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The past couple of years, I’ve posted ultra-early Oscar predictions (usually in March). I guess I was slacking a bit this year, but here is my first round of predictions.
If you’d like to see how my early stabs in the dark panned out in previous years, you can check them out here.
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi
Other Possibilities: Moonrise Kingdom, The Great Gatsby, Inside Lllewyn Davis, Hyde Park on Hudson, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Killing Them Softly, The Silver Lining Playbook, Gravity, Trouble With the Curve, The Place Beyond the Pines, Brave, Gangster Squad, Lawless, Six Sessions, Rust and Bone, Prometheus, Seven Psychopaths
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Michael Haneke, Amour
Peter Jackson, The Hobbit
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Stephen Spielberg, Lincoln
Other Possibilities: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), David O. Russell (The Silver Lining Playbook), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly), Baz Luhrman (The Great Gatsby), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Affleck (Argo), Roger Michell (Hyde Park on Hudson), David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis), Ridley Scott (Prometheus)
Clint Eastwood, Trouble with the Curve
This movie sounds like a crowd-pleasing heartstring-tugger, and also a great acting showcase.
John Hawkes, Six Sessions
Hawkes received massive buzz at Sundance for Six Sessions (then known as The Surrogate). He’s an actor whose had a huge breakthrough recently and has been making very smart role choices. I strongly think he will get his second nomination this year.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
I’m not sure how the Lead/Supporting split will go with Hoffman and Phoenix (I’ve seen it predicted both ways), but I imagine they’ll both be nominated. It’s about time for another PSH nomination, right?
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
If there’s one nomination I am almost positive will happen this year, this is it. Unless this turns out to be J. Edgar or something, it’ll happen. Not sure if DDL will get a third Oscar so quickly, but he’ll almost certainly be nominated.
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
I personally don’t think this movie will have the awards season sweep that a lot of people seem to be predicting (it sounds more Iron Lady than King’s Speech, to me), but it seems pretty likely that Bill Murray will be nominated for Best Actor. He might even win his first one.
Other Possibilities: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Great Gatsby), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond the Pines), Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly), Ryan Gosling (Gangster Squad),
Amy Adams, Trouble With the Curve
Adams has three Supporting Actress nominations under her belt already, and this father/daughter drama could get her a Lead Actress nom. The Academy clearly loves her, so between this and The Master (which I am currently predicting her for, as well), it seems fairly likely she’ll get nominated again this year.
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Cotillard made big waves at Cannes this year for her apparently raw performance in this Jacques Audiard drama. It is a French-language performance, though, which could be a tough sell to the Academy.
Helen Hunt, Six Sessions
Since winning her Oscar for As Good as It Gets, Helen Hunt’s career hasn’t exactly been stellar. However, this Sundance hit could be the one to turn it around for her. John Hawkes might overshadow her, since it is his character’s story, but who knows?
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
On paper, this sounds like a good bet. It’s the adaptation of a beloved classic novel directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley. That formula worked very well for Knightley with Pride & Prejudice. We’ll have to wait and see if this one works quite as well, though.
Elizabeth Olsen, Liberal Arts
Olsen established herself as a truly talented young actress with Martha Marcy May Marlene last year. And while Liberal Arts looks considerably lighter, she received raves at Sundance, with some critics calling it a star-making turn. Not sure if this is a lead or supporting performance, though.
Other Possibilities: Kristen Wiig (Imogene), Laura Linney (Hyde Park on Hudson), Viola Davis (Won’t Back Down), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed), Mia Wasikowska (Stoker), Maggie Smith (Qaurtet), Abbie Cornish (The Girl), Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)
Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper, The Place Beyond the Pines
Maybe it’s wishful thinking or maybe it’s a hunch, but I have a feeling that Bradley Cooper will get serious Oscar consideration this year. I don’t know if the Academy would nominate him in the lead category yet (especially when it’s shaping up to be so competitive this year), but if this is a meaty role and he does it well, this could be the perfect “welcome to the club” nomination for him.
