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Back in March, I posted my first Oscar predictions of the year. And now seems as good a time as any to revise those predictions and share my latest thoughts on the Oscar race. Though some of my predictions are the same, a lot has changed since March (for example, it’s now confirmed that J. Edgar and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will be released in 2011), and my predictions do look fairly different than they did almost five months ago.
A Dangerous Method
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Other Possibilities: The Artist, We Bought a Zoo, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Drive, Young Adult, Hugo
This category is especially difficult to predict this year, as we don’t know the exact number of nominees. So basically, I just listed the ten films that I think are most likely to receive nominations. Right now, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, and The Descendants seem like the strongest bests to me, but none of these movies have been released yet, and a lot can change once they are. I’m not sure what this new format will mean for smaller films (the 10-nominee format allowed films like A Serious Man and Winter’s Bone to actually get recognized, which is why I like the 10 nominees), but I imagine that star vehicles and/or projects by established directors will take the majority of the slots here.
George Clooney – The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender – A Dangerous Method
Ryan Gosling – The Ides of March
Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Other Possibilities: Jean DuJardin (The Artist), Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo), Antonio Banderas (The Skin That I Inhabit)
At this point in time, it seems like Clooney, DiCaprio, Gosling, and Oldman are the major contenders in this race, and the question is who will take the fifth slot. But of course, things that seem like “sure bets” at this point in the year don’t always pan out. Just ask Robert Duvall, who seemed like a shoe-in for a nomination this time last year with Get Low. And even though the lead categories are usually more stable than the supporting actor categories (where contenders can come out of nowhere), it’s still tricky to figure out early on. I would not be surprised at all to see one or two of the “solid” four miss out on a nomination, though I think DiCaprio is a pretty solid bet even at this point. As for my fifth spot, it all depends on how much of a splash A Dangerous Method makes, but Fassbender has been having a breakthrough year, so I’m going with him for now.
Glen Close – Alfred Nobbs
Felicity Jones – Like Crazy
Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Steep – The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Other Possibilities: Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), Jodie Foster (Carnage), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
Like last year, this is a very competitive year in the Best Actress field, which I love. The biggest question for me right now is whether both Olsen and Jones can make it in, being almost complete unknowns with small films. Of course, Gabourey Sidibe and Carey Mulligan both received nominations in 2009, but this seems like a more competitive year. There are many options, but I think that Williams could also easily sneak into the category.
Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn
John Hawkes – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The Ides of March
Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Christoph Waltz – Carnage
Other Possibilities: Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March), Armie Hammer (J. Edgar), Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady), Geoffrey Rush (The Eye of the Storm), Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Jeffrey Wright (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
I have no idea what to do with this category right now. It doesn’t seem like there’s a single safe bet, so I don’t expect many of these actors to actually receive nominations. I don’t even know if I’m putting Waltz or Mortensen in the correct category. These just seem like respected actors who might have showy roles, so I’m going with it.
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – The Help
Keira Knightley – A Dangerous Method
Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus
Naomi Watts – J. Edgar
Kate Winslet – Carnage
Other Possibilities: Marisa Tomei (The Ides of March), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Judi Dench (J. Edgar), Emily Watson (War Horse)
This category at least seems a little more clearly outlined. Davis, Knightley (assuming she goes supporting), and Redgrave seem like somewhat good bets to me. There are probably at least a couple of other major contenders who aren’t even on my radar yet, but I like this group right now.
George Clooney – The Ides of March
Stephen Daldry – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Clint Eastwood – J. Edgar
David Fincher – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stephen Spielberg – War Horse
Other Possibilities: Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Thomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method), Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive), Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
This category will obviously correlate closely with the Best Picture nominees, so it’s pretty up in the air at this point. However, I do feel like Spielberg and Fincher are pretty good bets. Eastwood’s nomination will depend on how J. Edgar is generally received (he hasn’t been nominated since 2007′s Letters from Iwo Jima, so it’s definitely not a sure thing), and the other two spots are anyone’s to take at this point.
With the fall movie season fast approaching, here’s a look at 10 rising actors to watch out for in the fall and beyond.
For more of my picks for up-and-coming actors, be sure to check the archive.
