The Race To The Oscars

With The Golden Globes being on Sunday and the BAFTAS announcing their nominations, we can start separating the contenders with the pretenders for the Oscars that will soon announce their nominations.

If this year can be described in one word, it would be discombobulated.  No, I’m not hinting a Sherlock Holmes nomination, but the entire race from start to near finish has been one big confusing mess, with no clear winner in almost all of the categories.  By now, we should have so clue about the races and which horses will start separating themselves from the rest of the pack, but if anything, we’ve been given a huge pile of hot and steamy crap considering many of the awards have been given to many different recipients.  But with the Globes and the BAFTA nominations, we do get to clear some air out and start to fill out the potential ballot.

Best Picture

The Oscars did something innovative (that’s shocking in general) by not limiting the number of Best Picture nominees.  Where they recently added 10 nominees after the Dark Knight debacle, now, they can nominate at least 5 films and a max of 10, but there is no guarantee.  There is a specific and confusing voting process this year where each voter will have a preferential list and to be nominated you must have a certain amount of number one votes, and then accounting for 2nd and 3rd place votes, with minimum of 5% being 1st place, and then something else happens and then something else, and then you’re in.  Simple as that.  What the hell…  Anyways, with that kind of process, only thing is for sure.  You better have the best film in many people’s opinion.  With this kind of voting process, it allows for films that were great (We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, etc.) but will most likely not be the number one favorite in the Academy.  These films would most likely range from 3-10, but without that number one vote, they most likely will not get in.  Though this process is unfortunate for certain number of films, it allows for a greater invisibility for the Academy and a larger shock value when films are announced.  With all this said, it looks like The Artist is the clear frontrunner here.  With the Best Film win at the Golden Globes and leading the BAFTAs with 12 nominations, it looks like it’s theirs to lose.  Like I predicted earlier in the year, it’s just the film the Academy eats up and poops out an Oscar trophy just like The King’s Speech.  But don’t discount The Descendants or Hugo for an upset.

Potential Nominees:

The Artist
The Descendants
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Help
War Horse

Possible: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (DGA nomination helps), Bridesmaids, The Ides of March and Tree of Life

Best Director

This is possibly the biggest unknown right now.  We have three directors that can easily and deservedly win this award, but if we follow Oscar history, then if we believe that The Artist is the winner of Best Picture, that it is almost 90% that the Oscars will reward the Best Director to the same film.  In this case, that means its Michel Hanazavicius.  But to discount Martin Scorsese or Alexander Payne (has been neglected for a long time) is being extremely ignorant.  One of the most accurate precedents is the DGA winner to the Oscar winner.  The DGA is probably the closest and most accurate winner to winner comparison.  Personally, it looks like Martin Scorsese is the slight favorite right now, but that all can change when the DGA announces their winner.

Potential Nominees:

Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Michel Hanazavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

Potential:  David Fincher – The Girl With The Dragon Tatto or Terrence Malick – Tree of Life

Best Actor

This is a two headed race right now between George Clooney of The Descendants and Jean Dujardin of The Artist.  They are locks right now for nominations, with the rest being slowly filled out.  We can safely assume that Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender will most likely be nominated, which gives one spot left to many deserving actors including Gary Oldman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Woody Harrelson and Ryan Gosling for two different films.  What will separate the nominees with the losers will be respect from the Academy.  None of these actors that are possible contenders for a nomination came out of nowhere to provide a spectacular performance.  They’ve all been in Hollywood for a while.  There are no little kids (Whale Rider, The Sixth Sense) or average actors who turned ugly or did something great for once (Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke) so in that sense, I most likely will give this to Gary Oldman.

Potential Nominees:

George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Possible: Ryan Gosling (Ides of March, Drive) or Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

Best Actress

This could be one of the most intriguing and possibly the most controversial race we’ve seen with the Oscars.  Besides the fact that 2011 provided some of the strongest, boldest and best performances for women in a long time, we have other factors playing into this race including politics, racial priority and just overall influence one’s performance can have (specifically to men considering they take up most of the Academy).  There are eight performances that are worthy of nominations, and it most years, would’ve been nominated.  From the veterans to the just introduced, they each provide difficult but eccentric characters to the screen.  Right now, it’s a race between Meryl Streep for the Iron Lady and Viola Davis for The Help.  I haven’t seen The Iron Lady, but any Streep performance is going to be noteworthy and memorable.  She’s the best actress of our time and deserves more than 2 pitiful Oscar wins (She’s been nominated 16 times).  Also the fact that Streep is publicly rooting for Davis to win just tells you her character and overall complacency with the Academy.  Besides the two frontrunners, we’ve got Michelle Williams, Tilda Swinton, Glenn Close, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara (my personal pick for Best performance) and then Elizabeth Olsen for her terrifying portrayal in Martha Marcy May Marlene.  Honestly, it all comes down to how the Academy feels about their respective film, if they feel like one deserves to be nominated for reasons other than the performance, etc.  I honestly think Rooney Mara’s nomination all depends on how the Academy responded to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  If they loved it, she gets in with ease, if not, they will definitely snub her out.  Just the fact that her performance makes all men go in hiding, yeah, her nomination will not be any easy feat.  But the little faith I have in the Academy gives me hope that she will get nominated.

Potential Nominees:

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Viola Davis, The Help
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Possible:  Glen Close – Albert Nobbs (Most likely will take Mara’s final spot) and Elizabeth Olsen.

Supporting Actor

Not as intriguing, but all of good performances all around.  Nothing is for certain except for the fact that it looks like Christopher Plummer for the Beginners looks like his for the taking.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if Albert Brooks sneaks in for the upset. The major storyline here is how possible is it for Andy Serkis to be nominated.  The day one gets nominated for a performance that is not seen on screen, it will make waves throughout Hollywood.  But that doesn’t take any less from the performance Serkis delivered as Caesar in The Rise of the Planet of The Apes.  Not many actors can do that, but he does this regularly throughout many films.  Here’s hoping that the Academy could be radical do something amazing.  but I doubt it.

Potential Nominees:

Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Albert Brooks, Drive
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior

Possible: Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method, Andy Serkis (Please!!!), Brad Pitt – Tree of Life

Best Supporting Actress

This race is already over.  But all those that are potential nominees are all young, new to the big screen and are fresh faces to Hollywood which is great to see, especially coming from the Academy.  But with all that said, this one is going to Octavia Spencer for The Help.  She’s winning all the awards right now, the fact that she’s black in a movie that the Academy eats up a la The Blind Side, yeah, this one’s in the bag.

Potential Nominees:

Octavia Spencer, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Berenice Bejo, The Artist (even though she should be a lead…)
Shaileen Woodley, The Descendants
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids (This will be a great nomination for her)

Possible: Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs or Carey Mulligan – Shame

Other categories like Screenplays, technicals and music are all toss ups right now with films like Drive, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, Hugo and War Horse most likely soaking up those nominations.  I’m still saddened by the fact that these awards have completely neglected Harry Potter and its amazing accomplishment the series has done through the decade.  It should be honored just like Lord of the Rings, but no, it will not except for the technicals.  But here’s hoping for a shock.

One week until nominations!  Get ready.

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