Oscar nomination predictions

Wade Thompson’s Predictions

Best Picture

127 Hours

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

True Grit

Toy Story 3

Winter’s Bone

Once again, having ten nominations for Best Picture throws the whole contest of the Oscars into a loop. The Social Network, in my mind, is still the front-runner, with Inception, True Grit and The King’s Speech coming in close behind. Behind those movies, I’m almost guaranteeing that Toy Story 3 is going to take the token “animated” slot while The Kids Are All Right grabs the token “comedy” nomination.

Then there’s Black Swan which, doesn’t really fit into any particular category of guaranteed slot, but will almost certainly take up one of the spots. Beyond those eight though, the field is pretty much wide open, just as it was last year. The Fighter has that feel-good, inspirational story that Oscar voters tend to love, so I’m banking on that grabbing a nod.

I’m not convinced that 127 Hours was good enough to garner any other nominations in the other major categories, so wasting a Best Picture nomination seems like a very “Academy” move. As for Winter’s Bone, I just can’t see The Town or Hereafter being recognized at all, so putting a solid independent movie amongst the more mainstream fair makes sense to me. And there it stays.

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

For all intents and purposes, this is Colin Firth’s year. Jesse Eisenberg is simply too young and new to take it away from him, and he seems to be the only one who would have a true shot at that. Bridges rode his own Oscar win last year well with the Coen’s True Grit, but he’s no Tom Hanks and will not win two years in a row.

Gosling and Bardem have flown under other awards’ radar, but both Biutiful and Blue Valentine are “actor” movies, which the Academy usually appreciates. The fact alone that James Franco is hosting, I think that plays against his chances of getting his first nod.

Best Actress

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Natalie Portman does not have Best Actress in the bag and don’t let anyone tell you different. Annette Bening has the veteran factor going for her, and has been passed up for an Oscar three times before.

I can’t help but feel that she’s been around long enough that they can’t let her leave without one for a fourth time. Kidman and Williams are pretty much fodder for the category, as neither have a chance at winning, but will be given the consolation of getting nominated. Jennifer Lawrence will be the young’un at this year’s ceremony, taking a spot that could have just as easily gone to True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter

Andrew Garfield, The Social Network

Sam Rockwell, Conviction

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Understandably, Christian Bale is the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor, but Rush, Garfield and Ruffalo all have a legitimate shot at taking this away from him. The fifth spot is really up for grabs, so Sam Rockwell is my “no guts, no glory” pick this year. Conviction was not even close to being as good as it was believed to be, but Rockwell was as solid as he’s ever been. He’s a long shot for sure, but that’s what makes predicting these things so fun.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech

Barbara Hershey, Black Swan

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

This is arguably the most wide-open category of them all. Leo and Adams will undoubtedly get the call for The Fighter and Australian actress Jacki Weaver has been getting buzz for too long not to be recognized for her work in the import Animal Kingdom.

Carter will complete The King’s Speech trifecta, joining Rush and Firth in being nominated by the Academy once again. For the final spot, I think that Black Swan’s Barbara Hershey, NOT Mila Kunis, will take this spot. Because really, when you think “Oscar nominated actress” Kunis is not the name that comes to mind. And we should keep it that way.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

David Fincher, The Social Network

Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

Christopher Nolan, Inception

It sucks that it has taken this long for both David Fincher and Christopher Nolan to be recognized by the Academy, but I guess it’s better late than never. Despite my own personal feelings towards the direction in Black Swan, Aronofsky is sure to get recognized as well, as is relatively newbie Tom Hooper.

The fifth spot is kind of a guess at this point, so the Coens are my choice simply because I don’t like David O. Russell. There. I said it.


Peter Kuling’s Predictions

Best Picture

The King’s Speech

Black Swan

The Social Network

The Kids are All Right

The Fighter

Inception

The Tourist

How to Train Your Dragon

Winter’s Bone

True Grit

Last year I was far more comfortable with 10 Best Picture nominees. This year, I’m far more hesitant, as the selection of films is so much more radically diverse and hard to compare. I’m not sure how anyone will be able to pick between period dramas, psychological ballet movies, in addition to an animated picture and family dramas.

I must admit I loathe that The King’s Speech could win this category, namely because I’m convinced it’s a movie like Precious, ultimately championed at the Toronto Film Festival by audiences who haven’t spent a lot of time watching movies. Almost any of the other nominees are better pictures, but none of them feels like a complete Best Picture the way The King’s Speech does.

My only longshots are How To Train Your Dragon, which I thought was a wonderfully inventive animated film in comparison to Toy Story 3, as well as The Tourist.

Best Actor

James Franco 127 Hours

Colin Firth The King’s Speech

Jesse Eisenberg The Social Network

Robert Duvall Get Low

Ryan Gosling Blue Valentine

This year Best Actor seems like the toughest category to finalize. I’ve no doubt Colin Firth will win the Oscar, but the runner up nominees are difficult to decide upon. The academy will want an older actor on the ballot, like Christopher Plummer last year, but I’m not sure they will go for both Bridges (True Grit) and Duvall (Get Low).

I’m going with Duvall because its doubtful Bridges could pull a Tom Hanks double win. Franco and Eisenberg will be nominated, with Gosling adding his amazing talent to the list of nominees as my long shot for Blue Valentine.

Best Actress

Annette Bening The Kids are All Right

Natalie Portman Black Swan

Jennifer Lawrence Winter’s Bone

Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole

Hilary Swank Conviction

I can’t nominate Annette Bening for Best Actress without also nominating Hilary Swank in the same category. While Swank is unlikely to get a nod for Conviction, she was really convincing and annoying (in a good way) in the prison biopic and I hope academy voters will place her against Bening to create a repeat showdown. Bening will be most likely be up against Portman dueling for the win, with Kidman and Lawrence rounding out this category as satisfying filler.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale The Fighter

Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech

Mark Ruffalo The Kids are All Right

Jeremy Renner The Town

Andrew Garfield The Social Network

It looks like Batman will get an Oscar nomination and a likely win, meaning the two stars of The Dark Knight will now have won in this category. All the other nods here are worthy, like Rush and Ruffalo, but none of them are as stellar as their lead counterparts. Renner will be back to tribute his work last year in The Hurt Locker, and the only upset I could foresee in this category would be Justin Timberlake taking Garfield’s spot for The Social Network.

Best Supporting Actress

Helena Bonham Carter The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld True Grit

Mila Kunis Black Swan

Amy Adams The Fighter

While I’m convinced that all five of these women will be nominated, the winner will come down to a battle between the two women from The Fighter, meaning voters will finally give two Oscars to supporting actors appearing in the same film.

Not since Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) has the academy done this and it looks like it will finally happen if Melissa Leo wins for The Fighter.

Best Director

David Fincher The Social Network

Darren Aronofsky Black Swan

Tom Hooper The King’s Speech

David O Russell The Fighter

Christopher Nolan Inception

There is nothing unexpected about the nominees for Best Director. All these films were engaging and unexpectedly good, however it seems difficult (as with the Best Picture nominees) to pinpoint exactly which director deserves it.

I think this might be the category that provides Aronofsky an Oscar, as I think its unlikely Black Swan will win for picture. For sure I’m forecasting a split between Picture and Director. The director who walks up on stage will not do so twice in the same night.

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