and since he only makes a movie about once a decade, unless the undercurrent against the film is unanimously strong, I think they'll honor him. Spielberg's "War Horse," looks to be in the fifth prime position, although not getting noticed by the Globes was suspicious, it's not really enough to say that Spielberg isn't going to sneak in, especially considering how good the reviews have been so far.
Woody Allen-"Midnight in Paris"
Nicolas Winding Refn-"Drive"
Steven Daldry-"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
David Fincher-"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Clint Eastwood-"J. Edgar"
George Clooney-"The Ides of March"
I'm not seeing any other possible nominees outside of these, and I think the last two are stretching a bit. Woody Allen hasn't gotten a Directing nomination in years, but he's gotten a surprising amount for "Midnight in Paris," so far, I think he could sneak in if Malick doesn't. Nicolas Winding Refn has also gotten a lot of considerable nominations for "Drive," but the field looks a little too loaded for him. While "Drive," could get a Best Picture nomination, I think it's got better chances in Editing and Visual Effects than Director. Can't count out Stephen Daldry again. I've been surprised by his nominations for all 3 of his previous films, but with only a Critic Choice nomination so far, I think he has to get both a DGA and a BAFTA to jump everybody else. Same probably goes for David Fincher, although I think "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," is stronger in other categories like editing, sound, and probably Score, plus it needs an really big push. Never good to completely count out Clint Eastwood or George Clooney. There's a couple completely off-the-board here too that wouldn't shock me. Jason Reitman was a surprise nominee for "Juno," a few years back, if "Young Adult," remains hot, he could sneak in there. Also, Bennett Miller for "Moneyball," wouldn't shock me. His "Capote," ended up sneaking into the fifth slot at the DGAs and Oscas the year that came out, and "Moneyball" has remained strong despite a summer release date. I think he could spoiler nominee as well, but they gotta jump a lot that's ahead of them right now, and neither have gotten previous nominations so far. This might be too big a year for them to sneak in.
Well, you've seen my analysis, here's my predictions for the winners of these categories.
BEST PICTURE-"The Descendants"
BEST DIRECTOR-Michel Hazanavicius-"The Artist"
Normally these two categories go hand-in-hand, but I think they're likely to split this way. I'm giving Hazanavicius director 'cause his is more artistic an endeavor, but I'm not sure a silent movie is going to grab everybody's fandom ultimately. I'm predicting a little outside the typical trend here, but I have "The Descendants" taking Best Picture right now, in this most unpredictable of years.
BEST ACTOR-George Clooney-"The Descendants"
It's looking more and more to me like Clooney's the one to beat. Only the Spirit Award is off his resume so far, but this category is erratic. I can see about 8 different actors with a legitimate shot at winning it this year ultimately, but until Clooney starts losing major Awards, he's gotta be considered the one to beat.
BEST ACTRESS-Michelle Williams-"My Week with Marilyn"
I think it's close between Williams, Streep and Glenn Close right now, but I'm actually looking at this and leaning towards Williams right now. Part of this is a makeup for her not winning last year for "Blue Valentine," but I also don't think it's a surprise that Meryl Streep could play Margaret Thatcher, plus that's the only category the film has been considered heavily in so far, and also, same with Glenn Close, I think we know those two can play anything. I'm a little surprised to find out Michelle Williams can play Marilyn Monroe, and I think that factor is gonna lean it towards Williams.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR-Christopher Plummer-"Beginners"
This is the one I'm the most positive on. (So, I'm probably gonna be wrong but...) It's between him and Albert Brooks, but Brooks not getting a SAG nomination is too shocking to overlook, especially considering how he got everything else, it's surprising that the Actors Guild ignored him. It's Christopher Plummer's to win, partly a career win, admittedly, but barring something unpredictable, I think it's going to him.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS-Melissa McCarthy-"Bridesmaids"
This category is looking so awkward right now, that I think an upset is in the works, and I think it's going to be Melissa McCarthy, pulling off the rare comedic performance win. With everyone else, I see problems with their path. Chastain might split votes between so she could easily not get nominated, their could be multiple actresses from "The Help," splitting votes, and while Shailene Woodley looks the most consistant so far, she has to run the table, while Melissa McCarthy doesn't. Her just sneaking in is going to be a little surprising, but she's been getting into most of the major Awards so far, and she doesn't have to win to get a push in the category. If she gets nominated, I think she'll steal it.
Now, keep in mind, these are only my first predictions. I think I'm going to make a few of these, and they're only my thoughts right now; these can all change completely between now and Oscar time, multiple times, even Christopher Plummer. (Probably not that one though) Until then though, I've made my thoughts clear, and put them on the record, right now, can't go back and change it. At this moment, this is what its looking like to me.