Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS! Just under the wire. Whew!



Well, it's Oscar season this year, and I've been checking, double-checking and collecting every Awards you can think, to see what could and will get an Oscar nomination. The nominations are in a few hours, and it's become tougher to come up with the nominees than ever before. I checked last years predictions, and I was happy that I got 3/5 right in every major category. I don't know if I can get that this year, but I'm hopeful. The Oscar nomination announcements and broadcast are way too friggin' early in the year, probably so as to not be influenced by other Award show, but still, way too early. I've never been more stressed about making predictions in my life. I'm making my final predictions, now, hopefully I'll get them right.

(Note: "David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews" reserved the right to have his so-called "Final Predictions" to be change at any moment prior to/up 'til, and any time after the Oscar nominees are announce until the end of time. )

Okay, here we go. Let's start with Best Actor.

BEST ACTOR (Contenders)
Ben Affleck-"Argo"
Christian Bale-"The Dark Knight Rises"
Mike Birbiglia-"Sleepwalk with Me"
Jack Black-"Bernie"
Bradley Cooper-"Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Craig-"Skyfall"
Daniel Day-Lewis-"Lincoln"
Robert Downey Jr.-"The Avengers"
Jamie Foxx-"Django Unchained"
Richard Gere-"Arbitrage"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt-"Looper"
Jake Gyllenhaal-"End of Watch"
John Hawkes-"The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman-"Les Miserables"
Logan Lerman-"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
Thure Lindhardt-"Keep the Lights On"
Matthew McConaughey-"Killer Joe"
Ewan McGregor-"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
Bill Murray-"Hyde Park on Hudson"
Joaquin Phoenix-"The Master"
Wendell Pierce-"Four"
Paul Rudd-"This is 40"
Suraj Sharma-"Life of Pi"
Channing Tatum-"21 Jump Street"
Jean-Louis Trintigant-"Amour"
Mark Wahlberg-"Ted"
Denzel Washington-"Flight"

Well, for starters, I can't figure out any scenario where Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't get nominated, and if there's any real guarantee this year, it's that he'll likely win. After that, it's a little more confusing. Bradley Cooper has shown up a few places, stealing Awards from Day-Lewis. Denzel Washington has consistently showed up, on nomination lists, despite his film "Flight", being relatively ignored everywhere else. Joaquin Phoenix, might get nominated, but he doesn't want the nomination. He's been publicly discussing his disgust with the Academy in several interviews, and Awards in general. I have a hard time imagining that they'll not nominated him, just for that. I think he's a borderline nominee anyway, that's tricky. Normally the SAG is the biggest indicator for the acting Awards, but this is why Jamie Foxx's name is so interesting, because the guild wasn't screened a couple films and therefore weren't eligible for their awards, and one of them was "Django Unchained". Since his name hasn't shown up anywhere else however, is not a good sign. I wouldn't be shocked either if Richard Gere's name shows up, as a career nomination possibly; he's never been nominated before, but have enough people seen his work in "Arbitrage"?

BEST ACTOR PREDICTIONS
Bradley Cooper-"Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis-"Lincoln"
John Hawkes-The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman-"Les Miserables"
Denzel Washington-"Flight"

I'm fairly confident in these names, although Denzel might be switched with Joaquin Phoenix, eh, but I think it should play out like this, 'cause I'm not sure "The Master" and Phoenix, just might not be liked enough for the Academy, at least in this category.

BEST ACTRESS (LIKELY CONTENDERS)
Emily Blunt-"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
Linda Cardellini-"Return"
Jessica Chastain-"Zero Dark Thirty"
Emayatzy Corinealdi-"Middle of Nowhere"
Marion Cotillard-"Rust and Bone"
Judi Dench-"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Kara Hayward-"Moonrise Kingdom"
Jennifer Lawrence-"The Hunger Games"
Jennifer Lawrence-"Silver Linings Playbook"
Leslie Mann-"This if 40"
Helen Mirren-"Hitchcock"
Emmanuelle Riva-"Amour"
Maggie Smith-"Quartet"
Meryl Streep-"Hope Springs"
Quvenzhane Wallis-"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts-"The Impossible"
Rachel Weisz-"The Deep Blue Sea"
Mary Elizabeth Winstead-"Smashed"