Bryan Cranston, Argo
Affleck has had luck getting his supporting players nominated in the past. There are plenty of possible acting nominations for this film, but Cranston seems to have the right combination of critical respect (for his excellent work on Breaking Bad) and relevance (his many recent supporting roles) to maybe get some Oscar recognition, if the role is good.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
DiCaprio hasn’t been on the best terms with the Academy recently, and while I don’t think this nomination is a lock by any means, it seems like a pretty good bet. Tarantino always writes fascinating characters, and it should be interesting to see how DiCaprio does with that style.
Woody Harrelson, Seven Psychopaths
Admittedly, I’m at a bit of a loss with this category. Apparently, Harrelson has a very good part in Seven Psychopaths, and he’s had a few good years, so it could happen.
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Joaquin is back, and I think he’ll pick up right where he left off. And while a three-minute clip is hardly enough to go from, he looks fantastic in this movie.
Other Possibilities: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), David Straitharn (Lincoln), Robert De Niro (The Silver Lining Playbook), Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis), Guy Pearce (Lawless), Tom Hardy (Lawless), Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Lincoln), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
I have no idea what Adams’ or Dern’s parts are like (and maybe I’m just way too excited about The Master), but I could see both of them getting nominated. After all, if there’s a category where that could happen, it’s Supporting Actress (The Help! The Fighter! Up in the Air! Doubt! Two of which involved Amy Adams…)
Laura Dern, The Master
Dern has had a bit of a comeback with her work on the TV show Enlightened, and if her part is good, she could receive her first Oscar nomination is twenty years.
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Maybe I’m still sore about Hooper beating Fincher two years back, but for me, Les Miserables just has the faint scent of disaster. Now, if that turns out to be true, that doesn’t mean it’ll get shut out by the Oscars (hey, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Lovely Bones!). Hathaway seems like most likely candidate for a nomination.
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
I’m not sure if this movie will be Oscar’s thing, but Jennifer Lawrence is too big of a force to ignore right now. The Academy voters helped launch her by nominating her for Winter’s Bone, so they’ll probably want to follow that up with another nomination sometime soon.
Olivia Williams, Hyde Park on Hudson
Williams has been turning out fantastic, under-recognized work for many years. Maybe this glossy biopic will be what it takes to get her some attention. Playing Eleanor Roosevelt certainly can’t hurt.
Other Possibilities: Vanessa Redgrave (Song for Marion), Jessica Chastain (Lawless), Reece Witherspoon (Mud), Gemma Arterton (Song for Marion), Sally Field (Lincoln), Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jacki Weaver (The Silver Lining Playbook)
1. Django Unchained
Tarantino. DiCaprio. Levitt. What more could you want?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is poised to have a fucking fantastic year in 2012. Add to that a big role in Spielberg’s next epic, Lincoln. Playing Robert Todd to Daniel Day-Lewis’ Abraham, this could be the role that finally gets Levitt some serious Oscar attention. Oh, and the film also features John Hawkes, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Hayley, Michael Stuhlbarg, and David Strathairn, among many others? That’s cool, I guess.
3. The Master
Man, these first three movies are all very exciting to me. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie since There Will Be Blood and it’s also Joaquin Phoenix’s first movie since his…social experiment (or whatever you want to call all that). Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, and Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights alumni alert!) also star. The subject matter maybe isn’t the most interesting to me (it’s based around a charismatic scientology-like leader), but then again, I would have said the same thing about There Will Be Blood.
4. Wettest Country
Director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) reteams with Guy Pearce, and also brings Shia LaBouef, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska along for the ride in this crime drama about a Depression-era bootlegging gang. Any movie with that cast is going to grab my attention, and with Hillcoat at the helm, you know it’ll be gritty.
I’ve been avoiding the promotional stuff for this film (and most upcoming films, actually), but the cast is enough to get me very interested. Michael Fassbender and Guy Pearce are the at the top of my favourite actors list, and Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, and Noomi Rapace ain’t bad, either.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I absolutely love the book, and I love that the author (Stephen Chbosky) is also writing and directing the movie adaptation. And let’s talk about the young cast here. It’s like they took every young up-and-coming actor that I love and put them all in one movie. You’ve got Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Reece Thompson, Nicholas Braun, and Mae Whitman. Nice. And Paul Rudd and Melanie Lynskey, too? Extra nice.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
Since it’s #7 on my list in a year full of interesting movies, obviously I’m excited (like the rest of the world). But I’m also nervous. Maybe they should have gone out on a high with The Dark Knight?