Miller got his start playing a troubled, internet-addicted teen in 2008′s Afterschool. He’s since appeared in a couple of ensemble indie films, including City Island and Every Day, where he played the gay son of Helen Hunt and Liev Schreiber. He’s also appeared on the TV show Californication. His unusual screen presence in these early roles earned him the notice of many critics.
But what really seems to have people excited is his upcoming work. Miller will appear as Tilda Swinton’s disturbed son in the highly-anticipated film, We Need to Talk About Kevin. The movie earned major attention at Cannes, and it will be heading to TIFF this fall. Though the film looks harrowing, Miller’s work looks very promising, judging by early trailers and clips. First, though, he’ll take the titular role as a rogue high school journalist in the intriguing-sounding comedy Beware the Gonzo (which also stars Zoe Kravitz and…um…Jesse McCartney). Miller also has a major role in next year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which will likely introduce him to a much wider audience. It could be his breakout role.
The striking Dakota Johnson (who happens to be the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) made the most of her one scene as Justin Timberlake’s one-night stand in The Social Network last year. And her screen presence (and yeah, let’s face it, her butt) must have made a big impression on people, because she’s got a slew of upcoming projects.
Johnson already appeared in this year’s Beauty and Beast update, Beastly, and she has a major role in the upcoming fish-out-of-water indie film, Theo. She’ll also appear in the indie drama For Ellen, which stars Paul Dano as a musician looking for custody of his young daughter. But things get really big beyond that, because she’ll appear in comedies such as Goats (with Vera Farmiga, David Duchovny, Keri Russell, Minnie Driver, and Ty Burrell), The Five-Year Engagement (with Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, and Chris Pratt), and Gay Dude (with Nick Offerman, Megan Mullaly, and fellow up-and-comer Nicholas Braun). And she also has a role in the upcoming 21 Jump Street remake with Johnny Depp and Channing Tatum.
Enthusiasts of the tween entertainment have probably had Braun on their radar for a while now. Not only did he appear in the Disney Channel Original movies The Princess Protection Program and Minutemen, but he also had a lead role on the ABC Family show adaptation of 10 Things I Hate About You (he played the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character). As well, he provided some genuine charm to Disney’s big-screen movie, Prom, this year (and if you read my review, you’ll see his performance was one of the major reasons that I somewhat enjoyed the film).
But for those of us who enjoy movies that are targeted towards people above the age of 12, there’s still a good reason to be aware of Braun. He’ll play one of the three teen leads (along with Michael Angarano and Kyle Gallner) in Kevin Smith’s much-discussed Red State, which opens this fall. And Kevin Smith likes Braun so much that he cast him as the star in his next (and final?) directorial project, Hit Somebody. In the film (which will apparently be split into two parts), Braun will play an aspiring hockey player whose true talent lies only in getting into fights. Braun will also play the non-gay half of a duo of friends in Gay Dude (which recently signed Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly for supporting roles). And as if all of THAT wasn’t enough, he also has a small role in next year’s adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a supporting role in Chalet Girl (which stars it-girl to-be Felicity Jones), a leading role as a “Jesus-freak” love interest in Before You Say Goodbye, and a major role in the TV movie Brave New World (which apparently is not Aldous Huxley-related). Whew.
Henry Cavill certainly doesn’t need my endorsement, but he’s probably the next Big Thing (or at least, the next Sam Worthington). Now, he’s popped up here and there with supporting roles in films such as The Count of Monte Cristo, Tristan + Isolde, Stardust, and Whatever Works. He was also a regular on The Tudors. He’s had a pretty respectable career already for such a young actor. But none of that holds a light to what’s on the horizon for Cavill.
First, he landed the lead in The Immortals, which is directed by Tarsem Singh (The Fall and The Cell). When you watch the trailers, it’s not at all surprising to hear that the film is by the producers of 300, and I imagine this film will be met with a similarly large audience. And as if one potential franchise wasn’t enough, he also got cast as gosh darn SUPERMAN in The Man of Steel. Since it’s directed by Zack Snyder (he of 300 fame and Sucker Punch, um…notoriety), it’s sure to be visually slick. And even though I’m tiring of superhero movies (didn’t we just have a Superman film?) the supporting cast includes Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon (yay!), and Laurence Fishbourn, so I have to be at least a bit excited. And as if two leading roles weren’t enough, Cavill will also star in an action/conspiracy thriller called The Cold Light of Day with Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver.