This is a bit of a long list, actually.. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence are clearly getting in. Another film that wasn't SAG eligible was "Beasts of the Southern Wild", because it didn't use SAG actors, but that's never stopped the Academy before, and Quvenzhane Wallis's performance, has been getting much acclaim as well. There's also an undercurrent in Hollywood, to nominate Naomi Watts for "The Impossible", so that's one that's probably getting in. Their's also some support for Rachel Weisz, and while Marion Cotillard, seems like an automatic lock, but the other big foreign language performance is Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour" the like Foreign Language Film winner, she's winning a few of the Awards as well. I don't really see any other name, except maybe Helen Mirren showing up. I wouldn't knock Mirren out so quickly, she did get a SAG nod, but "Hitchcock" has been getting lukewarm reviews at best, and other than an occasional technical Awards, it's really only getting nominated for her, so I think that's a viable longshot, but I'm just not seeing it right now.

BEST ACTRESS PREDICTIONS
Jessica Chastain-
"Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard-"Rust and Bone"
Jennifer Lawrence-"Silver Linings Playbook"
Quvenzhane Wallis-"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts-"The Impossible"

Hmm. Honest-to-God, the only two guarantees right now, are Lawrence and Chastain, everything else, I can just as easily see about a dozen other combinations. (I'm already thinking, I should've wrote in Emmanuelle Riva, but don't be surprised by Weisz, Mirren, maybe Corinealdi, if they're really going outside-the-box, that's really outside though) I think Watts, has the support in Hollywood, I think Cotillard, is just edging out Riva, for a Foreign Language vote, and I think enough people saw and liked "Beasts of the Southern Wild", and they're gonna find a spot of Wallis. Not positive by any mean, but, that's where I'm leaning.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (CONTENDERS)
Alan Arkin-"Argo"
Javier Bardem-"Skyfall"
Robert De Niro-Silver Linings Playbook"
Leonardo DiCaprio-"Django Unchained"
John Goodman-"Argo"
Philip Seymour Hoffman-"The Master"
Samuel L. Jackson-"Django Unchained"
Tommy Lee Jones-"Lincoln"
Irrfan Khan-"Life of Pi"
Matthew McConaughey-"Magic Mike"
Edward Norton-"Moonrise Kingdom"
David Oyelowo-"Middle of Nowhere"
Michael Pena-"End of Watch"
Sam Rockwell-"Seven Psychopaths"
James Spader-"Lincoln"
David Straitharn-"Lincoln"
Christoph Waltz-"Django Unchained"
Tom Wilkinson-"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Bruce Willis-"Moonrise Kingdom"

This is the category that's going to be a little unpredictable, because "Django Unchained" wasn't screened by SAG before they announced their awards. There's also some legitimate support being drummed up, for more than a few of the names that could just as easily sneak in, as they would miss out. I'm convinced the Academy's loves "Argo", but they don't seem to have a good category to nominate other than here for acting, so I suspect Alan Arkin's getting in. Matthew McConaughy, is certainly the most intriguing possible nominee, for his work in "Magic Mike", but he didn't get a SAG nomination, so despite a couple of Award wins elsewhere, this category is already overloaded. Javier Bardem, for instance, would be the first actor to get nominated for a Jame Bond film if his name comes up, and the Academy likes to honor him. He's been nominated twice for Foreign language performances, on top of his previous win for "No Country for Old Men," and his name guarantees a global audience. Some people in America, don't realize it, but worldwide, he's one of the biggest stars around. On top of that, the Supporting categories are also, where there's a likely surprise nomination can come in, and that's in normal years, and this year, they're practically expecting it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR PREDICTIONS
Alan Arkin-"Argo"
Javier Bardem-"Skyfall"
Leonardo DiCaprio-"Django Unchained"
Philip Seymour Hoffman-"The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones-"Lincoln"

I can't figure out the scenario, where Arkin, Dicaprio, Hoffman and/or Jones, don't get nominated, so that last spot is up for grabs, and I can easily see about, six different names getting it, and I wouldn't be shocked if I'm missing a name either. Just based on the Academy's tendencies in the recent past, I would think it's Bardem, but, if it's McConaughey, Waltz, Jackson, Straitharn, DeNiro, Pena,..., I wouldn't be shocked if Irrfan Khan, snuck in either, btw. Maybe Edward Norton even for "Moonrise Kingdom". I can't figure out the missing piece. Maybe Alan Arkin, gets left out. I'd loved to see the vote total if it ever gets revealed, 'cause this can be really close, just figuring out who gets in.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS CONTENDERS
Amy Adams-"The Master"
Olivia Colman-"Hyde Park on Hudson"
Ann Dowd-"Compliance"
Judi Dench-"Skyfall"
Rosemarie Dewitt-"Your Sister's Sister"
Sally Field-"Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway-"The Dark Knight Rises"
Anne Hathaway-"Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt-"The Sessions"
Nicole Kidman-"The Paperboy"
Mila Kunis-"Ted"
Shirley MacLaine-"Bernie"
Brit Marling-"Sound of My Voice
Maggie Smith-"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Lorraine Toussaint-"Middle of Nowhere"
Kerry Washington-"Django Unchained"
Rebel Wilson-"Pitch Perfect"

