Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Other Contenders - The Master, Amour, Skyfall, Flight, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hitchcock, Anna Karenina
Commentary - Leading the nominations for SAG, BFCA, and HFPA, Lincoln has catapulted to the frontrunner status in the Oscar race. After days of Zero Dark Thirty love, the tides have changed, as that film, while still a major contender, missed the SAG ensemble nod, making its ride to a Best Picture win a lot more difficult. Early favorites Argo and Silver Linings Playbook showed some late-season muscle, and proved why they are still very much in contention, albeit still behind the mammoth Lincoln. Les Miserables also did well, but Tom Hooper missing the Golden Globe nod, and its continued mixed reviews have placed a few hurdles in its path. I maintain that it makes the Oscar cut. But let me remind you that a couple of years ago, Nine hit the BFCA, SAG, and HFPA trifecta, only to be left off the extended list, most likely booted out by its mixed reviews. Les Miserables seems to have better reviews than Nine, and its supporters are a lot more passionate, but I still worry. I maintain that in light of this week's events, these five films are the top contenders, with Ang Lee's Life of Pi, a clear number six, who will most likely make the cut. That part hasn't changed. But in the back end of the top ten, some contenders have risen, and others have fallen. Despite no HFPA or SAG love (wasn't eligible for SAG, and it's not a Golden Globe kind of movie), I maintain that the critical support, and the emotional pull of this film keeps it in the running. Django Unchained took a hit at SAG, but Golden Globe love, and tons of great reviews rolling in have quickly helped it rebound. I know this isn't an Academy film, but my guess is that PGA, WGA, and maybe even DGA come to bat for it, and push it into the top ten (or nine, or eight, etc.). Moonrise Kingdom has been flirting with the top ten all season, and while it also missed the SAG cut, the love shown by BFCA, and the Golden Globe Best Picture nomination are big boosts. I also get the sense that people have not forgotten this film, that it remains on the minds of the Academy, just from reports I have heard. Also still on their minds is Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which pulled a coup this week and got a SAG ensemble and Golden Globe Best Picture nomination. Some may still keep it at bay, but this love combined with guaranteed BAFTA support makes me think that the older contingency within the Academy will push this one into contention.
Ben Affleck "Argo"
Tom Hooper "Les Miserables"
Steven Spielberg "Lincoln"
David O. Russell "Silver Linings Playbook"
Kathryn Bigelow "Zero Dark Thirty"
Commentary - Until the DGA shines some light, I am keeping my predictions intact. Although Ang Lee and Quentin Tarantino have certaintly staked their claim, and David O. Russell and Tom Hooper are definitely vulnerable.
Bradley Cooper "Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis "Lincoln"
John Hawkes "The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman "Les Miserables"
Denzel Washington "Flight"
Commentary - This is a six man race with only five final slots. I feel pretty confident that Daniel Day-Lewis is on his way to his third Academy Award. I also feel pretty confident about John Hawkes, who despite being in a small film, is definitely one of the best performances of the bunch. It is the last three slots that could give way to Joaquin Phoenix. Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman seem like the last two in, but with their films being so popular, I think they are definitely in. Despite SAG and HFPA love, Denzel Washington may be the one that is most vulnerable, simply because it appears the only award love is going to be for his performance. But if you ask me, don't bet against Denzel, and don't bet for Joaquin as long as his antics turn people off, and as long as The Master continues to be under-rewarded.
Jessica Chastain "Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard "Rust & Bone"
Jennifer Lawrence "Silver Linings Playbook"
Helen Mirren "Hitchcock"
Emmanuelle Riva "Amour"
Other Contenders - Naomi Watts "The Impossible", Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Rachel Weisz "The Deep Blue Sea", Meryl Streep "Hope Springs", Judi Dench "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Kiera Knightley "Anna Karenina"
Alan Arkin "Argo"
Robert DeNiro "Silver Linings Playbook"
Leonardo DiCaprio "Django Unchained"
Philip Seymour Hoffman "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones "Lincoln"
Commentary - Four contenders are in, and are fighting for the win: Arkin, DeNiro, Hoffman, and Jones. It if the fifth spot that is causing trouble. Javier Bardem was rewarded for Skyfall by SAG, and BAFTA will probably follow suit. I think that if anybody can be nominated for a Bond film it is the ever popular Bardem (and Dench for that matter), but I still find it hard to conceive the Academy going for it, although if the next three contenders are all from the same, and also un-friendly to the Academy, film, then Bardem could be a tiebreaker. I am still going for DiCaprio for Django, as it starts to pick up steam just as ballots go out. Although I am getting a sneaking suspicion that the now moved (again) contender Christoph Waltz could surprise his co-star and get that coveted fifth slot.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams "The Master"
Sally Field "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway "Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt "The Sessions"
Maggie Smith "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Commentary - Nicole Kidman's nomination for The Paperboy by SAG and HFPA is still shocking, although both groups are definitely fans of hers. It is still almost too shocking, so for now I am keeping her out of the mix. I just can't see the Academy following suite, despite their respect for Kidman as well. Although Melissa McCarthy was nomianted for shitting in a sink, so even the high-brow Academy sometimes likes to make fun, loose, and daring choices. For now I feel pretty confident about Smith, Hunt, Field, and Hathaway. Despite The Master's lack of love, Amy Adams, like Kidman, is also popular, and is the safe choice. We'll see about BAFTA, but for now, I sticking with safety.