The multi-talented Marling may have first made an impression as Brita’s “lesbian friend” in an episode of Community, but her ambitions clearly stretch far beyond sitcom guest star. Not only does she star in the Sundance hit Another Earth (which is currently playing in limited release), but she also co-wrote the film with director Mike Cahill. And while Another Earth garnered more attention, Marling also starred in and co-wrote another film from this year’s Sundance festival, Sound of My Voice. In that film, Marling plays the leader of a cult who is the target of two documentary filmmakers trying to expose her as a fraud.
After Sundance, Marling was quickly spotted by studio execs, and she’s become one of the most in-demand young actresses working (she was even forced to drop out of contention for the Tom Cruise vehicle One Shot due to scheduling conflicts). She’s set to join a top-notch cast for Robert Redford’s next project, The Company You Keep, which stars Shia LaBoeuf, Susan Sarandon, Redford, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, and Julie Christie. And she’ll appear with Sarandon once again in Arbitage, a financial thriller also starring Tim Roth and Richard Gere.
Miles Teller made his big screen debut just last year in the critically acclaimed Rabbit Hole, and his aching, muted performance caught the attention of many viewers. He more than held his own alongside Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. And though he may not have a slew of huge projects coming up, Teller is certainly on his way up after that breakout performance.
His biggest (and most unexpected!) film on the horizon is the remake of Footloose, which will hit theatres this fall. Teller will play Willard, a tough-talking (but apparently light-footed) comrade of Ren. Teller also has a couple of smaller comedies in the works. Project X is a teen party comedy by first-time director Nima Nourizadeh, and 21 and Over tells the story straight-laced students who cuts loose (footloose?) on his 21st birthday.
British actor Tom Hiddleston is no stranger to UK television, but North American audiences got their first taste of his charm in this year’s mega-blockbuster Thor, where he played the brother of Chris Hemsworth. He was also very memorable as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris. And if appearing in two of the most talked-about films of the summer wasn’t enough of an introduction, Hiddleston has a few more chances to get people talking.
Hiddleston will star opposite Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea, which is set to play at TIFF this year. He’ll also take a supporting role in Spielberg’s buzzed-about holiday blockbuster, War Horse. He’ll also reprise his role of Loki from Thor for next year’s hugely anticipated superhero extravaganza, The Avengers. Hiddleston’s offbeat charm seems to be striking a chord with American audiences, and I expect to see a lot of him in years to come.
British actress Kaya Scodelario was a fan favourite as Effieon the teen soap Skins, and that notoriety started to turn into big screen promise when she landed small roles in Moon and Clash of the Titans. But while she’s still sticking mainly with smaller projects in the UK, it seems as though Scodelario is well on her way to building up an interesting career. She has some interesting projects on the horizon.
First (and most notably), she’s taking on a huge task by playing Catherine in the latest adaptation of Wuthering Heights. The film is directed by Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank), and I’m very interested to see her take on the classic story. Scodelario will also appear in the British thriller Twenty8k (which stars the underrated Stephen Dillane), a weepy drama about a girl with cancer called Now is Good (which stars Dakota Fanning, the underrated Olivia Williams, and the underrated Paddy Considine), a film about an Iraq veteran who fakes his own death called Invisible, and a teen drama called Stay With Me (where she’ll co-star with Cemetery Junction‘s quirky Tom Hughes). These seem like smart, diverse choices for a young actress, and I imagine that if she gives a worthy performance in Wuthering Heights that will be her ticket for big things.
Something is up when a 11-year-old has more IMDB acting credits than a lot of actors three times her age (she has 28 credits, which is more than anyone else on this list). But while Madison charmed her way through small roles in Bridge to Terabithia, Phoebe in Wonderland, and Conviction, it was her work in the 2009 drama Brothers, which struck a chord with most viewers. Playing the petulant daughter of Natalie Portman and Toby Maguire, Madison offered something so rare for a child actor – believability. Her acting was refreshingly natural, and it made for a magnetic performance. It was probably one of the best child performances I’ve seen, so it’s a shame that she hasn’t gotten more meaty projects since then. She shared the screen earlier this year with Adam Sandler in Just Go With It, which, though I haven’t seen it, probably didn’t give her much to work with. But she has at least one project that could be good coming up…
The release of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is just a couple of weeks away, and though it looks like a fairly standard horror flick, there are some promising elements. As well as Madison, it stars Guy Pearce, who almost always makes good movie choices (and is good in everything he picks). It was also co-written by Guillermo Del Toro (who is also a producer), so that should add a bit of zest to it all. Madison’s name even makes it onto the poster, so she’ll probably have the chance to show off some acting here. Beyond that, she’ll be in the comedy Dance of the Mirlitons with Kristen Bell, Chloe Moretz, and Jackie Earle Haley (which might be the most random cast ever), the Corbin Bernsen-directed family drama (huh?) 25 Hill, and Cowgirls n’ Angels (which is not a sequel to Cowboys & Aliens, and sounds…well, awful).