Nicole Kidman's surprise Golden Globe and SAG nominations, for "The Paperboy", Lee Daniels's first film since "Precious..." has suddenly placed her into the running, whereas general consensus, probably was prepared to not give her, even a first look. There doesn't seem to be a surprise nomination anymore out there, but on the same token, there's about seven, maybe eight people who are definitely going to compose the top 5, it's which ones get left out that's the question. Ann Dowd, the other interesting one, who's won Awards for her rarely-seen film "Compliance", has been campaigning to get her name is, that could be an interesting one. Under normal circumstances, it'd be easy to dismiss Maggie Smith's chances, but she's been uber-popular, even before, "Downton Abbey," and she did get the SAG nomination. Amy Adams, curiously, didn't get a SAG nomination though, while everywhere else, she was considered a shoe-in.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS PREDICTIONS
Ann Dowd-"Compliance"
Sally Field-"Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway-"Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt-"The Sessions"
Maggie Smith-"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

While I'll admit to being a little puzzled by Amy Adams's lack of a SAG nomination, but that might be a clue to the film's prospects itself. P.T. Anderson's work is always divisive among audiences, but when they're really impressed with a performance from his work, the actors will let you know. I think they're gonna throw in Ann Dowd, to show that they saw "Compliance", if nothing else. I think Kidman's gonna end up, the odd girl out, and while I won't put it past Judi Dench getting in here, either, her votes could split between a couple films, so I think that's gonna open up spot for Maggie Smith to sneak in with a surprise nomination here. Helen Hunt's nomination's a little iffy too, but I think if Kidman gets in, it'll probably most likely jump in over Maggie Smith instead, and if it's between Kidman and Smith, in supporting actress, I'm gonna go with the old girl. They like nominated older actors in these supporting categories lately. Max Von Sydow's nomination last year, surprised everybody, and now SAG's giving us the hint, unlike last year, so I don't think it's a good idea, to pass it by, in this case. (I'll say this too, while I wasn't a fan of the film, Maggie Smith, did have the best performance, in it.) I can't see any scenario where Field and/or Hathaway, don't get nominated.

BEST DIRECTOR CONTENDERS
Ben Affleck-"Argo"
Paul Thomas Anderson-"The Master"
Wes Anderson-"Moonrise Kingdom"
Sal Batmanglij-"Sound of My Voice"
Kathryn Bigelow-"Zero Dark Thirty"
Michael Haneke-"Amour"
Tom Hooper-"Les Miserables"
Ang Lee-"Life of Pi"
Ben Lewin-"The Sessions"
Julia Loktev-"The Loneliest Planet"
Sam Mendes-"Skyfall"
Christopher Nolan-"The Dark Knight Rises"
David O. Russell-"Silver Linings Playbook"
Ira Sachs-"Keep the Lights On"
Steven Spielberg-"Lincoln"
Quentin Tarantino-"Django Unchained"
Behn Zeitlin-"Beasts of the Southern Wild"

I'm still digesting this category, especially since the DGA nominees just came out. There's a legitimate chance that every nominee in this category, would've been a previous Oscar winner, (If we count possible nominees Affleck and Tarantino's screenwriting Oscars) This also, seems like one of those rare years, where they might honor a film's direction, but not give it Best Picture, a rarity, but with such split, it's hard to tell a real favorite until the DGA Award is presented. There isn't always exact correlation, but it's usually telling, so, not good news for either Anderson, Russell, or Tarantino that they didn't show up there.