8. Liberal Arts
Josh Radnor’s college dramedy was one of the more buzzed-about films at Sundance this year, and it stars Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Zac Efron, and Richard Jenkins. Radnor’s directorial debut Happythankyoumoreplease got mixed reviews, but I was rather fond of it, so I’m excited to see what he’ll do next. I could see this film being a bit of a breakout hit this year.
9. Seven Psychopaths
I would be excited for any new film by In Bruges director Martin McDonagh, so the fact that this one features Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Abbie Cornish and revolves around dognapping is just icing on the cake.
10. Anna Karenina
Joe Wright is a bit of a hit-or-miss director for me (loved Pride & Prejudice, didn’t care for Atonement), but he has definitely proven that he knows how to make a period piece look great. Re-teaming with Keira Knightley, his adaptation of the classic Tolstoy novel also stars Jude Law, Emily Watson, Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Johnson, and Olivia Williams. Awesome.
The Bourne Legacy (August 3)
Jeremy Renner is everywhere. Edward Norton is nowhere, currently. But I’m equally excited to see them in this Bourne reboot (?), even though I’m not too excited that they’re continuing the franchise without Matt Damon. Hopefully Tony Gilroy (who wrote the other Bourne films and is stepping in as director for this one) makes it more interesting than he did with Michael Clayton.
Brave (June 22)
This is Pixar’s latest family film, and it looks pretty adorable and female-empowering, which is awesome. I also like that Craig Ferguson now has a second career doing voice-over work in kid’s movies.
Contraband (January 13)
This Mark Wahlberg shoot-em-up movie looks like pretty standard fare, however its cast has me slightly more interested. With a supporting cast that includes Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones (last seen as Banshee in X-Men: First Class), J.K. Simmons, and Diego Luna, this movie has too many actors I like to not give it a rental.
Django Unchained (December 25)
I can’t think of a better Christmas present. Leo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (!!), Sascha Baron Cohen, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, and Kurt Russell are just a few of the intriguing names attached to this Tarantino-directed western.
Cogan’s Trade (TBA)
The problem with following movie casting news is that it can lead to disappointment when things don’t pan out. I remember when Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, and Javier Bardem were all attached to Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to The Assassination of Jesse James. Nonetheless, I’m still very interested to see what else Dominik is capable of, and with Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, and Ben Mendelsohn all on board, we’re really not doing too badly.
Haywire (January 20)
This is Steven Soderbergh’s first action-y blockbuster since Ocean’s Thirteen. In Haywire, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Michael Douglas, and Bill Paxton all must deal with the fallout after a black ops super soldier (played by MMA fighter Gina Carano) is betrayed by her team. With such a strong cast, I have high hopes for the film, however being bumped from late 2011 to January 2012 (the doldrums of movie release dates) might not bode well?
Premium Rush (August 24)
Let’s ponder this for a minute. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Michael Shannon. Bicycling. In what world does this exist as an action movie (or any kind of movie, for that matter)? Whatever, I’m excited.
Skyfall (November 9)
Daniel Craig + Javier Bardem + Ben Whishaw + Ralph Fiennes = a movie that I am very interested in. It would have been awesome if they’d gotten Martin Campbell back for this latest Bond film (I loved what he did with Casino Royale), but at least it’s not Marc Forster again (he fucked up Quantum of Solace pretty badly, in my opinion). Sam Mendes is certainly a good director, though, so I’m interested to see what he’ll do with the series.
This Means War (February 17)
I like Chris Pine and Tom Hardy quite a bit, so by default, I have to watch this movie at some point. The action-comedy genre has already played itself out, I think (and it was never that good to begin with), but this one looks at least potentially funny/interesting?
Untitled International Thriller (December 19)
(This Kathryn Bigelow project is better known by its working title, Kill Bin Laden.)
What a cast. Jessica Chastain is in every big movie, so obviously she is in this one. Throw in other up-and-comers like Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Clarke, and Chris Pratt (I like that he’s becoming kind of a movie star) and Mark Strong (who I have a newfound admiration for), and you’ve got a movie that I’m interested in. Also, I’m sure everyone is excited to see what Bigelow will come out with after The Hurt Locker.