This guy has 10 upcoming films (and a lot of them are big ones), so let’s get down to it. He’s a Welsh actor who’s done extensive theatre work and appeared in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Robin Hood, Tamara Drewe, and Clash of the Titans. And that’s literally it. No British telelvision. Nothing else.
But that’s about to change. Let’s get the small ones out of the way first. He’s in a Jason Statham action flick called Blitz that’s going straight to DVD in North America, a strange-looking film called Flutter with Joe Anderson, a horror film called No One Lives, a British drama called Ashes with Jim Sturgess, Lesley Manville, and Ray Winstone (which actually sound good), and a leading role in the action film The Amateur American (though production was recently pushed back). BUT first up, this fall he’ll appear as Aramis in The Three Musketeers. Soon after, he’ll play Zeus himself in The Immortals. In 2012, he’ll play a detective in the Poe film The Raven, and he’ll also appear in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Bard (now I wish I’d finished that book so I knew who “Bard” is). And in 2013, of course he has the sequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
So there’s my latest batch of actors to watch. For previous lists of up-and-comers, click here. If you have any suggestions for actors you’d like to see featured, feel free to leave a comment!
Remember when I said that Reeve Carney should play Jeff Buckley in a biopic? Probably not. But I did actually suggest that casting choice a couple of months ago when Penn Badgley was cast as the late singer in the upcoming film Greetings from Tim Buckley. And today, The Playlist reported that Carney will in fact be portraying Buckley in the second of two competing biopics.
Now, I’m certainly not the first or only person to notice the comparison between Carney and Buckley, so I can’t brag (though I’m going to try anyways). But while I’m not sure if we need one Buckley biopic let alone two, I think Carney is a great choice, at least visually. And since he’s currently toiling away in the ill-fated Spider-Man musical, we know Carney can sing. The only question that remains is whether he’ll have the screen presence to carry an entire film.
While Greetings from Tim Buckley will cover a very short period in Jeff Buckley’s life (the 1991 tribute concert for his late father, Tim), this second, currently untitled project has much broader source material. The Carney vehicle will be adapted from David Browne’s biography Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, and it will reportedly cover the period between Jeff’s rise to fame and his eventual death in 1997.
The duelling biopics seem to each have their pros and cons. While I think the untitled one has the more fitting star, Greetings from Tim Buckley (which is set to go into production later this month) may have the advantage with a more compact storyline. Neither film has an especially well-known director, but neither is a newbie. Greetings From Tim Buckley will be helmed by Daniel Algrant, whose last feature was 2003′s People I Know, with Al Pachino and Tea Leoni (which is apparently a film that existed). Meanwhile, the Carney-led biopic will be directed by Jake Scott, who brought us last year’s Welcome to the Rileys.
However, this second biopic may have a slight advantage, since Scott will presumably have Buckley’s original music to work with. Greeting from Tim Buckley is set a few years before the release of Jeff Buckley’s first (and only) album, Grace, and that project does not have the rights to Jeff’s music. But this second project will probably see Carney’s taking on tracks from that album. This puts more pressure on Carney, but it also gives him the opportunity to wow with his renditions of some of Buckley’s best-known songs.
I’m still slightly suspicious that both projects will come to fruition, but if so, it should be interesting to see how each one portrays Buckley.
Carney has been all over television promoting Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, so you probably know what his singing voice sound like, but if not, you can check this clip from the musical’s soundtrack to see that he’s very a capable singer. Oh, and if you’d like to see some of my other casting suggestions for musical biopics, I’ll direct you to an older list of suggestions that I made.