BEST DIRECTOR PREDICTIONS
Ben Affleck-
"Argo"
Kathryn Bigelow-"Zero Dark Thirty"
Ang Lee-"Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg-"Lincoln"
Quentin Tarantino-"Django Unchained"

Despite Tom Hooper getting the DGA nomination, and recently winning the Oscar for "The King's Speech", I'm not really sure that "Les Miserables" is gonna get enough overall support; it's gotten some mixed reviews, so I think he'll be left out. It happened last year, when David Fincher got nominated, and his film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," didn't get an Director, Picture, or even a Writing nomination. I also wouldn't be shocked if P.T. Anderson or Michael Haneke got in, but I'm just not seeing it. Haneke's got better shots in Foreign Language film, and screenplay, and "The Master" has just, so split audiences, that I'm not sure he can get in, in a crowded year. Gut feeling, Tarantino gets in, don't rule out Behn Zeilin either though.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (CONTENDERS)
Amour-Michael Haneke
Arbitrage-Nicholas Jarecki
Cabin in the Woods-Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Compliance-Craig Zobel
Django Unchained-Quentin Tarantino
End of Watch-David Ayer
Flight-John Gatins
The Intouchables-Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Looper-Rian Johnson
The Master-Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom-Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Promised Land-Matt Damon and John Krasinski, Story by Dave Eggers
Ruby Sparks-Zoe Kazan
Rust and Bone-Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidigain, story by Craig Davidson
The Sessions-Ben Lewin
Seven Psychopaths-Martin McDonaugh
Ted-Seth MacFarland
This is 40-Judd Apatow
Zero Dark Thirty-Mark Boal

This is another weird case, where you might not want to trust Guild Awards, which in the WGA are particularly inclusive. Tarantino, for instance, has never joined the Guild, so his films are never eligible. Also, foreign language films, are rarely eligible in this category, and they tend to get nominated, if one's really beloved. This may be where P.T. Anderson, is strongest, as they always admire his screenwriting ability, although he's never won, he's usually nominated. "Looper", and "Moonrise Kingdom," are looking most like, the ones where most people are interested, to see if they show up; they were both very inventive films screenplay-wise, that were both very popular among audiences and critics, but probably fall short in most categories, and this is where such films usually get honored. I thought "Seven Psychopaths", might be a possibility, as Martin McDonaugh's films have a following, especially among the British voters, which isn't a lot of the Academy, but if they vote of one mind, it's shown they can shift enough votes to sneak a surprise nominee, and they did that with McDonaugh's great film, "In Bruges" a few years ago, but it didn't get a BAFTA nomination, which is a little too surprising to not notice.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY PREDICTIONS
Amour-Michael Haneke
Django Unchained-Quentin Tarantino
The Master-Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom-Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty-Mark Boal

I think this might be "Looper"'s best shot to get in a major category, but I think more people liked "Moonrise Kingdom", so I'm putting that in instead. I wouldn't immediately rule of "The Sessions", either, but that's shown be an Acting Awards heavy hitter, and not a writing one. They want to honor Michael Haneke anyway, for Best Foreign Language film, they've loved his work in general,  like "The White Ribbon", which got nominations outside foreign language a couple years ago, and if it's a foregone conclusion in the Foreign Language category, I think they want to honor him, without that stigma, so he'll go here too. Maybe, "Promised Land", might sneak in here too, maybe. Long, longshot, but not impossible.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY CONTENDERS
Argo-Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild-Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-Ol Parker
Cloud Atlas-Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
Hitchcock-John J. McLaughlin
The Hunger Games-Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray
Les Miserables-William Nicholson
Life of Pi-David McGee
Lincoln-Tony Kushner
The Perks of Being a Wallflower-Stephen Chbowsky
Prometheus-Jon Spaithe and Damon Lindelof
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen-Simon Beaufoy
Skyfall-Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan
Silver Linings Playbook-David O. Russell

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower", seems like the odd entry into this group that might sneak in, and not get anything else, as it's been showing up in most Awards, including a WGA nomination, but remember, that guild, has a lot of exclusivity rules, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild", was ineligible there, and oddly, "Les Miserables," didn't get nominated there. I think that film was eligible, so that is a little disconcering. "Argo", "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook", are pretty close to being locks for nominations, and the last two, are up for grabs. "Skyfall", is a little tricky here, 'cause, despite it being a James Bond, film, and clearly based off on the Ian Fleming characters, there's some debate on which category, original or adaptation, it's eligible for. I don't know why, but there is, and the question is about, to what degree of the film is original, so just for practicality sakes in this category, that's probably gonna get ignored here.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY PREDICTIONS
Argo-Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild-Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi-David McGee
Lincoln-Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook-David O. Russell

I thought about putting in "Les Miserables", somewhere, and then I checked to see who else gave it a screenwriting nomination, and the answer was no one yet. Peculiar, but it is a clear sign that the movie has split it's audience a bit. "Life of Pi", is such a major accomplishment, and a rather difficult source material to adapt, that, I'm fairly certain it's gonna get in. (That book was once considered "Unfilmable"). I tried to find the spot for "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", but since it's the only category, where it's even considered a serious contender, and there's a few choices that seem a little more popular. Benh Zeitlin, probably won't get a Best Director nomination, so this would be the place, where the Academy could honor him, so I'm pretty certain "Beasts of the Southern Wild" gets in here. If it was more popular, I'd say "Cloud Atlas," might have an outside shot, but I just don't see it, breaking through this group.

BEST PICTURE CONTENDERS
Anna Karenina
Argo
Amour
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
Flight
The Hobbit: An Incredible Journey
Holy Motors
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Looper
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
The Sessions
Seven Psychopaths
Skyfall
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

I try to write a long list, and then somehow, but ever since they change the Best Picture nominee amount from 5 to 10, (and now to, somewhere between 5-10) I try to include as many films as possible for nominations, and then somehow, they tend to nominate something, I don't even write down. (Coughs, coughs, "The Blind Side", coughs, cough, "Extremely Louse..." c-cough, cough cough, "...and Incredibly Close" cough, excuse me.) Well, I can't think of anything I might be reasonably forgetting here, but I do know, that to start with the Best Picture category, while it's tempting to go Producers' Guild, start with the Critics Choice Awards; they have been pretty damn close to get it right, the last few years. They've always had ten, and I think if nobody's sure, the voters tend to defer to them. Now there's a minimum of five, and then I have to guess, who else, gets in, and how many others get in. Let's start with the guarantees.

BEST PICTURE PREDICTIONS
Argo
Django Unchained
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

There's your Top 5.

Life of Pi
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom

And I think those three, are 6,7,8, in that order, and I'm gonna predict that they also get in, making it 8 nominees this year, and if it gets to ten...

*Les Miserables
*Beasts of the Southern Wild

If it gets to 9, "Les Miserables", sneaks in, if it's 10, "Beasts of the Southern Wild", gets in. The only other two, that I can really see getting into this bunch, are "Amour" and "Skyfall", they'll be battling for 11 and 12. I don't think, they're gonna get enough votes for "Amour", in this category, and I don't know, how many people, really liked "Skyfall", enough to put it over-the-top here. Until I see the Bond movie, get in the Best Picture category, I don't think it's safe to presume it getting in there. Same with "The Dark Knight Rises", by the way, don't see it getting in, even as a makeup for not nominating "The Dark Knight". I've been shocked before in this category, however.

Well, those are the main categories, here's a couple other predictions, I have some thoughts and analysis on.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE CONTENDERS
Adventures in Zambezia
Brave
Delhi Sarari
Dr. Suess' The Lorax
Frankenweenie
From Up on Poppy Hill
Hey Krishna
Hotel Transylvania
Ice Age: Continental Drift
A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The Mystical Laws
The Painting
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Rabbi's Cat
Rise of the Guardians
Secret of the Wings
Walter & Tandoori's Christmas
Wreck-It Ralph
Zarafa

If you're wondering why you've never heard of most of these, I can't help you, many of these, I haven't heard of either, but these are the 21 animated films, deemed eligible for the category. (And as I've complained before, a technicality, left "The Secret World of Arrietty" off this list, so hypothetical there could've been more.) This is the most eligible films the category's ever had, and because it's over 15, that means, five nominations instead of just three, but it's not appearing to be a great bunch. I would be shocked if any of these film, got into any other category. (Maybe Best Song, for "Brave," I take that back, but, still...) Don't immediately think either, that just the ones you've heard of are getting in.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE PREDICTIONS
Frankenweenie
From Up on Poppy Hill
ParaNorman
The Rabbi's Cat
Wreck-It Ralph

I'm making a ballsy prediction here, by not choosing "Brave," and I'm probably gonna regret that, 'cause it's hard to go against a Pixar film, (And despite reservations, it was a good film) but the films winning most of the Awards have been "Frankenweenie," "ParaNorman," and "Wreck-It Ralph", and frankly "Brave", disappointed many. I thought seriously about both "The Painting" and "Zarafa", I wouldn't be shocked by either of those getting in. "The Rabbi's Cat", was one of the few non-mainstream animated films, to get a Best Animated Feature Annie nomination, (The top Awards that go only for animation) and it's gotten praise elsewhere, so I feel pretty safe with that one. "Rise of the Guardians" might get in too, although that motion-capture has not been like with the Academy in the past. I could not force myself to say "A Liar's Autobiography..." would get in, but boy if it, did, just on title alone, it'll cause a splash, and frankly, we can all use some Monty Python animation once in a while. The only one I'm not positive on is "From Up on Poppy Hill", that's Studio Ghibli's entry, from Goro Miyazaki, the son of the great, Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki, who co-wrote this film, btw. It used to be a guarantee if a Miyazaki film is eligible, it'd at least get nominated, that wasn't the case with his last film, "Ponyo". This is his son's first major feature, there's still a lotta of love for Studio Ghible, and Miyazaki, and hand-drawn animation, in general. A bit of a stretch, I'll admit, but I think it can sneak in.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE CONTENDERS
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Bully
Chasing Ice
Detropia
Ethel
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
The House I Live In
How to Survive a Plague
The Imposter
The Invisible War
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Searching for Sugar Man
This is Not a Film
The Waiting Room

Again, this is the Academy shortlist I'm posting here, so the 5 nominations will come from this list. "Bully" is probably the most famous film here, that was the controversial film about school bullying that nearly caused Harvey Weinstein to form a competing entity to the MPAA, after they gave the film an R rating; but he eventually edited it for release and a lower instead. Last year's ballot's was notoriously missing a lot of the major directors and names from last year, this isn't as much the case this time, and probably the most interesting potential nomination is "This is Not a Film," about the imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who co-made, and smuggled this film out of Iran, after they imposed a 20-year ban on filmmaking to him. There's a few notable films missing here like "The Queen of Versailles" and "West of Memphis", but it's still considered a powerful group.

BEST DOCUMENTARY PREDICTION
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
This is Not a Film

I had "Bully" written down, thinking the Weinstein machine probably has a nomination locked-up, but looking at the Awards overall, the only major thing it's gotten so far, is a Critics Choice nomination, and I'm not sure that's enough, especially after last year, when his film "Undefeated", seemed like a very questionable nominee and winner last year, when everybody thought the category was bungled from the beginning. "Searching for Sugar Man", has shown up as a nominee or winner in practically every Award it's been eligible for, and "The Imposter" and "The Gatekeepers" have been piggybacking from that. This award has a tendency to be a little unpredictable, and it's somewhat likely that I can miss all five of these nomination though. Your guess, is about as good as mine here.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM CONTENDERS
"Amour" (AUSTRIA)
"War Witch" (CANADA)
"No" (CHILE)
"A Royal Affair" (DENMARK)
"The Intouchables" (FRANCE)
"The Deep" (ICELAND)
"Kon-Tiki" (NORWAY)
"Beyond the Hills" (ROMANIA)
"Sister" (SWITZERLAND)

That's the Academy's shortlist for this category. There's a few unusual choices, for instance Denmark's entry of NIkolaj Arcel's "A Royal Affair," a bit of a surprise entry since they could've chosen "The Hunt" by famed Dogme 95 filmmaker Thomas Vintenberg. Also, despite "Rust and Bone" possibly earning an acting nomination for Marion Cotillard, France went with "The Intouchables" by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, instead. Also, except for Canada and Chile, everything else if from Europe, oddly enough. Nothing for Asia, or Africa this year, which is a little unusual at this stage anyway.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM PREDICTIONS
Amour (Austria)-Michael Haneke
Beyond the Hills (Romania)-Christian Mingiu
Kon-Tiki (Norway)-Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg
No (Chile)-Pablo Larrain
A Royal Affair (Denmark)-Nikolaj Arcel

I know if nothing else, since there's five nominees and nine on the shortlist, that I know I have at least one correct. I think "Amour" is the heavy favorite and likely winner. "Beyond the Hills" I hope gets in, 'cause the Academy's been ignoring a lot of the recent cinema in Romania, which has been going through a golden age in the last few years, including Christian Mingiu's great film from a couple years ago, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", so I think he'll get in for that. A documentary on the "Kon-Tiki" ship years ago, won an Oscar for Documentary, so just based on that, I'm picking that. "A Royal Affair", has shown up, on a lot of other Foreign Language ballots, so I'm going with the pattern there, and I'm throwing Chile's entry in there, just to mix it up a bit.
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